Judge sees juveniles lost | Aug. 25
Young lives can still be salvaged
I agree with Judge Ralph Stoddard. We need to do more for juvenile offenders than just throw them to the wolves. We are all shocked and sometimes angry when we see some of the crimes committed by young people, and the natural tendency is to want to punish them.
But we need to remember that they are still young and most of them can be salvaged. That is what the original idea of a juvenile court was all about — that they should not be treated like adults.
Unfortunately, the present punitive attitude is one that pervades the whole Florida justice system. Just look how many executions we have in this state, and Rick Scott wants still more. We seem to have turned the word "justice" into "punishment."
I hope that Stoddard's suggestions will be taken seriously. I do not for one minute think that we have worse young people in this county than elsewhere; we just have a more punitive attitude.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Eternal divisions | Aug. 25, letter
It doesn't have to be this way
The letter writer seems content with the ever-widening gap between rich and poor because the problem is "unsolvable." Even though I'm not particularly religious, his comments bring to mind the passage in the Bible where Jesus said, "For you have the poor always with you." Also according to the Bible, the world will continue to have sin in it, yet people of faith still proselytize to save sinners.
Being "upwardly mobile" depends to a large extent on the "luck" at birth, not just on "a matter of human existence that some are 'better' than others," as the letter writer contends.
Most poor people I've spoken with don't begrudge the wealthy their prosperity. However, many do resent the fact that even if the rich acquired their wealth legally, many powerful and wealthy people seek to change laws to make it easier for them to retain and obtain even more wealth to the detriment of society as a whole.
Jesse Glover, Tampa
Rebels say scores killed by toxic gas Aug. 22
An unthinkable atrocity
My heart aches. I made a remark to my son that the Holocaust could never be repeated. Then I saw the news reports of the Syrian people, including children, murdered. I have come to the horrific conclusion that I was wrong.
I can imagine the anxiety of President Barack Obama, and it makes me ill to imagine sending our troops to yet another war. I pray that doesn't happen. But it grieves me to be told a "no fly zone" is not feasible.
I pray the rest of the world steps up to assist in the halt of this atrocity.
Diane M. Drake, Temple Terrace
Could-be citizens decline option | Aug. 26
Better care elsewhere
Green-card immigrants decline citizenship for many reasons, and here's one more: health care.
The fragmented, complex and staggeringly expensive juggernaut that passes for a system in this country has been intimidating enough for several acquaintances to return to their native land for treatment. By applying for U.S. citizenship they might have become ineligible for the universal care that characterizes almost every other Western nation.
Nick Hobart, New Port Richey
Easier to stay under radar
This article discloses how eligible immigrants do not desire to naturalize in the United States for a variety of reasons. Many plan to return to their own nations.
Another factor that I think is quite obvious but missing is: Why bother to go through all that hassle, paperwork and investigation when you can come into the United States illegally and receive all the benefits that an American citizen gets and not be punished for breaking the law?
Victor Lucca, Wesley Chapel
President should speak
As I read about all the tragic events perpetrated by our youth, it seems to me something is missing. Why is our president not commenting in the same way he addressed the tragedy of Trayvon Martin? He mentioned that Trayvon could have been a son of his. Why couldn't he take the same stance when an Australian was murdered, a World War II veteran was murdered, and a young boy was almost beaten to death on a bus?
Our president is missing an important moment to unite this country. If he spoke about these incidents like he did when he spoke about Trayvon Martin, only this time using his same example, i.e., that any of these boys could have been a son of his, he would then be holding people accountable, illustrating "there but for the grace of God go I."
It was a proud moment for America when they elected the first African-American president. Mr. President, unite this country without taking sides and the healing will begin.
Iris Beckmann, Spring Hill
Is pot less toxic than alcohol? It's probable Aug. 26, PolitiFact
Legalization is best option
Let us assume that pot is less dangerous than alcohol and less addictive and generally less dangerous when used by adults. I agree with PolitiFact, based on the available evidence, that this conclusion is probably correct.
So let us consider not just allowing medical use of marijuana, but also recreational use. Given the details of the PolitiFact review, it seems pot is a better recreational alternative than alcohol.
What are the real benefits to society of legalization? Decriminalizing pot will allow federal, state and local law enforcement to refocus resources on actual crimes. It will reduce the incarceration rates in our jails and prisons and save billions of tax dollars in doing so.
In order to obtain the greatest taxpayer benefit, pot needs to be fully decriminalized, not just for medical uses. If the law prohibits private growing of pot, we will still waste countless tax dollars on enforcement, prosecution and incarceration.
The only ones who benefit from illegal pot are the criminals, crime syndicates, beer and liquor industries, and trial lawyers.
Thomas B. Morton, Sun City Center