Fallen soldier remembered | Aug. 12
Community stood up for soldier
I want to thank the people of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for giving Army Staff Sgt.Matthew Sitton a hero's welcome home Friday.
Sgt. Sitton laid down his life in Afghanistan this month in defense of freedom and liberty. He paid the ultimate price, as did his family. And you, the people of our area, turned out by the thousands to say thank you to this soldier and the family he leaves behind. It was a show of support by people of all ages, waving American flags and holding handmade signs. Most of the people along the route had never met Sgt. Sitton and did not know his family. They were there simply to express their appreciation for him and his service and in turn for the service and sacrifice of all those like Matthew who have volunteered to serve our nation in uniform and who put their lives on the line day in and day out.
It was an honor and a privilege for my wife, Beverly, and me to be invited by the family to be with them at MacDill Air Force Base when Matthew was returned home with full military honors. And it was an honor and a privilege to be asked to be a part of the procession from MacDill, through Tampa and Pinellas County to Matthew's hometown of Largo. The family was overwhelmed by the love and compassion they felt riding along that route. Nothing can ever heal the wound caused by the loss of a husband or a wife, a father or a mother, a son or a daughter, or a brother or a sister. But the people of our area were able to deliver a message of hope and thanks to this grieving family.
At the end of the procession, the family was moved beyond words with appreciation for the hundreds of law enforcement officers who led the motorcade, the firemen and officers who lined the route and bridged the roadways with American flags, the Patriot Guard Riders who escorted Matthew home with honor, and most importantly for each of you who took a few moments from your day to turn out to say thank you to Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton for a job well done.
When Beverly and I visit with the injured troops at our military hospitals, they will often ask us if the people of our nation still support our military. The people of our area resoundingly responded Friday to say yes they do. It is this display of love and affection for our men and women in uniform that will encourage future generations of Americans to share in Matthew's love for America.
U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Indian Shores
More bad law from NRA | Aug. 12, editorial
Frightening sign for visitors
Perhaps as a result of my being Canadian, I fail to understand America's love of the handgun being carried by ordinary citizens. Unlike hunting rifles, the handgun has only one use: to kill people. In Canada the possession of a handgun of any kind is strictly prohibited.
It would be frightening to most Canadians visiting your great state to see residents openly sporting guns strapped to themselves as they go about their day-to-day lives. Surely this can only result in more violence and death.
Rather than go forward with the NRA recommendation, one would hope that stricter gun laws be brought forward, with only the police being permitted to carry a handgun in public.
Rick Romain, Toronto
As predictable as sunrise, the editorial staff of the Times employs hyperbole and scare tactics to elicit support for their position.
The "Wild West" meme and alleged negative impact on tourism were touted by the Brady campaign in 1987, when shall-issue was enacted. They predicted blood in the streets, shootouts over parking spaces, rolling gun battles on the interstates and even tried to sabotage Florida tourism by placing ads in airports and at the state border warning tourists that Floridians had legal authority to shoot them for the slightest reason. Despite these underhanded tactics, tourism continued unabated and armed Floridians did not go on a mass tourist-hunting expedition.
The Times claims no credible evidence exists that carriers are being harassed, yet Florida Carry has documented 77 arrests and three prosecutions of law-abiding licensed carriers since the "brief exposure" exception was substituted for open carry in 2011.
If the Legislature refuses to repeal the open carry ban, it will be out of ignorance. Every argument against repeal has been refuted. If legislators want to know what open carry would be like, they need only look at any state where the practice is lawful.
Richard Nascak, executive director, Florida Carry Inc., Lehigh Acres
Postal Service losses hit $5.2B Aug. 10
Steps to save money
One certain way for the U.S. Postal Service to reduce its losses would be to stop Saturday delivery. This works very well in other countries. Businesses are not affected, and people have learned to live happily with no mail on Saturdays.
A second way would be for the USPS to start charging for holding mail and for forwarding mail to non-Florida residents both in the United States and overseas.
I had to spend three months in the United Kingdom last year, and without fail the wonderful USPS forwarded every piece of mail addressed to me here in Florida at no charge. The postal services in other countries charge heavily for mail to be forwarded overseas.
Gillian Maden, Spring Hill
Protests can go viral Aug. 12
Protest or produce
I find it fascinating that 25-year-old Jared Hamil has been protesting for good jobs, health care, affordable education and peace since graduating from the University of Florida.
Instead of spending his time and intellect protesting, I would suggest he either start a business or find some other creative way of making a lot of money that he can then give to people he thinks are in need. Apparently Hamil believes it will be easier to take the money from people who worked hard and give it to those he thinks are in need.
With all his education, it appears that Hamil has not noticed that his approach did not work in the Soviet Union, in China and is currently failing in Europe.
Klaus Ruediger, Temple Terrace