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Letters to the Editors

Teen's adult sentence unjust

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2002

Editor: A sacrificial lamb in this day and age? Did you think this could only happen in ancient times with ancient people? Well, look at the Citrus County judicial system!

Last week, a judge and an assistant state attorney performed this travesty against a 17-year-old boy who suffers mental problems, Adam Bollenback.

He has been sent to adult prison for 10 years for stealing beer from the neighbor's opened garage. As the judge told his packed court of teenagers, if they continue on a lawless path, this could happen to them.

He talked about the hazards of adult prison, mentioning the sexual abuse that occurs. The judge said he was trying to break Adam's spirit -- what else was this uncaring man trying to do? He said Adam was well on his way to a lifetime of prison. I don't want to see that happen. To a 17-year-old boy, isn't 10 years a lifetime?

The judge and the assistant state attorney brought up things that certainly did not pertain to the sentencing at hand. How is this possible? Were they so unable to take care of teenagers tried at juvenile court that they had to use these extreme measures to take care of what they should be able to do without the sacrificial lamb?

Yes, the family and Adam are perfectly aware of the fact that he has had problems, and that the blame rests with him, but do you think 10 years in adult prison is a bit much?

How can the judge ignore the recommendations of the Department of Juvenile Justice, which is a Level 8 (juvenile offender) program, which would offer help in mental health and drug related situations? And the recommendation of the Department of Corrections, which was a two-year community control, using a monitor? Why did the judge choose an adult jail, where he said there would be sexual abuse?

Yes, I know many things could not be brought up in court when helping the case of Adam, but how convenient that the judge, the district attorney and the police department could use many unusual tactics? I am not a lawyer. What I am is Adam's grandmother.

Being led from the courtroom in shackles, Adam flashed a smile and a peace sign to his mother. Since Adam was a small child, this gesture has been his special way of saying, "Goodbye, I love you." Yes, I know his problems, and I know the sweetness of this boy the judge has used as a sacrifice!
-- Fran McCain, Lecanto

Use your dictionary, enjoy Lloyd's columns

Editor: Sometimes, we don't get the joke. Either it was too abstruse, or we were too obtuse. Still, most of us find the grace to smile and move on. Most of us, but not all of us. Not Ruth Anderson of Homosassa.

A few months back, with tongue-in-cheek, Chris Lloyd likened egregious Board of County Commission behavior to that of eastern-bloc "commissars," who legislate unfeelingly "against the explicit wishes of the illiterate, and uninformed, masses who form the general population."

This was satire, of course, written in ironic style, and not to be taken literally. Those who read more than the sports page got the joke.

All Ruth Anderson got was mad. Mad that Mr. Lloyd used what she calls "communistic lingo." Mad that he speaks with a British accent. Mad this foreigner insulted the citizens of Citrus County by calling them illiterate and uninformed.

Poor Ms. Anderson. I haven't seen a bigger literary whiff since the surgeon general was labeled a racist by the NAACP for using the word niggardly.

Now, with dried egg yolk still caked in her eyebrows, Ms. Anderson is back with another indignant letter, still citing this misquote like it was proof of treason. It seems Lloyd's latest crime is deliberately writing over her head (which, obviously, he has proven he does). His recent guest column about the feud in Crystal River government, she says, "was not written to be understood by the average citizen of Citrus County."

True. Nor are fine Bordeauxs vinified to be understood by the average quaffer of Boone's Farm.

"He should get with the program," she continues. "He needs to address his thoughts more simply." No, he doesn't. Mr. Lloyd needs to keep on keepin' on. Some of us like our political commentary with a dash of wit and drollery on the side.

"We ain't got time to run to the dictionary for definitions." Yes, we do, although the county cognoscenti who relish Mr. Lloyd's writing aren't exactly dictionary-challenged.

Clearly, Ms. Anderson is. Coming as she does from the field of technical writing, which proscribes creativity and use of vocabulary beyond 200 words, one can almost feel the paranoid need to dumb down the world around her.

What I want to know is, what was she doing using an esoteric word like "brouhaha?" Is that a flat spot on her wheel or what?
-- Jim Nicoll, Homosassa

Prison term just what the doctor ordered

Editor: Re: Teen's harsh sentence fails test of fair justice, Aug. 29, Times.

Sure, just slap them on the wrist and send them back out to steal, deal in drugs, rape and murder.

You clearly don't know much about rehab programs and their success rate. That teen is already lost to society and the present society has no other way to deal with the problem.
-- Robert Lochead, Hudson

Alligators pose threat and should be killed

Editor: Surely I'm not the only one who recognizes a growing problem with the number and size of alligators in the state.

With their normal increase in numbers, and the continuing expansion of humans and development into heretofore wild areas, the number and severity of alligator attacks on humans can only be expected to increase. I fully realize that they are a protected species, but have we reached a point where political correctness and alligator rights outweigh the safety of humans? I certainly hope not.

The excessive numbers of alligators in Lake Rousseau has long been known, but for whatever reason has not been acted on. Venture out onto the lake on any night with a spotlight, and you'll be unpleasantly surprised at the number of orange eyes staring at you. The fact that trappers were immediately able to trap an alligator of more than 11 feet and two others in the 6- to 7-foot range, in the area where the latest attack took place, should give anyone perspective on the problem.

I believe the time has come to hunt down and eliminate at least all alligators 6 feet or more in length. I realize that proposal will send some animal activists into a frenzy, but I would ask you to consider the fact that very close to the latest attack area is the split into the Rainbow River where, on any given weekend, hundreds of children can be found tubing down almost to the joining with the Withlacoochee. All it will take is one alligator to make a left turn up the Rainbow for a tragic event to occur.

Unless something is done very soon, it will only be a matter of time before it happens. Whose responsibility is it to avoid this?
-- William J. Dwyer, Dunnellon

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