August letter of the month | The winning letter discussed gun regulation
Give people same chance ducks get
If you are a duck hunter you are required to use a plug that limits the magazine to three shells. This rule is intended to give ducks a fighting chance to evade being shot by a hunter armed with an auto-load shotgun. We, as conservatives, (mostly) agree this is a good rule to avoid decimating the wild duck population while advancing a policy of skill and accuracy. Our Constitution prevents taking away people’s guns, but let’s consider giving people the same consideration as wild ducks. For example: (1) permanently limit magazine capacity to three rounds; (2) allow only one magazine per gun; (3) possession of non-compliant magazines will be fined $10,000 per incident. The goal is not “gun control” but to give hunted people the same sporting chance we give wild ducks.
Bernard Waryas, Dunedin
Call to defeat HIV hits home | Feb. 7
Fight AIDS around globe
I recently stumbled upon an article by Steve Contorno about the startling rate of AIDS infections in Florida, and decided to research the topic on my own. While the domestic AIDS epidemic is a serious threat, it pales in comparison to the effects that AIDS and other tragically prevalent diseases have on the world as a whole. According to the World Health Organization, 219 million people were estimated to be infected with malaria in 2017, 37 million were HIV positive and 10 million had tuberculosis, most of whom live in nations without the strong political and medical institutions available to Americans.
Currently, a resolution is moving through Congress, HR 517, that would increase the United States’ annual commitment to the Global Fund, an international financing organization that provides vital resources to at-risk regions. If passed, HR 517 would save an estimated 16 million lives, cut the death rates of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in half, stop an additional 234 million cases of these diseases, and unlock an additional $46 billion in funding from lower-income countries fighting these epidemics.
But like all things in Washington, HR 517 will fail without the proper support. On behalf of RESULTS, a citizen’s advocacy organization, I’m hoping Reps. Charlie Crist, Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor and Ross Spano, our local members of Congress, will sign on as co-sponsors to this resolution and affect substantive, positive change. I must stress the moral duty that Americans have to protecting those without the ability to protect themselves from disease from our position at the helm of the free world — this isn’t a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, it’s a human issue. With the help of our members of Congress, those in this world without hope can lead the healthy, dignified lives to which all humans are entitled.
Jack Quinn, St. Petersburg
Why teachers keep quitting | Column, Aug. 31
An honest appraisal
For the most part I did not agree with Paula Dockery’s views when she was a state legislator. However, I always thought she was honest and forthcoming about her stand on issues. In her recent column about teachers, Dockery’s honesty was impressive. She acknowledged the Republican dismantling of our public schools and apologized for going along with them. When was the last time we heard from a current or former legislator that they were wrong about an issue and sorry for their support of that issue? Never?
Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg
Why teachers keep quitting | Column, Aug. 31
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Discipline and learning
Two columns, “Teachers just want a little respect” and “Why teachers keep quitting,” have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times recently. Many valid reasons for teacher frustration are listed. However, only Scott Maxwell’s piece mentions the primary reason teachers are leaving, and that is “they want more effective ways to discipline students.” During the past several decades, due to liberal policies such as identity politics and, of course, political correctness, schools have steadily been stripped of their authority to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning. This is the elephant in the room, which few have the courage to state. This is the main reason for teachers leaving public education today. A lose-lose.
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin
120-plus Zion graves found | Aug. 31
Comforting the afflicted
Kudos to Paul Guzzo, those who have worked with him, and the Tampa Bay Times for tenacious investigative coverage of what we now know to be a tragic case of the disregard and irreverence too often shown to the cemeteries of those deemed to be on the lower rungs of our social ladder. What happened at Zion Cemetery in Tampa has happened nationwide — with troubling frequency — to the burial grounds of African Americans, poor whites, native Americans, those too often without the social or political influence to resist development that often proceeds with — at best — carelessness and at the worst, wanton expediency to facilitate placement of residences, office buildings, roads, stadiums, airports, etc. There are many more Zions out there; I know this from research done in my own effort to preserve and protect another local cemetery. The outrage needed and empathetic response for this kind of thing is so simple. Would you want this to happen to your loved ones?
Lou Claudio, Safety Harbor
Schools face different storm | Sept. 4
Hurricanes are different
Closing schools for hurricanes is different than shutting them for snowstorms up north. As local public school officials noted, they were preparing to use some schools as evacuation shelters, something that doesn’t happen during a snowstorm. Also, both school staff and students in many areas were preparing to evacuate; many did indeed evacuate to higher ground. During a snowstorm, residents are encouraged to shelter in place. Forecasting is not an exact science, although it is more accurate now than ever before. It was the right call to close the schools based on the information at hand at the time the decision needed to be made.
Kitty Rawson, St. Petersburg