Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Responsible gun options on both sides

Porochista Khakpour's article chronicles the story of a woman who was victimized as a youth, came into contact with guns, became proficient at the range, and then realized that she was interested in guns for all the wrong reasons — power, attention, sex appeal. This epiphany led her to give up guns. I applaud and fully support Khakpour's rational and logical decision not to keep and bear arms. Owning and carrying firearms is a grave responsibility, one for which many people are not prepared.

On the other hand, Khakpour makes a major mistake in the remainder of the article, extrapolating her own experience and motivation to the rest of the world. She assumes that, because her motives for owning and shooting guns were suspect, that others own guns and shoot for equally bad reasons. She laments that 43 percent of women report home gun ownership and that more women are going to the shooting range. She seems ashamed of her original choice to shoot guns. She calls it "a passion for destruction veiled as protection." With that analysis clearly explaining her own motives, I am again glad that she realizes that guns are not for her.

Women own and shoot guns for many good and valid reasons. Some women hunt, shoot in competitions, or simply shoot for recreation. A great example is Kim Rhode of the U.S. Shooting Team. In London in 2012, she became the first American athlete to win five medals in an individual event in five consecutive Olympics. Some women want to exercise a fundamental right of free citizens.

Probably the main reason is self-defense. Guns are great equalizers against an attacker who is most likely larger and stronger than the woman. Many women take on the responsibility of self-defense and the defense of children instead of relying totally on a husband or other man, or the police. A mother in Georgia recently used a handgun to shoot a home invader to protect her young twin children. Her husband or the police could do nothing to save her or the children. Protecting your children seems like as appropriate and valid a motive as possible, especially in light of the Connecticut elementary school shooting.

Khakpour tells us that it is time for us to "woman up and disarm." Better advice for women and men alike is to become familiar with the right of gun ownership and find out if owning and shooting a gun are right for you. If so, get professional training and plenty of practice at the range. If you make the decision to carry concealed, get proper training and a permit, and then carry your firearm responsibly. There's no reason to be ashamed of your decision either way.

Susan Hill, Apollo Beach

Where austerity went, failure soon followed Jan. 8, commentary

Crippling subsidies

Paul Krugman's column takes instant gratification to a new high. The reforms in the EU nations have not yet worked themselves out, a process that takes several years or more. The delay is caused by opposition from people and enterprises dependent on large and growing government subsidies.

An economy is like a household. A family is on the road to ruin if it spends too much, runs up its debt, has a poor return on that spending, and takes jobs that cost more than they net. A nation is on the road to a fiscal disaster if it runs up its debt from wasteful and unproductive political projects, unwise green energy and other pork without a reasonable chance of a profitable return.

The financial system was fixed with TARP. After that we had President Barack Obama's regulation, the Fed's devastation of the saving and investing end of the financial system with free money for the big guys and tight credit for the little guys, higher taxes, the coming cost of Obamacare, and general government growth. That is what crippled the recovery, not some European-type austerity.

James Klapper, Oldsmar

Rein in spending

Paul Krugman is way off on whether austerity measures work. Of course they do. One only needs to look to the vast amount of unnecessary expenditures by government entities to know that a simple change in policies can eliminate overpayments and help get out of the "spend it or lose it" mentality.

I sent a city an invoice for $5,400 instead of the $6,000 the purchase order was for, since a job didn't take me as long as I thought it might. I thought I was saving them money, but they didn't know how to pay the lesser amount and insisted they had to pay the $6,000.

Krugman's belief — that to get out of debt you borrow and spend more — doesn't work in government nor personal life.

Scott Burton, St. Petersburg

Protect spousal support | Jan. 8, letter

Alimony law not working

Contrary to this letter, the alimony system is not working. There are many Floridians struggling under a permanent alimony judgment while making far less than the "ex" they are supporting.

As for a wife and mother re-entering the workplace: The skills I learned in both of those roles served me well. Yes, I had to start at the bottom, but I rose quickly because I was organized, could multitask brilliantly and worked well when sick or tired — all hallmarks of any mother anywhere.

Florida needs to catch up with most of the other states in the land and outlaw permanent alimony, which is a travesty.

Eileen Flaxman, Wimauma

Much work still to do reforming tax code Jan. 8, editorial

Keep it simple

This is a relevant and timely editorial. That the tax code has once again become impenetrably complex and riddled with loopholes is an understatement. Many average individuals today cannot file their taxes on their own. An entire industry of tax preparation services and software programs has grown and prospered because of this fact.

Our congressional leadership should apply the KISS principle to reforming the tax code: Keep it simple, stupid.

John Robbins, Tampa

In gun control debate, calls to act, pleas to wait | Jan. 7

No time to wait

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said gun control legislation would have to wait until the debt ceiling problem is solved. Why? Can't Congress consider more than one issue at a time?

Salty language is bleeped out on TV shows, yet we don't complain of censorship. But assault weapons can continue to be sold to the public. Which is more dangerous? Don't delay. Get to work.

Lois Hawkins, Dunedin

Let robots work and let us dream Jan. 5, Reading files

Necessities first

Even dreamers have to wake up and eat. Our capitalistic system is all about profit, and we are paid based on how much money we make for our employers.

Robots will be used because there are no salaries and few paid technicians are needed. And the displaced workers will scrabble for money for food and other necessities. Hard to dream when you are hungry.

Sheila Kenny, Riverview

Benefits should be shared

The item about robots doing the work and humans doing the thinking is a good start to the topic. Robots and computers have already taken over many tasks. ATMs and direct deposit have replaced many bank tellers. Cars are built by robots, and the number of autoworkers has been greatly reduced. Where it once took many farmers to feed a city, now small numbers of workers on giant factory farms can feed large populations.

With increased productivity and efficiency, how can the benefits be spread over the entire population and not given to just the few who own the methods of production? It is only when everyone does better that it is better for everyone. Otherwise civil strife is a real risk for our society.

Bill Armstrong, Largo

A hunt in hog haven | Jan. 10

Images of carnage

What will we do when we run out of animals to target and annihilate? This week alone, the paper profiled countless sharks who have their fins sliced off and are dumped back in the ocean to die, pythons who are about to have their heads cut off, and hogs who are surrounded by dogs and men who charge in to stab them to death with knives or shoot them with guns.

Through no fault of their own, these animals are not where they are "supposed" to be. They are simply trying to survive. We try to make the slaughters palatable with lots of excuses, but our blood lust is thinly disguised in "hunts" like this, particularly when they are called "contests."

Keep printing appalling pictures of killed animals. We don't deserve to close our eyes to the carnage.

Suzanne Carlson, Largo

Plan for schools: armed guards | Jan. 10

Excessive response

Public safety is a serious issue that must be addressed with a finite amount of resources. That is why we cannot afford to throw away millions of taxpayer dollars to put armed guards in schools just so parents feel better.

While the loss of 20 children in Newtown is tragic, there is no evidence to suggest putting armed guards in schools will prevent something like this from happening again.

Meanwhile, in 2010 there were 311 pedestrian and bicycle fatalities involving kids age 14 and under, and 23,000 injuries. We cannot afford to sacrifice actual public safety for the illusion of public safety.

Gabriel Hulett, Clearwater

Traffic signals

Make timing standard

When approaching an intersection, I love the countdown lights on pedestrian signals, however there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the timing. Some lights turn yellow at zero, while others have a delay.

I am a defensive driver and am concerned with the countdown system. Make the timing standard.

Bill Crumley, Clearwater


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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 ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

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