Editor: Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for every American not adequately covered by private insurance. The right to health care is just that _ a right. What could be more important? As a matter of fact, I think the government should give me groceries too. After all, if government must provide me with health care, they should also feed me so that I can live a long life and have ample opportunity to use some of that medical coverage. Naturally, since I have a guaranteed right to all this, I'm also going to need a car to pick up my groceries and drive to the doctor's office. Hey, I'm going to need a gasoline charge card too!
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that there's all kinds of stuff the government owes me! Why should I have to pay? This is not FAIR! I want what's mine now! You know, from each according to their abilities; to each according to their needs. Isn't that in the constitution or something? "Change" is sweeping across America. Those guys and gals in Washington better start listening to the people and ensure that our rights are no longer denied.
Victims suffer under justice system
Editor: I want to bring to the attention of the community the subject of psychological torture that is imposed on sexual assault victims not only by their assailants but by our criminal justice system. Yes, the keywords here are CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. Ridiculous as it sounds, it seems that these rotten, inhumane specimens of the human race (rapists) are afforded more privileges, rights and concern than the people they victimize.
Why is it that a senior citizen (yes, community, there is another older woman in our county who was horrendously violated through sexual assault) has to face another court trial because a jury was deadlocked? What in hell is the matter with one jurist, after being presented with hair and a fingerprint pointing to the accused rapist as the assailant, that he hopelessly deadlocked the jury, thus causing a mistrial? Now this poor woman has to give humiliating, terrorizing testimony again to convict this man. This is our system, and once again the victim suffers.
I want you to know what the victim is now faced with. For the first trial, she and her family had to take time off from work. They will have to do that again. The hospital costs for the surgery (because of the sexual assault) were more than $20,000. She had to pay most of that. The state is supposed to help victims with damages because of the crime. That is very slow in coming, if at all, because everything has to be so well documented and approved by a series of investigative committees. It is psychological torment knowing that the victim has to face her accused rapist again and weeks of waiting for another trial. It is INFURIATING to think that the accused rapist is sitting in jail (because he is a habitual criminal following convictions of aggravated battery, grand theft, etc.) awaiting a rape trial and that he is "gaining weight" because of good food and sitting around in air conditioning watching TV all day. The poor victim has no choice but to continue on in the hopes that her assailant will be brought to justice.
Enraged People Against Rape is very concerned about victims of sexual assault and has a Court Room Support Committee headed up by George Ehrlich. He and members of this committee are at all sexual assault trials in Pasco County. EPAR wants the community to know that rapists are laughing at our system, which is geared to protect them and not the victims. Don't be fooled by our legislators saying it costs too much money to keep prisoners behind bars for their full sentence. According to Florida's Department of Corrections, housing a prisoner costs $39.73 per day. The daily cost of criminals out on the street on early release is $1,200 a day. Prisons should be prisons and not country clubs. Why should we as tax-paying citizens have to provide luxuries to prisoners such as cable TV, air-conditioning, better health care and dental care than we can afford for ourselves? Something is very wrong, and it is time to take a look at what is going on.
Why are victims not being cared for in the same way that convicted violent criminals are cared for in our society? Why are victims being revictimized again? Where is the compassion for a segment of our society that at any moment we all could be a member?
founder, Enraged People Against Rape
New Port Richey
Paper's pro-choice stance is evident
Editor: Sunday, Oct. 4, between 2 and 3 p.m., approximately 45,000 to 50,000 people lined the major highways of the Tampa Bay area, holding signs that stated "Abortion Kills Children." The coverage in the St. Petersburg Times was the following: one 4 by 3 colored photo, picturing five people with three signs visible; 25 words were under the photo. Another photo, black and white, 8 by 5, showed eight people with two signs visible, but the signs were blurry. Again, about 25 words covered the story. No statistics were reported. Nearly 1-million people across the nation and Canada took part, including 144,000 Floridians. The press is supposed to tell the truth. That is the only way a democracy can stand. What are you afraid of? If 1-million feminists protested across the United States, or homosexuals, I know your paper would have had it on the front page.
But because you are a pro-choice paper, your constant bias comes through loud and clear. If the Times cannot print the truth, no matter what its owners believe, its days are numbered. Wake up! If you keep falling asleep on the job, some day you won't wake up.
According to witnesses, your photographer took the pictures at 3 p.m., when Life Chain was over, and people were leaving. Moments before the picture was taken, hundreds of people had been in the area. If you look closely you will see people were rolling up their signs and leaving.
New Port Richey
Don't sugarcoat VA secretary's ouster
Editor: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward Derwinski recently resigned his position following many months of organized efforts and letters from veterans nationwide requesting his ouster. It was either resign or be terminated, although the administration will not tell you that. It covered it up after the resignation by offering him another plum job in the presidential campaign as an adviser on ethnic issues. Only a simpleton would believe that excuse. The president knew of our dissatisfaction for some time and refused to take any action, but by accepting Derwinski's resignation prior to election, he probably hopes to appease some veterans and generate additional votes in the process.
We must not get complacent, though, and should be concerned about whom the new replacement will be. We must be mindful not to repeat our past mistakes. The open position for VA secretary should be someone with a proven record and background in service to veterans and should be acceptable on a national level by every veterans' organization in this country. We sincerely hope that another politician, because of the patronage that oozes from Washington, is not selected. If the bureaucrats in the administration who select nominees for some of these cabinet level positions worked in placement for a major corporation or employment agency, they would be fired for incompetence. But they seem to care less, for the system reeks with "good old boys" who continue feeding in the proverbial trough at the taxpayers' expense.
No matter what the administration says, Derwinski was an embarrassment and was forced to resign in disgrace for his arrogance, ineptness, apathy and profound lack of leadership. Let's hope that his replacement will have the respect and support of the veterans and the determination and guts to perform the job without interference from Congress or any other outside influence. The incoming secretary of Veterans Affairs should have only one priority and only one loyalty _ VETERANS!
Gillum thanks supporters
Editor: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fine people who supported me in the runoff election.
The past eight years have been a clear milestone in my life. I have never sacrificed my principles and am very proud of the accomplishments that will be set down in the history of Pasco County forever.
As I go on to my next challenge, there are many people that I can never forget and never thank enough for all they have done to help me. Thousands of people have touched my life and I know I have touched theirs.
I thank God for that blessing.
Shocking the doom and gloom sayers
Editor: With your permission, I would like to take this short opportunity to thank the citizens of West Pasco including Republicans, Democrats and Independents who supported me in our effort in sending a "new" voice to Tallahassee.
Please continue to be active and vote in the general election. Let's shock the doom and gloom sayers and have a 100 percent voter turnout here in Pasco County this November.
Michael B. Fasano
former candidate for state representative
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