1. Letters to the Editor

Monday's letters: No P.E.? That's slothful thinking

District pushes to scuttle daily P.E. | April 25

No P.E.? That's slothful thinking

Despite clear scientific evidence that daily physical education improves student test scores, reduces stress and student conflict, and is essential to optimum learning, Bill Lawrence with Pinellas County Schools has a different plan. It takes the reporter eight paragraphs to illuminate this suggestion, which is based on expanding the value-added model score, which demonstrates how students are "tied to teachers" and creates a "cleaner master schedule." What?!

When the teachers weigh in, they state that students need physical education. It activates their brains, cranks up blood flow, provides a healthy change of pace and returns the student to the classroom ready to learn.

Lawrence has a plan that is not student-driven, not learning-focused and not evidence-based to accomplish anything of value in the classroom. Perhaps he needs a P.E. class to activate his thinking.

Juliana Menke, St. Petersburg

Parents angrily proclaim their sons are innocent; Two bombing survivors vow to dance, run again | April 26

Summing up two mind-sets

The two articles published on the same page should tell Americans everything they need to know about the mind-set of the radical Islamic world in relation to the United States. Despite the evidence, running gun battles, carjacking and confessions, the mother of the two Boston suspects proclaims: "I thought America was going to protect us, our kids, it was going to be safe for any reason. But it happened, the opposite. My kids — America took my kids away from me — only America." Yep, all our fault. We gave them scholarships, public assistance, an opportunity to better themselves, freedom to shop for pressure cookers and gunpowder. Regardless of the circumstances, the radical Islamic world has been taught that if anything bad happens in their lives, it's not bad decisions or radical thinking, it's the "Great Satan" that caused the problem.

Just above this article was a story of two brave women who were maimed by these "good boys." The dancer shows amazing courage and optimism despite the devastation of losing a foot, and a mother whose leg is shredded sums it up the American way: "Everyone should move foreword without fear. If we're afraid, the enemy wins." God bless America.

Jack Summers, Sun City Center

Deluded parents ignored warning signs April 24, commentary

Lots of parents in denial

I don't understand why you bothered to run this "opinion" article other than a need to fill space or a desire to jump on a hot-button bandwagon. It adds nothing of substance to a serious subject, and the supposed summary in the last paragraph — "If they deny that responsibility ... they forfeit our sympathy, our respect and our trust" — is largely irrelevant.

Adam Lanzo's mother was seemingly even more deluded when she armed her son in Newtown. His father, along with the parents of James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, seem to have washed their hands of their troubled children. Also, being American, they know to armor themselves with silence and a wall of attorneys.

Certainly these parents were deluded and ignored warning signs. That is, unfortunately, not unusual — we hear it often when the only victim has been the child lost to drugs or alcohol. There's no indication that these parents knew their children planned to become mass murderers. The FBI even told the mother there was nothing to worry about. Parents in denial are not news; their lack of media savvy makes them an easy target for snarky columnists who have nothing useful to say.

Mary Hunt, Seminole

The lines blur on abortion April 23, commentary

An unjust law

I would like to respond to Sally Quinn. A pre-born baby should not be deprived of the right to be born. The law never took into account any moral-religious beliefs. It needs to take into account the taking of life.

An unjust law, abortion on demand, is no law at all. That's draconian for you. And while using that adjective, can there be anything more draconian than a health care system that fails to regulate abortion clinics like the "House of Horrors" run by West Philadelphia Dr. Kermit Gosnell?.

B.A. O'Neill, Pinellas Park

Runners will have reason to hustle | April 26

A barbaric spectacle

Let's remember that in the running of the bulls, the animals are whipped and terrorized into running down streets crowded with masses of inebriated people brandishing sticks. They slip and fall, often breaking horns or injuring legs. It is all just a prelude to being led into bullfighting arenas where every one of them will die.

Once in the ring, the exhausted, confused bulls fight for their lives as men on horses run them in circles while repeatedly piercing them with knives called banderillas until the animals are dizzy, weakened from blood loss and suffering agonizing pain. The matador (Spanish for "killer") comes in only when the bull is near death. Bulls are often still conscious as their ears and tails are cut off as "trophies."

Money spent to run with the bulls contributes to bullfights, as do tickets purchased by tourists. Anyone participating in this barbaric spectacle should know they go home with blood on their hands.

Philip Tripp, Largo

Professional baseball

Just say no to $6 hot dogs

Professional baseball has a lot of nerve to charge hard-working people ridiculous prices for food: $6 for a hot dog, $5 for a soda, $4 for a pretzel, and so on. Years ago, my friends and I had summer jobs making minimum wage and we could afford to go to a ballgame every week. Tickets were $1.50.

It's no wonder so many are bringing food into stadiums. Why do these owners continue to pick the pockets of fans? It will get worse unless the fans stand up and boycott.

Steve Pappas, Spring Hill