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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Letters to the editor: Common sense needed

Common sense needed

It’s totally inappropriate to address the complex issue of medical marijuana through a ballot amendment. Only comprehensive legislation will help ensure this is done right.

You don’t have to talk to many people or read much of the literature to realize that a number of people have been legitimately helped by the use of medical marijuana. The folks who can be helped deserve our compassion. Of great concern, though, is that a ballot measure would be a “gateway law” to total legalization of the drug. Any safeguards in a two- or three-paragraph ballot measure will eventually die the death of a thousand qualifications and exceptions. A high-profile ballot fight might give the perception that this isn’t an illegal drug, but just medicine and therefore good. Next, some judge will enshrine every American’s “fundamental right” to smoke marijuana. Then we will reap what we sow. The end result might look like a scene from the sci-fi genre showing people lining up for their happy pill.

The arguments supporting legalization are bogus. When people say marijuana is no worse than alcohol, you are tacitly admitting that there are deleterious effects. Like alcohol, there is measurable physical and psychological harm resulting from the use of marijuana. When people say things will be better if we regulate marijuana and at least get revenue from it, you need only to look at our history with alcohol. The carnage on our highways and devastation to our families continue. Is there any government of any size that can say that revenue from alcohol offsets the costs from accidents, crime and health care?

I believe in palliative care. Both my parents were blessed by the work of Hospice. If marijuana will provide another tool at their disposal, let’s go for it. Unfortunately, there is a move from both ends of the political spectrum to use medical marijuana as a steppingstone to total legalization. Fresh from the memories of the infamous pain-killer pill mills we need some leadership from the common-sense legislators left in Tallahassee to draft a bill that will ensure help for the truly medical needy while protecting our society from the added strain of another debilitating scourge.

Mike Carlson

Weeki Wachee

Fraught with ambiguity

Regarding “Has the fever passed?” (Your Views, March 23): The writer opines that we should reinstate the old self-defense statues that contain these life-saving words: “You have to duty to retreat.” How far? At what point in the situation? What if continued escalation is perpetrated by the other party? At what point is fear for safety a mitigating factor?

“You have a duty to retreat” is fraught with ambiguity easily open to a variety of interpretations. At least “stand your ground” is easily understood by all concerned. The law is easily interpreted by a court of law. I submit that a law stating that you have to interpret what constitutes a lawful “retreat” under duress would just encourage more aggressive, abusive, threatening behavior on the part of individuals who thrive on bullying and always getting their way and in some cases want more than just a little “innocent fun.”

Jerrold Cheesbro

Sun City Center

‘Stand your ground’ tweaks

Regarding “Has the fever passed?”: Marion Hammer and the NRA have never found fault with the basic “stand your ground” law. As a matter of fact, the Florida Legislature is doing a bit of pro-gun tweaking of the law concerning legalizing “warning shots” under self-defense conditions, protecting school children from punishment for playing with clearly simulated weapons such as firearms formed from school stuff (such as pastries), and expunging criminal records in “stand your ground” cases where charges are dropped. Hammer has no problems with any of these proposed changes.

To go back to the days of requiring a “duty to retreat” is an absurd concept that would expose some who protect themselves from criminal attack, using legally sanctioned deadly force, to criminal prosecution for “failing to retreat.”

“Stand your ground” is working quite well, and the proposed tweaks will make it work just a little better. The provisions allowing the use of deadly force in self-defense when a person reasonably believes “that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself” will remain intact and in full force, with a few tweaks and the blessings of Marion Hammer and the NRA, I’m sure.

Lee Hanson


Wouldn’t change a thing

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Second Amendment.

Let it be known that I believe strongly in our Constitution as it is written and would not change a word or comma.

I have heard many people say that “no one is trying to take your guns away.” I believe there are a lot of folks trying to take guns from law-abiding citizens. By now you have seen the picture that says a pistol is to stop bad people, a shotgun is for hunting and the dreaded AR-15 is to protect us from tyranny.

As long as 80 million or 90 million folks have the right to own these weapons, then I would agree tyranny will not happen. Take that right away, and you cannot make the same statement. I assure you that throwing rocks at a tyrannical government will not help you win freedom.

Bill Mattull


Weather Center