Traffic nightmare and local politics
As recent trip to South Tampa was an enlightening experience for me and my spouse. While it is no surprise to anyone venturing anywhere near Orlando or Tampa on Interstate 4, the absolute gridlock is so omnipresent, the number of towering condos and multi-complex apartments so pervasive, and the magnitude of road construction so inadequate, I wonder if the residents in this area wonder how it got so bad, and why.
The consequences of over-development are so often ignored by those in power that it seems the packed town halls, letters to the editor and angry phone calls to government officials are as meaningless as arguing with the chair I am sitting in.
As a former member of the Edgewater Economic Advisory Board, which gave me a window into small-town politics, I have some advice for my neighbors who don’t want Florida to be one massive development from sea to shining sea (sorry, gulf).
*Fight to get into positions of influence. Join one of the advisory boards. Run for city or county council, or the School Board.
*Be a part of local groups that share your passions.
*For God’s sake, register to vote, and show up at every election, not just the presidential cycle.
*Know who you are voting for, and find out what their positions are on the issues.
Being informed takes time and effort, but true representative democracy can’t exist without the power of knowledge.
How will it work?
So, teachers with guns — how are they going to handle it? Keep it strapped on their waist? Leave it on their desk in open view? Or carry it with them at all times — lunch, field trips, and sporting events?
Some have suggested teachers carry concealed weapons. How will they conceal them? Where would a female hide the gun? Most men do not wear suit coats while teaching, so putting the gun in the waistband would hardly be concealed.
Or will they lock the gun in their desk – or better in a hotel room-type safe? Again, will they leave the gun there while not in the room?
Some suggest that there only needs to be one teacher on each floor or each wing of a school to be a deterrent. If that teacher hears a disturbance, will he or she grab the gun and leave students alone and scared to go seeking the problem? Or will teachers ensure the classroom doors are locked and stay at their desks to protect the students? If the shooter has picked the classroom of the armed teacher, how long will it take for the teacher to unlock the desk/open the safe and obtain the weapon? How many kids will be killed in the meantime?
A New York Times article states that trained New York police officers hit a fleeing target only a third of the time, and if involved in a shoot-out they hit their targets only 13 percent of the time. How accurate is a teacher going to be?
John P. Ewing
The big city with one of the highest homicide rate in America, Baltimore, is in one of the most liberal states in America, Maryland. In a recent column on the Democrats’ “common-sense gun control” proposals, which are anything but, it cited a study done by the Baltimore Sun that noted:
The average homicide victim in Baltimore in 2017 had 11 previous arrests on his record. About 73 percent had drug arrests, and nearly 50 percent had been arrested for a violent crime. About 30 percent were on parole or probation at the time they were killed, and more than 6 percent were on parole or probation for a gun crime.
In other words, for those who are not career criminals or affiliated with gangs or drugs, their chances of being a victim of violent crime drop dramatically. In fact, it can be argued that their risk of being a victim of violent crime drops below European Union rates.
As a matter of fact, if they are not involved in criminal activity, their statistical probability of being killed by a drunk driver is much higher than being murdered.
But I am not proposing to ban alcohol or automobiles.
Rules of engagement
The Florida Legislature, in response to the Parkland massacre, is considering a bill that would allow teachers to be trained and armed rather than outlawing AR-15s. When students from Parkland showed up in Tallahassee, lawmakers refused to even debate a ban on assault rifles. Rather, they passed a bill on the dangers of pornography. Their delusional logic presupposes that an armed and trained teacher would be able to take out a mass murderer with an AR-15 with multiple 30-round magazines, who in many cases is prepared to die in a blaze of glory.
Those of us who been in combat know the rules of engagement. Even most trained marksmen fire back in the general direction of incoming fire, rather than take aim, when being shot at with semi-automatic weapons. Then visualize a young teacher firing a weapon to protect her students. What if police mistake them for the shooter, and fire on them? There are a multitude of other bad scenarios.
What the Legislature really did was create a legal foundation for vigilante justice. Vigilantes typically undertake law enforcement because they consider the local law enforcement to be inadequate.
Rather than outlawing weapons of war in civilian hands, they have marginalized law enforcement in support of the NRA.
We must support law enforcement with proper funding to do the job which only they are qualified to do. We must also support the Second Amendment — but eliminate semi-automatic weapons, and the means to covert ordinary weapons into semi-automatic ones.
Dennis A. Bonilla
Good guys with guns
I am fed up with the false commentary promulgated on the public by most news media, including The News-Journal. Their misinformation often comes from well-organized activist groups like those financed by the democracy hater George Soros and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The NRA was formed in 1871 by Army officers wanting to train civilians in marksmanship so the military could draw upon them for national defense in emergencies. It now represents 5 million ordinary citizens, drawing financial support from them; there are no large corporate members. NRA political contributions are small compared to those of labor unions, especially teacher and government worker unions.
The AR-15 is not an assault weapon. It was designed in the 1950s by the Armalite rifle company and merely uses a different firing mechanism than the original semi-automatic designs of the late 1800s. Current military firearms are merely based on this design and are not newly developed.
Limiting magazine capacity is a fraud. Small-capacity magazines can be can be changed out in about two seconds.
The Second Amendment guaranteeing firearms possession was not written for hunters but for individuals to defend themselves. A Florida State University professor who’s studied the issue extensively estimates that citizens do exactly that upward of 2 million times a year. It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.
Liberal feel-good laws encouraged by activists are often proven counterproductive, especially with firearms regulations.
Stop school shootings
The solution to preventing gun violence in schools is very similar to the solution to solving so many other problems faced by public schools. The key is better relations between student and staff. Creating a safe environment (in the emotional sense) so that students feel comfortable telling an adult, a teacher, school administrator or school resource officer that something is wrong with another student — that he is talking about hurting others or shooting up the school. Invariably, one or more students know when another student is thinking about committing violence at school so student trust in adults at the schools needs to be strong enough to overcome the student code of silence. And adults making an extra effort to develop and strengthen relationships with kids who are obviously troubled or kids who seem to have changed or exhibited some other signal that an empathetic adult would notice.
There have been a number of studies that address school safety that make the above points and more. They include a 2002 study by the Secret Service and Department of Education titled, “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States,” and a 2010 study entitled “A Qualitative Investigation of Averted School Rampages.” Although there is no standard profile of an attacker, attachers generally felt they had been bullied or persecuted prior. The single most important program that should be put in place to prevent rampages is an anti-bullying program.
Kelly is the former CFO and deputy superintendent of Volusia County schools, the current CFO of Seminole County Schools and a candidate for Volusia County School Board.
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Source : http://www.news-journalonline.com/opinion/20180307/letters-true-representative-democracy-cant-exist-without-power-of-knowledge