Don't erode right to self-defense | Feb. 24, letter
Law is just an excuse to escalate
The repeal of this very bad law, "stand your ground," will not erode our right to self-defense. We have always had the right to defend ourselves when there was no way of escape. What this law does is give an excuse to escalate instead of defuse a situation.
There is something even bigger going on here that is quite alarming. It's not just the proliferation of guns, as stated in several articles recently, but a whole gun culture with an increased sense of aggression and vigilantism, as if it is perfectly all right to shoot first and ask questions later. People conflate the right of self-defense with a right to intimidate, scare and disregard the rights of others, as if they were one in the same.
Those who choose to carry a gun feel as if only their rights matter. What about everyone else's right to not feel intimidated, scared or disregarded? If there is a disagreement, or argument, the one with the most might wins the fight. And there is no regard to consequences, because they believe there won't be any. This law has ensured it.
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Bumpy start for transit plan | Feb. 25, editorial
I was inclined to vote to support the Greenlight Pinellas referendum — even though it fails to address the real reason most visitors come to Pinellas, the beaches — until it was announced that all fundraising would be kept secret.
As a past president of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club, I am not a part of the paranoid tea party crowd, but unless the leaders operate this campaign in a very transparent manner, they have lost my vote. Too much of politics on all levels is conducted behind closed doors, which does not serve the public interest.
James Donelon, St. Petersburg
Adjusters will be available | Feb. 25, letter
Response falls short
In response to recent criticism of Citizens, Barry Gilway says Florida's insurance market has never been financially stronger due to a combination of factors. He mentions comprehensive oversight, a vigorous reinsurance market and increasing financial reserve requirements, as though Florida's insurance industry itself is solely responsible for its newfound financial strength. That there has been no major storm damage in the past eight-plus years must be just a coincidence.
Gilway goes on to reassure us "if a hurricane hits, private carriers have strategies in place to augment in-house staff with that pool of qualified independent adjusters." Fantastic, but that completely ignores policyholders' primary concern, which is whether new companies will have the money to cover claims.
Then the Citizens' president states his belief that the company has become "kinder and gentler based on a number of consumer-friendly decisions … and improved customer service." Considering how low they set the bar, how could they not become kinder and gentler? Besides, given all the attention they've received for consumer-unfriendly behavior, they had no choice but to improve their service.
Gilway is obviously sensitive to the well-deserved criticism his company gets, but his reply, like his handling of the company, leaves much to be desired.
Chip Thomas, Tampa
Help with seizures
Medical marijuana has been shown to do more than help people with pain problems. It has also been shown to help people with uncontrolled seizures. For seizures, it would be taken as a pill and in small doses. The person would not be getting a high.
For those whose seizures are not controlled, getting them under control would make a very big difference, as they would then be able to get a driver's license. Not having a driver's license has a large impact on the amount of independence someone has. I doubt that many people think about how often they drive, and how things would change for them if they didn't have a license. For this reason among others, medical marijuana is important.
Michelle Reed, Tarpon Springs
Scott seeks flood relief | Feb. 25
Where is governor's pen?
It's interesting that Gov. Rick Scott traveled to Washington on behalf of impoverished homeowners "asking the president to use his pen and stop these unreasonable, unfair increases" in flood insurance premiums.
Perhaps Scott can "use his pen" to help the 20 to 25 percent of Florida residents who have no health insurance, or to restore some of the funds that have been cut from our educational system.
I guess the pen is mightier than free-market ideology or tea party principles, depending on whose interests are at stake.
Steve MacIsaac, Tampa
Jolly was driver in fatal '89 accident | Feb. 26
I admire Kent Ropes, the brother of Blair Ropes who died as a result of being hit by a car driven by David Jolly.
Ropes has forgiven Jolly, given his grief to God and carried on, knowing nothing will bring his brother back. Instead of living with anger and resentment, he has chosen to forgive and let go.
I am not saying it was an easy choice, but in doing so his life has probably been a lot more happy, less stressful and a good example for the people around him. Forgetting may not come as easy, but forgiving is an option that is the beginning in healing one's heart.
Lynn Plazewski, San Antonio
Young immigrants to press Obama | Feb. 24
Enforce the law
What part of "illegal" do immigration advocates not understand? Laws are enacted to keep the peace. You break the law, you are held responsible. Why shouldn't you be sent back to your country if you did not abide by our laws?
We don't need immigration reform. There is nothing wrong with the laws we have; we just need to enforce them.
Barbara Troop, Tarpon Springs