Shot at church, preacher's daughter dies | Feb. 19
Tragic reminder of life's fragility
The tragic events at Grace Connection Church are a reminder to us all of just how fragile this gift of life can be.
If a preacher can lose his daughter to accidental gunfire on a Sunday in his own church, how safe are any of us from the grief caused by a sudden and inexplicable loss of a loved one?
In a world where the coming of tomorrow can be so uncertain, let this be a reminder for us all to be grateful for the loved ones who are still with us today.
Rest in peace, Hannah Kelley. May your family find comfort in knowing that nobody ever truly dies when they live on in the hearts of others.
David Fraser, Clearwater
I am enraged and appalled each time I read that Hannah Kelley's shooting is an accident and that no charges have been filed. Firearms do not spontaneously discharge, and holders of concealed weapons permits are required to demonstrate competency with a firearm, including familiarity with fundamentals of firearm handling.
Two of these fundamentals are that, to be handled, a pistol must have the magazine removed and the slide drawn back, and that a handler's finger must never be placed on the trigger. Guns will not fire when these fundamentals are observed.
Florida statutes provide that it is a crime to exhibit a weapon in the presence of one or more persons in a careless manner. It makes no exception for "accidents." Hannah Kelley's death is the direct result of careless and irresponsible handling of a firearm. There is no basis to regard it as an accident.
I offer my profound sympathy to her family.
G.T. Kaszer, St. Petersburg
Senate plan best bet for fixing PIP Feb. 19, editorial
Massage brings relief
This editorial concludes that many massage therapists are gaming the PIP system because they have been paid more than physicians and emergency rooms and therefore should be eliminated from the insured's covered care.
Evidence has shown one of the most common injuries to accident victims is whiplash, which is the violent hyper- and hypoextension of both muscles and ligaments. Although physicians can prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain medications (short-term aids, not fixes), this does not address the soft tissue damage caused as a result of whiplash. Massage, as defined in the Florida statutes, means the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body.
In full disclosure, I am a massage therapist and a victim of a rear-end collision (I was hit while sitting at a red light at 45-plus mph). I have never been paid by an insurance company to provide massage therapy to an accident victim.
Unfortunately, this editorial is based on saving money, not the well-being of accident victims. It also attacks the reputation of the massage industry.
Darlene Atkinson, Largo
Hopes for Florida 'Dream' Act die | Feb. 20
What a shame that lawmakers cannot find it in their hearts to do the right thing, not only for these young people with great aspirations but also for our country.
To put a major roadblock in the way of progress for these students is un-American and borders on prejudice. Who knows what any one of these students might contribute to America, and maybe the world, given the chance to receive a higher education? Maybe our lawmakers should be reminded that such things as light bulbs, telephones and polio vaccinations, among many others innovations, were brought to America and mankind by the children of immigrants who lived in America.
We all are immigrants, albeit some of us in a distant way. Immigrants are what made America what it is, and to deny immigrants the chance to reach out and try to make the world and their lives better is cold-hearted and not the way we as Americans should be. They may be undocumented, but that was not their choice nor their decision.
Don Mott, Largo
Mack: Divorce was to blame | Feb. 20
Digging into the past
I find your choice of "news" to be suspect. Connie Mack (no relation) is serving in Congress and not getting rich. He is paying his bills with his congressional salary and, like many of us, losing tens of thousands on a home investment gone bad.
So you choose to publish an article about his antics in 1989, and criticize the fact he was late on a couple of payments. Is this what your newspaper truly believes is newsworthy? A fistfight by a 21-year-old in 1989?
Neal Mack, Belleair Beach
A hero's welcome: cheers, tears, hugs Feb. 20
You finally got it right. Your front-page coverage of Cpl. Michael Nicholson was perfect. You finally recognized what is important, instead of dead "celebrities" or sports for the front page.
Well done. Keep it up.
Larry Harrison, USAF (Ret.), St. Petersburg
Religion out of place
Why all this discussion of religion in the electoral process? Under Article VI of our Constitution, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
Furthermore, the word "God" does not appear in our Constitution.
Donna Blazevic, St. Petersburg
Story prompts resident to create clearer path Feb. 15
Kudos to the Times for its article on the absence of a contiguous sidewalk on the west side of Bayshore Boulevard. As a result, the junipers and shrubbery in the public right of way strip that borders a resident's home have been pruned back sufficiently to create a flat, passable path by the property.
Now if you can get the bicycle speedsters off the shoreside walk and get all cyclists on the sidewalk overtaking pedestrians to give proper notice before passing (saying "on your left" or "on your right"), you will have done much to improve the safety of pedestrians walking on the boulevard.
Joseph Valenti, Tampa