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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 4 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ Rats get eradicated but raccoons get a pass?
Dear Editor:

I find it highly amusing, somewhat ironic and grossly hypocritical that the town staff via its multiple arms should react so swiftly and forcefully in trying to eradicate a poor family of rats who had invaded the sanctity of the town offices. 

A couple of years ago, I went before commissioners with a proposal to rid the town of raccoons for precisely the same reasons that the town’s death-dealing minions deprived those poor rats of the blessings of life: leaving a trail of debris and droppings, making a mess, potentially carrying disease and inhabiting space that rightly belongs to civilized people. I even proposed, to the commission, hiring a professional raccoon-trapper and selected the best (cheapest) from a list of six. I doubt town staff performed an extensive bidding review, as I did, before selecting the designated rat-trapper. If so, that would appear to be an abuse of staff’s government powers. 

The town went even further when it notified the chief of police, thereby invoking supreme lethal force, if needed. I sense a strong double standard for town employees and office space versus us common tax-paying citizens and our private property. Rats get eradicated; raccoons get a pass.

My guess is, also, that there weren’t as many snide comments and jokes offered  — such as I received in speaking before commissioner — when the rat problem was being discussed at such high levels of government.

Well, town staff, I’ll let you go so that you can get back to your rat-killing. If you find any dead raccoons on your doorstep you might guess where they have come from and pass an ordinance. Should that occur, I will await the heavy footfall of an arresting gendarme, and invoke Amendment XIV, Section 1. Hire another town attorney.
Weldon G. Frost
Longboat Key

+ We need to change the gun laws
Dear Editor:

I have been an outdoorsman since my first memories of fishing with my mother and father and have been an outdoor journalist for more than two decades. Although, I’m not a hunter myself, I have many friends and associates who are, and by and large, they are outstanding individuals who value the resource and understand the responsibilities of gun ownership.   

However, though I may respect my friends and those who own guns, the most-recent senseless mind-numbing tragedy that unfolded in Connecticut has made me question whether I can simply stand back from the power of the gun lobby and those who would say that “guns don't kill people, people kill people.” 

I’ve been uncomfortable with the gun laws in this country for many years, have voted my conscience, but have largely remained silent on the issue based on my respect for the gun owners I know.  That being said, I have never understood how an organization like The National Rifle Association, (NRA) could be allowed to control the legislative agenda that represents 350 million citizens in this country, when that organization vehemently defends a citizen’s right to own a weapon as dangerous as an assault rifle. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has pointed out that, “as a result of the NRA's lobbying, gun crime has soared” and a teenager can "purchase an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle at a gun show without having to show ID and without a background check.” Or as in the tragedy in Connecticut, a teenager can simply take his parent's weapons and commit murder starting, it appears, with the parent who provided the weapons. It seems ludicrous that it would be easier for a teenager to buy an assault rifle than to adopt a kitten at the ASPCA.

I can no longer remain silent, because I feel that apathy in light of the litany of horrendous shootings is like giving tacit approval to a situation that has destroyed too many innocent lives, both young and old.  I encourage my fellow citizens to speak up and stand up for basic decency. This is not about denying hunters their firearms or a homeowner the right to a gun for their personal protection. It's about limiting access to a weapon that has no place in civilized society. Let’s do the right thing and help protect the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
Rusty Chinnis
Longboat Key

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