Get off your knees
On Easter Sunday Andrew Napolitano, in his half-page tirade “On Easter, hope for the dead in intrusive times” (Views), posed the rhetorical question: “What is the connection between freedom and rising from the dead? I recognize Napolitano for being a champion of the Constitution, yet I find it incredulous that in the 21st century we still have issues regarding separation of church and state in the minds of Napolitano and others of his ilk. What is alarming is that some of these men are, or were, judges. Regardless of how one interprets it, the issue is clear: Religion should have no influence relative to the Constitution, just as mysticism and rising from the dead have nothing to do with freedom.
Although Napolitano makes a good point when he says the power of government expands while individual freedom shrinks, he is wrong in stating the government takes away our free will. Although government might be able to restrict our rights/freedom by force, it has no power over our will. As well, he is wrong attributing free will as a gift from his God; those of us who do not believe in arbitrary constructs are fully aware that we are naturally endowed with free will without believing in the supernatural.
Let’s assume this quaint story has merit as a tool to control the behavior of mankind. Isn’t it like rewarding a dog with a bone after he performs as desired or conditioning a child to behave? There is a difference to consider. According to Christian and other mono-deistic religious myths, God is omnipotent and omniscient as well as immortal. If Jesus is God, then his death is irrelevant. God cannot die, but according to the myth, neither can man, who is destined for either heaven or hell.
I am of the opinion our time could be better spent getting off our knees and doing something about our existence here on Earth and stop wasting time looking to the sky for answers or hoping we will exist in some mythical pipe dream after death. Let’s turn the page and understand the principles we think are God-given are perceptions and constructs of man and treat one another with respect.
Regarding “How to change the Second Amendment: Only takes five words” (Other Views, April 15): The changes that retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens proposed would bring the Second Amendment back in line with the original intent of this amendment. This was to guarantee the viability of colonial militias to ensure this force would be used only to protect the supremacy of the state and not be subverted and used by insurrectionists to overturn the state — a goal the NRA continually claims was the only purpose of this amendment.
I suggest Lee Hanson (“Change would void rights,” Other Views, April 20) read the Heller decision again, because it states in very clear language one has a right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense and nothing more. Hanson and the NRA continually try to expand that very focused new gun right to include a litany of additional gun rights not included in the Heller decision.
Arthur C. Hayhoe
The writer is executive director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Inc.
Contrary to original intent
Justice Stevens undermined his own argument in his illogical treatise on changing the Second Amendment to “conform” to original intent. Clearly, the Founders provided for an armed citizenry to prevent the rise of a tyrannical government, among other equally noble purposes.
That being the case, restricting firearms competitive with those possessed by the government actually is contrary to original intent.
Momentum for transit
With the momentum of growth continuing in downtown St. Pete (“Downtown growth spurt,” St. Petersburg Tribune, April 19) the time has arrived to get a central streetcar line going along Central Avenue from the main bus station to The Pier. Parking is already scarce, and it would take the addition of two or three large parking garages to accommodate all the people.
The Looper trolley buses get caught in the same traffic jams as cars; so do the abundant large buses. As in other cities, a central line results in visitors to the central business district parking along the route and hopping on the streetcar to get downtown. The need for additional and expensive parking garages is virtually eliminated.
A public ferry situated at The Pier, shuttling commuters and visitors from downtown Tampa, is another necessity. This is the lowest risk and most cost-effective method to getting people across the bay. When Tampa extends the beautiful and pleasant streetcar into downtown, an aesthetic and practical south Pinellas-central Hillsborough commute is created.
In his letter to the editor April 17, Frank Popeleski advocates for same-sex marriage by calling it the “New Civil Rights Movement.” His logic is suspect and screwy as based on his last paragraph denigrating traditional marriage. He says, “Over 50 percent of traditional marriages in this country end in divorce, so to those who advocate that they are protecting marriage, I ask: Who are you protecting other than a failed institution for the majority?” It is screwy logic to propose something for someone else that he himself describes as a “failed institution.” Would he recommend a failed product, car or whatever, to anyone else? That is exactly what he is doing. It just does not make sense.
Charles F. Gordon