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Threats against firefighters are hard to believe

Letters to the Editor
Published October 2, 2005


Re: Threat limits female fire duty, story, Sept. 20.

As I read the story of threats made among Clearwater firefighters and watched the television coverage of the press conference held by Clearwater fire Chief Jamie Geer addressing this issue, I could not help but be appalled. Since the day the story was made public, I have given this issue a lot of thought.

What I do know of firefighters is that they are an extremely tight-knit group of individuals. They seem to work with the mind-set of "you watch my back and I'll watch yours." They have to operate in this fashion, given the dangers of the field in which they work. They refer to the brotherhood/sisterhood of their organization. This is why I find the reports of firefighters threatening each other to be a little hard to believe.

The Clearwater Police Department is not conducting an investigation of the alleged threats. Could it be that the Police Department does not see enough merit in the allegations to move forward with an official investigation?

Have the individuals who were supposed to have been threatened named their assailants to Chief Geer? If, in fact, Chief Geer knows the identity of the parties responsible for the threat, has he moved to remove these individuals from the workplace in order to safeguard all firefighters?

If these questions go unanswered and this issue is simply left to wither and die on the vine, I'm afraid that something stinks in Clearwater and this time, it's not Red Tide.


-- Edward Hooks, Palm Harbor

Don't be too quick to judge case

Re: Church official should not be assaulted by lies from all sides, letter, Sept. 29.

I just finished reading the Sept. 29 letters to the editor, and I'm shaking my head. I read the letter from Dawn Munson of Clearwater regarding the Sept. 22 and 27 stories about William Forte (Deputies: Worker asked boy for sex, Sept. 22, and Church hired man before seeing record, Sept. 27).

First of all, just because you have known this man for eight years doesn't mean he would not commit this crime. Most child molesters are fathers, grandfathers, everyday people. They don't say, "Hi, I'm a child molester."

I'm not saying this man is guilty or innocent. I'm saying that because Forte's accuser is a troubled teen, we're not supposed to believe him. A troubled teen would be a perfect target.

What makes a man so perfect because he works hard for his church? How many priests have been charged with child molestation around the world? Didn't they also work very hard for their church?

If it was someone in Ms. Munson's family or something like this ever happened to her in the past, she would see this story very differently. Ms. Munson, don't be so quick to judge your fellow parishioners. For your sake, I hope William Forte is innocent, but if not, I hope you donate some of your time and energy to learning about child molestation.


-- T. Paschke, Largo

Thanks to Sheriff's Office for call

I want to send thanks to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. I recently received a telephone call to alert me to the assault and robbery of an 87-year-old woman in Dunedin. Although I was aware of this crime through television and the newspaper, this call was much appreciated.

I felt it is an ongoing investigation, not relegated to the "back burner." Also, there might be folks unaware of this home invasion who would now be so informed by these calls. As I live in the area outlined, I was particularly grateful for this follow-up by our deputy sheriff.


-- Dorothy E. Karkheck, Dunedin