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Encouraging gator hunting only harms nature

Gator huntin' | Aug. 11 Don't encourage harming nature Though alligator hunting regulations are not set by you, your "cartoon" instructions for "how to" are disgusting, to say the least.

Alligators are animals, just as dogs, cats, birds and deer are. You couldn't get away with step-by-step instructions for how to skin a deer or kill a stray cat. Why do you find this acceptable?

It's tasteless and perpetuates gratuitous killing in an age when the last thing we need guidance on is how to further our negative impact on nature.

Humans could learn a thing or 10 from any animal that has managed to survive global catastrophes which wiped out most other species, i.e., alligators.

Making headlines and wowing your readers shouldn't be your only guidelines. Consider raising the bar, as most people walking the streets only know what you tell them. Just because you've added that permitting requires you kill the gator immediately upon capture doesn't breed compassionate behavior.

Take your role in society seriously and post responsible news.

Nikki Benoit, St. Petersburg

A horrid article

I just picked up the Tampa Bay section to read and was totally disgusted with the step-by-step instructions on how to kill an alligator. With as much violence and disturbing things as there are going on, I could not believe that here on the front page of this section was this horrid article.

I wonder who has more sense, the twisted individual who will read this article and go out and kill something with the printed instructions or the person who wrote this article and seems to think we are all interested in killing gators. Makes you wonder.

Nancy L. Stephens, St. Petersburg

It's just animal cruelty

Monday's Times describes the brutal state-sanctioned torture and execution of thousands of wild alligators that will take place across the state beginning this week.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tells us that the proper way to kill a gator is to harpoon, shoot and stab him, and then finish him off by jabbing a probe into his brain — all while standing on a boat in the middle of the night. This is outright animal cruelty, not a sport, especially when botched by untrained amateurs. That's right: A license is required, but training is totally optional.

The FWC's training session consists of a short talk and video (which focuses on processing the hide), without any hands-on training or tests. How many of these amateurs will be able to kill the gator quickly? If the spinal cord is severed before the gator is dead, then he will be unconscious but still alive and suffering. What happens to harpooned gators who manage to swim away? They die a slow and painful death, no doubt. All this pain and suffering for a cheap thrill, a taste of gator flesh and a $10-million skin and meat industry.

And are we supposed to believe that the FWC's intricate rules and regulations are being enforced in remote areas in the middle of the night?

Have a heart: Leave Florida's gators alone!

Joan Zacharias, Tampa

U.S. policy too focused on blowing things up Aug. 13, Nicholas Kristof column

Bush's military policies have kept the nation safe

Nicholas Kristof takes the typical liberal position that U.S. foreign policy should revolve around negotiating with state sponsors of terror rather than "blowing things up." He says most terror groups are not defeated militarily but are either absorbed by other political organizations or degraded by police work. In other words, when America is attacked by a terror group we should ask their state sponsor to "absorb" them into the government, or maybe just call the local "cops"?

In truth, terrorist groups are a cancer for any government that "absorbs" them. Anyone who thinks Hamas is somehow "legitimate" because they occupy seats in the Palestinian Assembly is foolish in the extreme. They are murderers and delegitimize the whole government.

Islamic extremists have been at war with the United States for decades. They don't hate us because of George Bush's foreign policy. In fact, it's Bush's foreign policy that has keep us safe for the past seven years. Maybe "blowing things up" actually works.

Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg

U.S. policy too focused on blowing things up Aug. 13, Nicholas Kristof column

Conflict and contributions

Nicholas Kristof writes about all the money allocated for armaments, weapons, advanced destroyers, submarines, and all the rest, and the little spent to increase the number of diplomats and members of the Foreign Service. He says that we won't solve our world problems with more wars and weapons; what we need are words and tact and diplomacy.

Of course, he is right, and even Washington knows it. But Congress continues to vote more money for weapons than diplomats for a very simple reason: Contracts go to those who supply the armaments, and they are the same corporations that have given huge contributions to political candidates.

Too bad about the innocent people being killed.

Lucy Fuchs, Brandon

U.S. troops accused of civilian slaughter

Consider U.S. losses

I read your Aug. 4 item about South Korean investigators accusing U.S. troops of civilian slaughter in the Korean War. The Seoul government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is seeking compensation from the United States for the victims.

In all wars, innocent civilians have always been victims, and that's unfortunate. But some of those civilians were traveling with and from advancing North Korean troops. As a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, I wonder if the Seoul government would like to pay compensation for the 35,000 dead U.S. troops who helped save South Korea? It seems to me this has slipped the minds in Seoul.

Richard J. Galvani, New Port Richey

VA is slow too

If you believe Social Security takes a long time to determine disability claims, you need to take a look at the Veterans Administration. Vets coming home from Iraq may have to wait up to one year to get their first denial. Then the process goes to the first level of appeals, which takes another year. If this does not work there is a two-year wait at the Board of Veteran Appeals. Our "heros" get treated like this, so what can you expect for regular working people under Social Security?

John King, Tampa

McCain too old? Ask these men | Aug. 11, story

Ask the wives

I enjoyed your "investigative" look into the psyche of 72-year-old men. I've met enough men to recognize that many will never admit to frailty or weakness. The stories they tell about their prowess! And to compare riding bikes, changing oil, shuffleboard, yada-yada, does not even approach the mental and physical strain that has always manifested itself on the faces and minds of our past presidents.

And if you really wanted to find out about the abilities and minds of 72-year-old men, you should have asked the wives of a few of them.

M.J. "Mim" Merta, Dunedin

McCain too old? Ask these men | Aug. 11, story

Look at limits of youth

For fair and balanced reporting, I suggest you interview several young men who have worked for Fortune 500 companies for three years and ask them if they think they are qualified to be the CEO.

Carol Mathis, St. Petersburg

Encouraging gator hunting only harms nature 08/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2008 2:24pm]
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