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Stop impaired drivers before they can cause accidents

Letters to the Editor
Published January 14, 2007


We need a more reasoned take on drunken driving Jan. 7, letter 

This letter said that DUI laws in Florida have created a whole new class of criminals. The letter writer lamented that the person arrested for driving under the influence faces criminal status as well as heavy fines and penalties even without having damaged anyone's property or harming another person.

In the same edition of the St. Petersburg Times was the story of a man who, while under the influence, did thousands of dollars of damage to multiple homes and vehicles in a Tampa neighborhood.

If that man, Bruce Ray Baker, had been stopped by law enforcement prior to the smashup derby he caused, the people who were affected by all the damage would certainly be better off. But the letter writer contends that until damage or injury occurs there should not be a crime.

Unless the behavior of driving while impaired is the crime, law enforcement can only do something after someone who is under the influence has smashed into someone's property ... or hit another driver ... or run over a pedestrian.

Allowing law enforcement officials to stop impaired drivers helps keep everyone else safe.

Stephen Fenske, Seffner


Like a loaded gun

According to the letter writer's thinking concerning DUI, if my neighbor shoots at me and misses and there is no damage to my property, no harm to me and no profit to the shooter, there is no victim. Therefore, the neighbor should not be punished.

In my opinion, it's time for a stronger punishment for those stopped for DUI. That car with an impaired driver has the ability to be just deadly as a loaded gun.

Joy Cook, St. Petersburg


Let the sick be treated 

Too many diagnoses make us ill Jan. 7, Perspective story

This nonsensical, support-my-agenda, find-a-conspiracy rant against the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry completely ignores recent progress in medicine.

Trivializing complaints such as insomnia and restless legs syndrome (RLS) serves no purpose but to demean the sufferers and increase barriers to effective treatment and research. When the authors of this article come to my office for help with their insomnia and RLS, which leads to depression, erectile dysfunction and dysfunctional family life, I will just tell them to suck it up, get a life and don't bother me.

For the rest of us more mortal souls, I will continue to do my best to listen, to accurately diagnose, and to use evidence- based decisionmaking, coupled with good clinical judgment to improve the outcome and quality of their lives.

Neil T. Feldman, M.D., St. Petersburg


Medication mayhem 

Too many diagnoses make us ill Jan. 7, Perspective story

It's really refreshing to actually hear medical doctors voice what so many of us have been professing for years.

We learned the hard way when my son was just a toddler. He was overmedicated for everything under the sun except for what was actually wrong with him. By the time a good doctor figured out what was going on, the damage was already done. Nearly 20 years later he still struggles with the havoc the medication inflicted on his young body.

Hopefully, this article will make parents of very young children think twice before they rush them off to the doctor for every sniffle or sneeze.

J. Larry McElveen, Safety Harbor


Faith first 

God help us when faith silences reason Jan. 7, Robyn Blumner column

In rather stark contrast to Robyn Blumner, I am a Christian believer in the authority and accuracy of the Bible - a "values voter" and a man of faith.

Blumner's position that faith silences reason elevates the seen above the unseen. Are the fundamentals of the virgin birth and the resurrection reasonable? To the humanistic person, no. To the heart of faith - the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen - faith in many instances supersedes human reasoning. Take that on faith, Robyn, if you can.

Kenn Sidorewich, Oldsmar


Not just black parents 

Effective parenting is the key Jan. 7, Bill Maxwell column

In his excellent article, Bill Maxwell addressed "the phony debate about how to close the achievement gap between black and white schoolchildren." Writing about black families, Maxwell points out:

"Low-income single moms have virtually absolved themselves of academic responsibility for their poor performance in school." And, "they need to accept the reality that their children's education is their responsibility."

Maxwell is right. His points, though, apply equally to whites.

Del C. Revels, Tampa


One accord is key 

Democrats must face up to Iraq Jan. 7, Philip Gailey column

Philip Gailey calls for Democrats to seek a withdrawal from Iraq, but this strategy is just as unfavorable for America as if we stay indefinitely. The only way to exit Iraq with America's world leadership position intact is to force a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And because our philosophy on entering Iraq was totally unrealistic, the only solution to this conflict is to accept the Saudi Arabian peace plan. This would require Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 boundaries and accept a significant number of Palestinian refugees, likely around 700,000, the number who fled in 1947-1948.

Arthur Volbert, St. Petersburg


Women do it, too 

Stalking is serious Jan. 7, letter

The irony could not be clearer. On Page 2P is a letter decrying men who stalk women. On Page 5P is an article by a woman titled I wanted him, so I stalked him.

The woman who wrote that article faced no legal consequence for her criminal acts, and the letter writers seem to have no idea that women ever do such criminal acts.

But as the writer of the article shows, women do stalk men. Many don't stop there. Where's the concern and the resources to stop that ?

Andre Lieven, Trinity

[Last modified January 13, 2007, 19:13:37]

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