Society's ways, not guns, must change
I was born in 1949. I had a mom and dad under one roof. They weren't my "buddies" or "friends"; they were my parents. When they spoke, my siblings and I listened. The consequences of disobedience were swift and sure. My grandparents lived across the street, my aunt and uncles lived four houses down. My parents took me with them to church. I learned that God loves all people, that there are things we are not supposed to do and things we should do. In my public school, we said prayer and stood and pledged allegiance to our flag. Neither one was an option.
I read lots of hunting magazines. However, growing up in the city (Miami), hunting wasn't really an option for me. Target shooting was something I could do, so on Saturdays, my mother would drive me to the Tamiami Gun Range so I could target shoot. Never did the idea of taking a gun to school to settle an argument enter into my head. Neither did hitting or cursing at a teacher.
Fast-forward 63 years: too many homes with one parent raising the children. Shame on the men for not being the fathers they need to be. Too many moms and dads being friends or buddies to their kids. We kicked prayer out of school a long time ago, and the Pledge of Allegiance is optional. At sporting events for kids, everyone is a winner, even those who lose the game. How does that prepare them to handle loss when they grow up?
America must change. We need to revisit what we worship, what we respect, and what we are teaching our children through our own behavior. Until that happens, all the gun laws in the world won't help.
Randy Eisenberg, Valrico
Take real action
Here's the thing. It isn't Congress' fault. It isn't the fault of the NRA. If Americans want real, significant gun control whereby war-type weapons and ammunition of mass destruction are removed from society and concealed weapons are no longer legal in places like schools in Colorado, we simply have to vote the right way.
Let's stop blaming the wrong people. If every one of us writes our members of Congress and promises to vote against them in the next election if they do not vote for meaningful gun control, we are only two years away from a significant change.
All the NRA money in the world won't be worth a plug nickel if we all vote the right way. So when Congress fails to enact meaningful gun control in this legislative term (which they will probably fail to do), we can fix it during the next term if we choose.
Jerry Kirk, Land O'Lakes
Educators: We don't want to be armed | Dec. 20
Schools must adapt
Of course state Rep. Dennis Baxley is right about "gun-free zones" establishing well-advertised psycho shooting gallery opportunities.
Gun haters would be quick to agree that conservative anti-tax advocates have no chance of repealing the 16th Amendment. Likewise, liberal anti-gun crusaders should forget about abolishing the Second Amendment. We didn't always have to surrender a portion of our earnings to the government, but we have always enjoyed the right to bear arms. It isn't going to change. A serious attempt at gun confiscation would turn a multitude of peaceful, law-abiding gun owners into revolutionaries.
I visited a corporate headquarters where the possibility of a madman with a gun entering the premises was obviously considered by virtue of the access controls in place. Schools must adapt to a more threat-conscious environment. Let's stop the political posturing and start fixing the problem.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Connecticut school shooting
Violence in entertainment
After the horribly sad shootings in Connecticut there has been much discussion about gun laws, but not nearly enough dialogue about violent movies, video games and toys and their effects on young minds. We are bombarding our children with violent entertainment, yet we expect them to be able to always distinguish between reality and fantasy. Let's examine what we allow on TV, in toy stores and in video games and how we monitor the use of such things. Perhaps it may actually help to save lives.
Carol Skey, St. Petersburg
New blot on record of general | Dec. 21, editorial
Petraeus' questionable ways
Did Gen. David Petraeus politicize our military in Afghanistan? Civilians, whose salaries were paid from a conservative think tank funded by wealthy Republican donors, were given the power to advise the commanders on the ground to change military tactics and policy. Given the Republican refrain led by Sen. John McCain that decisions on Afghanistan should be made by the commanders on the ground, Petraeus' decision to give so much power to civilians is even more questionable. Military decisions should not be made by ideological think tanks.
Martin Peters, Tarpon Springs
The puzzle of black Republicans | Dec. 20 column
In defense of free thinkers
I am very offended by Adolph Reed's characterization of black Republicans, specifically Tim Scott of South Carolina, as "cynical tokens." There is nothing wrong with a black man or woman who thinks taxpayers should not be the provider of everything for someone who refuses to work or even look for work, or a black person who does not believe in, as our president does, "trickle-up poverty," or an African-American who believes a person has the right to work at a job without being forced to pay dues to a union of which he or she chooses to not be a member, or a black American who believes in the sanctity of life from conception. I pray that more men and women of the ilk of Tim Scott step forward to set examples for the black community specifically and all of us in general.
Richard Carey, St. Petersburg
Voters would dump Scott, poll shows | Dec. 20
He's living up to promises
The Times seems almost excited to report that Gov. Rick Scott has slipped in approval ratings. It's no wonder because he is doing the things he promised when running for office. It is always unpopular to make the tough decisions thatthat other politicians are afraid to make. He is acting like the businessman he is, not the politicians we are use to.
It's easy to rally support by railing against the haves while appealing to the have-nots. Liberals will be happy when they can back "Whichever the Wind Blows" Charlie in the next election.
Don Niemann, Seminole