Saturday, November 18, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Get out and enjoy Florida's parks


Florida state parks

Get out and enjoy Florida's parks

I love Florida winters. The temperatures are just right to take that long hike on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, gather family and friends around the campfire at Myakka River State Park or retreat after a fun day of kayaking to a cozy cabin at Lake Louisa State Park.

The winter season is a special time for our state parks as they host many holiday-themed events and seasonal tours. We have seen a record number of visitors in recent months at some of our special holiday events, so I know the parks inspire and help keep up the holiday spirit throughout the winter.

I encourage Floridians and visitors to continue this trend in 2013. Start the New Year right by participating in America's State Parks First Day Hikes on Jan. 1. More than 60 of Florida's state parks and trails are hosting events, the most events in the country. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

Donald V. Forgione, director, Florida Park Service

Weapon without reason | Dec. 21, letter

Proper gun for the purpose

The writer states: "In my opinion, there is no good reason for a citizen to possess a semiautomatic weapon."

There seems to be a lot of public confusion about what a semiautomatic weapon is. It is not a machine gun (fully automatic weapon). Semiautomatic simply means that a firearm shoots one bullet when the trigger is pulled and automatically chambers another round.

The vast majority of firearms are semiautomatic. The exceptions include single-shot firearms, single-action revolvers and pump shotguns. Most firearms, going back to Colt double-action revolvers from the 1800s, are technically semiautomatic.

Assault weaponry such as an AR-15 is not really suitable for home defense and you'd look mighty dumb hunting game with it. For home defense, a short pump 12 gauge would probably be best.

The writer is correct that fully automatic weapons and high-powered assault rifles should be permitted only to law enforcement and the military. They are really designed only to kill people.

Pete Wilford, Holiday

Gun control

Hold officials to account

I would like the Times to publish the names of all elected officials in Florida, and all of those elected nationally whom Floridians are eligible to vote for, who receive any funds from the NRA or any pro-firearm lobby. I will never vote for any of them again, no matter their party affiliation.

Rich Eschen, Hernando

Lessons from Australia

In 1996 Australia had its worst mass shooting. They passed comprehensive gun safety laws. Before 1996 they averaged one mass shooting per year. Since then they have had no mass shootings.

The argument that cities like Chicago have high rates of gun violence despite tough gun laws ignores the fact that guns are easily available in neighboring states. The real test of gun restrictions is in countries where guns are tightly controlled and mass shootings are rare.

The Australian city where the 1996 mass shooting occurred? Newtown.

Joel Price, Dade City

Nation as an armed camp

The NRA says put armed guards in all our schools to protect our children. So maybe we need to have armed guards in our libraries to protect our children. That would mean we need armed guards in the movie houses to protect our children. How about on all of the playgrounds, on the beaches, in our churches and restaurants? Maybe the entire United States needs to become an armed camp.

What a wonderful country we are giving our children.

Susan Nichols, St. Petersburg

Fresh thinking on safety

We all agree that something has to be done to better protect children in our schools. But the idea of arming our teachers is just an accident waiting to happen. We need to employ new ideas.

One of them could be to equip classrooms with steel, automatically locking doors. If trouble starts somewhere on campus, a centralized locking system could be engaged to secure the classrooms and mitigate possible mayhem.

I know that sounds like a prison. It's sad.

Tony Abbate, Valrico

Arguments don't add up

According to the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, U.S. gun violence is caused by violent video games and movies as well as lax law enforcement. Someone must have forgotten to tell him that video games and movies are actually a worldwide phenomenon. Japan had two gun deaths in 2008 and Britain had 36 in 2011. Contrast this with the 12,000 to 15,000 that occurred in the United States during that time.

In Florida our Legislature has worked hand in hand with the NRA to water down or do away with restrictions on guns. I doubt this is what he means by lax law enforcement.

Steve Harden, Holiday

Poor results from red-light cameras Dec. 20, editorial

Follow the facts

About eight years ago while I was living in Atlanta, American Traffic Systems installed and operated red-light cameras across the state of Georgia. Just as happened here, red-light rear-end crashes increased significantly at the intersections with cameras. Residents complained, and their legislators listened.

Since studies showed that 79 percent of violations occurred within only one second of the light turning red, the Georgia legislature passed a statute requiring that one second be added to the standard yellow time of any intersection that had a red-light camera. This led to a significant reduction in rear-end collisions and an 80 percent reduction in tickets.

Of course it also led to an 80 percent reduction in revenues, making the red-light cameras less profitable. But, since our politicians are adamant that the red-light cameras in our state are not just about collecting revenue, perhaps they could give the Georgia solution a try.

Chet Meisner, Lutz


Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17

Friday’s letters: Hillsborough school making strong progress

Hillsborough school district in financial, leadership crisis | Nov. 5, editorialSchool district’s achievementsWhile I respect the Times’ editors and acknowledge our district is facing financial challenges (facing them head-on, in fact), I feel it...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/09/17