1. Opinion

After mistaking my wife for an intruder, I got rid of my handgun | Thursday’s letters

Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
A target is fired at during a class for a concealed handgun license at The Shooting Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas.
Published Sep. 11
Updated Sep. 11

Why I got rid of my handgun

A Smith and Wesson .38 caliber two-inch snub nose is fired at Knight Shooting Sports in Largo. [DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]

Why won’t Congress act on guns to save lives? | Editorial, Sept. 8

It was about 1970 when I got a gun to protect my family. I didn’t know much about guns but had heard of the Smith & Wesson 38 Special, so that’s what I bought. I loaded it and put it in the drawer of the night stand next to the bed, just in case. Months went by, then one night I was awakened by the sound of someone opening the sliding glass door in the bedroom. I could see someone was behind the curtains about eight feet away, but I was not completely awake and still in a kind of daze.

I went for the gun in the drawer but could not get my hand on it. With no time to spare, the best I could do was tackle the intruder. So I lunged, hoping to knock him back outside. By now I was fully alert and heard my wife lying on the ground outside asking, “Why did you do that?”

That was almost 50 years ago, but I still think how lucky I was that I could not get my hand on the gun. I decided maybe my family was safer without it.

I know a lot of people have guns for protection, and I suppose sometimes it helps. But, it appears to me that guns sometimes cause more pain than protection. Too often we hear of someone shooting in anger, or by mistake like I almost did. To pull the trigger takes only a split second, but it can cause great pain, death and a lifetime of regret. I’m sure there are many people who wish they never had a gun.

Julian Hartzog, Tarpon Springs

Federal vs. state roles

An elderly man waits to be attended at a tent-hospital set up by Samaritan's Purse in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas. [RAMON ESPINOSA | AP]

DeSantis: Bahamas aid is a job for feds | Sept. 10

Gov. Ron DeSantis is absolutely right about which level of government should be providing aid to the Bahamas. We have lost sight of the responsibilities that belong at the federal level and those that belong to the states. While foreign policy is federal, education and most infrastructure, etc., belong at the state and local level, and that has been usurped. I didn’t support him but have been impressed with his performance. He could have grandstanded here for political points but instead stayed focused on his role.

Jeffrey Hausman, Tarpon Springs

Florida State breaks Top 25

The main entrance to Florida State University.

State universities’ rankings rise | Sept. 10

Florida State University has soared to No. 18 among national public universities. FSU has eclipsed its own goal of becoming one of the country’s coveted Top 25 public institutions, climbing 25 spots since 2014 under the leadership of President John Thrasher. The U.S. News ranking also places FSU 57th among all national universities, public and private, an increase from 70th last year.

Florida State’s rise was sparked by its designation, along with the University of Florida, as preeminent universities by the state Legislature. They’ve used the additional funding wisely to hire faculty, so that more than 50 percent of classes are smaller than 20 students. Also, by putting more resources toward counseling and advisers, FSU has achieved the best four-year graduation rate in Florida and one of the best in America.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials joined President Thrasher, faculty, administrators, staff and students Monday morning to celebrate. As an FSU graduate and mother of two alumni, I agree with President Thrasher, who credited the faculty, staff, and the great students when he said he couldn’t be prouder.

Terri Tankel, Dunedin


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  4. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Even Oklahoma, a state not famous for progressive reform, has done more than Florida to fix sentencing inequities, Carl Hiaasen writes.
  5. In this photo from June 28, 2019, a Coalition for Life St. Louis member waves to a Planned Parenthood staff member. ROBERT COHEN  |  AP
    Florida law already requires that parents be notified prior to an abortion, writes senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida.
  6. Students say the Pledge of Allegiance as thousands gather at a candlelight vigil for several students killed in the Saugus High School shooting in Central Park, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. CAROLYN COLE  |  AP
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  7. Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association members protest outside of the school board building in Tampa in December 2017. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
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  8. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the location of what is believed to be a former African-American cemetery next to the parking lot of Frank Crum Staffing located at 100 S. Missouri Ave. in Clearwater.  The empty lot is part of the former Clearwater Heights neighborhood which featured Bethany CME church and Williams Elementary School.   Photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.  JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times
    Tampa Bay’s lost cemeteries are part of our collective history.
  9. A business man and woman holding a sign depicting their political party preference. SHARON DOMINICK  |
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