Letters to the Editor

Fear of conservatives based on a silly leap

The dangers of being religious and liberal | Aug. 3, Bill Maxwell column

Fear of conservatives based on a silly leap

Bill Maxwell writes that because the gunman at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., had books written by Ann Coulter and other conservative writers in his home this leads to the conclusion that liberals are in danger for their lives from the conservative movement. Such a conclusion is just silly.

To reach such a broad conclusion from a single event defies reason and logic. A conclusion, to be valid, requires a pattern of events that if reproduced brings identical results. One terrible event, by one crazed gunman, at one UU church is hardly a pattern of violence. It is a very sad event.

To conclude that from this one tragic event some unseen conservative plot exists to kill liberals, or that liberals are in danger for their lives, makes this tragic event seem trivial.

Is this made-up fear on the part of liberals a call to silence conservative talk shows and writers? Does Maxwell's article reflect a widespread liberal conspiracy to stifle conservative free speech? Should one article, in one liberal newspaper, by one liberal writer, one time lead to such a conclusion? Such a conclusion is just silly.

Terrence Stapleton, Tarpon Springs

The dangers of being religious and liberal | Aug. 3, Bill Maxwell column

Frightening prospects

I'm scared. I read Bill Maxwell's column on Sunday and I'm petrified. You see, I'm a conservative. According to Maxwell, some right-wing nut case read conservative books and listened to some conservative radio and TV commentaries and that lead him to become one of the "legions of dangerous followers willing to act on the insanity of their convictions." Maxwell says that he is not a "purveyor of conspiracy theories" and then, in the same sentence, purveys one.

I'm afraid for two reasons. I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes last week and I read some excerpts from an Ann Coulter book a couple of years ago. Am I going to have to join the "legions of dangerous followers"?

The main reason I am scared, however, is, applying the Maxwell Theory and Logic of (non)-Conspiracy, some "dissatisfied" liberal "extremist" will have seen a Michael Moore movie, listened to an Al Gore speech or read a Bill Maxwell column and will "join the legions of dangerous followers willing to act on the insanity of their convictions" and take action against me and those of like mind as they don't "compromise" their "demands for social justice."

Before I go to bed tonight I will check the closet and under the bed for Bill Maxwell. He scares me.

James Woodrow, Bradenton

The dangers of being religious and liberal | Aug. 3, Bill Maxwell column

Simple-minded view

The views of Bill Maxwell may never cease to amaze or surprise me. For someone who speaks incessantly about the wrongs of bias and generalizations, we find that in this particular scenario such simple-minded thinking is acceptable.

Maxwell argues that because of conservative thoughts and ideas, this madman went into the church and started shooting it up. I have a few problems with this explanation: The man was mentally unstable. He lost his job and was about to lose his food stamps, and his ex-wife (whom I assume he disliked) used to be a member of the church. These are most likely the real underlying causes for his actions, not the fact that he had some conservative views. How can someone assume from one isolated incident all right-leaning conservatives are nut jobs?

I'm tired of having to defend my beliefs. I'm tired of being called a hatemonger. If any "open-minded" liberal were to actually listen to conservative ideas he would realize that we embrace the right for everyone to believe what they want. We thrive on debate and the free flow of ideas. Disagreeing is not a negative thing. Our ability to do this openly is what sets our great country apart from all others, and just as importantly, it provides checks and balances to our political structure.

Nathan Stonecipher, St. Petersburg

Thank the NRA | Aug. 2, letter

Closed minds

One thing I have noticed while reading letters pro and con on this issue is that seemingly, persons who are pro-gun at least try to understand the other side's arguments while gun prohibitionists' minds are on autopilot. It is no use discussing an issue with people who are unwilling or unable to read and compare all of the relevant research.

During Prohibition, it got to the point that the ban-alcohol side simply would not budge, despite all of the data demonstrating that only crooks benefited from banning alcohol. The side that wanted to repeal the booze ban had to resort to "politics" in order to get the 18th Amendment repealed.

Similarly, the "ban guns" side can't stand the tables being turned on them and cry "foul politics" when the NRA throws its weight around at election time.

Perhaps an insane person like the man who shot up a Unitarian Universalist church recently might not have been able to do much damage with a steak knife, but he could have easily made a crude bomb or even a homemade shotgun. A criminally minded person in any country will find a way to kill despite weapons laws.

If you don't like the NRA's political involvements, stop pushing laws you should know will never work.

Leonard Martino, Tampa

Will they beat the rap? | Aug. 4, Rosa Brooks column

Ours is the best path

Rosa Brooks' logic and assertions are so flawed and biased she ought to be removed from any position where she could pass on her leftist fantasies. She attempts to equate flaws in our war on terror, which included posing men in their underwear, having mean dogs threaten prisoners, and making Islamic extremists embrace the Israeli flag, to the war crimes of Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic is alleged to have ordered the killing of 8,000 citizens. Prisoner deaths at U.S. hands have been very few, and not the result of intentional U.S. policy.

Our policies and our president are not perfect, but we continue to represent the best hope for the protection and advancement of civilization against those who wish to force the world back to barbaric practices abandoned centuries ago. The Iraqi people are in the process of choosing which they like better — our path. George Bush is flawed, but history will remember him as a great president.

Marty Millburg, Tampa

Will they beat the rap? | Aug. 4, Rosa Brooks column

Abuses are real

Rosa Brooks' story of the cruel treatment and torture, sanctioned at the highest levels of our government, against persons, both innocent and guilty, rounded up on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan is right on the mark.

As noted in the article, details of the development of these policies have been well documented by the McClatchy Newspaper Group. In addition, detailed documentation of these activities is provided in Torture Team by Philippe Sands and in The Dark Side by Jane Mayer. Both books describe the administration's efforts to develop legal opinions to shield those involved from prosecution for violation of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention on Torture.

The efforts of many officials to prevent contrary legal opinions from reaching the president and to hide their own activities from Congress make for interesting reading. These schemes, if presented before an international tribunal, along with other activities documented in these books, might well lead to their convictions.

As Brooks noted, "no international tribunal is ever likely to have jurisdiction over the U.S. participants involved in the abuses." Provided, of course, that they never leave the country.

Don Hehir, Tampa

Fear of conservatives based on a silly leap 08/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 4:22pm]

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