Three more teens die in plague of car theft | Aug. 7
Save teen drivers with strict laws
Again I read about the tragic loss of three young lives, teens killed when their stolen vehicle was involved in a horrible accident. Retired after 41 years of service in law enforcement, I have seen way too many accidents wasting young lives. People are quick to blame the police or the system. But sad as it may be, where are the parents whose children are stealing cars and involved in other crimes in the wee hours of the morning?
It's time for some tough laws. If they want to act like irresponsible adults, treat them as adults. Stop making the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) a place where they enjoy themselves for a month or two. Time to hand down stricter sentences, and make it a place where they don't want to go.
The kids have no fear of JDC. They treat it like a badge of honor among their peers. Make sentences longer, make them attend boot camp, etc. Make stealing cars a game they don't want to play.
So let's wake up, Legislature. Parents, you too. It's time to end this sad, tragic waste of young lives.
Albert Ravenna, St. Pete Beach
Better locks for cars
Three deaths is another tragic result of a car theft by juveniles and the predictable demand for action by police, the social services system, more parental action, educating drivers to remove the ignition key when leaving the car, and on and on. The thread holding all of these together is action.
I know that the prevailing opinion is that regulatory actions are bad. They restrict freedoms, cost money, and are generally anti-republican. But regulations are made to reduce harm, and they do work.
What will eventually reduce automobile thefts are regulations that require passive design changes to automobiles that make them largely theftproof. How difficult would it be to require combination locks that eliminate a key altogether? This is only one suggestion. A competent engineer should be able to come up with any number of inexpensive designs that would work.
Any such required design change would solve a problem that active prevention has not solved.
Gerald M. Taylor, Wesley Chapel
College rankings | Aug. 4
Majoring in football
One has cause to question those responsible for charting the course of the institutions of higher learning in the state of Florida after reading two articles in the Tampa Bay Times.
In the local section, Forbes' highly regarded list of the top schools in the nation reported that the top institution in the state, the University of Florida, placed 80th on a list of the top 650 schools. This was followed by Miami at 97th, Florida State University at 184th and the University of South Florida at 324th.
In the same issue, in the sports section, the paper reported that in the Football Coaches Poll, FSU was rated third, Florida 16th, Miami 18th and USF 21st. Are our priorities skewed? Perhaps the state's educational institutions should turn to those running the football programs for advice on recruiting.
Robert A. Shaw, Madeira Beach
Four warnings fail infant | Aug. 5
First, protect the child
An institution can only be as good as the people within and the bylaws which govern it. What's the point of having case managers, if they can't do their job efficiently? If the case manager who had visited the home of William Hendrickson III would have had the authority to remove the children, his 8-month-old son would still be alive. Mandating that a case manager must instead call an abuse hotline, if they fear for a child's safety, is totally asinine. It's no wonder why the Department of Children and Families is failing the people which it's supposed to protect. The state laws which govern it are ineffectual.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Guardrails hold | Krauthammer column, Aug. 4
Four years of bumper cars
It is heartening to see conservative commentators finally acknowledging the numerous deficiencies and chaos that Donald Trump brings to the presidency. Charles Krauthammer states that Trump is a "systemic stress test" to our democracy, but that so far, the "guardrails" have held up against this reckless president.
Trump lacks the intellectual curiosity and attention span to really understand the issues and provide insightful leadership. Having no ideological compass or moral authority, the only thing this narcissist really seems to care about is maintaining his fragile self-image as a winner.
Trump is the mayhem president, and Congress and the cabinet must continuously find ways to accommodate and work around the pandemonium that he creates.
What strengths and positive attributes does Trump bring to the office that offset all the deficiencies and faults?
I cannot think of one, and I worry every day that the guardrails of our democracy cannot handle four years of this madness.
Doug Robison, St. Petersburg
Leaks aren't lies
For all of the hand-wringing and complaining from the Trump administration about leaks, it is easy to forget that leaks are the only truth coming out of the Trump White House.
Buck Beasom, Tampa
PETA checks empty cages | Aug. 5
Protect wild animals
Wild Things zoo should be closed. Its founder, Kathy Stearns, has shown that she clearly does not have the animals' best interest at heart.
Some people think PETA goes too far in their activism but I think they have to if they are going have any impact.
We should be protecting and caring for animals, not using and abusing them.
Gladys Newton, Hudson