Boston Marathon bombings
There's been a lot of speculation about the rationale behind the ghastly attacks in Boston. The left wishes to steer clear of terms like radical Islam, terrorism and jihad, but this is indeed a holy war that is being waged on the United States and the West in general. The reasoning behind this is simple: America and the West espouse values, principles and ideals that are contrary to those of traditional conservative Islamic thinking. But it goes deeper than that - to the heart of American foreign policy and also to domestic policy.
The religious doctrine that composes the bedrock of radical Islam is a particularly virulent strain. The impunity with which imams and clerics indoctrinate the masses is sickening. Westerners find it hard to comprehend the true depths of depravity to which these individuals are willing to go.
The brothers' brazen acts of terrorism are inspirations to the millions of overzealous, trigger-happy jihadists waiting to pounce. Make no mistake, the horror that tugs at our heartstrings is the very fuel of their hatred. 9/11 was when the floodgates of radical Islam were finally opened on the free nation of America. Since then, Madrid, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Bali and many other cities have witnessed the horrifying effects of the world's most vitriolic, hate-spewing strain, radical Islam.
We cannot hide behind political correctness in the hope that we can accommodate these types of people within our society. We must galvanize all those who cherish the sanctity of life against these tyrants who wish to tear us apart.
Brett Chatz, Clearwater
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Boston Marathon bombings
Refusing to cower
Every time we have an incident like the bombing at the Boston Marathon, we are shown the video of the incident over and over. I don't know what good that repetition does anyone. Is the media concerned that folks missed seeing the explosions so perhaps they'll catch it this time?
It appears to be that they are saying, "You need to be afraid!" I refuse to be afraid, and it appears that at least the sports fans in Boston feel the same or they would not have turned out for the Red Sox game, certainly a venue that could be an opportunity for terrorism.
It appears that two amateurs carried out this carnage. Hopefully, we will learn where and how they became radicalized. However, I personally am not heading out to buy additional firearms; nor am I going to stop going to public events. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I feel that Bostonians have shown their grit and their pride by returning to the streets as soon as the second suspect was apprehended.
I also do not think this incident should affect the debate regarding the immigration bill. That bill will make us safer as those who have been sidelined from our society will be integrated into it.
Thom Cooper, St. Petersburg
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Gov. Rick Scott
Maryland versus Florida
I just returned from my home state of Maryland, helping my family celebrate my sister's 50th wedding anniversary. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has accomplished the following:
1. Repealed the death penalty.
2. Banned certain assault weapons and large magazines and tightened the rules for gun registration.
3. Expanded voting for citizens.
4. Passed an infrastructure expansion bill, increasing jobs and investing in the future.
5. Passed an offshore wind energy bill.
Maybe this happens because almost two-thirds of Maryland residents have a college education. Maybe it happened because its students are ranked No. 1 in advanced placement tests.
Or maybe it is because Maryland's governor pushes these things through a legislature that reflects the thinking of its citizenry.
Gov. Rick Scott does not lead, he follows, and it is the path to ruination.
Martin L. Daugherty, St. Petersburg
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Scott signs school bill - April 23
Monitor college admissions
New York City abandoned its four-tiered diploma system (commercial, vocational, academic, regents) in the late 1970s when we found two problems.
First, once students abandoned academic or regents-level courses, they were "damaged goods" for future college admission, should they change their minds.
Second, high schools were consciously tracking large numbers of students into less rigorous commercial and vocational strands in order to boost graduation rates.
Now that Florida has decided to return to the 1950s, it will require careful monitoring and adjustment in college admissions to see that we don't relive lessons already learned.
Stephen E. Phillips, former superintendent of high schools, New York City Board of Education, St. Petersburg
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The lines blur on abortion
April 23, commentary
The fundamental truth
The author's tortured evolution on abortion is indicative of the emergence of the truth about abortion: It always involves the taking of a unique human life.
What is "blurred" are not the lines defining viability but our collective refusal to acknowledge that fundamental truth.
In our society, the standard for taking human life is certainty. In a capital case the judge advises the jury to determine guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." In a mine disaster we continue rescue efforts as long as there is the possibility that the victims survived. Why then do we abandon this standard in the case of abortion when there is abundant evidence of the humanness of the unborn child at almost every stage of development?
Norman Dusseault, St. Petersburg
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No decision likely on health funding
A senator's cold words
Buried on the last page of Section B is a claim by state Sen. John Thrasher of St. Augustine that "there is no fallout" for not going forward with Medicaid expansion. The comment is not based on the million or so Floridians who will suffer without access to health insurance, or the billions of dollars (unreimbursed) that will be spent in emergency rooms providing care to the uninsured. He goes on to state that he doesn't believe there will be "political repercussions." What a cold and calculating public servant.
Martha Hodge, Tampa