Today's Letters: The armed citizen is ready to defend himself

Published April 29, 2007

I bought a gun April  22,  Perspective story 

It is obvious that young Brendan Watson has a deep aversion against guns, and he did everything possible to avoid buying one. However, after doing everything he could to improve home security (lighting, locks, etc.) he finally reached the conclusion that owning a gun offered him the best chance of increased personal safety.

Does it really matter if his feeling of being safer because he now owns a gun is real or perceived? The important thing is that after arming himself he is now able to defend himself if necessary.

I find it significant that his decision was shaped, in part, by repeated police recommendations to buy a gun as the best means to protect himself. If ever a case illustrated the critical importance of the right to own guns, Watson's situation certainly does.

In every state where concealed weapon permits are allowed, the rate of violent crimes with guns has been greatly reduced (including Florida, with about a half a million concealed weapon permits).

If Watson does take the next step for a concealed permit, as so many of us have, he will be photographed, fingerprinted, have a thorough background check, and complete classroom and firing range training.

As a trained, law-abiding gun owner, I have absolutely no problem with Watson owning a weapon, and I welcome him to our ranks.

The simple truth is that the legal gun owners are not out shooting people in fits of anger or committing gun crimes, but are using this important tool as a means to help defend themselves and their families from those who would do them harm.

John W. McBaine, Indian Shores


Living with danger

This was an unexpected piece from the Times.

Maybe this will give the folks who live in relatively safe areas, like Feather Sound, some idea of what life is like for the people in an area like Midtown in St. Petersburg.

When you live in a neighborhood where gunfire, sirens and police helicopters are just part of the ordinary sounds of life and where, if you don't own a gun, you are in the minority, then you might begin to understand just how important your Second Amendment rights are.

Kudos to Brendan Watson.

I hope to see him at the next gun show.

John Davis, Clearwater


No place to teach 

Campus weapon debate returns April 23, story

I taught in university classrooms for 30 years. As I watch this debate unfold, I wonder how many of my colleagues would think of entering a classroom to teach if there were the possibility that one or more of the students in the class were carrying handguns legally. I'd be willing to bet that almost none would teach in such a situation.

The idea that people can imagine that students carrying handguns could be an answer to the horror that took place at Virginia Tech appalls me.

Pete Temko, Belleair Beach


Guns are different now

The shooting at Virginia Tech brings up the debate of gun control again. The constitutional right to own guns was written at a time when single-shot weapons were the only guns available.

I wonder if our Founding Fathers would have reconsidered their position in light of the technological advances the gun industry has made from one-shot guns to those capable of shooting multiple rounds in less time than it took to load a single-shot weapon.

Lynn Tarbox, Tampa


In a wasteland 

April is a month I cannot forget by Amy Hollyfield and Looking for reasons that won't come by Bill Maxwell April 22

Amy Hollyfield doesn't know why "April (is) a time for tragic events, " nor do I. But T.S. Eliot once said, "April is the cruelest month ... " Perhaps he is still right after nearly a century.

These heartbreaks and their anniversaries leave us with "... a heap of broken images" and perhaps the killers (nonentities, loners, according to Maxwell) felt so overwhelmed with "fear in a handful of dust ... " that they tried to immortalize themselves with the deaths of others. Such vanity and selfishness are cruel indeed.

Sarah Lehrmann, Clearwater


Look within 

Shades of black April 15, Perspective story

As the Caucasian mother of two Kenyan sons, I read this article with personal interest.

My two sons, whom my husband and I adopted as infants, are very black while their father, older brother and I are very white.

We are doing all we can to ensure they grow up with strong African identities, and we constantly look for ways to affirm them as young black men. But even more we long to raise them to simply be good men, men who are tolerant and giving and wise.

I hope that they belong to a generation who as adults will describe people based on those qualities rather than the color of one's skin.

Sheila Roberts Veatch, Tallahassee


Edwards is honorable

It's time to stop making fun of John Edwards' hair, and how much he pays for a haircut. Sure, wealthy people waste a lot of money, then brag about it, but Edwards probably isn't even aware of the cost of a trim until he reads it in the news. The campaign managers and assistants arrange for haircuts, dental appointments, you name it, and they pay for it.

Edwards is an honorable man, a self-made multimillionaire, and a good candidate for the presidency. His wife is so seriously ill that it would be understandable for him to quit, but he didn't. I am more sure of his abilities and honesty than I am of Hillary Clinton's or Barack Obama's, and his potential to defeat any Republican candidate.

Nickie McNichols, St. Petersburg


Sensible solutions 

Crist, Baker outline way ahead on taxes April 27, editorial

Gov. Charlie Crist and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker need to be commended for bringing commonsense solutions to providing property tax relief. Both proposals focus on the major tax issues that need to be addressed to bring immediate tax cuts to all Floridians.

Of the two, Mayor Baker's plan is the best one for the residents of Florida. He has balanced deep tax cuts with the fiscal requirements in funding local and state government. With this plan, citizens will enjoy lower taxes, and local governments will be forced to be more efficient in providing needed services. His plan should be broadly endorsed by other city and county leaders, and adopted by the Legislature.

Ed Montanari, St. Petersburg


Scant offerings

I'm not real sure who decided that Bucs' cheerleaders' sassy makeover was worthy of the front page on Monday. I guess there was no room for this feature above the fold because of the big story about the Lightning's elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This is "Florida's Best Newspaper"? I may as well let my longstanding subscription expire and just pick up the free TBT* every day.


Shirl Kennedy, St. Petersburg


The real story 

Growing together April 22, story

Your newspaper has our kudos for a wonderful report about what happens after our military men come home, and the trauma that has to be borne by all of the families involved.

I get the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, and the other paper couldn't come close to this poignant story. Thanks for the real truth, and God bless all.

Alice Baker, Tampa