Have some sympathy
Can any of us imagine what Mark Lunsford has to endure every single day of his life? I think not.
I also had a child who was killed, mine by a drunken driver. I cannot imagine having to live with the memories of how horrific and brutal the murder of that little girl was.
It is amazing to me that Mark Lunsford can get up every day and carry on with his life, never mind having to endure the comments from people who have no idea what he lives with, especially Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. His comments were in the worst taste possible. How dare he! And the letter from a reader making mention of Lunsford's parenting skills was as bad. He left his daughter in the care of her grandparents while he went out. Has anyone else with children ever done that?
Mark Lunsford has done nothing but good since this has happened and he needs to do what he needs to do in order to live his life.
Sheila Krause, St. Petersburg
Looking for the man we once knew | March 1, Sue Carlton column
Lunsford has been patient
I don't know if Sue Carlton is a mother or not, but as a mother myself I can surely tell you that I, too, would be furious for the delay in getting into that criminal's trailer to see if my child was inside. Investigators in the Jessica Lunsford case knew there was a possible criminal inside that trailer and didn't act quickly to check it out. Instead they took their time allowing that child to suffer at the hands of that madman while they went back not once or twice, but five times to finally check out their suspicions!
Let's be real: Anyone with children would definitely be highly angered by the slowness of the investigators to get inside that trailer.
I personally give Mark Lunsford a medal for patience in not pursuing this a long time ago. I'm appalled at the lack of sympathy and understanding for this father. Put yourself in his place. Five days to search a criminal's residence that is a stone's throw from the home of a missing child? Let's be real.
Jean Cavaliere, St. Petersburg
Just when it seems that our members of Congress cannot do anything more stupid than they have done in the past, they come up with another dilly. This tax-rebate scam is enough to make any sensible person want to commit the whole bunch of them.
There is no extra money in Washington! There are not sufficient funds to pay even $1 of any proposed tax rebate. At present, we have a national debt of about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in these United States. Your share is $30,000, and it keeps going higher. When will you pay your share? That $300 or $600 that you will receive will just about pay for the interest on your share of the debt for about a five-month period.
This tax rebate is nothing more than borrowing from you and me to lend it to you and me. It really makes sense, doesn't it? I suppose that for most people, they can hardly wait to receive their little gift, and that will really make the politicians happy.
David S. Swan Jr., Clearwater
The coming collapse
Our country is headed for a financial crisis and economic meltdown of cataclysmic proportions. Neither Congress nor the president is doing anything about it, except to make matters worse. The United States is trillions of dollars in debt, and other countries hold our IOUs. It is estimated that credit card debt alone is more than $2-trillion. The stimulus package of $150-billion will add to the problem. This year's federal budget deficit is estimated to be more than $400-billion. Further, members of Congress will add billions of dollars to the deficit by their earmarked pork barrel projects which will help them get re-elected. Also, billions of dollars paid into Social Security have been spent on other projects. No one seems to care about how the millions of people retiring in the next few years will be paid.
Our system of taxation to pay for disbursements is broken. Fixing the problem will be painful, but neither the Congress nor the president has the guts to do anything about it. The forthcoming financial crisis and economic collapse are inevitable.
Jack Vanderbleek, St. Petersburg
Shucking the ethanol illusion | Feb. 27, editorial
Try some skepticism
Oops. It turns out ethanol wasn't such a great idea after all. In fact, it was a bad idea: It creates more greenhouse gases than it replaces, diverts agricultural land usage, drives up food prices around the world. Yep, definitely a bad idea.
Now, how can that be? It was the next best thing. All the really smart, serious, concerned people knew it was the wave of the future. All the progressive political leaders jumped on the ethanol bandwagon — and dismissed as benighted or churlish anyone who questioned the economics, or the common sense, of this obvious good thing.
Do we learn anything from the ethanol illusion? Do we take a little more skeptical view of the next issue that our opinion leaders and their political acolytes promote as the world ecology's greatest problem, or the nostrum they promote as the answer to that greatest problem? Nah. Biofuels, that's the answer.
Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg
This last year more than 75,000 people were booked into the Hillsborough County jail, yet just in the last few months the media have managed to portray the county jails as Tampa's Abu Ghraib prison. You have portrayed it as if it's some kind of dungeon and the personnel who work there as executioners of torture and pain.
We all know one sustained case of abuse is one case too many, but as long as we have human beings working and interacting with other human beings in these environments, we will always have issues to deal with. Sheriff David Gee is swiftly dealing with every case that comes to light. He has admonished with criminal charges those who are wrong and is standing behind those who are right.
I know ratings and circulation are important to the media, but are they worth the cost of harming the reputation of all the great men and women who work inside these jails handling thousand of inmates every single day with minimal problems?
Here's a suggestion: Find out how many deputies are assaulted or injured in the jail each year. Find out how many inmates are cared for and protected from assault and/or injury from other inmates every day. I think your findings will be far more rewarding than you realize.
These are real-life men and women, and they are doing the best job they can. Yes we have faults and yes we make mistakes, but please try producing your stories with a little more equality, at least occasionally reporting positive information or looking at the dangers these deputies face every single day. I know this will go a long way in establishing credibility in your stories, but even more importantly it will present the true picture of how many great professional men and women are working inside the Hillsborough County jails.
Larry McKinnon, Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy, Tampa