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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Prayer in Christ's name excludes no one
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 1, 2007
Prayers easier than deeds April 27, Roger Simon commentary
In Roger Simon's opinion piece regarding John Edwards' prayer "in Christ's name, " he states people who are not Christians feel left out. He also states, "Why not include all religions in your prayers?"
I am a Christian and a liberal Democrat who fails to see how closing a prayer in Christ's name leaves anyone out in a prayer unless he said, "In Christ's name leave these people out."
When a Christian prays it is a genuine prayer just as a prayer from any other religion is genuine, meaning from a faith perspective. If we do not address who we believe is our savior, we aren't really praying for you.
I welcome all prayers from all faiths, because I know they come from people's hearts. If a Muslim would like to pray for me in the name of Allah, I do not consider it a threat to my faith. If a Jew doesn't pray for me in the name of Christ, I do not see it as less than a thoughtful, kind response to my circumstance.
Christ is not a dirty word! If a rapper can speak from where he comes from in his vernacular and people accept his right to do so, which, I believe, they should, so should Christians have that right.
I too wish for more gun controls, in fact I pray for them, in Christ's name.
Ronda Baer, Seffner
Omit the prayers
In his April 27 column, Roger Simon, considers whether references to God are more appropriate than references to Christ in prayers or news releases. This is a moot point to atheists and nontheistic believers.
If an individual's conclusion about the nature and purpose of the universe is not directed to a belief in a god or gods, the privilege of personal choice in their belief system is often not recognized or validated by public officials when they publicly express spiritual communications to a theistic god.
Despite the obvious good deeds of religious people, aberrations in theistic belief systems have led to the perceived justification for murdering doctors who perform legal abortions or the murder of infidels who do not accept their beliefs.
If representatives of government want to show sensitivity to the beliefs of all citizens, they should exclude religious prayers altogether and substitute a spiritual communication to citizens.
Michael Goodson, Seminole
Wary about Iraq
Fighting alone April 24, letter
In his attempts to "sell" the war in Iraq, the president told the world that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, that al-Qaida had ties to Iraq, and that Iraq was attempting to obtain enriched uranium from Africa. The United Nations, including the French and Germans, disagreed with our president's assessment. As we all known now, their disagreement was well founded.
As to the so-called "war on terrorism, " instead of chasing down al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our troops had to be moved to Iraq when our incursion there turned out to be less than the walk in the park we were promised.
The president's "Mission Accomplished" sign on a U.S. Navy ship after Baghdad's fall was years off the mark. There was no al-Qaida in Iraq before the war; its former dictator would not have permitted it. However, it's certainly active there now, and our presence continues to serve as its best recruiting strategy.
I would further point out that this country had a huge stake in World War II, and we became involved in that conflict only when it became clear to everyone that the Axis powers intended to control the entire world, including the United States.
This retired soldier joins your reader in asking God's blessing on the U.S.A. A divine intervention may well be necessary to bring this country back into its position as a respected world leader. That long journey cannot begin until we extricate ourselves from our ill-advised foray into Iraq and clean up the mess we've made there.
Gerald Barnes, Zephyrhills
A different approach
Fighting alone April 24, letter
Having lived in Europe, I'd like to offer the letter-writer some thoughts.
Terrorism is not new; many European countries have been dealing with it for centuries. Nuclear war is not new; remember who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Sending troops into a war zone is a complicated issue; not sending them is not necessarily arrogance or a lack of support of the United States.
Possibly European countries do not approve of U.S. actions and are dealing with current threats in their own way. Doing things differently is not necessarily wrong.
Lynne Mayer, Gulfport
McCain's "Bomb Iran" song
I couldn't help thinking that Sen. John McCain had flipped when he set this errant, warmongering nonsense to music - the Beach Boys, no less. ("Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.")
As I recall, the press made a spectacle of the "primal scream" that Howard Dean's bellowed to his campaign supporters during the 2004 primaries, and his credibility never quite recovered.
Which of these events should give us the most pause, particularly in light of former CIA director George Tenet's finally breaking his silence about the prewar plan?
Carl A. Schuh, Seminole
In honor of vets
Re-enactors jolt real vet April 22, story
Your reporter did a real disservice to the men and women who participate in the re-enactments by focusing on the negative feelings of one man.
It is a shame that the 84-year-old veteran who was quoted in the story does not understand that these re-enactments are meant to honor men like him. If he had stayed longer, he might have learned that many of the re-enactors had fathers who fought in World War II and many of them have served in the military, including several who are Vietnam veterans. In fact, one of the re-enactors was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and was shot down at the age of 19. Today, he walks around with a metal plate in his head, along with a lot of unpleasant memories.
Further, the re-enactors do much more than re-enact. They visit World War II veterans as often as they can to let them know how much their service to our country is appreciated. Last summer, they visited the VA nursing home in Orlando to honor the veterans with medals. They recognize that without the contributions of those who fought in World War II, our world would be a vastly different place.
My husband is one of these re-enactors, and I could not be more proud.
Meg Durshimer, Bradenton
TIA parking tactics
Thanks to the free parking at Tampa International Airport, I never have a hassle there. The free first hour at the short-term parking gets me in and out.
I make three round trips to TIA a year. I live one hour away.
For arrivals, I plan on being there 15 to 20 minutes after the plane lands. I go right to short-term parking and then to the baggage area to pick up my family members. I am out of the airport in one hour (free parking in the short-term area).
On departure I drop them off at the curb and head straight up to short-term parking. I am still able to see them safely leave the main terminal on the tram to the boarding area, since you can't go that far without a ticket.
If I arrive a little too early, I park in the (free) cell phone parking area and wait a few minuets before entering.
So thanks, TIA, for the free first hour of hassle-free visits to the airport.
Fred Tornillo, Spring Hill
For USF students, a big boom turns into a bust April 27, story
Each and every science teacher should now surrender to the authorities for doing the "Mentos and Coke" experiment with their students in our public and private schools.
We know you are out there, so make it easier on yourselves and call now. Don't make the members of the Tampa Bomb Squad come to your classroom and arrest you in front of your students.
It is ludicrous that the two University of South Florida students were arrested. I hope they sue USF and the police, and that this incident be completely expunged from their records.
Toni Gross, Oldsmar
Mighty cheeky April 27, World in a snap photo
Your printing of the photograph from Chongqing, China, showing wash basins designed to represent a rear view of women's buttocks is despicable, and a smutty juvenile display of male humor.
You owe every female in your readership an abject apology for your sexism and disrespectful, disgraceful behavior. How dare you; how dare the Chinese.