We are all flawed
Guilty verdict a step on the road to justice | Editorial, April 21
It seems like every few days another unarmed Black man is shot by a police officer. And just as sad are the comments on social media that say he probably deserved it, or he shouldn’t have been in that neighborhood, or he was probably on drugs, or he was a thug, or a gang banger or a low life. And guess who the comments come from? Your neighbor, your teacher, your boss, your lawyer and, yes, even your father. I was mad at half of America that seemed okay with bringing racism out of the closet to rear its ugly head. But something happened during the Derek Chauvin trial. Other cops came forward and said this was not right. Witnesses showed videos they made and cried on the stand. Cameras were in the streets and recorded every agonizing minute of the situation as it went down.
Yes, George Floyd was flawed. Guess what? Every one of us are flawed. If I were Black, some white people would be horrified by some of the decisions I have made. Those same people would look at me as a white man and say, look at everything he has encountered. The guilty verdict made me tear up. It gave me the slightest bit of hope. I saw a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer post his happiness at the verdict. But he had a question. He wanted to know if it was okay to stop a murder in progress, even if the murder was being committed by a cop. I pray this trial, this verdict, this publicity will snowball and gain national and international attention and put those ugly racists and bigots back in the closet and start teaching our children love instead of hate. I only hope that I am alive to see the day that this kind of behavior is a small minority, and shunned in the eyes of all.
Jason Rhodes, Spring Hill
The writer is a student at St. Petersburg College. This letter is adapted from an essay he wrote for his ethics class.
How about a pill?
Race to herd immunity | April 25
I wonder how many unvaccinated Floridians are “needle-phobic”? If we are to reach herd immunity, we need the majority of these last 35 percent of Floridians vaccinated. What incentive will it take? Money? Food? Tax deductions? What we need long term is a pill, not vaccinations!
William Henzler, St. Petersburg
The history we carry
Whiteness is not a cancer | Letter, April 24
In response to the writer who states that he listens when it’s time to listen: I invite him to listen. Nobody has said that white lives don’t matter. We are being reminded that Black lives matter a lot less. For more than 400 years, white people in this country have been taught that people of color are less human than white people. It was done to justify slavery. That teaching is part of who we are; we carry it like a cancer. Until we acknowledge it, there will be no healing. We all hold responsibility; we elected the people who perpetuate the system, and we look the other way until, like the George Floyd video, we have to look at the reality.
Fern Williams, Zephyrhills
The party of ‘no’
The Republican Party has anteed up on its status as the party of “no.” Our legislators have said “no” to many of the rules that made voting in Florida a good example for the rest of the country. They have said “no” to the local towns and cities that have enacted environmental policies to help combat climate change. They have passed new rules to say “no” to a woman’s control of her own body. They tried to say “no” to transgender children who want to play sports and may still pass these heartless laws. The party of liberty? You have got to be kidding me. The Constitution was designed to give people rights, not take them away.
Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg
A moment of silence
When I was a kid in school, we used to recite the Lord’s Prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Being Jewish, I knew that it really wasn’t an aspect of my religion, so I just bowed my head and remained silent. There wasn’t much politicizing back then, so reciting it in schools wasn’t a big issue, as I remember. Remaining silent for a minute has nothing to do with church and state. You can wonder what you’re going to eat for lunch, hope that you don’t get called on to answer because you’re not prepared, perfect the excuse for not having your homework, or even silently pray to your God. Maybe it should become standard in the state Legislature and even Congress to do the same, so that legislators can think a bit before opening their mouths.
David Lubin, Tampa
Racing to Tampa
A win for race fans | April 26
Once again the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg showcased the excitement of Indy car racing in the beautiful backdrop of the city’s water front. Even with limited pandemic access this event is of great benefit to our amazing city. So the question is, when will we move the race to Tampa?
Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg