1. Letters to the Editor

Men must take a stand and help protect women from abuse

Men must help protect women

With the recent murder-suicide by a 49-year-old emergency room doctor, who killed his ex-girlfriend and then killed himself, I can no longer remain silent. At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to curry favor from women, let me say that there are many wonderful men on the planet.

Having said that, it seems to me that the incidence of spouse/significant other abuse, violence, bodily harm and even murder by men is escalating at a rampant pace. This not only bothers me because I'm a father with two daughters and a granddaughter, it bothers me because it is a blatant blemish and indictment of men in general — even the good ones.

Only a coward would verbally, physically, mentally or emotionally abuse a woman or a child. A man who does this, even at a lower level of, say, manipulation and control, is not a real man. He's an insecure coward, with an inferiority complex, lower than a wild and fierce animal, who needs intensive psychiatric therapy.

Women of the world, my deepest apologies to you for this unacceptable behavior in any form. I apologize for the male species as a whole.

We men need to be accountable for this violence. We need to step up to the plate and protect our mothers, wives, daughters and grandchildren from this horrible abuse. Although I fantasize often about taking matters into my own hands with a baseball bat or other weapon, this is not the solution. We would go to jail, and often the offender stays out of jail, free to abuse more.

What can we men do? At the first sign of manipulative and controlling behavior of a male toward a female, we can talk with the female and make them aware of their situation, from a male perspective.

We can risk that they might become angry at us and even defend their abuser (many times because they depend on the abuser for economic support). We can suggest they go to counseling for abuse victims.

And most importantly, the first time we see ANY sign of physical abuse, we can call law enforcement. When law enforcement has a record of the incident, the process begins to end the abuse.

We can also shelter in our homes our female loved ones who are enduring the abuse. This may put us in physical danger also, but we are men, and real men don't cower from cowards — even if it costs us our lives. That's what men are supposed to do — protect the lives of the women we love.

Michael Harris, Safety Harbor

Let liberals give keys to homeless

I have a simple solution to the homeless problem. In response to the liberal bleeding hearts who had their letters published June 17: All liberal ideas are the same — spend someone else's money, especially taxpayer dollars, to fix a problem.

If these letter writers care so much, why don't they and all their lib friends take two or three of these bums into their homes? Make sure they have the keys to your house and cars so they can really look for work as your paper says they do.

Why doesn't the city just shut down all the soup kitchens? If there are no free handouts there, people would not show up here. Let the ever-so-caring bleeding hearts take care of them.

I'm very tired of my tax dollars being wasted

Paul Young, Clearwater

Re: Ideas begin to flow for new park, story, June 22

Define 'park,' then take action

It is apparent that some Waterfront Park Steering Committee members in Safety Harbor seem to have no idea of the definition of the word "park." Park: a large area of land set aside in its natural state for public recreation.

It is baffling that some Floridians are so accustomed to parking garages, restaurants and sprinkler parks that they are now considered a "natural state."

I hope the Safety Harbor City Commission knows the definition of the word "park."

Terrie Dahl-Thomas, Safety Harbor

Re: Drivers in Florida disregard rules, letter by John Huntley, June 17

Defensive driving calls for patience

Mr. Huntley, no one made you move "down here," and no one is making you stay "down here in Florida."

I agree that driving in Florida can be a challenge, but how many of the drivers are from Florida? The problem is that everyone moves "down here" and brings their own rules of the road. Just because there is a Florida tag on the car does not mean they are a Floridian.

A true Southerner overlooks eccentricities of others, and when presented with a situation as Bonnie Coleman was (Woman accused of road rage, June 13), would have said, "Bless their heart, they must be having a bad day." Instead, she used her automobile as a deadly weapon, putting the safety and well-being of others in harm's way.

I learned to drive many years ago and remember being taught defensive driving. That is watching what others are doing and anticipating problems. We all need to practice patience and courtesy in all aspects of our lives.

Mary Dunn, Dunedin

Thanks to Honor Flight volunteers

Dear Honor Flight of West Central Florida: Thank you for a phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime experience with my 94-year-old father, 74 World War II veterans, and hundreds of dedicated, selfless volunteers.

I served as a guardian for my father, a U.S. Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient. He shared, "This was the best day of my life."

From the 5 a.m. greeting at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport to the unbelievable welcome home' at 10 p.m., the June 12 Honor Flight was emotionally charged and memorable beyond all expectations. We arrived home exhausted, exhilarated and grateful.

God bless Honor Flight volunteers, and God bless America!

Patricia Garcia, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Cyclists' kindness much appreciated

On a recent Saturday I was riding my bike on Indian Rocks Road. My husband was quite a bit ahead of me when I fell. A biker behind me stopped to help me and another biker went to locate my husband.

I want to thank these two men for their assistance. So much of what we read and hear is negative and it is nice to be able to thank people for doing something so positive. I hope they both read this letter and realize how much their kindnesses were appreciated.

Marilyn Warner, Clearwater