Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Execution errors can never be reversed

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

Mission failure

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


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: 5 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