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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: It's heartless to give up on boy
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published July 26, 2007
Re: Violent teenager should be killed July 23 letter
It's heartless to give up on boy
Let's just give up on America's troubled youth. They're a burden and will never become productive members of society. Rubbish! I'm absolutely appalled by the very suggestion!
Obviously the boy, who by the way is only 15 years old, has some serious problems. Are his problems so serious and beyond repair that we should turn our backs and give up hope? How can you liken him to a rabid animal?! Do not forget, this is a human being we're talking about here. Regardless of his crimes or the instability he obviously suffers with, to recommend summary execution is unfathomable. Have you no heart?
Perhaps part of the reason we have these ever increasing issues with young people today is because we as a generation have subscribed to this very logic, which is entirely flawed. We should be asking ourselves, what can we do to get this boy some help? What sort of influence does he need in his life? Perhaps some psychiatric care is in order, or maybe he just needs some positive reinforcement. Something obviously has happened in this young man's life to cause him pain and torment to act out the way he does. But can we say he will never become a productive member of society? Absolutely not!
Don't misunderstand my message, he should pay the consequences for the crimes he committed just as you or I would, assuming he's of sound mind and judgment. Is he? Maybe that's the underlying factor. Regardless, nobody should be above the law, young or old, but even the hardest criminals can be rehabilitated. And yes, some have even proven to become productive contributors to society!
Ryan Watkins, Hudson
Re: Violent teenager should be killed July 23 letter
Hateful letter is bare ignorance
How appalling that your newspaper, which encourages children to read with a summer reading program, would print such an inconsiderate letter.
Please allow us to be introduced to the American Hitler. If not perfect, they must die. There are many children in the world who fight the daily demon that is locked deeply within his or her mind. Now we introduce the solution as per your letter writer.
Some of these kids fight a daily, minute-to-minute war with no help available. It could be because they have no insurance or services available in their area, or a lack of community involvement and funding gets cut. Is the writer considering this? Maybe she could dig in her pocket of rich solutions and contribute to help just one child. Not likely.
Healthy adults such as the writer are contributing to he ignorance about mental illness and are instigating people to turn on these children instead of reaching a hand of support.
Did the writer consult with a therapist regarding her support for killing kids. She may need some help with her afflictions toward children who are not perfect in her eyes. In the parents' eyes, however, and the people who try to help, they see perfection blocked in by an illness to which people, like the writer, are ignorant.
Jamie Mitchell, Port Richey
Unjust rebuke just one symptom
While the actions of (Pasco County Fire Rescue) acting Assistant Chief Mike Ciccarello are certainly inappropriate, it is important to realize that his treatment of his subordinates is a clear reflection of the overall treatment of Pasco County rescue personnel. As a lifelong resident of this county, I have watched for years as the men and women who serve us are underpaid, poorly treated, and under-appreciated by management and county staff.
Now, our rescue personnel cannot afford to pay the insurance premiums to protect their families while certain commissioners spend thousands of dollars to relax at resorts, using the excuse that they are learning to serve the taxpayers in a more efficient manner.
If our commissioners want to better serve the electorate, they should try spending their travel budget taking care of those who serve at a much lower salary then themselves.
As for our acting assistant chief, maybe it's time someone stopped him from acting. While our acting assistant chief may forget the mistreatment he received as a lower-level employee at the hands of the inept Gallagher administration, I never will. Since I do not work there, I cannot be coerced and threatened into remaining silent about it, nor will I.
Thank you Chief Lopinto. You and your administration continue to embarrass us all.
Scott Factor, New Port Richey
Enough with the Keystone Kops
For two decades the sheriff's crime prevention unit has inspected homes for security, addressed homeowners associations, developed brochures about burglary prevention for homes and autos. In other words, crime prevention.
Putting criminals in jail before they commit crimes is a really novel approach to crime prevention in a state that has an official policy of chasing after the criminal only after the crime as been committed; our state's official tough-on-crime approach anointed by an organization more powerful than law enforcement - the NRA.
