Confusion soars near airport | Jan. 12
See what works by testing drivers
The problem with the signs around Tampa airport is that the people who erected the signs knew where they were going and how to get there. Signs are not for people who already know how to get there; signs must be designed to help drivers who have no idea how to get where they want to go.
The way to test the adequacy of signs is to create a computerized, simulated driving test for the 75-year-old grannies of traffic engineers. The simulation would have her driving to TIA with a bumper-hugging SUV crowding her from behind her and cowboy cabbies swerving in and out of the lanes on either side of her big, bad Buick. Traffic conditions as they exist at dusk on a rainy evening would round out the simulated test. Under these conditions, how well might granny perform?
One helpful improvement would be to paint route signs on the pavement surface of the appropriate lanes leading to the exits. The present overhead arrows that designate the proper lanes are confusing. Because the signs are near curves in the highway, the driver's perception is distorted. Only after the driver executes the curve does it become clear the driver is in the wrong lane. Sudden lane changes at this point can prove lethal.
Another approach is to have large overhead signs that show all the lanes graphically displayed with a clear picture of which lane goes where. These kind of signs exist along I-275 indicating the exit for I-175. Signs like this provide useful information and reduce driver error.
TIA is one of the finest airports in our nation. What a pity the signs are so inadequate.
C.D. Chamberlain, Spring Hill
Stray and feral cats and dogs
Support spaying, neutering
The thousands of abandoned and feral cats in Florida suffer from bitter cold, parasites, animal predation and human cruelty. Unwanted dogs are being dumped in the Everglades, where they become food for pythons.
Stray and feral companion animals live very short, brutal lives. Animal control throughout Florida costs about $94 million yearly due to the lack of spaying and neutering of companion animals. Call your lawmakers and ask them to support Florida Senate Bill 488 and House Bill 527 for affordable spaying and neutering.
The funds are derived from surcharges on animal cruelty and ordinance violations, so it won't cost taxpayers anything.
Luke Swanhart, Winter Haven
Video voyeurism bill provides more punch Jan. 12
Tougher law needed
I applaud Jodie Tillman's insightful article on video voyeurism, and the news of state Rep. Dana Young's intention to introduce a bill to make this act a felony. Until such laws have the teeth needed — five years in jail and a $5,000 fine — these acts will continue.
John Osterweil, Tampa
Marines' act rebuked | Jan. 13
A rush to condemn
I am angered and disgusted by the rush to condemn fighting men for their actions during combat. Only someone who has endured the trauma of nearly being killed by an enemy is fit to judge whether they are guilty.
Politicians and high-ranking military officers have no idea what it is like to kill a enemy just before he kills you. If he is still twitching, you put another round into him. You have to hate him to even be a soldier.
Sensation-seeking journalists, government officials and even the secretary of state are just peacetime patriots who have no business judging what happened in the heat of battle. We have been fighting civilians who have no respect for honor or human life. It is a natural reaction to treat them the same way.
Robert A. Stanton, Seminole
What's really 'inhuman'
For a combat Marine to urinate on an enemy corpse is "simply inhuman"?
Here's some context with respect to what's inhuman: For the Taliban to film the decapitation of a live human — an innocent noncombatant at that — then pose proudly with the severed head, is inhuman; to mutilate and drag a U.S. soldier's body through the street and then hang the burned, mutilated corpse from a bridge, is inhuman; and to brainwash God-fearing Muslims into performing suicide bomb attacks on crowds in church or otherwise going about their own peaceful business, is inhuman.
There is no similarity whatsoever between what these battle-scarred Marines did and an actual "inhuman" act. What's next? Decrying Air Force ordnance technicians who write disrespectful messages on their bombs?
The media frenzy over this needs to stop right now. For me, and I suspect most of us, for a Marine to urinate on the corpse of a sociopathic monster — a combatant who in all probability died trying to kill him — isn't all that troubling.
Charles Stewart, New Port Richey
It's nothing new
The desecration of enemy corpses by American troops is nothing new. In Vietnam, some soldiers cut off the ears of the Viet Cong guerrillas or North Vietnamese army soldiers they killed and wore them on their dog tag chains as trophies. Another common practice was to nail either an ace of spades playing card (which the Vietnamese regard as bad luck) or the shoulder patch of the unit that made the kill to the forehead of a dead enemy combatant and prop him up in a trail intersection or other prominent place as a warning to his colleagues.
The American public needs to realize that war is an ugly business and when we send our troops into battle, these things are going to happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them.
James Nelson, Largo
Bain's gain, town's loss | Jan. 13
Faulty economic system
As one reads the way Mitt Romney made his millions, one gets a good feel for what's wrong with our economic system today. People like him make millions without producing anything. They buy up a company, prop it up temporarily by firing tons of workers, then create more equity by selling stock. Then they charge the company they've taken over fees for their "services," while at the same time trying to unload the company to someone else.
The people who work there be damned; the community be damned. Bain is nothing more than a raider who swoops in to take advantage of companies in trouble. They are not interested in the long-term viability of a company; they are there to make a quick profit and get out with their cash at first opportunity.
If, in the words of Sen. Jim DeMint, this is what American capitalism is all about, then it is no small wonder that our economic system has fallen on such hard times.
Rene Tamargo, Tampa