1. Letters to the Editor

Friday's letters: Put focus on criminals, not gays

Published Dec. 24, 2014

Same-sex marriages' final hurdle | Dec. 24, editorial

Put focus on criminals, not gays

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear the state of Florida's plea for a continuance of a stay order that prohibits lawful marriage between same-sex couples in Florida. With this hurdle cleared, gay and lesbian couples should soon be free to marry and be entitled to all state rights and privileges afforded to heterosexual couples.

Hopefully now state Attorney General Pam Bondi will cease her persistence in persecuting gays and lesbians who are innocent of wrongdoing, and spend more time prosecuting hard-core violent criminals and ensure they are kept locked up.

Officer Charles Kondek of Tarpon Springs was murdered on Sunday. The individual charged in the killing has 30 prior felony arrests and 10 felony convictions, all achieved by the age of 23. The attorney general's office and prosecutors need to concentrate on keeping people like this man, with so many priors, off the streets.

Mickey Saperstone, Wimauma

Same-sex marriages' final hurdle | Dec. 24, editorial

And liberty for all

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi states gay marriage would "impose significant public harm." Her office adds that "Florida's marriage laws … have a close, direct and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units."

First, consider "significant public harm." Really? What about the murderers, rapists, terrorists, human traffickers, child molesters, politicians and others, such as big corporations, who cause harm?

Second, if Florida marriage laws are directly related to stable and enduring family units, then maybe Bondi needs to do some research. Florida ranks in the top 10 states for high divorce rates, children raised in single-parent homes, and for deadbeat parents who owe millions in support.

Marriage is not about laws, government parties or even religion. Marriage is about love and commitment, and in this case, equality — equality granted to us by the Declaration of Independence.

Dalessa Carnley, Brooksville

The lost bones | Dec. 21

Historic truth revealed

I have posted a link to the Dozier saga on my Facebook page as an article I pray my peers read and appreciate. None of us may have loved ones who died there, but all of us need to know what formidable horror that place held for children sent there a scant 50 to 100 years ago.

Dr. Erin Kimmerle should be canonized, in my book, for her sustained effort to have truth and justice prevail for these children. She's a brave woman who deserves credit for her research, teaching and above all, integrity.

Those who worked on this series deserve a Pulitzer for writing and photography.

The state of Florida should establish a fund to subsidize any future research required to bring these lost children home.

Sharon Graham, Valrico

Wrong-way crash in Land O'Lakes kills one Dec. 12

Safety strips on exit ramps

As a snowbird who loves Florida and its people, I despair of the far too frequent reports of deaths caused by someone entering a divided highway via an exit ramp. Current deterrents seem to be ineffective.

A relatively simple and inexpensive means to stop the carnage would be to install spring-loaded "sharks teeth" facing down the off ramp. The tires of exiting vehicles would simply push the teeth down into the ramp. Vehicles attempting to enter the highway via the off ramp would suffer destruction of their tires.

Peter Darrach, Ruskin

Satanic display rises in Capitol | Dec. 23

An official holiday

I can understand the problem atheists have with Nativity displays at the Florida Capitol. A case could be made that this is an endorsement of Christianity. However, Christmas Day is an official federal and state holiday, and even the nonbeliever would concede that the day is in essence the commemoration of the birth of Christ. Hence, the manger scene.

Perhaps the battle that atheists should wage is to eliminate the Christmas Day holiday from the federal and state calendars.

What has always baffled me are the protests from the myriad skeptical groups who deny God. Why would they waste their precious time arguing about a being they claim to believe (pun intended) does not exist?

My question to any atheist is: Who has more to lose? When I die and if there is no God, I will never know since I will cease to exist. If there is a God, when you die — and I say this with no joy — there will be hell to pay.

Kenn Sidorewchi, Oldsmar

Team's charity sets right example | Dec. 24, letters

Help for officers' families

This letter challenged professional sports teams in the Tampa Bay area to support families of slain police officers. The Gold Shield Foundation, started in 1981 by George Steinbrenner and a group of Tampa business leaders, has been doing just that for over 33 years.

We cover seven counties to include Hillsborough, Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando, Polk, Pasco and Marion as well as MacDill Air Force Base. We have had 39 line-of-duty deaths since our founding. This week we presented a check for $5,000 to the Tarpon Springs Police Department to be delivered to Officer Charles Kondek's widow at the appropriate time. We will also cover the college tuition for those eligible dependent children as well as Mrs. Kondek if she decides to pursue school.

We have had too many law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in our communities, but the Gold Shield Foundation is here to support the agencies and families in the time of need.

Joe Voskerichian, executive director, Gold Shield Foundation, Tampa