Republican hubris, then as now | Dec. 17, commentary
Don't surrender U.S. sovereignty
David Lee McMullen states that Senate Republicans voted against the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities using the "same argument (used) to block the Treaty of Versailles after World War I … thus keeping the United States out of the League of Nations." Opponents in both cases said ratification would "infringe on American sovereignty, undercutting the nation's freedom and independence." They were correct. Entanglement with the United Nations is usually ill-advised.
For example, this month in Dubai, the International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency, passed a supposedly nonbinding draft treaty that gives governments powers to close off access to the Internet in their countries. The majority included such information-friendly nations as China, Russia, Iran and much of Africa.
The Internet works because it is not operated by governments. Its open architecture makes information difficult to restrict. The ITU should be abolished. Both houses of Congress voted against the treaty. We do not need U.N. interference with our care of persons with disabilities or the Internet.
Jim Blanco, Tampa
A slap on the wrist for a wayward bank Dec. 17, editorial
You quite correctly criticized the slap on the wrist received by HSBC amid allegations of money laundering. You also criticized the "too big to prosecute" concept.
Yet where was your criticism in August when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that there would be no charges brought against Goldman Sachs (which formerly employed Geithner as well as several other high-ranking administration officials)?
Yes, "too big to fail" justified the enormous amounts of our money put into the financial institutions. But "too big to prosecute" did not start with HSBC.
It seems to me that the all-too-cozy relationship between our government and the money manipulators of the world is a subject richly deserving of journalistic investigation.
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill
Teachers should be armed | Dec. 19, letter
Not the answer
If the shootings in Newtown weren't so horrific, I would have to laugh at the letter writer's suggestion that teachers should be armed.
I am a teacher, and I assure you that I would not be comfortable carrying a firearm, nor would my students want to see me packing. Remember the gunman at the Empire State Building? Police fired numerous rounds at him, only to hit a number of bystanders; thankfully, none were seriously wounded.
Does anyone really think teachers would be better shots than trained officers? Will target practice be a part of teacher planning every year? There is no easy solution to the horror we witnessed, but giving guns to teachers is surely not going to solve anything.
Ronald Medvin, Tampa
Life lessons for children
Does the letter writer not realize that teachers, in addition to curriculum, are also responsible for educating children about social dynamics, personal restraint and nonviolent communication?
If I, as a teacher, am remembered for nothing else by my elementary students, I hope they remember the following life lessons I consider most important to their education:
• " Two wrongs don't make a right."
• "Treat others the way you'd like to be treated."
• "It's okay to be angry, but let someone help you work through your anger safely."
If I were to walk into my classroom with a gun, those lessons would be lost forever. I would practically be endorsing the motto, "It's every man for himself."
That is most certainly not the lesson the teachers who lost their lives in the Newtown tragedy will be remembered by. Violence is not a lesson, or an answer.
More guns are not the solution for unbelievable violence with guns.
Kristin Schmitt, Dunedin
Educators: We don't want to be armed Dec. 20
Guns and schools
This headline makes it sound as if you took a scientific poll of thousands of teachers and administrators. You didn't. You took a few comments and extrapolated them to everyone.
Secondly, the phrase "guns in class" is both misleading and inflammatory. What has been discussed is the availability of a firearm on school campus, locked up, but within access of properly trained school personnel.
Think about this: In another section of the paper was a small article entitled "Orange County to post deputies in 60 schools." It discussed how the county was posting armed deputies at 60 elementary schools. What a crazy idea. Guns at an elementary school. To keep kids safe. Apparently, some educators and administrators are okay with the idea, aren't they?
Ron Keller, New Port Richey
Rate of rear-end crashes up 44% | Dec. 20
A question of injuries
Of course there were more rear-end collisions after the cameras were installed. Everyone knew that would happen. The important questions are: how many accidents in the intersection, how many fatalities, and the extent of injuries.
There are more rear-end collisions because it has been a culture in this area to expect the car in front of you to accelerate, not stop, when the light turns yellow. That will eventually change.
Were it up to me, I would install many more cameras at critical intersections and hundreds of fake cameras at the others. The signs would read, "Cameras MAY be in use."
Leonard C. Silva, St. Petersburg
Tradeoff on crashes
If red-light cameras cause a spike in rear-end crashes but reduce T-bone crashes in intersections, and the result is fewer serious injuries, I'd say that's a major benefit.
Thomas Miller, Clearwater
Crist supports gun controls | Dec. 20
It's pretty obvious that your paper wants Charlie Crist back in the governor's office. You seem to find a way to glamorize him every day.
Crist changes his opinion depending on which way the political winds are blowing. As far as I can see, Gov. Rick Scott seems to be doing a decent job.
Howard Dunn, Wesley Chapel