Letters to the Editor

Wednesday's letters:

Rising death toll points to need for helmet law | June 16, editorial

Look at rising registrations, too

Mark Twain wrote: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." You want something proven? I'll prove it with statistics. You want the reverse proven? I'll prove that too.

This editorial's headline screamed: "Rising death toll points to need for helmet law."

A few years ago you published a much longer article with the same theme. Back then, you compared the number of motorcycle fatalities from the year before the repeal of the helmet law with the much higher number a few years thereafter. However, way down in the article you compared motorcycle registrations for the same years. It turns out the per capita rate of fatalities actually decreased.

This time you published only the increase in fatalities, not the increase in registrations. All the easier, of course, to give the impression that it's the helmet-law repeal, not the burgeoning number of motorcycle registrations, that's responsible for the rise.

You ended the article with, "That prescient sentiment is now backed by data." Well, let's have the rest of the data, and we'll see just how prescient the sentiment really was.

"Lies, damn lies, and statistics." It looks like the truly prescient statement was Mr. Twain's.

Robert Sterling, St. Petersburg

Rising death toll points to need for helmet law | June 16, editorial

Not the government's role

In a day when government already encroaches too deeply into our personal lives, writing legislation to force motorcyclists to wear helmets is as absurd as it is hypocritical. We don't tell people they can't smoke cigarettes even though they pose a serious health risk. Yet, we somehow think we should force motorcyclists to wear helmets — what, for their own good?

I'm sure the increased number of organ recipients are pleased that we don't force people to wear helmets. What duty is it of the government — local, state or federal — to tell these people what to do? It affects no one else but the rider.

Meanwhile, we have no laws against using your cellphone or texting during driving. Both of those actions not only imperil the driver but put passengers, pedestrians and other motorists.

John Andrew Warrener, Odessa

For safety's sake

Thank you for your editorial about the need for a motorcycle helmet law.

It has never made sense to me that bicyclists need to wear helmets but motorcyclists do not.

I always drive a very safe distance from motorcyclists, but it is scary when many weave in and out of lanes. I have heard many of the arguments as to why many do not wear helmets. I would rather be safe than sorry.

I do applaud the motorcyclists who donate their organs in the event of a serious accident. To all drivers, whether on a bike, motorcycle or in a car, be safe.

Marilyn Satinoff, Palm Harbor

He's a double hero | June 15

Finding heroes everywhere

Thank you for showcasing Gus Hertz, the man who saved people as he was fishing, twice in two days. He truly is a hero.

There are actually many decent and even heroic people in America today. This is the main reason it is still pleasurable to live here.

Many people perform heroic but quiet tasks in their daily lives for the simple reason that it's the right thing to do — their own moral code.

The politicians, celebrities, corporations and criminals in the headlines are outliers.

Many "average" people do or have done something fantastic. They are heroes to someone, and the rest of us never know about it.

Beth Crosa, St. Petersburg

Obama pre-empts Rubio | June 16

Jobless need to step up

A reporter interrupted President Barack Obama when he spoke about not deporting illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children. The reporter implied the president was favoring illegal immigrants over American workers.

An article previously published in the newspaper stated farmers were concerned their crops were not being picked due to lack of labor. It appears "imported" workers are willing to do any type of work in order to survive and/or support their families.

If there is a labor shortage, yet a lot of unemployed American workers, why are farmers having a problem? Maybe unemployment compensation pays more than having to work to get paid. Maybe if people are healthy enough to work, they should not get paid to be idle.

If crops can't be picked and transported to markets, it seems vast amounts of food will be wasted. Unemployed Americans need to step up to the plate.

Lois Hawkins, Dunedin

Rubio overshadows Portman at forum June 15

Liberty from Constitution

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio posed a rhetorical question in defense of religion in politics that I found troubling: "If you live in a country that has no faith … if there is no creator, well then, what's the source of your liberty? A piece of paper, the eloquent writings of people 230 some-odd years ago?"

Referring to the Constitution as a "piece of paper" is disconcerting because Rubio's primary job description is to uphold the laws written on that "piece of paper." Without it, Rubio might not have the freedom to speak freely about his religious beliefs.

Those "eloquent" writers afforded him this right and also recognized that enduring liberty and freedom require a separation of church and state. Belief in God is neither a guarantee nor a requirement for liberty and freedom. We all know of governments with laws grounded in a fervent belief in God that deprive their citizens of liberty and freedom. Conversely, there exist countries that are not very religious, whose citizens do not strongly believe in God, that have as much liberty and freedom as ours.

No matter how confident he is in his personal religious beliefs, it is Rubio's duty to ensure that they do not take precedence over that eloquently written "piece of paper."

Bill Sacco, Tampa

Republican convention

Let there be light

While I applaud all the sprucing up of the Tampa area for the Republican National Convention, I cannot understand why our signature Bayshore Boulevard remains unlighted for joggers and walkers.

While the cosmetics of Bayshore are important, safety is also crucial. People walk and run Bayshore all hours of the night.

Christine Weisser, Tampa

Wednesday's letters: 06/19/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 7:25pm]

    

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