A deadly path to Hidden Pond | Sept. 12, story
Don't let the system fail others
Ben Montgomery's story of Leo Boatman's uniquely awful path to murder should serve as a sobering reminder for all of us. We can pay now to help stabilize, direct and support our vulnerable children or pay later for a lifetime of incarceration, like Leo Boatman's.
As more than 2,000 attendees learned at the August 2010 Florida Statewide Dependency Summit in Orlando, "Children represent 25 percent of our population; however they represent 100 percent of our future."
At trial, the mother of murder victim Amber Peck heard that Boatman's upbringing was uniquely awful and that wolves would have been more nurturing. She correctly asked, "Where was the village?"
As villagers, we need not look far to see the problem firsthand. In Hillsborough County, there are approximately 2,700 abused and neglected children in the dependency system. The Guardian ad Litem program provides services for 1,900 children, however 800 children are without a voice in court proceedings that profoundly impact their lives.
Author Kenneth Wooden said, "The system made him, brick by brick, day by day. It starting at conception and ending the day he met those two hikers in the woods." The system clearly failed Leo Boatman.
Volunteer guardians are urgently needed today to provide a "village," a critical safety net of caring individuals and support services to provide a voice and direction for children in the dependency system and to protect their best interests. Data tells us that if we intervene early enough in a child's life, we have a unique opportunity to produce positive outcomes and help prevent similar, preventable tragedies.
Michael W. Doyle, Tampa
A deadly path to Hidden pond | Sept. 12, story
A formula for tragedy
Thank you for this story. My condolences to the families of Amber Peck and John Parker.
If there was ever a classic case of how to grow a killer in six easy lessons this is it.
Lesson 1: Start life with a mentally ill parent who does not have the capabilities to care for a child.
Lesson 2: Sexually abuse said child when he is taken from the care of original parent.
Lesson 3: Bounce said child back to relative who is unable to care for him (possibly due to lack of help).
Lesson 4: Place the child in an abusive foster home.
Lesson 5: Lock the child in jail.
Lesson 6 (the most important one): Release the child into the world without tools to function.
The article does not really speak of any therapy, but if there was some it clearly was not enough.
If you abuse a dog for years, chain it in the yard, beat it, show it no love or compassion, it will eventually break the chain and attack the first random person that passes.
Gloria A. Grover, St. Petersburg
A deadly path to Hidden pond | Sept. 12, story
Undeserving of attention
Your in-depth article on Leo Boatman on the front page of the paper last Sunday was shameful. He committed a horrible crime and is being punished. To once again give him the prominence of front-page coverage is unnecessary. He is undeserving of our attention or interest.
We have so many important issues and worthy people who should be written about in the paper. Get to work on those.
Ann Leavine, Temple Terrace
Numbers say Rays invested | Sept. 12, story
Pretty good money
As reported in this story, the Tampa Bay Rays realized a profit of $14 million on top of the mega salaries that the front office and ball players make. Their total revenue was pretty grand, to say the least, and this was achieved with substandard attendance, according to them.
The Times also reported, earlier, that the Rays underestimated the television audience numbers and probably did not maximize the rights that were paid to get them on TV. Even with this revenue loss, they still realized a profit.
Now we are being led to believe that they need public tax assistance to build a new stadium or they will take their toys and leave town. I wonder what attendance projections are for major league teams in general. The economy is a major factor in decreased attendance — just ask the Bucs. I bet that most baseball markets are anticipating decreased attendance.
Tell me, even with tax assistance for a new stadium, the Rays will lower their prices. As they say on Saturday Night Live … Really?
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Sink right about Fla.'s low rank | Sept. 16, PolitiFact
Smaller is better
I object to the tone of this PolitiFact concerning Alex's Sink's comment on the size of Florida's government.
The cost of government is a drag on the economic welfare of the citizens. Small government is a good thing. Florida having the smallest per capita number of state employees is a good thing, not a bad thing as implied in the article. Thus, Florida should be rated as first in that statistic, not last.
Larry Alter, Seminole
Support Global Fund
Scientists recently announced a new test that diagnoses tuberculosis more quickly and accurately than ever before. This test could transform TB treatment. With one-third of the world's population carrying the TB virus, including cases right here in Tampa Bay, this test is welcome indeed.
TB is the leading cause of death among those with HIV AIDS, and our interconnected world brings the danger of TB to our doorstep. Yet TB is curable with the proper regime and at some point in the future may even be eliminated.
The spectacularly successful Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria urgently needs the world's countries to step up and pledge their fair shares this fall. The United States has always been a leader in the Global Fund; every dollar we invest is matched by $2 from other countries. Congress has already authorized enough money for the United States to continue its leadership. President Barack Obama should come forward with a $2 billion pledge each year from 2012-2014, and this will continue the life-saving work of the Global Fund.
Joy Tapper, Tampa
The language of the future | Sept. 12, Robyn Blumner column
Robyn Blumner wrote a fine column making a case for the teaching of foreign languages to children at an early age. I feel compelled to let her know that all Waldorf schools offer two foreign languages starting in first grade and continuing all the way through high school for all students.
At Suncoast Waldorf School in Palm Harbor, Spanish and German are taught by native speakers. Most people in the Tampa Bay area do not know that a Waldorf school exists in the area and few understand what a gift it is to have a Waldorf school here.
Barbara Bedingfield, Largo