Reasons why guns are allowed
As I read James Pettican's April 14 guest column, We still live, fearfully, in 'Gunlandia,' I had to shake my head. I can understand the gentleman's concerns, and my heart breaks whenever I read of an innocent victim of gun violence, but the answer is not to ban guns.
Mr. Pettican states that "guns have only one function: to fire a projectile that damages or destroys whatever it hits." That's mostly true, but somewhat misleading. Target shooters are certainly destroying the paper target, but the purpose is the sport — the skill and accuracy of the shooter. The same is true of archery competitions, but I don't hear people screaming we should ban bows and arrows.
The other primary uses of guns are to damage or kill things. Hunters intend on killing their prey. When used in self-defense, the gun's job is to incapacitate, or kill if necessary, the "bad guy." In either case, there's nothing wrong with that.
There's another important use that anti-gun proponents usually don't mention, but it was first in the mind of our founding fathers: to guard against tyranny. They recognized the citizenry needed to be able to protect our nation from internal enemies and a government run amok.
Having a gun in the home doesn't mean an innocent victim will find himself or herself at the wrong end. My father always kept a revolver under his pillow. Every week, when I stripped the sheets and remade his bed, I moved it out of the way, carefully replacing it when I was done.
Not once was I ever tempted to take it out of its sock sleeve and even look at it, much less play with it. Why? Because when I was 4 years old, my father took me out to the woods, set up a target, and while holding my hands, helped me aim and shoot a handgun. Then when we walked over to the target and saw the damage done, he explained to me about what a gun does, why it can be dangerous, and that it was not a toy.
That's all it took. That lesson stayed with me all these many years (I'm now a Grandma). I have four siblings, three of whom are brothers, and I can only assume my father did a similar process with each of them because none of us ever played with any of his guns.
Gun ownership does require a heavy dose of common sense. If there's a shadow in your home, you don't just fire. Only an idiot would do that. You call out, saying something like, "Who's there?" or, "Stop or I'll shoot." If the shadow is a family member, they'll certainly let you know. The same is true if there's someone on your doorstep. A responsible gun owner doesn't just open fire.
The real problem is too many criminals are on our streets instead of in jail where they belong. Because they're on the street, they can get their hands on weapons and use them against others. If it weren't guns, it would be something else, but let's be honest. If you ban guns from responsible citizens, the bad guys will still get their hands on them. And the rest of us will be unable to defend ourselves, our family, our property, or our nation.
Nancy Foster, Clearwater
Re: Pipe band chief is booted for inappropriate behavior | story, April 25, and April 28 letters to the editor
Behavior not acceptable
It is amazing to me how many people feel Dunedin Pipe Band director Sandy Keith's behavior should be ignored. Don't you think it's time he has been dealt with? Thanks to the city, he has.
People are not sticking to the facts. Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito commented in the Times article that the city thanks Keith for his years of service. If this was about one incident, it surely would have been handled differently. What's wrong with people when they say he "gets out of hand" or maybe "he's a little aggressive"? Can we all believe it's okay to use these comments in the same sentence with children? You know that we are all familiar with organized sports, where sometimes there is bad behavior and coaches run thin on patience, but never in the six years my daughter has competed in many sports has there been a coach being aggressive or using bad language. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not all of us agree with this type of behavior.
Bonnie Rowley, Clearwater
Much owed to Sandy Keith
How could Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito allow two or three people and a teacher who holds a grudge toward piping director Sandy Keith to affect the entire future of the Dunedin Pipe Band that represents our city?
Under Sandy Keith's direction, the city's band has earned the No. 1 spot in the world, with individual members receiving the same. Sandy has made the band world-class contenders.
Who was wrong here? Not only DiSpirito for caving in to the few, but the dancers and teacher for not being professional by being on time. It's up to the teacher to make sure students understand how important it is to understand the schedule of performing, along with their personal appearance.
Is Sandy the most personable person? No, but his credentials and talent far outweigh that. The high school band director has slowly but surely eliminated bagpipes and the Scottish tradition. If anyone has attended the recent football games, they will notice that the pipers are now down to a handful versus the 27 that were there when my son was piping. This is exactly what the high school has waited for — to finally end the tradition.
The tattoo, Highland Games and Celtic festival bring in thousands of dollars to the city. This was started by Sandy Keith. People come from around the world because of his reputation. Just try and replace the Scottish man that has brought so much to the city and schools with his rankings and reputation. Good luck! Maybe it's the city manager and band director that need to go!
Lyndee Dolan, Dunedin
Re: PSTA offers cab ride solution | story, April 26
Care Ride's on time and reliable
This may be the single worst idea in the history of providing transportation for the disabled!
No one who has been a DART client would even consider calling Wheelchair Transport instead of Care Ride! I am at a loss to think of how anyone could consider "choice" as a "wonderful option."
I have been a DART client for over 10 years. During that time, PSTA contracted with Wheelchair Transport for the DART service. I missed appointments because drivers were consistently late. I missed several trips to St. Petersburg that I had to make every three months because additional pickups were scheduled in 30-minute "windows," a period that is added to our pickup time so the driver can actually arrive up to 30 minutes after the designated time but still be considered on time.
The client side of this is that DART is only required to wait 5 minutes for us and can then designate us as a no-show.
Wheelchair Transport was unreliable, inadequately trained, unprofessional and in some cases, dangerous. The turnover rate was extremely high, so new drivers didn't stay long enough to become well trained. I made complaints to the owner of the company, the DART liaison at Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and three county commissioners, two of whom were on the PSTA board. Neither of those two commissioners replied.
Finally, PSTA gave the contract to another company and in October of 2008, Care Ride began its contract with PSTA. I wondered for years how PSTA could continue to use Wheelchair Transport as I had seen their contract with the specs they were required to meet and they were consistently not meeting them.
The service with Care Ride has been outstanding. On time, vans clean, drivers in uniform, pleasant and not stressed as the Wheelchair drivers were. It is everything that Wheelchair Transport was not. I am not stressed out before I go anywhere, wondering if the transportation will be on time, if I will reach my destination on time.
It becomes clearer with every article about this matter that the service for disabled people is not the prime idea, but instead, money is. Hopefully, someone will become aware that this service is vital to us, and that it should be run well and safely.
Bobbye Blackburn, Clearwater