Parks of tranquil beauty are no places for guns | Jan. 8, Bill Maxwell column
Fear criminals, not gun owners
Had Bill Maxwell simply opined that parks are not suitable places for criminals, no one would be able to fault him. But logic has been put on hold in favor of the typical visceral response of those who know that logic does not support their emotion-based opinions.
"Granted, no law would have prevented Barnes from bringing guns into Mount Ranier," Maxwell posits in regard to the felon who shot and killed ranger Margaret Anderson. But he fails to follow with the qualifying question: "Exactly what is the purpose of prohibiting firearms for the law-abiding?" There can be only one answer logic will support: to render the law-abiding into prey for criminals. Prohibiting firearms to the law-abiding turns any place into a "criminal empowerment zone." Such policies have never worked out well for any but the thugs.
Perhaps Maxwell is worried that mere possession of a gun turns otherwise peaceful people into homicidal maniacs. Not to fear, Bill. Florida actually keeps track of crimes committed by those who have jumped through all the hoops necessary to get a concealed weapons permit, and guess what? Those people are six times less likely to be arrested for anything as members of the general population. We even return our library books on time.
So, Bill, if you want to worry about somebody carrying a gun in a park, worry about criminals. The rest of us? Not so much.
Frank Clarke, Oldsmar
Don't delay cuts to Social Security | Jan. 7
While Rick Santorum might understand himself to be "courageous and honest," others like myself might view this man of relative means to be both insensitive and naive. Many citizens currently receiving Social Security are also shopping at food banks. Reduction in benefits will lengthen those lines.
I am 74 years old, receive Social Security and work two part-time jobs to supplement our income. My wife receives Social Security and is a part-time college professor. While feeling fortunate, we wonder how others will fare if their Social Security is reduced.
Alexander L. Craig, Madeira Beach
It's inequality, not envy
I recently saw a video clip of Mitt Romney stating that all the talk about income inequality is coming from people who are envious of the rich. Really? Apparently Romney isn't aware that these people are talking about the unfairness of the wide income difference between the rich and the average worker in this country.
The United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality, as measured by the Gini index. Maybe Romney needs to listen to the working people of this country instead of writing off their complaint as simply being "envious."
Karen Miracle, Brandon
Murder falls off deadly ledger | Jan. 12
Support 2nd Amendment
I see that with all the antigun hype your editors continue to spill forth that homicides have fallen below the top 15 causes of death. It is not coincidental that at the same time we have 49 states permitting concealed firearm carry, that as a nation we support the right to bear arms, and we have relaxed our laws to allow a person to stand his ground.
I see all the negative articles your columnists write on either gun ownership, the NRA or hunting. It would be nice to at least hire someone to represent the majority of the American people who support the Second Amendment.
John T. Wilson, Tampa
Confusion soars near airport | Jan. 12
Drivers: Pay attention
The first paragraph of this article solves the problem. "Victor Crist learned the hard way to pay close attention whenever he leaves TIA." Congratulations! That's how you're supposed to drive!
No amount of money spent on more signage will cause people to pay more attention. That's like saying if we put more speed limit signs up people will start going the speed limit. Even the picture with the article shows how clearly marked the exits are; I really don't see the confusion.
Maybe if we put up signs that say "Pay close attention while driving" the roads would be a little safer. Or maybe not.
Randall Glass, St. Pete Beach
Clear up the confusion
This article was right on. My wife and I have mastered leaving the airport, but the signs on Memorial Highway for getting into the airport from the south are very confusing. We always miss the right turn, drive to the next exit, make a U-turn and enter the airport from the north, which is clearly marked. Something should be done to clear up the confusion.
Phil Russell, Ellenton
Senate Bill 98
Don't erode religious liberty
Senate Bill 98 erodes the individual religious liberty of students in Florida schools. Students currently have a right to pray individually or in groups on their own time and have religious clubs on campus. We must guard against the promotion or endorsement of one particular set of religious beliefs.
SB 98 allows school officials to dump the constitutional protections of religious liberty by allowing students to vote on the kind of prayers the school will allow and conduct. It gives schools free rein to make students who are religious minorities or who don't adhere to a specific religious belief feel like outsiders, alienated from their peers, or compelled by peer pressure to engage in religious practices that go against their own beliefs.
As a practicing Christian and Baptist minister, I oppose the entanglement of church and state. Even though the bill permits students to vote for the kinds of prayers they will allow and conduct, one cannot escape the fact that this will be a government-endorsed religious activity. This is an affront to both believers and nonbelievers who wish not to be subjected to the prayers of others who believe differently about religious issues.
Kenny Blankenship, Land O'Lakes
Innocence tarnished for officers left behind Jan. 8, John Romano column
John Romano's Sunday column about our police was compassionate and heartwarming. It was truthful and right to the point. After the very large funerals for the lost officers, the families go home to a house without their loved one.
The column brought this, and the danger our officers face every day, to the public's eye.
Francis Verderber, New Port Richey