Editor: Our coven attended the opening night performance, on Oct. 2, of The Crucible, a play about the days of the Salem witch hunts, at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.
We wish to commend the playwright and actors for their excellent presentation of the rampant spread of religious hysteria. The actors were most convincing in their roles.
Samhain, or Halloween, is the Witches' New Year, and this year of 1992 is also the 300th anniversary of the Salem witch trials. It seems almost inconceivable that the mere accusations of four children resulted in violence, imprisonment and death of innocent women, men and children, but as modern day witches, we know that many still fear us and mistake us for Satanists. It is unfortunate.
We honor all those who have suffered and died for their religious beliefs, and remember them in our sabbat at Samhain, the true holy innocents.
Mary Niles, High Priestess,
of Moon Lake Inc.
support boys academy
Editor: Re: The proposed boys academy.
Let's talk about the infrastructure. We do have well-organized fire and police departments, and I grant you, with the extra help, they would do as well as any other small town in handling the extra load. No other town or city has ever tackled handling a group home of this magnitude. Think. We are talking 400 troubled, neglected, abused boys. Judging from the presentation, they plan to warehouse these young men. Not one person speaking for the group home ever mentioned any special love for them.
A drill sergeant who has retired from the Marines tells how he will put them through their paces. Now I ask you, does this make any sense? The man to be in charge says he is an employee of Disney World with 25 years of service. I understand he held a managerial position. Then there is Mr. White, who had the dream. He is a trumpet player from Orlando. What kind of experience have any of these people had in operating a group home of this magnitude?
Have you noticed I am calling it a group home? We can't call it an institution because the criteria for approval don't fit. Mr. White, we all have dreams; we just don't act on them.
We now have a nice little park for the boys and girls of this area, Hercules Park. This facility, of which we are all justly proud, is the first real break our youngsters have received. It even has a pool. Will that facility accommodate that many more without having behavior problems? Urge your council to vote no on this institution. Sorry, group home.
Carol Smith, Zephyrhills
Laws are for everyone,
not just non-smokers
Editor: Re: the mini-novel of facts and statistics of cigarette smoke submitted by Mrs. Shapiro of New Port Richey on Oct. 4. I would like to suggest that when she and people like her succeed in their crusade to have all smokers banned from the face of the earth, she can put the same efforts into stopping young people from using public places. When she accomplishes that task, she can devote all of her energy into some other area that displeases her, until she has the whole world to herself.
It appears that she is the type who feels only the people who agree with her have any rights. It never fails to amuse me, when I read such bigoted, self-serving opinions such as hers and her kind, who always have the figures and all the answers to present to the offensive and ignorant, discourteous lot such as us horrible smokers. There are many non-smokers that better fit the above description Mrs. Shapiro has branded smokers with.
Could her time and efforts not be better spent protesting the criminal behavior of some of the elderly who insist on driving a car on U.S. 19, weaving from lane to lane, sometimes even driving on the wrong side of the road, while under the influence of several different medications, to get to the local package store to buy the weekly supply of alcoholic beverages, along with a carton of their favorite brand of cigarettes? I would think, when that same car collides with hers, she would have more than secondhand smoke to concern herself with.
Wake up and smell the coffee, Mrs. Shapiro. The point of the original argument is that smokers have rights also. If non-smokers feel the need for laws to protect their rights, then where do we smokers go to protect our rights? The laws are made for everyone, not just a select few.
Peter Haran, Holiday
Smokers need shield
Editor: Re: "Non-smokers need the continued protection of laws" (Oct. 4).
In an effort to avoid a running commentary of smokers versus non-smokers, I would like to reply to Ms. Shapiro's and Mr. Fries' (Oct. 2) comments, and, hopefully, put the subject to rest.
While Ms. Shapiro has certainly put some effort into explaining the ill effects of secondhand smoke, she tends to overlook her own observations, such as (1) smoking is a painful addiction, (2) she, too, knows the feeling of discrimination, (3) cigarette addicts have a continuous need to smoke. As for Mr. Fries' comments, he seems to be more concerned with clean streets and dirty ashtrays rather than clean air.
As non-smokers are well within their rights to be concerned about the air around them and continue to fight for their rights, they are not the only people that have rights. Ms. Shapiro and Mr. Fries appear to believe that I and other smokers cannot disagree with their opinion, that we do not have the "need for continued protection of laws" to support our rights. We smokers also need protection of the law, since non-smokers do as much, if not more harm to us, by disregarding our right to "freedom of choice."
In today's society, there seems to be a "me first" attitude. We have all put aside the most fundamental lesson ever taught to us. Where is compassion and understanding for each other? I am not the only smoker that respects the wishes of non-smokers. I do not sit in a non-smoking section of a restaurant and then complain to the management because I cannot smoke. I have seen non-smokers sit in a smoking section, just so they did not have to wait for a seat, and then complain about the smoke.
Ms. Shapiro's obsession with this subject leads her to consider smokers as unintelligent, because only non-smokers are "people who are intelligent enough not to smoke." She also comments in the closing of her letter that smoking is "our most deadly drug problem" in this country. We smokers are not out there in the streets mugging, stealing or killing in order to get a "fix." Also, we are not driving our cars on the highways under the influence of alcohol, killing and maiming innocent people. Nor are we "ignorant, not courteous and unable to refrain." Many of us spend a great deal of money, time and effort in the attempt to stop smoking.
Ms. Shapiro, Mr. Fries and all other non-smokers out there, please take note that on behalf of myself and all other smokers, I ask for nothing more than you demand of us. That is the common courtesy and acknowledgement that smokers have the same rights as everyone else.
If we all put as much effort into respecting each other, regardless of our faults, as we do in fighting each other, I am sure this would be a much better place to live. If we work together instead of against each other, we just might accomplish something and make this a better world for all of us.
Robert J. Mauro, Holiday