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We simply cannot bear to look | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
Liberated prisoners walk out of Buchenwald concentration camp after being freed by U.S. Army troops in April 1945. A New York Times dispatch from April 18, 1945, said: "German civilians, 1,200 of them, were brought from the neighboring city of Weimar today to see for themselves the horror, brutality and human indecency perpetrated against the ‘neighbors’ at the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp." From Times files.
Liberated prisoners walk out of Buchenwald concentration camp after being freed by U.S. Army troops in April 1945. A New York Times dispatch from April 18, 1945, said: "German civilians, 1,200 of them, were brought from the neighboring city of Weimar today to see for themselves the horror, brutality and human indecency perpetrated against the ‘neighbors’ at the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp." From Times files. [ Associated Press ]
Published Jun. 10

Stop looking away

Racial theory, election reality | June 9

One of the latest Republican “policies” is the attempt to fire up the GOP base with fear and lawmaking against “critical race theory” and the 1619 Project. A grainy black-and-white film comes to my mind. I have seen it on numerous occasions the past 50 years. It’s the sight of American G.I.’s at the end of World War II herding German civilians through a concentration camp adjacent to their town. As German civilians filed by the horrible scenes, many wept, some could not bear to look, and those who did attempted to remain stoic.

We white people are those German civilians. When confronted with behavior by our ancestors just as appalling and horrific as Germans in World War II, we simply cannot bear to look. Some of us weep, some remain stoic, many turn our heads. We are ashamed for our ancestors and do not wish to be tainted by their guilt. Their guilt is their guilt but not admitting it is our guilt. It is time to just suck it up for us white folks. We owe it to our Black brothers and sisters to simply say, “mea culpa.” We apologize for our ancestors. We need to follow that up with a genuine attempt to help survivors. Fix our law enforcement and justice systems. Create programs that help make up for all the lost ground. And yes, we should teach the reality of slavery and its devastating effects that last to this day. The truth and our future behavior can set us all free!

Lee Nolan, St. Petersburg

Bay’s in the name

Next-level performance | June 9

Okay. I know it’s not a huge deal, but I’m totally over our local teams being referred to by other than their real names. As I watch the “Tampa Lightning,” I wonder what happened to the “Bay”? I enjoyed the “Tampa Bucs” run to the Super Bowl, but never heard their playoff opponent referred to as “Green.” Apparently, their “Bay” matters. If we’re going to persist in identifying teams by their home cities, let’s start calling them the St. Petersburg Rays, the Irving Cowboys, the East Rutherford Giants, etc. Enough is enough!

Michael Hare, Seminole

Big Brother was watching

FBI’s app stings, takes bite out of global crime | June 9

In 2019, the FBI launched a two-year worldwide sting on crime that came up big. The bureau accomplished this by using a cyber-criminal to help them develop a not-so-secure encrypted app called Anom (short for Anonymous in computer lingo). Anom was then released into the dark web and flourished because of demand. This is a shining example of how international cooperation and coordination can be achieved and more importantly, be successful in taking down criminals outside our borders. Earlier this week, the FBI recovered most of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline. The FBI succeeded in attaining the private encryption key and used it to retrieve the monies from DarkSide’s Bitcoin account.

This is fascinating because private keys are the equivalent of passwords, only in digital format. Cracking and hacking them is very difficult as they are closely held and kept safe, especially among criminal groups that commerce in stolen monies. With all of the bad news regarding ransomware and cyber-attacks that has been happening in our country, this is some much-needed good news! However, we should not rest on our laurels. We should continue to develop our cyber security defensive and offensive strategies and capabilities. You can rest assured that international criminals are smarting from these two victories, but they will adapt and get more nefarious. In this case, it was a good thing that Big Brother was watching!

Mark Khan, Tampa

Cowards in Congress

Jan. 6 report blasts failures of intelligence | June 9

Painting Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as either saviors or slayers of democracy seems patently unfair. If the republic continues to stumble and ultimately falls, the cause of its demise rests with more than just two lawmakers with legitimate legislative concerns. The blame rests solely in the hands of those cowards in Congress who cast aside their solemn oath to curry favor with a demagogue, Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter if they acted out of fear or fealty, their actions are a revelation— our elected representatives, chosen to protect our freedoms, are actually responsible for taking them away. Much has been written about what kept the framers awake at night during our country’s infancy. The rise of a demagogue, a grave concern, may have topped the list. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 1 said: “History will teach us that … of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.”

Jane Larkin, Tampa

No foreign policy chops

Harris discusses immigration in visit to Mexico | June 9

Vice President Kamala Harris didn’t do America proud dealing with immigration pressures visiting Guatemala and telling them not to come to America and then listing a host of reasons why Guatemalans want to come (crime, corruption, poverty, no jobs etc.). Her first strategic comment should have been to stress the national security and sovereignty of America’s borders while she was present at the border talking to law enforcement about their tough and important jobs. Offering $4 billion to make Central American countries livable was a second error because it would take years and more money to do so and guard against the funds being misspent or stolen. The vice president needs more foreign policy chops to get desirable results.

James Gillespie, St. Petersburg