Sunday, May 27, 2018
Letters To The Editor

On Memorial Day, remembering a hero among heroes

Memorial Day

Saluting a hero among heroes
This Memorial Day many Americans will pause to honor our nation's veterans. Many of these are highly decorated, true heroes, while others served their country in less distinguished roles but nonetheless honorably. Occasionally, though, we become aware of the passing of a truly singular individual — one whose feats in his country's military service deserve widespread acknowledgement.

In its May 2008 issue, the U.S. Marines magazine Leatherneck published, among a number of other obituaries, that of Col. James P. McWilliams Jr. It is of such men that Army Gen. George S. Patton once said, "We should not mourn that these people died; rather, we should glory that they lived."

Calling him "the quintessential Marine," the article described Col. McWilliams' 30-year career, including two tours in Vietnam where he earned 29 military decorations, including the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars. In addition, Leatherneck continued:

"He was also jump qualified and a Navy hard hat diver. He completed U.S. Army Ranger School, was honor graduate of the Royal Marine Commando School, top graduate of the U.S. Army Special Forces Warfare School, completed Norwegian Army Ski School and the Armed Forces Staff College and was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College."

The completion of any one of those training regimens would be enough to mark one as outstanding. That he was able to complete them all is truly awesome (in every sense of that often overused word). All Americans, veterans or not, should take genuine pride in such individuals who have borne arms in time of their country's peril and continue to do so today. God bless America!

Joseph S. Baldyga, Hudson
We've been forced into unhealthy choices

As we commemorate Memorial Day it is important that we remember the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers placed in harm's way due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether you support or oppose these conflicts, their cost is beyond dispute.

We have lost more than 4,000 brave men and women in Iraq, 171 from our state alone. Another 30,000 have been injured — their injuries heightened by the urban warfare that is Iraq today. The cost has been unbearable in another way as well. The estimated $3-trillion we will have spent by the time this war is over — even anticipating a withdrawal early next year — has forced our country to make unhealthy choices. We have chosen war over health care. We have chosen war over energy independence. We have chosen war over bridges and roads. We have chosen war over programs that help Americans in need — Americans hurting because of the economic downturn.

More than ever, this is the time of year to think about those who have served us. At the same time, let us not forget about the costly choices our political leaders have made. And together, as one people and one country, let us vow to make better choices. Let us vow to more wisely invest in America's future.

Bill Newton, executive director, Florida Consumer Action Network, Tampa

A shameful failure to aid Iraqi allies | May 20, editorial

Telling deeds

With a few name changes you could be discussing the war in Vietnam. Does our government see these Iraqis who assisted our government as disposable or expendable? Maybe the nicest thing I will say is this: "People may not believe what you say, but they believe what you do."

Every aspect of how our military troops are treated before, during and after leaves me with a sick feeling. Whether it is Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War or where we are now, or any other area of conflict where our troops were sent.

So what makes anyone think a person from these areas of conflict, who aids us, will fare better? Our members of Congress "tour" the areas, with a safety net provided. There is no safety for the people from these countries who volunteer to assist the American troops.

Christina Ennist, New Port Richey

Elephants are own worst enemies as herds grow | May 20, story

Don't resort to killing

I am incredulous that South Africa is actually considering massacring an entire herd of elephants as its primary choice for dealing with elephant overpopulation. Has it ever considered putting this highly intelligent, majestic creature on birth control? Women have been taking Deprovera for some years and seem to be happy with it. Many of the animals in our zoos are given birth control to limit any unwanted offspring. Elephants in the wild could safely be given Deprovera via a dart gun. Yet South Africa will soon be annihilating a herd of animals that is threatened or endangered.

Perhaps if these animals could roam into the neighboring land, there wouldn't be this concern. Oh, that's right. People need this land to feed the burgeoning human population. The rate of over-population has lessened greatly over the years in much of Africa. However, this still does not help the many species that have become extinct, and continue to become extinct, as a direct result, the world over.

To lose these animals would be more than just a shame; it would be a huge loss to the elephant's genetic pool, and to humanity in general. I, along with the rest of the world, implore South Africa to take some time to better deliberate this very sad solution.

Elka Zwick, St. Petersburg

Sea grass legislation

Veto is in order

As a parting shot in his legislative war against Florida's environment, state Rep. Will Kendrick, R-Carrabelle, slipped a last-minute amendment into a bill designed to protect sea grass beds. If it becomes law, this would open the door for private companies to set up sea grass mitigation banks on state owned lands to sell credits to developers who want to destroy healthy sea grass beds.

In a further show of shoddy government, all 30 members of the committee approved the amendment without reading or understanding it.

Let's see who Gov. Charlie Crist represents when this bill gets to his desk — a handful of developers or the people of Florida. If they put the sea grass beds in a museum, maybe we could charge the tourists a dollar and a half just to see 'em.

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach

Thin other herds

Too many elephants in South Africa are destroying important habitats for other creatures, so we must thin them out. Right?

Okay. If that is true, then shouldn't we thin out the herd of developers/humans in Florida that want to destroy sea grass beds that provide a habitat for hundreds or thousands of other creatures?

With a human population of 6-billion-plus and growing, aren't we thinning out the wrong herds?

T. W. Funari, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: NFL finally listens to its fans

NFL moves to endanthem protests | May 24NFL’s action comes too lateThe NFL owners are, after two years, finally growing some courage.Before these kneel-downs became the elephant in the room, team owners could have taken action to minimize the imp...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Sunday’s letters: As Jews, we should not be afraid to criticize Israel

Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Saturday’s letters: Bayshore fatalities didn’t have to happen

After two fatalities, speed limits cut | May 25Cameras needed on BayshoreOnce again, two pedestrians have died as the result of careless drivers who were speeding. Once again, the Times and other media outlets are filled with opinions about the c...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Friday's letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation Month Thanks, jurors, for your service Trial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litiga...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18