Please tread on me
Have gun, will fish | July 11
Every responsible gun owner — and I am one — knows that you do not chamber a round unless you have a reasonable expectation of discharging the weapon. Experienced, safe hunters walk the fields, woods and marshes with their shotguns or bolts open. The number of people dead or shot by those who failed to heed this core tenet of gun safety goes beyond counting, and includes former Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting party. These same hunters also know that if you have to fire a second time at your target, you are not much of a hunter, unless you are using bow. Michael Taylor was proud to point out that he is “fully loaded, with a round in the chamber.” Statistically, the person most at risk from that chambered round is his 2-year-old son. Taylor and his ilk claim to be “constitutionalists.” In fact, he is a simply a provocateur. His flag says, “Don’t Tread On Me.” It should say “Please tread on me so I can post it on YouTube.” It’s the next step beyond manufactured outrage: Manufactured grievance. “The police arrested me for exercising my rights!” As we have learned over the past decade, disgraceful behavior is now considered okay if it gets you media attention. My suggestion: If he is so concerned about police overreach, he should join Black Lives Matter. As we have all seen, they have genuine grievances. He is still trying to invent one.
Buck Beasom, Tampa
Clinging to power
Columnist Mac Stipanovich clarifies the difficulties Democrats have perfectly when he uses the military concept of, “observe, orient, decide, act.” The Republicans are playing the hard ball game of decimating their opposition with cultural wedge issues designed to divide and conquer. Whether it’s labels such as “socialist” or the cultural war surrounding a created controversy regarding critical race theory, it’s easier to win elections by avoiding discussion of actual policy issues. The Democrats are policy-wonking their way through actual issues such as climate change, the environment, police reform, infrastructure and health care expansion. Meantime, Stipanovich’s “hedgehog” Republicans stay in line by employing a culture war to “white-fright” their way toward complete control of government. With Republican state legislatures nationwide deliberately suppressing the vote back to the days of Jim Crow, our democratic republic teeters.
William Falcone, Brandon
What to do about Afghanistan
Two major issues facing the United States right now are (a) taking care of 20,000 or so Afghans who faithfully aided U.S. forces and (b) protecting all those young women who got educations (gasp!) in the last 20 years, and must now be beheaded by the Taliban for having done so. It is unfortunately taking years in some cases for the U.S. government to process visas, etc. The Taliban will move a lot faster. So to solve Problem A, why not bring the Afghans to the leaky U.S. border with Mexico and have them escorted across the border by their former U.S. Army colleagues and welcomed into the United States as they should be? As for Problem B, there is no solution.
Linus Upson, Tampa
Inoculate and celebrate
Thank you for the article on the COVID-19 update on the delta variant, which is far more contagious and potentially deadlier than previous strains in adults and children. In addition to the well-known short-term health consequences, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of unvaccinated chronic “long haulers” manifested in a number of physical and mental health disabilities. Imagine due to these consequences, not being able to enjoy or attend celebratory life events-such as graduations, weddings, religious events, not to mention vacations, entertainment and other activities that we all enjoy.
Recent Champa Bay multi-sports success is just one of many reasons we want to be alive and healthy to proudly cheer for our teams. We will then be able to celebrate with Tampa boat parades and other festive activities, as the Lightning indeed have struck twice. Let’s continue with these joyous moments: “Striking twice” with shots in arms will better protect ourselves, our community, families and friends against the more contagious and virulent delta COVID-19 strain.
Dr. Charles Sand, Tampa
The writer is medical adviser for the Hillsborough County/Tampa COVID-19 Committee and serves on the Hillsborough Emergency Medical Planning Council.
Texas voting restrictions advance in special session | July 12
Most of us have heard of recently passed laws designed to place obstacles in the processes of voting. These processes led to a record number of people who became engaged enough to change the direction of this country. So, what’s stopping you now? Is it illegal to vote? No! Instead of wringing your hands worrying about how these laws will keep you away, do yourself and your country a favor and start preparing to vote now. Learn all you can about the ways to vote and begin planning on how you will vote. And, encourage others to do the same.Talking about these new restrictive laws will not change anything. Change will happen only when you vote, period.
Don Alexander, Clearwater