March 20 Mail: Pensions, Education, Guns and More

Focus on the Real Pension Problem

Bobby Deal, Richard Tuten and Nat Glover do not see this as taxpayer money or any of taxpayers’ concern [online comment on “Should a Former Police Officer Be Allowed to Receive Pension Benefits After Being Convicted of a Crime?”]. They awarded the $42,000-a-year payment to Richard Cannon while he sits in jail for 30 years because they feel he deserves it. The money comes from a fund that they are entitled to. It’s Mr. Deal’s, Mr. Tuten’s and Mr. Glover’s choice to make. We gave them that money, and that choice to make. If people are upset, they should be more concerned at the kind of ridiculous money we as taxpayers give them and the type of people we allow to sit on these boards.

Wayne Davis



Students and Taxpayers Deserve Better

What interests me the most about Denise M. Reagan’s recent Editor’s Note [“Color-coded,” March 6] regarding a student coloring assignment of a lynching scene isn’t really the part about the lynching. I think we all know that lynching is wrong. But the issue does not deserve a front-page editorial. Instead, the real issue that should have warranted a discussion is the sad reality of our education system. is simply filler used by teachers to keep students busy and occupied. While I understand why teachers would want kids to color (i.e., to take a break, plus they’re kids), it begs the question of what we expect — as parents and taxpayers — from elementary schools. Is coloring the only way students can learn American history? I understand that these students are “only” elementary-aged kids, but don’t they deserve more? Don’t we as parents and taxpayers deserve better?

Most of the schools in Duval County follow the above tradition but without the coloring of a lynching scene. Yet, instead of focusing on the failure of the system itself, we talk about lynching, which is an important part of our history, but not the cause of the coloring assignment.

James Sirois

St. Augustine


Standing Up Against Tyranny

While Greg Bell writes a printable essay on his opinion of the Second Amendment, he shoots himself in the foot with his own argument [online comment on “The Second Amendment Is Invalid,” Feb. 27].

True, weaponry has dramatically changed since our country’s founding, and there are laws that prevent us from owning some of the more advanced systems produced today. However, in his argument, Mr. Bell stated that “a well-regulated militia” defeated the most powerful army in the world. This may soon be a challenge we will face in our own generation.

Mr. Bell should re-examine the fact that the Second Amendment was put in place to protect the Third Amendment, which he conveniently glossed over. The Third Amendment states, for people not too familiar with the Bill of Rights, “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.” Back in colonial times, the British soldiers routinely took advantage of the fact they could drop in your home or business and consume food, copulate with women and confiscate valuables, just because they could. This was part of the tyranny that the Founding Fathers referred to. This is possibly what martial law could allow.

If the current administration has any progress in reducing the capacity for citizens to bear arms, a new tyranny will rear its ugly head again, and it will be the citizens who have to stand up against it. People like Mr. Bell will be cowering for protection by the very people who stood up for their right to bear arms.

In my lifetime, I have been around countless weapons and not one has ever gotten up and assaulted me. They have always been at my disposal to defend me and my family, as they are carried by police, to defend them. The liberal media has labeled them as “assault” weapons when, in fact, the vast majority of them are held by law-abiding citizens for their defense. If they haven’t been used in an assault, why won’t the media refer to them as “defensive weapons” or “target weapons” or “recreational weapons”? Why won’t they refer to a baseball bat or a common kitchen knife as an “assault weapon” if it’s used in an actual assault?

Mr. Bell should be reminded that the true definition of gun control is hitting your target.

Curt Coenen



Guerrilla Warfare vs. Government

I completely disagree with Greg Bell’s Backpage Editorial [“The Second Amendment Is Invalid,” Feb. 27]. Mr. Bell declares the people of the United States have no ability to defend ourselves from the government. Not true! Just look at what happened in Libya or any other place in the world where the people overthrew an unpopular government. The people of Syria are fighting their government right now. It is possible for any people around the world to take on their governments with guerrilla warfare and desertions from the military. “Patriots” is an interesting novel written by former U.S. Army intelligence officer James Wesley Rawles, about a guerrilla war against the U.S. military. I challenge anyone to read “Patriots” and still believe the Second Amendment is no longer relevant.

Todd Thompson



Do We Pet Horses or Eat Them?

Recently, food safety officials in United Kingdom, France and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe. Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.

Can it happen here? Horse slaughter for human consumption was banned in the U.S. between 2007 and 2011. But now, a New Mexico slaughterhouse is getting approved by U.S. authorities to slaughter horses for human consumption, and a Philadelphia restaurant has already announced plans to serve horse meat.

I marvel at our hypocrisy of rejecting the notion of horse or dog meat on our dinner plates, while condemning cows, pigs and chickens to the same fate. Obviously, we have established special relationships with horses and dogs as our companions, protectors and sports protagonists, rather than as food. But where is the ethical and logical distinction, given that all these animals are endowed with individuality, sentience and an ability to experience the same feelings of joy, affection, sadness and fear that we do?

Fortunately, our health food industry has spared us from having to choose which animals to pet and which ones to eat. Their delicious soy and grain-based meat alternatives are available in every supermarket. 

Jason Rittonhouse