Two Tampa officers shot and killed - June 30
I hereby indict the legislators who oppose gun control in the killing of two police officers in Tampa on Tuesday. Now, a mother will always remember her child's birthday as the day her husband died. It can't get more tragic than that.
Our elected officials who take "campaign donations" from the NRA have allowed our police officers to be outgunned and in constant danger due to the amount of guns everywhere. People have been conned into thinking that if they carry a gun they are safe. Only the gun manufacturers and the NRA stand to benefit from the prolific sale of guns. How can you expect fine, intelligent men and women to want to become officers when you expose them to such risk?
When will our legislators give up personal gain for public safety?
My heart goes out to the families of these officers, their fellow officers and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. Such madness!
Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs
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Lock them away
As sad as it may seem, we almost are getting what we deserve. By putting human flotsam on the streets after they commit crime after crime, what can we expect?
Does anyone believe this suspect would be gainfully employed with the criminal record he had compiled for his entire life? We make excuses of prison overcrowding, and give second, third, 20th chances. I could not care less if these violent people sleep four to a bunk. If they don't want Bubba as a bed partner, then don't be criminals.
Keep habitual criminals incarcerated forever. They made their choices, let's make ours.
Don Niemann, Seminole
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WellCare fraud case
Punish the individuals
As more is revealed about the WellCare fraud charges, it becomes impossible to resist the feeling that the old adage about the biggest crooks avoiding punishment is sadly correct.
From what I read, WellCare has defrauded the government for millions, hid their profits offshore and denied care to less profitable patients such as premature infants and the elderly. They have lied, harmed the sick, stolen our money and punished employees who had the courage to object. For all these crimes the company is being asked to pay fines equaling less than half of what they are believed to have stolen.
Amounts aside, punishment by fine allows those responsible to escape real punishment and is not the best way to ensure that other corporations do not engage in the same sort of behavior. At a time when the Supreme Court has extended free speech rights to corporations, perhaps the time has come to mandate criminal prosecution for corporate leaders who allow or encourage illegal activity.
If the government had followed this path with the Columbia/HCA case, we would probably not have WellCare committing the same kind of fraud today. As a secondary benefit, we'd have one less gubernatorial candidate.
William Adams, St. Petersburg
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What is the mission or goal in the war in Afghanistan? When will we be able to declare victory or defeat? Originally I think that war began because intelligence said that the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, was conceived and executed from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was supposed to be hiding there somewhere. We sent about 10,000 people over to catch him. Nine years later we have almost 100,000 troops there. When you consider support people, who knows what the actual number is.
Are they looking for bin Laden? It seems as though our soldiers are more engaged with the Taliban. That's another religious, ethnic, internal war that will go on forever. The corruption of the Afghan government is the icing on the cake. The Afghans are never going to be able to prosecute this war with their own troops, and I don't think they care about losing ours. Vietnam was a quagmire. I can't believe that the U.S. government has willingly gotten us into another quagmire.
This is not partisan. George W. Bush should have sent more troops in November of 2001 and taken care of Bin Laden then. President Barack Obama should not be escalating this mess. We should be getting out, immediately.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
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Generals' turnover in wars raises questions
June 28, story
The strategic perspective
I found this article interesting. I had an article published in the March-April 2004 Military Review, "Improving Strategic Leadership," that discussed the subject of strategic leaders and what needed to be done to improve strategic leadership. It appears to me that we haven't taken it to heart.
Strategic leaders can't be developed by having them rush through promotion gates too fast to ensure they develop the experience and expertise necessary for success in today's complex political-military environment.
If you will look at Gen. David Petraeus' education, you will see he has an education where he could reflect and gain a strategic perspective. The author is wrong or misunderstood what the military personnel said about promotions, because there are still accelerated promotions that result in senior officers being assigned to positions where they have very little if any understanding of strategic second and third order of effects of their decisions. They have also had little contact with other than military processes and procedures.
I'm not saying this makes them poor leaders, only that they are not prepared to be strategic leaders in today's complex world. The former Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, did establish some strategic training for senior leaders that was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done in order to cope with the environment of today's complex military-political-unconventional world
Mike Flowers, brigadier general, U.S. Army, retired, Apollo Beach
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Tampa streets littered with fake car crashes
June 29, Robert Trigaux column
Make them prove legality
This is a very outrageous situation that was apparently perfected in South Florida but now has been pushed farther north. Am I understanding correctly that law abiding drivers are paying hundreds of dollars each year to cover these shams?
The story said fake accidents "gained traction in South Florida when illegal immigrants were told they could pay off the price of being smuggled into the country by faking injuries in staged accidents."
If so, we can enact a win-win solution by requiring all "victims" (real and otherwise) to provide proof as part of their claim forms that they are legally in our country. Sign me up on this no-brainer!
Charlie Rizzo, Palm Harbor
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Mayor turns out for pride event - June 25
Foster deserves praise
We should all offer kudos, applause, pats on the back, standing ovations or whatever is positively appropriate to show St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster our appreciation for his gesture of support toward the gay and lesbian community. By showing up at the St. Pete Pride reception and so many other events sponsored by diverse organizations, including the NAACP 77th Annual Freedom Fund banquet two weeks ago, Mayor Foster is demonstrating that he is serious about being the mayor for all citizens of St. Petersburg.
I heard the mayor make a very profound statement: "I live my life according to the Bible, but I govern according to the Constitution." As simple as this statement seems, many politicians don't get it. They wear their religion on their sleeves and tend to want to force their religious beliefs on their constituents. As for Mayor Foster, so far, so good.
Thank you, Mayor Foster. You are appreciated.
Ray Tampa, president, NAACP, St. Petersburg