Boorish behavior abounds | April 6, Bill Maxwell column
Don't allow bad behavior to slide
Regardless of race, ethnicity or age there are those who persist with boorish behavior either knowingly, in order to garner attention, or to otherwise sustain a personal need. To eliminate the threatening public persona of such individuals and the frequency of such incidents, they must be confronted (even in gun-happy Florida) — politely, of course, even when a rude retort may be expected. Following any response one can then take steps to "be as far away as possible" if necessary.
But you could be surprised. Once as my wife commuted to her office in downtown Manhattan, several African-American youths boarded the subway with loud conversation peppered with obscenities. After a couple of minutes, an impeccably dressed African-American woman sitting next to her rose and walked over to the boys and began to speak in a hushed voice. She then returned to her seat and silence fell over the youths until they got off the train. What she said or how she said it, one will never know. That she did this is always worthwhile. So we are not "helpless" in such situations unless we let ourselves be so.
Wayne Logsdon, Hernando
Boorish behavior abounds April 6, Bill Maxwell column
A matter of rage, not race
"Why?" That is what Bill Maxwell kept asking about the guy blasting loud music and acting boorishly. It says so much about Maxwell's fortunate upbringing that he can't understand this archetype.
The issue here is rage, not race. That could have been a spike-haired punk blasting death metal, but the motivation would have been the same. Rage is brought about by many years of real and perceived injustices, cruel and neglectful families, and a society that says some are less than others. This anger accumulates over time, never dissipating. That guy set out to provoke because he is angry and he wants to hurt others like he's been hurt.
The solution is not an easy one because the problem is not isolated to the poor or disadvantaged. Poor parenting crosses all socioeconomic classes, and we need to do a better job of training parents. Next, add a school period dedicated to teaching all students social skills, empathy, problem-solving and conflict resolution techniques. Yes, it will cost money: money for social workers, money for psychologists, money for extending the school day. But I'd be willing to pay extra to provide children with the skills to succeed. Blaring music and an ugly attitude is the least of our problems if we don't.
Lauren Shiner, Tampa
Helping Rwandan women learn, then earn April 6, Perspective
Quality education for all
Thank you for your article regarding the Akilah Institute for women in Rwanda. I am always inspired by individuals like Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes who, when faced with inhumanity, can visualize and implement constructive solutions. A significant way to ensure a country's future is through the education of its children.
All of us can help ensure that the poorest and hardest-to-reach children worldwide can attend school and learn. This spring we have such an opportunity as donors come together to pledge support for the Global Partnership for Education, the only international organization dedicated to quality education for all. Since its inception, GPE has helped support quality education for 22 million children in many of the world's poorest countries. This spring, GPE aims to raise $3.5 billion to support education for 29 million more of the poorest and most vulnerable children worldwide. If GPE raises $3.5 billion from donors, it would leverage an additional $16 billion from developing country governments.
We need to encourage our federal legislators and President Barack Obama to invest $250 million over the next two years in GPE. It is really a question of asking ourselves what kind of world we want and acting in our small way through voicing our concerns. People like Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes are our inspiration.
Barbara Drake, Tampa
Motorcyclists: 25% of fatalities April 6, Perspective
Talk to any motorcyclist and he or she will repeat the same fallacies: Loud pipes make you safer because people can hear you coming, and helmets are dangerous because they restrict your vision and hearing. And yet, every day I see signs and bumper stickers urging the rest of us to watch out for motorcycles. How about taking responsibility for your own safety and wearing a helmet? (And get a muffler, so the rest of us can have some peace and quiet.)
Douglas Hall, Clearwater
So, this is what I would have said April 6, Perspective
In Diane Roberts' article about the trashing, sliming and poisoning of Florida's previously drinkable waters, one omission leaped out at me. For about 30 years, municipal and other wastewater-generating entities have been unabashedly availing themselves, and the cheapskate developers they serve, of the fiction of what is known as UIC, or underground injection control. This is the program that legally allows those entities to inject, at considerable pressure and volume, millions of gallons per day of inadequately "treated" wastewater (sewage) into underground formations hydraulically connected to underground sources of drinking water.
So, even if measures are ever taken to clean up all surface waters, hundreds of millions of gallons of inadequately treated sewage will be getting mainlined into pathways leading to inshore and coastal waters.
John S. Glenn, Fernandina Beach
Putin turns up heat on Ukraine | April 10
On the road to war
If Russia decides to invade and annex Ukraine and NATO does nothing but implement sanctions, the entire balance of power in Europe will be changed. Russia is no longer a communist superpower, but it is an expansionistic power that wants to be a superpower. NATO or the United States by itself must show military resolve to discourage Russia from invading Ukraine or the table will be set for another war in Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking the same steps that Hitler took before Germany invaded Poland and set off World War II. NATO has a chance to stop World War III before Putin becomes so emboldened he pushes the alliance into a corner where war or surrender is the only answer.
John King, Tampa