For outpouring of help, thanks
In the early-morning hours of June 29, 2010, as most were safely sleeping, our community's sense of decency was assaulted. We all felt the pain when Officer David Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab were viciously gunned down. As is often said, police officers make up the thin line that separates good from evil — civility from violence. When that line is breached, the entire community suffers.
Police officers work each day to keep our community safe without expectation of recognition or appreciation. So to see the outpouring of support and assistance in the wake of this tragedy was a truly humbling experience. To those who supplied food, offered equipment, or just provided a kind word and handshake, we could never thank you enough. This overwhelming level of support goes to show that it is the caring citizens who call Tampa home who make this such a great city.
Law enforcement is defined by service and attracts those who truly believe they can make a positive difference in their community. The inherent danger and unpredictability of the job are understood. To stave off the threat, every precaution is taken. And this is one of the reasons that the deaths of Officer Curtis and Officer Kocab are so difficult to understand. They did everything by the book. There is really no acceptable explanation for why they died, none that will ever provide us any comfort or ease our collective pain. Since reason and logic can provide no answers, we will have to accept that two fine men have been taken from our midst. What we can do is promise to forever honor their memory and the sacrifice they made while serving our community.
As we struggle to regain our balance and move toward a sense of normalcy, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who valiantly tried to save the lives of Officer Curtis and Officer Kocab, those who played a part in capturing the suspect, and those who ultimately provided the honorable burial the officers deserved.
To Tampa Fire Rescue and the exceptional team of medical experts at Tampa General Hospital, we know you did everything in your power to save Dave and Jeff. Working against hope and reality, while an army of officers pleaded for you to accomplish the impossible, you did all that was humanly possible. As has always been the case, the staff at Tampa General Hospital opened their arms and took in our grieving family, attending to our every need in the hours following this tragedy.
Minutes after this horrible incident, law enforcement officers from throughout Tampa Bay converged on 50th Street and East 23rd Avenue and began one of the most intense manhunts this community has ever witnessed. Every citizen in this area should rest easy knowing the level of selflessness, professionalism, teamwork and coordination that went into the suspect's capture. To our brothers and sisters in law enforcement, we can only offer a humble thank you and the promise that we will be by your side should the need ever arise. We feel a personal debt of gratitude to Sheriff David Gee and the men and women of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who worked as one with our agency.
The manhunt was extensive and our police officers did all they could to track down every lead. Their job was to capture this individual, who was a threat to our entire community. Our sincere appreciation goes to those who stepped forward to assist in his capture. We are very proud of our police department and of all in law enforcement who assisted in the suspect's capture. Despite our endless grief, seeing the community come together and stand strong during some of our darkest hours is an experience that we will carry throughout our lives. A simple thank you could never sufficiently express our gratitude; however it is all we have to give — thank you.
Pam Iorio, mayor, and Jane Castor, police chief, Tampa
Scott's cynical bid to drown out speech July 9, editorial
Propaganda parades as poll
Last week I received a telephone call originating in Ogden, Utah. The caller claimed to be from a media survey firm and said she wanted to ask a few questions about the Florida election campaign.
After a few perfunctory questions about other races, she concentrated on the Bill McCollum vs. Rick Scott primary election for the Republican nomination for governor. All the questions, and they all were repeated several times with minor variations, were on Scott campaign talking points, such as "outsider," "stand up to special interests in Tallahassee," "not a career politician," "successful business leader," "prolife" and so on.
Of course there wasn't a word about Scott's questionable business practices, or about his complete lack of a public record on any of the issues he suddenly decided to support when he began running for governor.
It became obvious that this was a push poll, in my opinion the slimiest, most abusive and misleading form of negative campaigning. A push poll is an attempt to influence a voter by pretending to conduct a poll. There is little or no effort to collect response data, and in this case the "poller" seemed to be ignoring my answers, taking little time on them compared to other polls in which I've participated. The "questions" were nothing but Scott campaign propaganda masquerading as a poll.
James J. Klapper, Oldsmar
'Acting white' and integration | July 11, Perspective
End the numbers game
Richard Thompson Ford does an excellent job of explaining why the time and energy spent by civil rights organizations to close majority-black schools was a social and cultural disaster. While it was necessary to eliminate the dual systems created by legal segregation, many lawyers and federal judges never learned the difference between integration and desegregation. Black schools that had educated generations of students were sacrificed because of some social engineers' utopian vision of "racial balance."
The good news, as Ford points out, is that legal efforts to desegregate schools are practically dead. Maybe now the groups that fought so hard to put black and white students in the same classrooms can focus on changing the self-destructive culture he chronicled instead of a racial numbers game.
Joseph H. Brown, Tampa
75 cents an hour | June 27, Perspective
Loyalty to workers missing
If you've had responses to this Sunday story, I missed them. The tea partiers ask: Where are all the jobs? When our corporations return to some moral responsibility and loyalty to America instead of obscene bonuses and golden parachutes for CEOs and concern for shareholders only, folks might find a job again.
But why should they, when they can hire a Chinese person for 75 cents an hour to work 12 hours a day? Disgusting.
Elinor Wencka, Tampa