Letters to the Editor

Wal-Mart worker a victim of greed

Wal-Mart worker killed in stampede of shoppers | Nov. 29, story

Greed has infected our lives

A Wal-Mart employee, Jdimytai Damour, was trampled to death when shoppers could not wait for five more minutes to enter the store. They (the customers) actually broke down the doors and trampled this man to death. What does this say about us as Americans?

He was hired as a temporary employee, to perhaps earn extra money for his family, and now he is dead.

Who is to blame? Do we blame the retailer for advertising low prices? Do we blame the government for telling us to shop or do we blame the consumers for becoming so frenzied that they lost control ?

I blame one of the seven deadly sins: greed. Retailers advertise specials for a certain period of time, and we as consumers answer these ads by showing up hours before the sale begins, determined to "get the deal," no matter the cost to others.

Greed has created many problems in our country. You could start with the bailouts of large corporations that are paying their CEOs hundreds of millions of dollars, collectively. This trickles down the "house flipper," then trickles down to us, consumers who will fight and actually kill (perhaps not by premeditation) for a deal.

I firmly believe that these crimes against Americans will not stop until we rein in the actual culprits. We are the culprits. We instill greed in our everyday life. I understand that we want to make our children happy for Christmas. But what has happiness for them cost us? Perhaps we should instill in our children that material things are not the most important thing in life. That is a large task, and hats off to those who choose to refrain from hurting someone else in order to get a gift. Perhaps we should all get back to basics and instill the true meaning of Christmas to our families.

Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs

Wal-Mart worker killed in stampede of shoppers | Nov. 29, story

Holidays in America become season of Mammon

I read your story with horror and disgust. An employee was killed by a "shrieking mob" that "surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains."

Who is responsible for this tragedy? Surely, the managers of Wal-Mart must be held accountable for the sales incentives that worked the shoppers up into a door-busting mob, and their lack of control of the store as the doors caved in.

The shoppers must also be held accountable. Their greed for "low, low, prices" on electronics and toys (almost all imported) created death and havoc in the store, and they kept on shopping.

The shoot-out in the California Toys-R-Us store that left two men dead is another example of the mindless violence that has infected some Americans in this holiday season.

The season of "Peace on Earth, good will toward men"? In America, it is the season of Mammon.

V.J. Hagenbuckle, Clearwater

Shopping madness

For as long as I can remember, people have been complaining about the commercialization of the Christmas season, but after one trampling and two shootings in the Black Friday rush just to get some "stuff," you really have to wonder what is going on in people's heads.

I would like to think that retailers would slow down on their 4 a.m. openings, but that is just a dream. At least the other stores can now advertise "Come shop now! No deaths — so far!"

Robert Mathews, St. Petersburg

Crist driving toward cleaner cars | Nov. 29, commentary

Global action needed

It seems to me that the real problems surrounding global warming cannot be solved with one local policy precisely because it is global. If we could fix Florida's climate problems solely by diminishing our own contributions to global warming, Gov.Charlie Crist's plan would make sense, but weather simply doesn't work that way.

Real change in addressing the problem of global warming requires that we enter into a dialogue as a nation and with other nations. Although the heart of Crist's plan reflects a positive approach to resolving the global climate crisis, he should attempt to include other states in his plan so as to increase the impact of a good idea. Florida alone cannot solve the world's problems, but as a social movement, we might be successful.

Christopher Rossbach, St. Petersburg

Crist driving toward cleaner cars | Nov. 29, commentary

Revive emissions tests

Former Gov. Jeb Bush did the state a lot of harm by eliminating auto emissions testing. I believe that reinstating this requirement would enhance the state's efforts toward cleaner air.

Joy Jaffe, St. Petersburg

Officers Taser agitated lawyer | Nov. 27

Enforcement out of control

It is time for the so-called experts who sit on the Code Enforcement Board to be recalled. I'm not sure who appoints them, but somehow we have ended up with the most disdainful, disrespectful group of people who judge what you can do and what you cannot do in your own home.

I live in a historic district. I've seen many residents make changes to their homes that are lovely. Then I've seen other residents try to make similar changes only to be denied without hiring an attorney, an architect and a builder.

I cannot get over the situation the man in this story faced. He put in aluminum windows in a rear addition to his home, and because a neighbor complained, the Code Enforcement Board will probably send him into bankruptcy. He tried to comply, but they wouldn't accept his timetable. Finally he got so agitated he was ushered out and he wound up hitting one of the police officers. He was Tasered twice, and was jailed on $4,500 bail. And the fines keep coming on his house.

This man had serious health problems last year, cannot afford to do what the Code Enforcement Board insists, and there doesn't seem to be any end to the madness.

The Tampa City Council and Mayor Pam Iorio should do something about the travesties this group inflicts. Their rulings rarely end up making anything more attractive; people simply won't fix up anything if they have to face these arrogant people.

MaryLou Tuttle, Tampa

Internet voting

Let the people rule

Internet voting for overseas citizens is one small step toward what may become a giant step for democracy and a government that is truly "of, by and for the people."

Scientific and technological research should continue at a rapid pace, and not just with regard to overseas voting. Voting by electronic means offers the vision of every citizen having an opportunity to directly express her/his approval or disapproval of a piece of proposed legislation — that is to say, directly instead of through a representative. The people's will on any issue could be known quickly and directly.

As we look at our screens we'll see a proposed law, read about the benefits, and the costs, and then vote it up or down.

No need for the likes of Rep. Ray Sansom who, while in the state Legislature, ingratiated himself with a college president (to the tune of several million dollars of state funds) and wound up with a job at the college.

Naysayers to this idea will find lots of reasons why it can't be done — not the least of whom will be the politicians. But science and technology have shown over the years that experimentation and continued research on "impossible" projects find a way.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz

Thanks to the pope | Nov. 27, letter

Support not a given

The letter writer thanked "our fellow Americans of the Catholic faith … for their stalwart support of Israel."

How erroneously presumptuous of him! Catholics need not agree with the pope on political matters, only on issues of dogma.

As a Catholic, I cannot support a "reliable, democratic" Israeli government that does not value human life but practices "ethnic cleansing" on the Palestinian people by controlling, as occupiers, their social, political and economic lives.

Arthur Hebert, Largo

Wal-Mart worker a victim of greed 12/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 3:59pm]

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