Today's Letters: Out-of-control teen shouldn't be on the road

Published August 30, 2007

Hogan wreck tied to speed Aug. 28, story

Nick (Hogan) Bollea was cited in April for driving 106 mph in a 70 mph zone. On Aug. 10 in Pinellas Park he was cited for driving 82 mph in a 45 mph construction zone with workers present and wearing no seat belt. Now on Aug. 27, he and a passenger had to be extracted from a vehicle after he lost control and totaled it.

What is it going to take for lax law enforcement to get this spoiled, out-of-control character off the road? Killing a passenger, a pedestrian, occupants of another vehicle?

The story said, "He failed a couple of attempts to acquire his Formula Drift license, but earned the professional license a couple of months ago."

He now "heroically" sits by the bedside of his victim! His mother says, "His sole concern is for the well-being of his friend." This is rather empty and late. A bit of "family concern" during the past few years could have avoided all of the above!

When I began racing more than 60 years ago, it was the norm to use a power slide (rear wheels), or four-wheel drift, on oil dirt and asphalt tracks - simple maneuvers any serious racer masters quickly. So now they have a "Professional Drifting Series?" Pardon me if I laugh!

Apparently Hogan/Bollea is better at "drifting" from one traffic offense to another and endangering the law-biding!

If his father (Hogan Knows Best) really knew best, the initial (published) offense, 106 mph in a 70 mph zone, would have brought, at home, a vehicle lockup and license confiscation. The second offense, a shredding of the license!

Fred Miller, Hernando

A parent's job

When our teenage daughter got her second speeding citation, we told her that if she got one more traffic ticket then she was finished driving until she was no longer a minor. She knew that we meant it. As her parents, we were responsible to make sure that she did not jeopardize the safety of herself and others.

I wonder what Nick Bollea's parents said to him about his speeding tickets?

Daniel Vogel, Tampa

Fake calls for aid lead to teenagerAug. 25, story

Bogus calls can turn out to be deadly

I am absolutely disgusted with this teenager. He "needed something to do"? I can think of a few things for him to do now: make amends to his cousin's mother, make arrangement for restitution on all the tax dollars wasted, or he can apologize to me and the hundreds of other Coast Guard wives who live in this area.

My husband is one of those pilots sent out on fake calls. Unfortunately it happens frequently. Not only is it a complete waste of tax dollars and resources but more importantly, Coast Guard personnel sometimes risk their lives in dangerous and volatile weather searching for a boat that doesn't exist.

I wonder what this teen (and his mother) would have to say to a family whose husband/wife/son/daughter was killed while trying to save lives on a call that turned out to be fake. I hope he, at a minimum, gets a healthy sentence of community service. It would certainly give him plenty to do for a while.

Charlotte Russell, Palm Harbor

Judge is not to blame

I write in agreement with Sue Carlton's Aug. 22 column, Whom do we blame for this tragedy?

Some are blaming a fine judge in the wake of a senseless murder of a fine police officer. Even the governor weighed in, wondering if the judge had obeyed the law. I wonder if he will be as quick to apologize when he learns the answer is "Yes."

As the tortured logic goes, one should cast blame upon the judge for a ruling rendered two months prior to the murder. That is, since the judge didn't set an abusively high and unlawful bond in a weak case, his decision allowed the presumed-innocent defendant's family and friends to pay the bond, which allowed a bondsman to post the bond, which allowed the defendant time to obtain a handgun, which allowed him two months to degenerate, which allowed him to commit a murder no one predicted. Do you follow the string back through his prior arrests, and to other judges and prosecutors? What about a motion for pretrial detention, which could have kept the defendant in jail without bond?

No judge and no prosecutor is to blame. No one is clairvoyant. The "what ifs" are endless and fruitless, and only deepen the tragedy. Although some seek easy answers, sometimes there are none.

Marcelino J. Huerta III, attorney and counselor at law, Tampa

Pat Oliphant cartoon Aug. 24

Xenophobic view

As a proud son and grandson of Cuban exiles, I was deeply offended by your printing of Pat Oliphant's cartoon regarding Sen. Barack Obama's proposals for reformation in our Cuban immigration policy. The cartoon seemed to show a gleeful Uncle Sam pushing off a group of Cuban-Americans, who were deemed "nuisances" and right-wing Batista cronies, ready to "interfere" in another election, and send them back to Cuba.

I also write as a proud Barack Obama supporter in the Democratic primary and one who believes that such cartoons promote the xenophobic spirit pushed by the right wing today toward immigrants. Somehow, I do not think that Sen. Obama would appreciate this interpretation of his proposals on Cuba immigration policy.

Our nation needs more people so hungry to become Americans that they would risk a 90-mile ride on a raft, and fewer out-of-touch cartoonists ready to look down on their fellow Americans.

Luis Viera, Tampa