Listen to GOP voters on smart gun control | Editorial, Aug. 17
With a semantic quibble, I applaud the Times Editorial Board’s observation that lawmakers are out of step with public sentiment. This phenomenon pertains on guns, abortion and a swath of issues — maybe most — where politicians favor self-interested influencers over polls that more accurately reflect the views of those whom they represent. However, framing matters. I suggest a shift from “gun control” to “firearm violence reduction” as more accurate and unifying. Nearly all gun owners deplore the violence as much, often more, than anyone else. They are often better informed about the efficacy of proposed interventions. They do not feel represented by their alleged “spokespersons.” Indeed, most would support going further (licensure, registration and insurance applied to everyone and every firearm — if only to draw and bright line distinction between a responsible majority and a criminal or deranged minority). I am reminded of the swift consensus and practical realization that was accomplished by changing the term “gay marriage” to “marriage equality.” If you want a crack a safe, enlist the locksmiths.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Black and white justice
Sentence called “crazy” | Aug. 17
Regardless of how we feel about Cameron Herrin’s 24-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide, I’m struck by the disparity of attention for a young white male when there are so many young Black males in prison with extremely harsh sentences, often for much lesser crimes. And they do not wind up getting front-page or any-page attention. Our system is broken, from the dice roll of plea bargaining to sentencing to imprisonment that is supposed to result in rehabilitation but instead causes great harm to all prisoners, their families and support networks, and ultimately to the society to which they return. I too feel this punishment is excessive and I hope that addressing it will draw attention to all imprisoned Black people, not only to this particular case. This is not a black and white issue. It is a justice issue that affects all of us.
Mardie Chapman, St. Petersburg
Not that free
The pure Orwellian double-speak of Gov. DeSantis’ ‘Stop Woke’ act | Column, July 29
Where is freedom in Florida? There is too little freedom for women to make choices about what is best for their own bodies. There is too little freedom for educators to approach and teach factual, needed curriculum in schools. Voter suppression limits the days and ways people can vote affecting many minorities. What century is Florida living in?
Marilyn S. Warner, Clearwater