Startling shot of deadly force | Aug. 1, story
Taser doesn't deserve the blame
The Taser, when used as originally intended, has defused many situations that could have escalated into injuries or death for violent perpetrators or law enforcement officers. However, you can't blame the Taser for the failure of the officer, just as you can't blame his gun or baton. It's the hand holding the weapon that ultimately carries the guilt.
What's happened is that this nonlethal weapon originally intended to subdue violent, dangerous perpetrators has evolved into a police tool for apprehending fleeing suspects.
As concluded in the article, law enforcement policies need to be strengthened to limit the use of these nonlethal weapons to clearly stated appropriate situations. Misuse of these weapons should carry significant penalties, termination and/or criminal charges, and just like lethal weapons, all uses of nonlethal weapons should be investigated, publicized and documented.
Victor Steen should have stopped when ordered to by Officer Jerald Ald. However, Officer Ald's actions were reckless, dangerous and vindictive. It is clear that Officer Ald's level of response from inside his two-ton squad car was way out of proportion to the minimal threat of a teenage boy on a bike.
Victor Steen was aggressively chased, Tasered, run over and crushed to death because of Officer Ald's misuse of his police authority, and unclear departmental policies. Victor Steen is dead. Officer Ald's penalty was to lose two weeks' pay. Blaming the Taser for this tragedy is a mistake.
Craig Williams, Clearwater
Stop addictive drugs
When is someone going to figure out that the drug companies have us in their grasp?
Are individuals in more pain now than they were 30 years ago? Is pain more difficult to deal with now than it was 30 years ago? The drug companies are ruling our lives and destroying our lives at the same time. We don't need their addictive drugs. It's time that taxpayers speak out against the drug companies and tell them to stop manufacturing highly addictive drugs.
I am a mother of a just-turned-20-year-old son who has been addicted to oxycodone off and on for the last several years. I know I'm not alone. I read about others who have the same problems every day in my daily newspaper. I read about parents who absolutely forget they even have kids — babies — because they're so high on the drugs. I read about people abusing and murdering others because they're so high on drugs. And the drug of choice, these days, is oxycodone.
Oxycodone is a painkiller and a people killer. Oxycodone is also a highly addictive drug. People who receive the drug for pain relief soon become addicted and are not able to wean themselves off of the medication during a natural course of treatment. Drug manufacturers are aware of this, as are doctors. They depend on your addiction to keep the money rolling in.
If taxpayers would just sit back and realize what this drug problem is costing us in terms of courts, jail time, rehab — oh my God!
The answer is to stop the manufacture of these highly addictive drugs.
Kathleen Purdy, Clearwater
It's the abuse, not the drug
I wish to share my disgust with the situation regarding narcotic pain medication. I am one of the many who rely on these medications to make the quality of my life worth living.
Do people not think that those who abuse these drugs will simply find something else to abuse if these are removed from the market? Please get a clue. I think it is pitiful to allow what these individuals do to threaten the relief these medications offer to many who suffer.
If it wasn't the Vicodin, it would have been something else. Pain medications don't kill people unless people abuse them.
Susan H. Kerk, R.N., Redington Beach
More than money needed
Is it just me, or are there others who are upset with the rich guys feeding their egos by trying to buy their way into a prestigious government position?
I know that there are polls showing support for gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, but why would anyone support someone who is either a terrible businessman for not knowing, as he claims, that the company he headed was committing felony fraud, or is guilty of felony fraud himself but was just not caught? Either way he is not one that I would want as governor of my state. He also seems clueless when asked about details of the way he would run the state. He has no credible ideas!
As to the other rich guy, U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene is better at trying to knock down the opposition than explaining his own positions. His claims of what he will do to help Florida sound more like he is running for state office, not U.S. senator. He also seems clueless as to the responsibilities and activities of the position for which he is running.
Consider this a nonpartisan rant against unqualified rich guys trying to buy their way into state office.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Inexperience a concern
The attempts by Jeff Greene and Rick Scott to spend their way to the U.S. Senate and Florida Governor's Mansion are scandalous and offensive to thinking voters. We may need change in Washington and Tallahassee, but what happened to starting at an entry-level elected or appointed office and working your way up honestly?
These men have no detailed plans for the changes they claim they'll make once elected. At least someone who's already held public office knows the ropes. The governorship and a U.S. Senate seat are too important to leave to total inexperience.
Linda Schatz, Tampa