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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: Justice should not be delayed
Letters to the Editor
Published November 25, 2007
A pointless push for executions Nov. 20, editorial
Tuesday's editorial calling for a moratorium on lethal injections in Florida was misguided on two essential points. First, there is no such moratorium currently in place on a national level. Florida's moratorium was lifted when the Governor's Commission on the Administration of Lethal Injection released its recommendations for an improved process for lethal injection, which has twice been upheld since then as humane and effective by the Florida Supreme Court. We are confident the U.S. Supreme Court will not invalidate those procedures.
Additionally, it is abhorrent to call fighting for Mark Dean Schwab's execution a waste of taxpayer revenue or attorneys' resources. If fault should be assigned for creating a public expenditure in this case, it should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the man who kidnapped, raped and murdered an 11-year old boy.
In March 1991, Mark Dean Schwab was released from prison after serving a fraction of an eight-year sentence for raping a 13-year old boy at knifepoint. Just weeks later, Schwab visited 11-year old Junny Rios-Martinez, posing as a newspaper reporter. On April 18, 1991, 26 days after meeting Junny, Schwab called the boy's school pretending to be his father and told Junny to meet him after school. Junny was never seen alive again.
The Rios-Martinez family and the state of Florida have waited for justice for nearly two decades. This case cannot be characterized in terms of reckless litigation or by dollars and cents. It is time for justice to be served.
Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum, Tallahassee
There's life in the old paper yet Nov. 18, Philip Gailey column
Newspaper is still essential
Thank God that there's life in the old paper. What would our day be without the complete perusal of every word. The Internet, with its half-truths and plethora of amateurs donating their opinions, is no match. Educated opinions, biting satire, in-depth stories are what newspapers print.
How can any other medium compare? Television with its sound bites comes in second to some of radio's excellent news programs. Only broadcasts from BBC and NPR as well as our independent station, WMNF-FM 88.5, can come close to what we can read.
And read we do. How relaxing it is to take the time in the a.m. or in the p.m. after a long day, and relish the news, the editorial cartoons - and there's nothing like the new Lio. Keep it all coming, please.
Lilyan Dayton, New Port Richey
Smith's galling exit from officeNov. 19, editorial, and There's life in the old paper yet Nov. 18
Playing a watchdog role
Pinellas Property Appraiser Jim Smith's unethical, possibly illegal sale of land to the county at a grossly inflated price reminded me of Philip Gailey's spirited defense of a free press, especially the benefits to society of investigative reporting, which is a hallmark of your paper.
The Smith land deal wasn't uncovered by any law enforcement agency; it was uncovered by Times reporters. And while it seems likely that nobody will see the inside of a jail for involvement in this waste of taxpayer money, disclosure of the Smith land deal will undoubtedly have a deterrent effect on public officials who are inclined to wheel and deal behind closed doors.
Times reporting has once again served notice on Florida's good ol' boy politicians. Thank you.
Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg
There's life in the old paper yet Nov. 18
Phil Gailey can't be more wrong in his enthusiasm for the future of print newspapers.
Modern newspapers have the appeal of a leper's kiss combined with the vitality of a gelded middle school student editorial. And the entertainment value is about what you get watching geezers play shuffleboard.
I'm guessing your staff is old, shut-in, timid, or all of the above.
James B. Johnson, Port Richey
The Marlboro Marine Nov. 18
A moving tale
Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Sunday's paper came close to this heartbreaking story by Luis Sinco.
So President Bush sent candy, cigars and "memorabilia." (I wonder what that was.) Isn't that special? Will that man in the White House read this story, and if so, will tears run down his face, as they did mine last Sunday morning?
James Blake Miller's story is multiplied by too many to contemplate, too many families torn apart, because George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others lied to all of us and to the wonderful country I grew up in.
Our nightmare (and the Marlboro Marine's) is not over, not while that arrogant man is intent on overruling anything presented that he did not conjure up himself.
I will buy another copy of this St. Petersbug Times to keep. The one in my hands is going to the White House.
Ethel Rosemont, Valrico
The Marlboro Marine Nov. 18
That haunted look
It's still there, far back in his eyes, clouded by years of happy marriage, good friends, beautiful homes, but still there.
It was earned when he was so young, beckoned when a bullet ripped through his hip and cemented when he watched fellow Marines, comrades, buddies, die in the paddies of Vietnam. It's surrounded now by wrinkles, but there: the Thousand Yard Stare.
I saw that look in the eyes of too many boys when I too was young. I thought, I'd hoped, I'd never see it again in a young man's eyes.
But last Sunday, looking through my own now wrinkled, tearing eyes, it was there again, embedded in the eyes, in the face, of a young Marine, a young American man: that Thousand Yard Stare, staring through me in a too recent photo from in Iraq.
Raean Permenter, Floral City
A shameful way to treat soldiers Nov. 23
More support is needed
The word shameful in your editorial headline doesn't go nearly far enough to describe our military's "practice" of denying soldiers the enlistment bonus they signed up for if they are discharged early because they were wounded while fighting in Iraq.
President Bush is quoted in the same issue of the Times as saying "It was the least I could do" because he called up several servicemen and women in Iraq to thank them for their service on Thanksgiving.
I suggest our commander in chief should be doing a lot more to support our troops, both while in combat and after they come home, often broken and in dire need of assistance.