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Citizens should get together and make their voices heard

Letters to the Editor
Published April 19, 2006

Whether you agree or disagree with the current debate over immigration, the huge demonstrations these people are staging around the country should be a wakeup call to all Americans.

It seems that these immigrants are accomplishing something that Americans in this generation will not make the time, or effort to do: getting their voices heard en masse and getting the attention of politicians and the media. The French seem to do well at it too, with massive demonstrations convincing President Jacques Chirac to cancel a jobs bill there.

Maybe Americans should start taking a little time away from their overscheduled lives and start letting our leaders know that we have had it with so many of the things destroying our country. Like greedy, corrupt, monopolistic corporations hell-bent on extracting every available dime from your wallet, a malicious health care system, political correctness gone mad, the continued loss of civil liberties in the name of "fighting terrorism," underfunding of education, lack of initiative on mass transportation, just to name a few.

Americans, please start thinking about your own and your children's future before you deal it away to corrupt politicians and greedy corporations. Band together and be heard.

-- Jeff Francis, St. Petersburg

A needless illegal immigrant tragedy

Re: Sergio Lopez-Florez.

As a native of Florida I am keenly aware of the plight of the illegal immigrants who come to this country seeking a better life.

This newly married man, who was an illegal immigrant, didn't speak English. He rammed his car into two separate Hillsborough sheriff's cars and left his vehicle wielding a knife. Of course, he is now dead for his actions. His family says he was not violent, but he put several lives in jeopardy running from the law because he was not here legally.

The fact that he didn't speak the language will undoubtedly be a defense, but I see it as part of the offense. This situation should never have occurred and definitely shouldn't have to be defended in our legal system.

I want to be sympathetic and helpful to all citizens of this world who seek a better life, but why is it excusable for a certain set of people to create further problems because of their anxiety about breaking the law in the first place?

-- Julia Jones, Clearwater

Worlds apart

I feel the recent shooting of an illegal immigrant in the Sun City-Wimauma area is a symptom of the hysteria whipped up around the immigration issue.

I've driven through that area several times, and it has always been a tale of two cities: Wimauma is poor with many Mexican immigrants. Sun City Center is much more affluent with mostly white, elderly retirees. U.S. 301 and a mile or two of land divide the two towns geographically. However, a world divides them in reality.

I've seen very little police presence in Sun City Center, but nearby Wimauma seems to have a much more visible presence of Hillsborough County sheriff's cars. I believe the purpose of those cars is to intimidate the Mexican residents. In Sun City Center it is to "serve and protect," as the saying goes.

I don't blame the officers involved personally, but I believe they were caught up in something much bigger: a terrified illegal Mexican immigrant who feared he was going to be deported from his new wife and child here, and two sheriff's deputies faced with a gut-wrenching split-second decision they never should have had to face.

I primarily blame irresponsible media - especially talk radio and 24-hour cable TV news shows - and politicians who care more about posturing and re-election than about human beings.

-- Stephen Lee Goodman, Tampa

Let them learn English

If immigrants learn English, they are welcome. If they want to be catered to in their native tongue, they are not fit to become legalized in America. My mother and her family immigrated here in the early '30s, and were proud to learn English to become Americans. No one who does less than that should be granted citizenship. Let that be the bottom line and it will save our country millions of dollars in all the self-defeating translations that divide our country. This will assure we receive people with American spirit and make the rest of us feel we are again united as a great nation.

-- Shirley Lawrence, Spring Hill

U.N. won't be able to handle Iran

Re: Let the United Nations deal with the problem of Iran, letter, April 14.

Is this a joke? When has the United Nations ever successfully dealt with a significant problem? If we want posturing, sanctions that are ignored with impunity, and a lot of hand-wringing then, yes, the United Nations is probably the answer.

See how well it worked in Iraq? Surely it will work just as well in Iran. Remember this question from our president: "What if [Saddam] fails to comply [with U.N. sanctions] and we fail to act . . .? He will conclude that . . . he can go right on and do more to build an arsenal of devastating destruction. Someday I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal."

Well, Saddam failed to comply with the sanctions and what was the U.N. response? None!

Couldn't we ask the same question today about Iran? Given the record of the United Nations (and the European Union) in dealing with major economic and security issues, we are unfortunately left with two options: 1) decide that the situation is not a threat and just let events take their course or 2) decide that we (or our allies) are threatened and take direct action to mitigate the threat.

By the way, the president cited above was Bill Clinton from 1998.

-- Tom Booker, Oldsmar

Troops don't focus on the big picture

Re: Listen to the optimism of the troops, April 14.

Does it really matter to the troops what the "real" mission of the United States is? You know, the big picture, the "real" reason why we're trying to kill these guys that are trying to kill us.

Three years ago, I'd heard we attacked Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was planning to use on us.

When was the mission changed? When were we chosen to become the zealots who would bring democracy and stabilization to that hopelessly unstable part of the world.

But then again, it is not the purpose of soldiers like Wade Zirkle and myself (back in the Korean War) to question the mission. It was never our task to reason why.

-- John R. Hahn, Gulfport

Restrict water use now

Persistent dry conditions in the Tampa Bay area should be triggering some stepped up watering restrictions, and yet it would seem the water management and elected officials are waiting until the area goes bone-dry before ensuring our water resources are protected.

I encourage officials to take it up a notch and enforce more stringent restrictions now.

-- Alan Wright, Tampa

[Last modified April 19, 2006, 01:58:13]

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