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Parents need to remember that penalties should serve to teach lessons

Parents' plea for teen in hit-run | Oct. 14, story

Penalties serve to teach lessons

Jordan Valdez's parents offer no sound reasoning in their argument for leniency.

Should she lose her Bright Futures scholarship as a result of being sentenced as an adult, then she winds up no worse off on funding her education than a mere average student would. This is a relatively mild consequence in light of the serious nature of her actions.

Granted, her age and maturity are considerations, but contrary to her parents' assertion, taking away something earned is part of the punishment/learning process.

There are tens of thousands of us in Hillsborough County who have been adversely ruled against, both rightly and wrongly, in ordinary civil and family court. Whether it is money, privileges or property, people often must forfeit the right to those as a penalty for an improper action.

In this instance, her punishment simply puts her on par with more ordinary students. Let's not forget that a life was taken, and whether it was unavoidable or if carelessness led to it, an individual has a responsibility to immediately stop, seek assistance, render assistance or both.

In addition, I don't see the media making this a class issue, contrary to her parents' claim. The facts as to the class of the individuals are as they are. If making alternative future educational plans is an inconvenience necessitated by the results of her actions, then so be it. While she may face certain challenges for the next few years, those are obstacles that Melissa Sjostrom would gladly exchange in order to simply be alive.

Chris Kenney, Tampa

Parents' plea for teen in hit-run Oct. 14, story

The justice system shouldn't ruin a child's life

I am not surprised how the state wants to charge Jordan Valdez as an adult. The state ruins many kids' lives.

I do not know Jordan Valdez, but after reading many stories about her it hurts to see what she is going through. It was an accident and she was scared. Valdez was 16 at the time of the accident. This is a child, a scared child, and charging her as an adult will destroy her future.

I have an 18-year-old daughter at the University of Tampa, and after reading how the state wants to destroy Jordan Valdez's life I worry more and more about my own daughter. Absolutely you should not leave the scene of an accident, and I drill this into my child's head daily. But sometimes the kid in a 16-year-old comes out and they run in fear of what can happen. That still doesn't make it right, but give Valdez a break. She is a good student who wants to move on to college. Why can't state officials put this behind them?

I feel horrible for the family of the victim, Melissa Sjostrom, but charging this kid as an adult won't bring her back. I am sure Jordan Valdez is sorry for what she did, and she will be punished, but please don't destroy two lives.

Steve Pappas, Spring Hill

Parents' plea for teen in hit-run Oct. 14, story

Family lost sympathy

I believe the Valdezes are incorrect about the media putting a "class spin" on this story. I think the Valdezes themselves are responsible for that by their own actions following the incident. Had they shown their daughter the right thing to do immediately following the accident and death of Melissa Sjostrom, I don't think they would have the media frenzy that's happening now.

As for Jordan being treated as a juvenile, I think she should be. She's a child. A 16-year-old is not an adult (look at how she handled the whole accident). However, her parents are adults, but I'm not so sure they did any better. Jordan's education may suffer because of what she did. That's life.

Judy Hatch, Dunedin

Parents' plea for teen in hit-run Oct. 14, story

Treat her like an adult

These parents have it all wrong. They want their daughter to learn and grow, but not to take responsibility for killing someone. News flash, parents: She hit an innocent person and left her to die! She should be treated like an adult.

This is not a "class issue" as the parents call it. This is a responsibility issue. Yes, I understand, she's a sweet, bright cheerleader with a bright future ahead of her. What about the woman she hit? What about her future? She was someone's daughter, too.

Jordan Valdez can live her life and make the best of it. Melissa Sjostrom, the woman she hit, deserves for her killer to be punished by a little more than community service.

Rebecca J. Hunter, Brandon

Dissecting the politics of rage | Oct. 12, E.J. Dionne column

Relying on race

Is it the intent of E.J. Dionne to rile up the left-leaning masses once again by suggesting that race is the reason why people are so "angry" that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Why is it that whenever those in the media are confronted with any type of criticism of Obama or his policies, they cry "race"? Is it because they don't have any other way of defending him? It is like trying to keep kindergartners or politicians from fighting: All they do is point the finger at each other rather than deal with the real issue.

Anyone who is enamored with Obama and his administration is going to dance in the streets over his winning the Nobel. Anyone who thinks he hasn't done enough to justify getting what used to be a high honor will say there was someone else more worthy. This column was a waste of newspaper space.

Winnie Bayon, Palm Harbor

Book binge in D.C. | Oct. 12, David Shribman column

Reading and war

The sudden preoccupation with books of war in D.C. described in David M. Shribman's article is too little and too late. Although history "does not illuminate the path to the future," the adage that "those who forget history are bound to repeat it" remains valid.

That the world is driven by history is no indicator that the next war will be like any other. Vietnam is not Afghanistan. Protecting French colonial interests in Vietnam was a historical error.

The book readers in D.C. might sharpen their skills by reading The Art of War by Sun Tzu, a valuable primer that is as true today as it was 2,500 years ago. Among Barbara Tuchman's contributions, The March of Folly is a classic addressing war from Troy to Vietnam. Book reading is fine, but never forget: America's young men are in war's crosshairs.

Roger K. Freeman, New Port Richey

At home, we wait — and cringe | Oct. 9, Daniel Ruth column

Weigh the loss

I don't always agree with Daniel Ruth, but putting names and faces to the numbers of casualties in Afghanistan will help people decide if the goals justify us being there.

Try going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and seeing all those names, feeling the pain of all the visitors who come to remember, and try not to wonder "why?"

Every day when we open the newspaper or turn on the TV news we should see as soon are they are released photos of all the latest casualties along with names and hometowns. Their deaths are real and personal to their family and friends. We should do no less than honor them nationally and weigh our collective loss against what, if anything, was gained.

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach

Parents need to remember that penalties should serve to teach lessons 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 7:14pm]

    

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