Public wants controls, but politicians refuse Oct. 4, commentary
Don't infringe on our rights
We're again deep in the knee-jerk response phase of another mass shooting, a horrific tragedy with unimaginable sorrow for hundreds of families. But as before, these events take place in gun-free zones, and the perpetrators willfully violate innumerable laws, not the least of which is proscription to murder. All evidence and common sense say that more laws will have little or no effect on these individuals or groups. And reading through the lengthy list of gun control proposals in Christopher Ingraham's column, it is again obvious that not one would have stopped or mitigated last week's tragedy. A better answer is to understand and address the underlying twisted motivations. Perhaps then we can identify and prevent these events, irrespective of targets and methods.
In these difficult moments, we should also remember that our constitutional rights are an ingenious interlinked system that safeguard us from the death, oppression and misery that blankets much of the world. Free speech, free press, fair elections, free exercise of religion, and yes, the Second Amendment, each serve an important role in this fragile bulwark.
We allow left-wing activists to riot, destroy property, and physically assault conservative speakers and their audiences with deadly force from coast to coast. Should we therefore prohibit conservative speech because it brings violence? In the same way, we should not infringe a fundamental constitutional right because of the horrible actions of a few. It may seem like a high price, but the alternative is much worse.
Raymond Baker, St. Petersburg
Behavior and consequences
When Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem, he did so to demonstrate his concerns regarding the criminal justice system and various incidents of police behavior. (The connection between the two eludes me.) It appears now that that purpose has been clouded over by statements from the White House and other issues.
There is no such thing as a "routine" day in the life of a law enforcement officer, as the unexpected is just around the corner. Law enforcement officers are taught that when confronting an individual their initial approach will dictate how successful they are in ensuring that person does what has been requested. If the officer's approach is cordial and professional, more often than not, he can expect the person's response will likely be similar. If disrespectful and demeaning, the officer should expect resistance and an equally negative response.
When resistance reaches the point of confrontation, officers will respond with strong and direct commands to defuse the situation and take steps to protect themselves, their partners and innocent third parties. One should not expect any less. No amount of kneeling, protests or demonstrations will change this.
Mack Vines, Belleair Bluffs
The writer is a former St. Petersburg police chief.
To stand or kneel
There's a lot of talk about standing or kneeling for the playing of our national anthem. I remember seeing a very young veteran struggling to stand when notes of The Star-Spangled Banner started to play. He stood proudly — on two prosthetic legs. I cried.
I'm a nobody, but I stand for my country's flag and I kneel to my God.
Nelda Barlow Squier, St. Petersburg