Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: A child's mental illness brings parents turmoil

I spent more than 13 difficult years of emotional turmoil struggling to get professional help for my bipolar stepson. Parents who try on their own to solve the strange behavior of a loved one suffering from schizophrenia are more than likely going to fail.

At first a parent is reluctant to admit that their son or daughter has mental illness. Sometimes the symptoms come on very slowly. In my case, we knew my stepson had a problem at a very young age. Fortunately his biological father had insurance that covered mental illness and my wife and I were able to get three years of professional help at a private mental hospital in Miami.

When the insurance was exhausted, we relied on the state mental hospitals, and that was a disaster. Many of the state mental health facilities were poorly run, overcrowded, with untrained help and archaic methods of treatment.

I think to prevent a massacre like the one in Connecticut we must question the actions of the parent, not jump on more gun control. I don't know all the facts in the Adam Lanza case, but if his mother allowed him to fire weapons at a gun range that seems to me to be unthinkable and bizarre. I think children or adults suffering from any of the mental diseases should be registered on a national "risk list" that would not allow them to obtain or have use of weapons, explosives or other dangerous items.

Don Henecke, Zephyrhills

Connecticut school killings

Violent entertainment's toll

As seen by a 70-year-old grandmother, the problem is all the shooting in video games. Just count how many computer games are comprised of shooting as many people as possible. These games involve machine guns, and the more you kill the more your self-esteem goes up and the more your friends give you high-fives.

Then look at movies and music involving violence. The list goes on, but know this: These experiences can enter a child's dreams and subconscious and, when suppressed, can lead to rage.

The solution is to pledge to not buy, sell, play or make violent games, movies, songs, etc., for just one year as a national experiment. Instead offer and support games filled with integrity, morals, scruples, kindness and hope.

Georgia Payne, Tampa

The first of many | Dec. 18

Think of the children

I never met Noah Pozner, the youngest child murdered at Sandy Hook, and I never will. It would be useful if each person considering the necessary breadth of gun rights would look at Noah's picture and consider the rights of children like him. Any reasonable person giving such consideration should be willing to reasonably limit his or her gun rights if that limit might prevent the murder of another Noah.

Ed Bradley, Valrico

Gunman packed arsenal | Dec. 17

Terrorists among us

This headline, "Gunman packed arsenal," should have been, "Domestic terrorist attacks elementary school." The media must start labeling acts of terrorism for what they are.

"Gunman packed arsenal" could be a statement within the article, but as the headline it diminishes understanding of what took place: an act of domestic terrorism.

I am concerned that we will focus on guns, not the real issue: Who are the terrorists among us?

James Stone, Ruskin

In states, leaders propose controls | Dec. 19

Right to life trumps guns

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a more fundamental human right than the right to bear arms. The Founding Fathers used single-shot muskets and never envisioned the types of automatic weapons that proliferate today.

The civil liberties of those who don't own weapons can no longer be held subservient to the demands of gun owners. Assault rifles have no place outside of the military and police forces.

Gun owners should be required to maintain insurance analogous to automobile insurance. People who do not drive are not required to carry car insurance. People who drive agree to compulsory insurance, covering areas such as collision, liability, uninsured drivers, etc.

Having to pay compulsory insurance (the more guns and ammo, and the more dangerous the guns, the higher the premiums), which allows the victim and/or their relatives to sue the trigger person's firearm liability insurer, will hopefully reduce gun violence by making it costly to threaten or take the lives of others.

People may not make changes based on morality, but will make changes when it costs them personally.

John Thomas, Largo

Gun-toting teachers?

State Rep. Dennis Baxley suggests that the best way to protect our children in school is to arm their teachers. If Baxley were a gun enthusiast (his information on the Florida Legislature's website lists only that he enjoys fishing, listening to gospel music, and reading), he'd know how difficult it is to fire a weapon accurately at any distance. Imagine a frightened schoolteacher, hands trembling while shielding her class, trying to bring down a well-armed assailant who very likely is wearing body armor.

Of course, such a scenario is ridiculous on its face, as is the very notion that what our schools need is gun-toting teachers. What kind of mind even conceives of such a thing?

If Baxley wants to pass meaningful gun legislation, he ought to introduce a bill to rescind 2011's HB 45, which makes it illegal for city and county governments to restrict guns in our parks, community centers — practically anywhere. It enacts severe penalties for those local officials — people we elected to protect us — who would be so bold as to try to keep guns out of our parks and public buildings.

Eric S. Gerard, Largo

Sign a new pledge

If Grover Norquist can get all those members of Congress to sign his antitax pledge, how about a anti-NRA pledge? Let's get lawmakers to pledge not to accept any money from the NRA and to return all funds recently accepted. Perhaps we can get sensible gun control if members of Congress have not been bought and paid for by the NRA.

Lewis Lederer, Clearwater

A birthday like few reach and Never let go

Parallels and differences

I recently read in amazement two very similar stories chronicling the fight of two tiny babies who had little to no chance of surviving, let alone thriving. While their stories had amazing parallels, troubling inconsistencies emerged when I read the ensuing reader comments after each story.

The Juniper French story was met with a majority of comments about miracles, inspiration and gratitude for simply sharing the story of her unthinkable journey. The comments directed at Riley Allen's story, on the other hand, bordered on harassment of her young parents about their lifestyle choices and even criticized their decision to bring her into the world.

Both sets of parents were met with the most difficult of choices and both did what they felt was best for their child. I cannot wrap my head around why so many would feel (and express on a public forum) that one life and all of the efforts necessary to save it would be more worthy than the other.

I have to ignore the negativity because I refuse to believe that our community feels that a child born to married vs. unmarried, employed vs. jobless, older vs. younger, or insured vs. uninsured parents is more deserving of life.

Mandi Walker, Riverview

Senator joins the line of presidential succession | Dec. 19

In poor taste

Considering that Sen. Patrick Leahy's accession to No. 3 in presidential succession was made possible by the death only two days earlier of Sen. Daniel Inouye, a true American war hero who lost his right arm and won the Medal of Honor in a real and necessary war, I consider the exuberance exhibited in the photo accompanying the story, particularly by Leahy and his wife, to have been in very poor taste.

R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg

CEOs: Be flexible on taxes | Dec. 13

Be flexible on salaries

If America's corporate executives would be satisfied with compensation of a quarter-million dollars, they wouldn't suffer under President Barack Obama's plan to tax higher incomes more. And there would be a bundle of cash to distribute to the workers in the businesses to perk up the nation's economy (and their higher incomes would be taxed as well). Winners all around.

Then the deadlocked national legislators might turn to real spending cuts to begin to reduce the U.S. debt — like cuts to the bloated military.

Donald Rosselet, Dunnellon


Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Tuesday’s letters: Fewer guns would reduce suicides

U.S. under suicide watch | June 8Fewer guns mean fewer suicidesIt is a fact that deserves more attention, but got only one sentence in the article about the U.S. "suicide watch:" "The most common method used across all groups was firearms." I spe...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for June 15

New group to address real women’s issuesLast Saturday our Congressman Gus Bilirakis sponsored a "Woman’s Summit" at East Lake High School that was supposed to deal with women’s issues. Some topics covered were gardening, weight loss and quilting.Mayb...
Published: 06/11/18

Monday’s letters: Bring back the ferry, kick-start transit

Cross bay, but who’ll pay? | June 8Ferry could be a gateway to transitIt’s great news that St. Petersburg is committed to bringing back the world class cross bay ferry service. What a common-sense and practical thing to do in order to ease us int...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18