Common sense is no match for gun lobby | April 15, Sue Carlton column
Bill protects responsible firearm owners
Sue Carlton and I usually see eye to eye on issues. However, I must differ with her on legislation to allow open carry of firearms in Florida.
As one who has carried a concealed weapon for over 30 years, I am in favor of this bill. I do not carry a gun on a whim; I carry because I cannot always have a police officer handy.
In order to carry legally, I applied for a permit, was fingerprinted, underwent a federal background check and attended a firearms training course. The FBI and the state of Florida have verified that I am a responsible individual and not a danger to the public. I practice regularly and am a devout follower of the five rules of firearm safety.
Unfortunately, even given all of the above, should I inadvertently allow someone to see my holstered weapon, I risk a confrontation with the police, arrest, fines, possible confiscation of my weapon and loss of my permit to carry.
Senate Bill 234 allows me to avoid the "inadvertent exposure" problems and even carry openly should I choose to. I probably will not, as I don't necessarily want to broadcast the fact I am carrying a firearm. But the bill does ensure that anyone legally carrying will no longer risk being penalized should someone see and take exception to his or her having a firearm on their person.
Let me remind you of a quote by Robert A. Heinlein from his novel Beyond This Horizon: "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."
Brian Pumphrey, St. Petersburg
Parents say bullying led to fight | April 15
Help available on bullying
The father in this article states that he and his family were aware of his son's bullying for six months but claims it would have been fruitless to contact school officials or police because they would have done nothing about it. So, in essence, he found it in his son's best interest to have him involve himself in physical violence.
Parents have a duty to protect their children, undoubtedly, but they also have a responsibility to react rationally and take the necessary steps; violence is not one of them.
A law enacted in 2008 by Florida lawmakers, called the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, is named after a Cape Coral teenager who was bullied for two years without reprieve and committed suicide in 2005. The act "prohibits bullying and harassment of any student or employees of a K-12 public educational institution." The act mandates that school districts implement policies addressing bullying prevention and reporting of bullying acts. It calls for investigation, counseling, notification of parents/family members, resolution and other policies.
The family in this article, instead of reacting violently, should have used those six months to talk with school officials, contact police, or even reach out to advocacy groups for help and advice.
Robin Allweiss, Tampa
Obama moves to shape fiscal future | April 14
President Barack Obama's budget speech wasn't really a budget speech at all — it was a campaign speech against the Republicans and an appeal to his liberal base. All he did was insult Rep. Paul Ryan and his budget while Ryan sat in the front row after Obama invited him. What a classy guy our president is.
All Obama and the Democrats want is class warfare and to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" — you know, those hard-working small business owners who make more than $200,000 a year.
We have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem. Let's cut our spending first and see where it goes from there.
Bill Gerretz, St. Petersburg
House okays GOP spending plan | April 16
Young votes against seniors
Take note, seniors: Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., just voted for the repeal of Medicare while extending trillions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires. The bill forces seniors to purchase private insurance using a voucher that does not increase with the increase in medical costs.
I thought the Republicans were against government intrusion. Common sense says that when you add an extra layer, the costs should increase.
Young has been a congressman from one of the most senior districts of the country for more than 40 years. It is time for his constituents to finally see him for what he is: the true champion of the insurance companies, defense contractors and lobbyists.
Steve Shrago, St. Petersburg
School results in: Add fundamentals April 11, editorial
Don't forget magnet schools
There is no denying the appeal of fundamental schools for many parents. However, applications to many magnet programs are at an all-time high as well.
I am a teacher at Jamerson Elementary School in St. Petersburg, as well as a proud Jamerson parent, and I can tell you that attendance at our open houses, as well as the number of applications we received, far surpassed our expectations. Parents want more fundamental and magnet schools.
The article states that "fundamentals are really just schools with a seriousness of purpose and without discipline problems." I believe the same could be said for many magnet programs. Jamerson most definitely has a seriousness of purpose. In addition, the magnet compact that every Jamerson student and parent has to sign ensures that discipline problems are dealt with swiftly, fairly and are taken seriously.
Elizabeth Singh, St. Petersburg
Calls for help
Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States commits suicide. Last year, 155 people in Hillsborough County and 191 in Pinellas County died at their own hands. To those suffering from depression, the world becomes a nightmare from which the only escape is death.
At the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, we have received over 755 suicide calls in the last six months. Yet funds for crisis lines and psychiatric services are continually being cut. Anyone could be the next victim of a society that may be losing its sense of priorities.
Antoinette Cillo, Tampa
Too many empty buses
With money tight, we are spending a fortune buying, insuring, maintaining and providing dispatchers and drivers for our school buses.
I live near two large public schools and see buses come and go each school day. The problem is most seats are empty because students are picked up by friends and relatives who jam the roads near the school in every direction.
Could not we develop a more efficient busing system? We do not need nearly empty buses running to and fro.
James Munro, Seffner