Editor: A letter to the people. I have so much to say to all the wonderful people of this community for all the love, caring and compassion that you have shown toward my son Keegan during the past few months, and all the beautiful eulogies that I have read, that I am going nuts and running out of paper trying to put it all into words.
Knowing, somehow, that so many tears fell upon his passing and that so many hearts were broken, it makes that passing just a little easier to take. For that most of all, I thank you.
It might comfort you all to know that Keegan had a fierce faith in God and that his passage into heaven was not his ending but his beginning.
I know that Keegan was twice the man that I will ever be. For two years he never once said, "Why me?" He never once cried when for the past two months he knew that there was no more hope.
If anyone out there frets or despairs over the inevitability of death, Keegan would want you to remember his motto: "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
For all the gifts you gave to him, that's the gift he gives to you.
Wil Clair, Clearwater Falsehoods printed about Scientology
Editor: Re: Fred Thompson's Jan. 12 letter, Challenge of Scientology must not end with lawsuit.
I was appalled you would print such falsehoods about my church, the Church of Scientology.
I am the president of a data processing company based in Pasadena, Calif. My family comes to the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area three to four times a year. We spend lots of money in your city and in your stores, and we enjoy the people in this area.
However, our major reason for visiting this area is because our church is located here. The Church of Scientology has helped me, my family and thousands of other people.
Please print this letter to give your readers some truth about the Church of Scientology. In the 10 years I have been coming to this area, I have noticed nothing but improvement in your community, and that can be attributed to the Church of Scientology being located here in Clearwater.
Robert A. Sudalnik, Pasadena, Calif. Scientology is a cancer in Clearwater
Editor: In response to the recent letter to the Times from Fred Thompson of Palm Harbor, I say, "Hats off to you, Mr. Thompson. You are right on." Regarding Scientology, there is indeed something rotten in the state of Denmark. Scientology is nothing less than a cancer, spreading slowly and insidiously throughout the beautiful city of Clearwater.
Now, people of Clearwater, there is a fact about Scientology that may surprise you. In 1980, many of you were making life difficult for the Scientologists to carry on business as usual. There were rallies, daily letters in the Clearwater Sun, bumper stickers, horn honkings, etc. Do you remember?
The secret is that you almost succeeded in getting Scientology out of Clearwater. The fact is that they had purchased land in Oregon!
How do I know? I was there, working for the infamous Guardian's Office (now "born again" as the equally infamous Office of Special Affairs), and I overheard the plans.
Instead, they decided to try one more plan. It consisted of locating the "opinion leaders" of the community, courting them and, through a systematically planned campaign of flattery and appealing to their financial self-interest, to win them over and to "neutralize" Clearwater.
There were other plans as well, such as setting up deceptive front
organizations pretending to address the social evils of the community, such as drugs.
Unfortunately, it all worked.
I happen to believe that Clearwater can overcome its cancer. But it will take a lot of Fred Thompsons who have the courage to stand up and fight to get their city back again.
Margery Wakefield, Tampa A good move to save teen-agers' lives
Editor: Re: Diane Steinle's Jan. 29 column, Effort putting brake on teen tragedy.
The column was indeed enlightening and a subject that most have not been aware of, including this writer.
It speaks well of the meritorious participation on the part of those who are concerned and who are willing to do something about the serious problem of drinking by teen-agers.
The transporting of persons under the influence is not an easy task and can be fraught with unanticipated situations, and this raises some important questions regarding the cost of personal injury insurance, which can be prohibitive.
In addition, unless a system of codes can be established so all calls can be verified as being legitimate, the service could become subject to wasteful and discouraging false alarms.
However, the aim and purpose far outweigh the unknowns, and those who are participating deserve acclaim.
As well-conceived an idea it may be, it does leave unaddressed the problem of teens drinking for it releases those negligent parents from an important responsibility and, not unlike the crazy idea of legalizing drugs, it gives the teen-ager an option to drink where otherwise she or he would think twice before doing so.
But that is another insurmountable problem, and hopefully one can someday arrive at a solution.
In the meantime, with each call and a safe ride home, who knows how many lives will have been saved.
And that is what's important.
Edward G. DiPanni, Largo (High Point)