I just have to respond to your front-page story regarding the Florida Sheriffs Association vote on the “stand your ground” law (“Sheriffs dispute ‘stand’ vote,” Aug. 17). With all the political turmoil that has been stirred up regarding this law, the Florida Legislature requested input and a unified response from law enforcement. During a sheriffs’ conference, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd held a voice vote on the law, and there were no opposing votes to supporting the law as written. In other words, the law was unanimously supported. Now we are to understand that at least two sheriffs in attendance did not speak during the vote.
Keep in mind that this matter has gotten national attention, and the Pinellas County sheriff chuckles and says he did not understand the question, and Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee was not there for the vote. Or to put it another way, what the voters of Pinellas and Hillsborough received from their top cops was incompetence and absence, respectively, on a very important matter.
As a law-abiding citizen of this state, what I expect from my local sheriff is support in general for my rights, and in this case, for the “stand your ground” law in particular. I think we should all keep this situation in mind the next time we vote for these top offices.
Dennis E. Doll
Why take sides?
The new head of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, stated the FSA, with a united voice, declared rousing support for the “stand your ground” law as written and that it was correctly described as unanimous because there weren’t any “no” votes. Now we learn that some sheriffs didn’t participate in this vote.
In addition, city police chiefs, who do as much or more police work as the sheriffs’ departments, have remained silent about this politically hot potato of “stand your ground” — but not Judd. He has decided to commit the FSA to supporting the worst piece of public policy ever passed in Florida to shore up the position of our governor, the NRA and the Republicans who passed this law.
What we find so outrageous is the FSA taking any kind of position on “stand your ground,” which was created entirely for political reasons and never had anything to do with self-defense. The sheriff’s department is funded by public money. Would someone tell me why a sheriff would be taking sides on this or any other law, especially over an issue of legal gun use?
Warning: If you are so unfortunate as to become involved in a dispute with anyone in Florida, the Florida Sheriffs Association has gone on record they support the man with the gun.
Arthur C. Hayhoe
The writer is executive director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Inc.
House doing its job
Regarding “Reckless behavior” (Your Views, Aug. 16): I am not going to comment too much on the writer’s long list of “transgressions” of the GOP other than to say that the list of what is wrong under President Obama by a GOP partisan would be just as long. The key to understanding the House’s actions is the recognition that “no” is a valid answer, whether or not that is the desired answer of a particular party. Because the House majority represents a far different political view than the Democrats, it is quite understandable that the House would not agree with much of Obama’s agenda.
The writer ignores the role of the “checks and balances” provisions in the way the U.S. government functions. It is not the job of any of the government branches to rubber stamp the desires of any other branch. On the contrary, it is the House’s ( in this case) job to stop what its members consider questionable actions, such as, hypothetically, unfettered growth in the national debt and questionable growth in the federal government, etc.
In this regard the House appears to be doing its job.
To label it as a “do-nothing” body is an inappropriate and inaccurate way of criticizing them for doing that job.
That Howard F. Harris Jr. (“Reckless behavior”) views the world through a liberal prism is no secret. His diatribe against the “do-nothing GOP” reveals that.
The most troubling part of his letter is this: “The GOP intransigent ideology keeps them from their constitutional mandate to originate bills to raise revenue or to accept tremendous deals.” Interestingly, I don’t see either of those “mandates” in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 7 says, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” That’s a far cry from a “mandate” to raise revenues, and “accepting tremendous deals” is nowhere to be found. A little reinventing of the Constitution, anyone?
Herein lies the problem with socialist thinkers: They believe the government’s job is to abscond ever more money from the citizenry. Here’s a novel idea. How about more responsibly using the trillions of dollars we already give them? Why is feeding and growing Leviathan always the answer? Why does “compromise” always seem to mean caving to liberal/progressive policies? If a politician feels that a policy is destructive (i.e., Obamacare), then it is their duty to stand against it.
Until we demand more responsibility of our government instead of allowing the government to demand more dollars from us, the inevitable slide into socialism will continue.
My solution: Let each party do what they don’t want to do. The Democrats make the cuts (real cuts, not creative bookkeeping) and take the heat for the programs cut. The Republicans increase the taxes and take the heat for that. The net result must be a budget surplus that goes to pay down the national debt. In any year when there is no budget surplus, the Democrats must make additional cuts, and the Republicans must raise taxes until there is a budget surplus with an agreed upon ratio of cuts to tax increase.