Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Repeal 'stand your ground' law

'Stand your ground' law

Rules ready-made for vigilantes

George Zimmerman, not guilty. Trayvon Martin, certainly not guilty. The guilty parties in this sad saga are the legislators who wrote the unfortunate "stand your ground" law.

Stand your ground is the lit match in a dried-out forest. Here we are in one of the most gun-happy states in the most gun-happy nation recruiting vigilantes to take on what should be the responsibility of trained police officers.

Durell Peaden, the former Republican senator from Crestview who sponsored the bill, said the law was never intended for people who put themselves in harm's way before they start firing. Nevertheless, the law has exonerated many who have killed unarmed people. More than a third of the cases were like the Zimmerman case, where the armed person initiates the conflict.

If there is anything good that could come out of this case, it would be the repeal of stand your ground.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Zimmerman trial

One smart jury

Congratulations to the six ladies who turned in a verdict of not guilty in the George Zimmerman trial. They certainly showed gumption as well as an intelligent grasp of the facts in reaching their verdict. A loud hooray for the American justice system.

Robert H. MacPherson, St. Petersburg

Prosecutors at fault?

If the state had originally charged George Zimmerman with manslaughter instead of second-degree murder, the verdict could have very possibly been guilty. In Florida, the definition of manslaughter includes someone doing something on purpose that could cause someone to die without thinking of that possibility and someone dies. Also, doing something stupid or (failure to do something smart) and someone dies.

The jury heard the complete trial based on second-degree murder with little understanding of manslaughter, allowed at the last minute. They questioned the court on manslaughter but only received a reply asking what more they wanted to know. They did not respond and found Zimmerman not guilty.

Was the state at fault for not pursuing manslaughter in the first place? Was the court itself at fault for not giving full details of a manslaughter charge when jurors asked for it instead of asking what more they wanted to know?

The jury rendered its verdict on the charge that was prosecuted and defended. Don't blame the jury!

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

Legal verdict can't mask greater truths July 14, John Romano column

What should haunt us

Greater truths are indeed highlighted in this column. This was justice, and the system remains fair. But the events before the confrontation should haunt us all. George Zimmerman misread Trayvon Martin's actions, he did not follow the directions of the dispatcher, he got out of his car and he made the decision to carry a weapon. A lesson for us all.

Gay Gentry, Largo

Nation needs to hear jurors July 15, Eric Deggans column

They did their duty

I must disagree with Eric Deggans' call for jurors to explain themselves. I fervently hope that the judge will not reconsider her decision to keep jurors' names from the public. This case and the Casey Anthony case are exactly why TV cameras should be barred from courtrooms. Armchair jurors, prosecutors and defense attorneys hang on every word or implication and make their own decisions with no knowledge other than that of the so-called experts provided by cable television. Then when the actual verdict does not comport with their decision, there is chaos.

The "race card" was played immediately after Trayvon Martin was killed, and it has continued to be played by cable TV, along with the "he was only a kid" card. As was pointed out in a New York Times article, "Trials, for better or worse, are not morality plays." Prosecutors had a weak case from the start, and there were missteps by both them and the police. I disagreed with the juries in both this and the Casey Anthony case. However, I firmly agree with the president's statement: "We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

Joyce Oldmixon, New Port Richey

Wrong place for 36 towers | July 10, editorial

Project a jolt for downtown | July 14, letter

Better sites for apartments

As downtown Tampa resident since 1995, I am keen to encourage intelligent, strategically planned residential growth. The proposed location of these apartments does not meet these criteria.

Vinny Tafuro's letter misses several key points. First, the Straz Center is a crown jewel with superb programming and outstanding attendance. Its No. 1 concern is parking and access for its patron base. Second, if the streets around the center are unsafe, the city must make the needed changes from its operating budget. Third, if the city is using $2 million of the $4 million proceeds from the land sale to improve the streets, whose money is it really? (Hint, the taxpayers').

I fervently desire more residential and retail growth downtown, east of Ashley. The TECO lot, former Maas Brothers block, the Kress building and the block including Domino's Pizza have been identified as ideal sites. Let's all take a deep breath — and another look — before we leap.

Sharon Sibert, Tampa

Charter schools surge again | July 7

A matter of commitment

The increasing focus on charter and fundamental schools implies an interest in what school leaders and politicians have long been unwilling to grant — that education of our children requires the buy-in of the community, not just students and teachers. Aside from the rules and curriculum found in charter and fundamental schools, the big difference between those schools and regular schools is the buy-in from parents. Our daughter attended Academie Da Vinci elementary school in Dunedin (a public charter school) and Clearwater Fundamental Middle School (a public fundamental school). The quality of education at both schools is excellent, as are the staffs. Parents and children have to sign agreements to abide by rules.

Any school can use the same formula. Are we willing to make these commitments to help our children? If not, all the testing, schemes, and hard work of teachers and students will not be enough.

Gregory Byrd, Clearwater


Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18