So why is the sheriff disbanding his most valuable unit? Because crime prevention, according to sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin, is considered a luxury in Pasco. The sheriff wants to make sure he has as many people as possible on the front lines chasing after criminals once they have committed crimes.
This makes Pasco law enforcement a bit like the famous Keystone Kops comedy with the police officers sitting on the bench twirling their night sticks waiting for the alarm bell to ring, signaling a crime has been committed. In Pasco, they don't wait for the next alarm, the wait is for the next 911 call.
Unfortunately, in Florida, sheriffs are judged by how many criminals they catch, not on how many crimes they prevent. If you can't show every year an increase in the number of robbers, rapists and murderers you have apprehended, you're not considered a good sheriff or police chief. Hence, all possible resources must be committed to catching criminals, not how many crimes you have prevented.
The sheriff is not to blame for this Keystone Kops approach as he must swim in the water the state Legislature and NRA created for every law enforcement agency in this states. The 1985 law destroyed all existing city and county gun control laws and prevented every counties' ability to pass a single law to control firearms in this state.
Since so much crime is tied to firearms, this has destroyed law enforcement's ability to prevent crimes in a state awash in illegal firearms and their use, a situation even the dumbest criminal can take advantage of. If you think prevention is just as important as chasing after criminals, don't contact Sheriff Bob White, contact state legislators and tell them Florida can no longer tolerate a Keystone Kops approach to crime.
Art Hayhoe, Wesley Chapel
What's next with insurance mess?
I am a homeowner residing in a middle class subdivision. I have owned this house for 21/2 years. When I went to obtain homeowner's insurance with Nationwide, they informed me that they no longer wrote policies for homeowner's insurance, but I could be insured through Citizens. Well, being that I honestly did not have a choice, I signed on with Citizens. My original policy cost back in December 2004 was $929, with my portion of premium Hurricane coverage for $471. Upon my first renewal, my costs rose to $1,884 with my portion of premium hurricane coverage for $936. My second renewal, my costs rose to $2,468 with my portion of premium Hurricane coverage for $1,181. This amount includes a Citizens equalization surcharge of $155.
Do we see a trend going on here? Additionally, my policy does not cover me for flood insurance. (Lucky for me I do not live in a flood zone!) These increases aggravate me, but what else does one do? I blame the government for not regulating insurance companies.
These insurance companies get richer and richer, not to mention our government. Hence, the many homes in foreclosure in Pasco County. What's next? Can't wait for next year's renewal!
Kelly James, Port Richey
Service workers aren't getting rich
With all the high insurance rates, taxes, gas, etc., people are pinching their pennies, or should I say, dollars, if they have any left !
I'm in the plumbing service business and, believe me, I know what they're going through. But, I get calls more now than ever from people almost passing out when they hear what it costs to get a plumber, electrician, etc. to their home.
So let's help the public be aware that we are not rich by any means. For me, personally, to come to your home the following is what it cost: $35,000 for the truck, tools, supplies carried to perform service. Five different licenses, state counties, cities, varying in cost from $200, $150, $45, $35 and $31. Then comes the phone. A business line $120 per month, cell phone, $78 per month; Internet access, $40 per month for business. Then comes insurance, $1,000 for truck, $780 for liability insurance so I can have the active licenses; health insurance is $280 per month and workers' compensation is 17 percent of payroll (varies). How about a week's vacation, maybe a 401(k) if the money is there? Small ads in association booklets, $780 per year. Fuel costs $320 per month and higher. Repairs on truck, tools etc. varies, oil changes and maintenance
And that's before I get a chance to take a paycheck! With customers not paying on time, bouncing checks or being 30 to 45 days in arrears, we may not be able to take a paycheck, which makes us a finance company interest free!
Nobody works around the clock, most service businesses average 22 to 30 (chargeable) hour per week, per truck. Yet they, like anyone else, need to earn their weekly pay just like you do, or not be in business to be able to serve you. Also, we work late into the day, weekend emergencies, etc.
Larger companies have even higher costs for buildings, office help etc. The above costs are for a one-man shop working out of home. I can tell you I won't be retiring at 62.
I hope this helps when you call for service and think we are overcharging and getting rich. Not even close.