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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Letter of the Day

In wake of death, don't repeal rights

I am an ardent supporter of the nation's Second Amendment, our state's concealed carry law and "Stand Your Ground." The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death would become a real travesty if anyone, from our president on down, were to succeed in taking our Second Amendment rights away or repeal Stand Your Ground and our concealed carry right. I believe law enforcement, from the local level through the federal level, does an excellent job overall. That said, most crime does not take place in the presence of or in view of law enforcement. I am in no way inferring Martin or George Zimmerman broke any laws. I believe, in essence, the right to carry protects all of us. The criminal element in our society may take pause before confronting us, not knowing who may be carrying a weapon. And having been a member of three neighborhood watches ( one in Bay City, Mich., and two in Zephyrhills), perhaps I might shed some light on the responsibilities of being part of a neighborhood watch.
In all of my experiences, a member of law enforcement explained to us the do's and don'ts in their orientation class. In each case we were told that we were an extra set of eyes and ears for them - nothing more or less. If we saw something suspicious or illegal, we were to call the appropriate police agency, and they would take it from there. We also were told that even if we felt the need to call 911, that all calls are triaged, much the same as in the ER of a hospital. They make a determination of the most serious call, and act on that first, assuming there are officers available or involved in a less serious call. This can be frustrating at times but does not allow for going beyond the above guidelines. I believe Trayvon would be alive today if Zimmerman had not gotten out of his vehicle. The confrontation might not have escalated to where it did had Zimmerman identified himself as a member of the watch and asked as respectfully as possible who Martin was and where he was going. Sad to say, no evidence was presented Zimmerman broke any laws. I believe Zimmerman used poor judgment but committed no provable crime. I do hope your readers will encourage their elected officials to not totally repeal any of the above rights we have. I believe these rights keep all of us much safer than we'd be without them - even with the tragic loss of Trayvon's life. Terry Biggs Zephyrills
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