Execution stay hints at court scrutiny | May 23
Execution errors can't be reversed
We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham shows the ultimate faith in divine righteousness and justice, offering up his only son for sacrifice. At the moment Abraham prepares to carry out God's sentence, an angel diverts the hand of the executioner, who sacrifices a ram instead.
As Oklahoma prepares to return to killing death row prisoners after a miserably botched execution a month ago, no such divine intervention exists to protect the innocent against the state.
To continue to support the state's right to kill those convicted of heinous crimes requires not only boundless hubris but a blind faith in the infallibility of man and his institutions.
State justice is a human affair and subject to human error. State governments have surely executed innocent victims falsely accused.
To take the step of subjecting those found guilty to the ultimate, irrevocable punishment is, simply put, to play God. It requires radical arrogance. Every other sentence meted out in our justice system recognizes the possibility of error, and is always subject to correction. This is not the case with death.
Even if we could prove that not a single innocent has been executed in this country, we would still have to accept the premise that human justice is perfect and that the execution of an innocent could never happen.
Do you have the faith of Abraham in the state? Could you offer up your own innocent child for execution at the hands of the state in the name of upholding human justice? If you can't answer yes to this question, you can't support the death penalty. Period.
Richard Pyrczak, Tampa
Execution stay hints at court scrutiny May 23
A more humane way
I am opposed to capital punishment. However, if we must execute people, I believe the least inhumane method is a nitrogen gas chamber.
Normal air is about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. At one atmosphere of pressure, a person breathing a mixture of about 14 percent oxygen will go into a condition called hypoxia. He will not feel out of breath. He will become drowsy and fall asleep. If the oxygen content of the breathing mixture is not increased, he will stop breathing and die.
To me, this seems less inhume than electrocution or lethal injection.
Joseph Clary, Tampa
Board: Expedite wetlands permits | May 21
What is the mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District? Is it to ensure an adequate water supply and protect the watershed — or is it to expedite the further paving over of our wetlands for the benefit of developers?
Richard Philip Blommaert, St. Petersburg
Take down barriers to solar power May 25, editorial
For innovation, tax carbon
Sunday's editorial said that "the $2.6 million system will pay for itself in six years, thanks to help from federal tax credits." The problem is that solar and wind systems don't pay for themselves without government (meaning taxpayer) support. The total calculus of the science, engineering and economics just doesn't work for these systems compared to relatively low-cost carbon fuel.
Solution: Instead of politicians selecting winners by subsidizing them to lower the cost of their favorites, employ a carbon tax on bad energy to allow free markets to develop the best energy systems.
Michael Green, St. Petersburg
Hold VA to account | May 25
Rubio's part of the problem
Sen. Marco Rubio voted Feb. 27 against S. 1982, which would have extended caregiver benefits to veterans and improved health and dental care services. Then, on Memorial Day, before all the facts are in, Rubio wrote that he wanted the VA to be held to account.
The sad death of veterans waiting for care from a seriously overloaded system should be investigated. Any wrongdoing needs to be corrected, and any falsification of records or incompetence needs to be addressed and those responsible held accountable.
Having said that, Rubio is putting the cart before the horse. Refusing the men and women who fought for our country more benefits is what is largely responsible for the VA mess. It is insulting that Rubio fails to acknowledge his own vote to not extend benefits that were hard-earned, particularly in light of the benefits he enjoys at taxpayer expense.
Chris Curley, Sun City Center
Excellent quality of care
I am a 95-year-old World War II veteran. I am hearing a lot about problems with the VA, but I can't say enough about the care I receive from the VA in Tampa.
I live in an assisted living facility and my nurse practitioner comes to see me there; I do not have to go to the VA for my checkups. If I have to go to the VA for any appointment, transportation is provided. The VA takes care of my hearing aids, glasses and medications.
I have been in the hospital twice, and each time I received very good care, and everyone was professional and respectful. When I leave, I am always thanked for my service to my country. I am very grateful for all the care I received.
Andrew Keraga, Land O'Lakes
Editorial cartoon | May 26
Poor timing and taste
The cartoon by Dana Summers regarding VA appointments, published on Memorial Day of all days, is inconsiderate and in very poor taste to say the least. You should have published a cartoon celebrating veterans.
Margie Baker, Sun City Center