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Self-righteousness is clouding editorials' moral vision

Re: Diane Steinle's It's safe now, Munchkins, in this squeaky clean city, Feb. 21.

My, my, what a blatantly biased article simply dripping with self-righteous scorn for those who truly care about the moral (or lack thereof) climate in our country!

It seems that Steinle and for that matter, most of America, has lost the ability to differentiate between liberty and license. As I understand it, one is something a good patriot would give his life for _ freedom from oppression, tyranny, or dominance or a government not chosen; exemption from forms of compulsion or indignity. The other is unrestrained liberty of action; abuse of freedom or privileges; deviation from established rules or standards.

Now, you tell me, which definition best fits:

T-back bathing suits?

Drinking of alcohol in public?

Racy, sexual postcards/adult video stores?

Foul, rude language?

If this all means that I am a Munchkin, I guess I am pretty proud of it; and I would say to those in the area of media, which has such power to affect so many:

"Are there any journalists left who are conscious of their moral responsibilities; any reporters who truly serve the public; any journalistic protectors of the real liberty that so many of our forefathers died for? If so, please come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Diana Emery, Pinellas Park

Those who make a crusade out of opposing some philosophy or public figure must take care to themselves maintain a sense of balance and fairness, a fact your editor of editorials for the North Pinellas editions seemed to forget in a Feb. 21 critique of the three-member majority of the Clearwater City Commission, specifically on the issue of "cleaning up" Clearwater Beach.

Diane Steinle pointed out the commission had eliminated T-backs, banned "cruising," fought against alcoholic beverage outlets and racy postcards; instituted a noise ordinance and opposed cursing on the beach . . . then concluded: "If this is the kind of beach you want, it's right here in Clearwater."

Well, yes, Ms. Steinle, it is the kind of beach I want. Cruising usually includes violations of two laws banning unnecessary horn honking and loud boom boxes, both of which disturb those using the beach as well as impeding legitimate traffic. Partial nudity leads to complete nudity as a letter in your very own paper indicates in mentioning a formal proposal to the county to allow a nude beach. And liquor stores and drinking on the beach hardly enhance the ambiance. Perhaps if more teenagers were at home rather than on the beach at night, Florida wouldn't be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to education.

Now, let me ask you a question, Ms. Steinle. What kind of beach do you want?

John Royse

St. Petersburg

System keeps doctors from best work

The Feb. 28 story, All the cancer signs ignored, illustrates a serious defect in the HMO model of health care.

Edith Ahle developed an unusual disease that presented a difficult diagnostic problem. Her primary physician tried to discover the cause of her symptoms but was unable to do so. Perhaps he was somewhat limited in his investigation by the insurance company's urge to economize. Failing to solve the problem, he referred her to a specialist. The specialist's investigation also was not fruitful, but he was not permitted to follow up the patient's course. He returned her to the primary physician for followup. When the correct diagnosis of cancer was made, it was too late for cure and she died.

We have medical specialists because no physician can know all of medicine, medical knowledge has grown too large. By concentrating on a single field the specialist can have a more complete knowledge of the diseases and procedures of that field. But even then it is common that the specialist cannot make a correct diagnosis at the first assessment. Continued observation and re-evaluation are often necessary to confirm a diagnosis or to correct an erroneous one. This observation and re-evaluation is often beyond the abilities of the primary physician. The result is that the patient may suffer from continued sickness or death.

Although the physicians may have had some responsibility for this dreadful outcome, it is possible that even had the diagnosis been established at the first visit, the cancer might have been incurable.

The greatest responsibility rests with the system and insurance company that made the rules that prevented the physicians from practicing at their very best. Yet the insurance company was assigned no liability. It is a bad system.

The difficulty or inability to follow a patient was an important reason why I never joined an HMO. I am sure it was the right decision.

Richard Alan Weaver, M.D., neurologist, retired

South Pasadena

Stray animals suffer horrid fate

I hope the persons that dropped their beautiful young cats off in the area of 30th Avenue and 52nd Street N will read this. Their lives, all nine of them, were ended in one fell swoop. They were mangled by automobiles.

I hope that some day the powers that be in this city and county will really get downright serious in animal population control. If these lovely little bundles of fur had been turned in to the proper people, SPCA or Friends of Strays, perhaps they would have been placed in a loving home and been properly neutered and not only received but also provided years of pleasure. I can truly say it did not pleasure me to see these lifeless bodies. Please, if you see a stray cat or dog take the time to get help for it.

I was attacked by a stray cat this year and had to call 911 to get medical assistance. Then I was attacked by a second cat, a neighbor's, and nearly had to be hospitalized because of serious infections, but I would and will still plead on the behalf of these animals who do not deserve such an ending.

Ann H. Williams

St. Petersburg

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