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Letters to the Editor

Report on all kinds of terrorism, domestic and foreign

The crusaders | Aug. 2, Floridian story

Keep focus on all kinds of terrorism

I want to thank you for publishing this story. It focused on the relationship between Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion doctor who was murdered in May, and the antiabortion movement, of which his killer was a member.

I began to wonder why more stories have not been written about "domestic terrorism" of which this incident, as well as the murder last year of two members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, are horrific examples. If we are led to believe that the media are owned and operated by liberal, elitist thinkers, why haven't any of these news outlets jumped on this "domestic terrorism" story and run with it?

Where would we be today if the Rush Limbaughs and Bill O'Reillys of the "radical right" media had stopped talking about "terrorism, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban" after 9/11? Perhaps not in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I believe that bad people took down the World Trade Center towers and bad people murdered Dr. Tiller and the members of the UU church in Knoxville. And I also believe that it is the responsibility of the media to report all types of terrorism fairly, vigorously and with balance.

Veronica Kirchheimer, Tampa

A culture of death

How many people read in this story the Rev. Lowell Michelson's comment on the George Tiller killing? The Rev. Michelson said that Tiller gave women options.

He is therefore condoning the fact that killing a baby is discretionary. Rape, incest, natural sex, defects, etc., now have a determination on whether the baby lives or dies.

Not so. We are not the author of life and are not given any right of termination of life. I am sure many have read the Rev. Michelson's opinion and agree, therefore expanding the spread of the "culture of death" already so prevalent in our society of today. This is sad news.

Tim Kitzmiller, Gulfport

Political reality doesn't match public ideal

We live with government in two different dimensions. One is the reality of practical politics, and the other is the fiction/fantasy of idealized history. This is what makes it possible for an attorney to claim that it would place "unmanageable expectations" on our state legislators if we expected them to be true to the concept that they represent we the people.

The members live in the world of political reality where wheeling and dealing, responsiveness to lobbyists, harking to party leaders, getting money for their supporters, etc., are to the fore. The world of fiction and fantasy holds that they are sent to the Legislature by, and are responsive to, the voters.

Any observer watching the legislators at work sees and reports the reality of everyday activities. We hardly ever pay attention to the hypocrisy. The current system cannot manage its affairs as it does now, if it were obliged to adhere to the ideals we all hold as patriotic Americans.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz

So what do you see in the blots? | Aug. 2, Perspective story

A pointless fuss

As a psychologist who has given the Rorschach test many times, I think the controversy about posting popular test responses on Wikipedia is overblown. The test doesn't work by finding out what people are thinking when they look at the inkblots. It works by finding out what they are willing to say about what they are thinking. We know that it works this way because when research subjects are asked to give as many responses they can, as fast as they can, they give many more than they produce when we do the test the usual way.

People taking the test are capable of coming up with the popular responses. They are the safest and most obvious responses. That's why they are the popular ones. If someone goes through the test just giving all of those, they won't look like they are just fine to anyone who knows anything about the rest. They will look like someone who either adheres rigidly to the conventional or someone who isn't willing to reveal very much about his or her thought processes.

Because using the test properly requires consideration of other information available about the person's behavior, history, etc., it is quite possible to determine which of these interpretations is the best one. In the case of someone getting the "answers" from Wikipedia, the likely conclusion would be that he wasn't willing to reveal much about himself.

In those circumstances, this conclusion would be an accurate one. So when all the controversy is over, the effect of having the "answers" on Wikipedia is likely to be minimal.

Charles Wheaton, Clearwater

So what do you see in the blots? | Aug. 2, Perspective story

Was this useful?

The Rorschach plates you published are tools used to help evaluate someone's thought process. What was your thought process when you published them? Was there an editorial board discussion: "Yes we can publish them, but should we?"

If there was, that would have made a good sidebar. Perhaps little actual harm will result since psychometric evaluations are performed with banks of tests and interviews, each contributing to any evaluation.

But by making even one of those tools potentially less sharp makes the clinical psychologist's job incrementally more difficult and the proper treatment of mental illness just that more problematic.

Fred Jacobsen, former psychiatric clinic specialist, USAF, Apollo Beach

Anger over flags overdone | Aug. 6, editorial

False fervor

Eric Deggans had a column on pseudo-patriotism some time after 9/11 which pointed out the excessive show of patriotic symbolism, with "support the troops" bumper stickers, etc. I commented at that time fully in agreement with him and pointed out that the epitome had been reached with the local post office selling flags.

We saw further excesses of this false fervor during the last presidential campaign when Barack Obama was severely criticized for not wearing a flag lapel pin.

I have never worn any patriotic adornments as I have proven my patriotism by serving in World War II and Korea. We can really "support our troops" by discouraging our leaders from invading other countries on false pretenses.

John F. Deegan, Clearwater

Excessive expectations

Home sales increasing; automobile industry improving; financial markets heading up — all within just six months of President Barack Obama's taking office. With this track record, I wouldn't bet against the success of his ideas for a health care plan.

It's hard to understand why his poll numbers are slipping. What do people expect? Miracles?

Phyllis Schuster, St. Petersburg

Report on all kinds of terrorism, domestic and foreign 08/09/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 10, 2009 6:15pm]

    

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