Saturday, August 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday’s letters: The middle of America isn’t watching that movie at all

Our political spectrum suffers a drought of purple | July 29, column

A movie the middle isn’t viewing

A pundit recently said that Americans seem to be watching two different movies. The Trump rally in Tampa and its protesters remind me just how few Americans are watching either film. The plurality of Americans have usually: (1) put "try something different" at the top of the ticket; (2) appreciated prosperity; (3) seen politics as something that only occasionally affects their daily lives, and are suspicious of those who believe otherwise (for example, that President Barack Obama brought us together or that President Donald Trump is splintering us); (4) viewed such things as Whitewater and "collusion" as "B" horror movies that are too long and have neither a surprise ending nor a useful message and (5) valued pragmatism, realizing that ideology yields only festering impasses in those areas where government actually matters (self-evidently, there’s tremendous room to maneuver between "oops, we can’t ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare" and a $32 trillion "Medicare for all," between building a wall and sanctuary cities, etc., etc.).

Americans are purple, and proud of it. Politicians seem stupefyingly slow in grasping this reality. They are so absorbed watching their own movie that they haven’t noticed how empty the theater is. A base is more precarious than is a foundation.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Stick up for journalists | Aug. 1, letter

Assessing the sources

In this age of misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and assault on truth, it is more important than ever to be skeptical of information coming our way, especially in social media. At the very least, we should filter publicly shared information, using these basic criteria: Is the source of information a recognized authority? Does the source have a reputation for being unbiased, accurate and trustworthy? Can the information be readily confirmed? More than ever, we need to filter all publicly shared information before believing it. Let the public beware.

Ernest Bartow, St. Petersburg

Trump whips up Tampa faithful | Aug. 1

Florida deserves better

I am saddened and alarmed to see that President Donald Trump continues to hold rallies to manipulate and whip his base into a frenzy and encourage mob mentality. He has done so in Tampa and those who attended failed once again to see through Trump’s Orwellian tactics and purposeful twisting of the truth. Do you enjoy being fooled? I can see you feel powerful and righteous but you are being fed a load of hooey and seem to enjoy it.

Trump needs to be running the country, not encouraging violence and ignorance by spreading his particular brand of misinformation and hate speech. The citizens of Florida who would like to see the free press silenced apparently have no clue how important the press is to bring to light the corruption and damage brought by the Trump presidency and to keep our society free.

The greatest source of fake news is Donald J. Trump, and you should be rallying against him and his disinformation campaign instead of for him. Someday, perhaps, you will see the light. Will you have the courage, then, to stand up and demand the truth as strongly as you have supported the ugly upside down reality of Trump and his friends at Fox? I hope so. Florida deserves better than self-interested, greedy, dangerous politicians like Trump and those he supports.

Claiborne Coyle, Venice

Sheriff stands by his choice | Aug. 1

He stood his ground first

Florida’s "stand your ground" law is designed to protect citizens from what they believe to be imminent danger from another person or persons. This law must rightly apply to Markeis McGlockton, who sought to protect his girlfriend, Brittany Jacobs, and his children from Michael Drejka.

The relevancy of this law in this case is that Drejka took it upon himself to self-police a handicap parking space and confront Jacobs and her children with threatening body language, and the family had every right to believe they were possibly in danger of his irate, erratic behavior and the probable escalation of the situation into physical assault equivalent to "road rage" in a parking lot.

An unarmed McGlockton was "standing his ground" to protect his family. Drejka, who presented the threat, was unrelenting in provoking the confrontation because he knew he was armed with a concealed weapon. Yet this law refuses to take into account that a citizen can’t bring a gun to a situation they create and approach other citizens with a threatening confrontation to bait a response from them, only to shoot them. Then they invoke self-defense under the "stand your ground’’ law after they kill the very person the law was intended to protect.

The "stand your ground" law hampers prosecutors and law enforcement from correctly ascertaining whether the shooter is cloaking a murder under the law. This is a monumental flaw in the law and how it is interpreted.

Sevell Brown III, St. Petersburg

The writer is national director of the National Christian League of Councils.

Let the courts decide

A homicide occurs when one human takes the life of another. Not all homicides are crimes. A killing committed in self-defense is not a crime; it is justifiable homicide. That distinction is left up to the court to decide, not law enforcement.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor

Why are primaries closed? | Aug. 1, letter

Parties aren’t government

Political parties are not part of the government. They are separate entities. It’s like being a Rotarian. Only Rotarians get to vote in Rotarian elections. The reason we have primaries is that long ago, party leaders would select the party’s nominees in some smoke-filled room. The primary evolved because some people in the party came up with the quaint idea that members should have a voice in whom its nominees should be.

I believe that the idea has very democratic origins. While members of the party have a right to take part in their party’s selection process, what rationale is there to have people of the opposition party, or independents for that matter, decide for them whom their nominee should be? If they want to vote in a Republican or Democratic primary all they have to do is join the party.

Rene Tamargo, Tampa


Friday’s letters: I’ve lived in countries lacking a free press; you wouldn’t want to

Striving to keep truth flowingfor democracy | Editorial, Aug. 16I’ve lived in places lacking free pressMore than half my adult life I’ve lived, worked or studied in countries governed by dictators or authoritarian rulers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ukr...
Published: 08/17/18

Monday’s letters: Why I left the Republican Party

Where is the blue wave of voters? | Aug. 14Why I left the Republican Party I clicked the button. Instantly I was no longer a Republican. I had believed we were experiencing a horrible hiccup in the history of the Grand Old Party. My party had sto...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Cigars are bad for your health

Tobacco rules don’t suit premium cigars | Editorial, Aug. 13Xyxyx xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxxxThe argument made in this editorial to exempt the premium cigar industry from FDA scrutiny is, in essence: They are not cheap, they are not fruit-flavored,...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18