Letters to the editor


Published: Friday, November 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 5:49 p.m.

The Sun lacks knowledge of the Libertarian Party

It's obvious to me that The Sun's editorial writers know little or nothing about Libertarianism. Most recently (Oct. 29), The Sun said this when recommending a Democrat over the Libertarian candidate for House District 10.

"The Libertarian philosophy is that government is the enemy, not a partner, and that taxes and spending is (sic) counterproductive."

Every point in this sentence is patently false. Libertarians believe that government serves the useful functions of protecting people's rights and their property.

One major difference between Libertarians and other political parties is that Libertarians don't believe that government should use tax money for charitable activities, and on the federal level they think it's unconstitutional.

Instead, Libertarians believe that those tax dollars, in the pockets of concerned and generous Americans, will result in more jobs and more voluntary charity through family, friends, churches and other organizations.

I think they're right. Voluntary charity is personal, more focused, and is appreciated more by those receiving it. Therefore it's more effective.

One of the slogans I've seen local Libertarian candidates use is "small government is beautiful." Although I don't disagree with that slogan, I

think it would be more informative for Libertarians to say "limited government is beautiful."

To learn more about Libertarianism, use the Internet, or drop by the Alachua County Libertarian Party table at the Alachua County Fair next week, rather than relying on The Gainesville Sun's uneducated judgments.

Ray Roberts,

Gainesville

Amendment 6 has my vote

This is in response to Ed Melton's letter (Oct. 30) regarding Amendment No. 6. Many, many years ago, someone had the good sense to recognize that certain body functions should be carried out in private; thus, the restroom was created.

Perhaps we could install "smokerooms," paid for with cigarette taxes, of course, in public places so I don't have to inhale your carcinogenic "gasses."

What about my right to "free" air? I will ride this "politically and socially correct'' bandwagon all the way to the polls to vote yes on Amendment No. 6.

D. Johnson,

Gainesville

Democrats disgrace

Sen. Wellstone's memory

I watched the so-called memorial to Sen. Paul Wellstone on C-SPAN and was saddened to see his memory disgraced by partisan demagoguery.

In 1996, I voted in Minnesota as an independent for Sen. Wellstone. I voted for him then because he was clearly a sincere, qualified man, worthy of political office.

Since moving to Florida, I have remained a registered Independent, but the disgraceful "memorial" in Minneapolis this week gave good reason to reject the Democratic Party anywhere in the upcoming election.

It showed no class or dignity. It was filled with hatred for Republicans, and it reduced Wellstone's death to a clownish campaign rally.

Wellstone was a great man because he put individual people before partisan dogma. The Democratic Party, both nationally and in Minnesota, is incapable of continuing his legacy.

Greg Borchard,

Gainesville

A belief in research

In his letter (Oct. 21), Jonathon Shuster says I am misguided in my belief that animal use in research is generally inefficacious, redundant and irrelevant to the furtherance of science.

My views have been guided by the dismal record of the research community to demonstrate that use of animals is a meaningful approach to finding cures and palliatives for human disease.

I could list dozens of studies of drugs and devices that performed well in rats, mice, pigs and dogs and then proved dangerous or lethal to humans.

I could furnish dozens more examples of drugs and devices that failed in animal investigations, then later proved to have human benefits. The introduction of some of these beneficial drugs, incidentally, were delayed for years.

In my previous letter (Oct. 12), I expressed dismay that not a single UF researcher was willing to engage in civil discourse with Dr. Ray Greek on this topic. Shuster justified the no-show by saying it would have been a "highly intimidating experience."

Lawyers like to say that if the facts aren't on your side, argue the law. Shuster, in asserting that all animal experiments are conducted under federal guidelines and are compliant with review regulations, is simply arguing the law.

Review boards are more about grant funding than they are about humane treatment of lab animals.

If Shuster had attended the lecture, he would have known that Dr. Greek avoided all appeals for animal "rights" and confined his comments to the science of animal testing. No one has suggested that animals be protected under the Bill of Rights.

But I do urge all taxpayers to take a clear-eyed look at research as practiced. In the meantime, the research community should stop asking the public to take it on faith that animal models are the right thing for good science.

Barbara Lacy,

Gainesville

Second-hand smoke kills

Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a urinating section in a swimming pool, except that normal urine is much less harmful than second-hand smoke.

The ventilation system in most restaurants rarely protects those near the smoking section. Second-hand smoke kills approximately 50,000 people per year in the U.S. and 40,000 of those die a heart-related death.

Last summer, an article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that explained why. It showed that healthy medical students exposed to second-hand smoke for 30 minutes had their maximum coronary artery blood flow decreased by about 25 percent, down to that of chronic smokers.

People have a right to kill themselves with tobacco if they so choose, but they do not have a right to kill innocent bystanders.

Parker A. Small Jr. M.D,

Gainesville

Drivers need to slow down

I've had with you Gainesville.

When did getting to work, or to school, or to wherever it is that you rush to every morning become more important than our children's safety?

When did you forget that pedestrians have the right of way, or how to obey a simple traffic sign that says, "No right on red," lit up in red lights?

I and my neighbor have been walking three to five miles every morning for the last three months and have seen all manner of rudeness. I have seen cars trying to pull out into traffic, nose their way into the intersection as they see us walking toward it, as if by blocking us from crossing the street they will get out into traffic that much faster.

I have seen a car ease forward as we crossed in front of it in a crosswalk as if to tell us to get the heck out of the way. I have seen cars not stop for school buses even after the bus has its red lights flashing and stop sign showing.

I have been lucky enough to have a schedule that allows me to walk my children to school every morning. But recently, that simple enjoyment almost cost my children their lives.

We were standing at the intersection of NW 43rd Street and 53rd Avenue. A woman, obviously in a hurry, must have decided that she could make the light or that she didn't care that the light had already turned and that the crossing guard was in the intersection blowing his whistle. Or that there was a lit up sign saying "No right on red."

For us, the ritual involves waiting for the walk sign and then waiting for the crossing guard to blow his whistle to signal that it is OK to cross. My children heard the whistle and began to cross as usual, and out of nowhere comes this driver trying to get that right-hand turn in.

My children stepped off the curb, and a millisecond later, a white car comes to a screeching halt just inches from them.

I thank God that my children were not harmed that morning. I implore you Gainesville to think.

The next time you are running a little late or are trying to decide if you can make it through the intersection before the light changes, think, that could be your child or grandchild in the cross walk, and you may not be as lucky as that woman was this morning.

Tracy Morris,

Gainesville

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