Nuclear power works | Column, Sept. 17
Nuclear power cuts the carbon
Due to nuclear power, France, not generally known as a tech powerhouse, has less than one-fifth the per capita carbon footprint of the United States. The key word in global climate change is the first, global. More than one third of the Earth’s population is in the wood age and another third, the coal age. The former will remain impoverished without a great leap forward in grid electrification and freshwater provision, which right-sized nuclear reactors with desalinization capacities in coastal areas could provide. With nuclear, we might save the planet, improve lives and win friends. The key word in green new deal is again, the first, green. Yet, green proponents suggest that we swap oil and gas for intermittent and inefficient wind and solar, and some somehow think it preferable to get solar panels from China, manufactured in coal-driven factories, using raw materials from such stable places as the Congo and moved along a global supply chain via oil-powered ships. The science on nuclear safety is not, as with climate change, a model, but reassuring empirical data from decades of practice. Costs are driven by paranoia (the regulatory approval process and our neglect of research and development), not by the underlying relative cost factors. Only a fool can deny anthropogenic greenhouse warming. However, only a bigger fool can ignore how much more quickly and less disruptively we might get carbon dioxide back under 400 ppm by emphasizing nuclear as the go-to arrow in our quiver of strategies.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Mayor seeks vote on gun violence | Sept. 17
A hope in a prayer
It is encouraging to see Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Republican, courageously stand up to the gun lobby and call for Congress to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons. However, I disagree with the mayor when he says that “my prayers aren’t working.” Seeing a politician stand up to the powerful gun lobby to do the right thing is a prayer answered.
Richard Feigel, St. Petersburg
Armed, but not counted | Sept. 18
Inhibit would-be shooters
The Columbine High School shooters had a plan to neutralize the only known armed person on campus. That Florida does not know which teachers in our schools might be armed is the correct action. Any adult at all might be armed — from janitor through teachers to the school nurse (she served two tours in Iraq before she went to nursing school). Let’s leave plenty of uncertainty and, therefore, risk for any would-be school shooter; maybe that’ll help prevent another Parkland slaughter.
R.H. Parta, Bradenton
Custody battle moves online | Sept. 17
Judging the right thing to do
Judicial ethics prohibit Judge Thomas Palermo from answering Taylor Bland-Ball’s Facebook post regarding his refusal to return custody of her son after she rejected his medical treatment, preferring “natural” treatment. She complained she will miss caring for him as he faces side effects of leukemia drugs. The judge’s response might well have been that she would miss him even more after his funeral, occurring when he died from lack of acceptable treatment. Luckily, the courts exist to intervene when people risk the lives of their children. And kudos to Judge Palermo for doing a difficult, but necessary, job.
Gerald M. Taylor, Wesley Chapel