Not necessarily morally right
I accept the Zimmerman verdict, as all of us must. But I see a distinction between a moral wrong and a legal wrong. There are lots of morally wrong things you can do without breaking the law.
I believe George Zimmerman was wrong to take a gun on his neighborhood watch tour, even if he was legally entitled to. I believe Zimmerman was wrong to assume that Trayvon Martin was up to no good. I believe Zimmerman was wrong to act on his police wanna-be ambitions to follow Martin, even after the dispatcher suggested he needn't do that.
If we accept Zimmerman's story that Martin attacked him first — as the jury did — then Martin was wrong to lay a hand on him.
Each man felt justified in what he did. It's tragic that Trayvon Martin's one alleged miscalculation was the only illegal one, and he ended up dead.
So while I understand the strict legal arguments that kept Zimmerman out of prison, I also wish some of his defenders could understand the larger social and moral dimensions of this case -— and why many Americans, not just black ones, feel overcome with sadness if not outrage. A black boy who was minding his own business is dead. And the man who put himself into a position where he had to kill him is free. He'll have to live with that. So will we.
Jim Harper, Tampa
State of absurdity
What a relief to live in Florida. I can put myself in harm's way because I did not listen to authority figures, and then when I am getting beat up I can shoot the culprit dead with a concealed weapon and claim self-defense. Florida law says I can. Even a jury says I can.
Richard Isinghood, Tampa
A gunless scenario
I've heard so many "what-ifs" during this trial, I've come up with one of my own. What if George Zimmerman did not have a gun? After Trayvon Martin finished beating him, do you think he would have called police and reported what happened, or just leave him and run home?
Harry Liaros, South Pasadena
Life after injury | July 15, letter to editor
Decision is personal
There have been two letters published regarding Ed Allison and his wife's decision to have his respirator turned off, resulting in his demise, and both letter writers have seemingly accused the Allisons of poor decisionmaking. Just because they went down a different path when faced with similar situations is no reason to adopt a "holier than thou" attitude. There was undoubtedly much soul searching by the Allisons before their decision. Second-guessing by others is absolutely uncalled for.
Sue E. Conrad, North Redington Beach
Why companies pay Weatherford is a mystery | July 14
Power on the payroll
Neither House Speaker Will Weatherford nor representatives of the two companies he worked for could explain why he is paid. The answer is very simple. For a mere $600 a week and $1,000 a week, these two companies have one of the most powerful and connected state representatives on their payroll. Enough said.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Ignoring the Hungry in the House | July 16, editorial
Food for thought
If people on food stamps are not getting enough, why is it that most times I go to the store there is somebody trying to sell me some for half the face value, or offer to pay for my food with their SNAP card I and give them half the cost?
Ernest Primeau, Pinellas Park
At the federal level, Republicans are, as the editorial points out, doing their best to "dismantle the nation's safety net for the poor, elderly, unemployed and disabled."
At the state level, the party is trying its best to deny women the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
If more children are born to poor mothers, there will be increased demand for food stamps, along with other social welfare benefits. But the message Republicans seem to be sending is that all pregnancies should be carried to term, but once the child is born they are going to be on their own.
What a bunch of hypocrites.
Joseph H. Brown, Tampa
Ireland has new issue: growth | July 16
Church gave its full support
As a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church and a resting elder, I am appalled that the myth continues to be perpetuated that the Rev. Dennis Reid "withheld money" from the Nugent family. Anyone who knows Presbyterian polity knows that the session of the church is responsible for decisions regarding finances. It was the session that needed time to review the contents of the trusts that were set up for Ireland and the Nugents. It was the session that, in its wisdom, reconvened less than 48 hours after the misinformation hit the media so that it could take action and move the money entrusted to the church to those trusts.
It was the church that sent hundreds of thank-you notes to everyone who contributed to Ireland, all hand-signed by Dennis. He encouraged the church to support the family in its time of need, and he spent countless hours at the family's side during the first months of Ireland's recovery. Individual church members contributed large amounts of money and time to help the family through this trauma. The staff and volunteers went above and beyond to make sure that all contributions were documented and deposited in a timely manner for safekeeping until logistics could be in place to create the trusts.
Sue Moore, Clearwater
State's gaming grows quietly | July 1
Close greyhound tracks
The recently released gambling report has made it clear greyhound racing is a dying sport. The dogs are frequently injured or killed on the track. The tracks are losing money, and the greyhounds are losing their lives. The time has come to decouple greyhound racing and other forms of gambling.
Eric Jackson, vice president of GREY2K USA, Albuquerque, N.M.