A job well done
Another tremendous Gasparilla race weekend has come and gone. Congratulations to race director Susan Harmeling, her staff and the dedicated volunteers for providing an event where 30,000 participants from the Tampa area and elsewhere came together and accomplished their goal of running in the 15K, 5K, half marathon or 8K races.
Kudos to the city of Tampa for cleaning up afterwards, literally within an hour after runners had finished and downed a meal provided by the Columbia Restaurant or snacks from any of the various vendors.
And a big thank you to Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was up early each morning to send the runners off down Bayshore Boulevard. Not only was he at the start of each race, but on Sunday stayed around until 11 a.m. to cheer the runners on in one of the largest community events in the country. A job well done by all!
Empty places at table
Regarding "We're armed at the crossroad of crazy" (Joe Henderson, Metro, Feb. 22) about the "stand your ground law." Why does he seem to think this law doesn't work as it is intended? Just because a shooter tries to use the law as his justification doesn't make the law bad. Obviously, in the Michael Dunn case the jury saw right through that claim. After all, he was convicted of three counts of attempted murder. Dunn is 47, and those counts alone ought to ensure he spends the rest of his life in prison. The mistrial on the murder charge stems from the state overreaching and charging Dunn with first-degree murder. Dunn didn't lie in wait for young Jordan Davis so he could kill him. No, he was a moron who felt having a gun entitled him to make the rules and shoot people who didn't agree with him. This does not make "stand your ground" the evil law that Henderson claims it is.
I also find it rather specious that he brings up this law in the context of the Wesley Chapel theater shooting since Curtis Reeves has not claimed this at any time in his defense, at least not yet. So using this killing in his argument against "stand your ground" is a twisting of the current facts to suit his purpose. Jurors understand when "stand your ground" should apply and when it shouldn't. Just because someone claims it as his defense doesn't make it so.
Anytime you want to change a law that helps common people protect themselves and their families over some "perception" that it allows people to willy-nilly go out and kill others without consequence, you better bring a lot more to the table than these arguments.
Defining our rights
It was certainly surprising to see Joe Henderson conclude that Florida needs to fix a "bad law." Florida's law regarding self-defense reads that "a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony ..."
That seems concise and quite reasonable to me. It is up to a court/jury to decide each case, and the wild rantings of defense lawyers are meaningless but publicity provoking.
The "stand your ground" provision of the law puts those attacked on equal defensive grounds with those committing a serious attack. Just how would Joe make the "bad" law into a "good" law? Take away the right to "stand your ground," or amend it to the point of being a "duty to retreat" law?
This law is not promoting the irresponsible use of firearms in self-defense. Just the opposite. It is very clearly defining our rights to self-defense.
From beginning to end
Regarding the sinkhole property in Seffner, I am a relative of the Wicker family, whose home was lost in the sinkhole. The entire family is still reeling from the tragedy, Yes, it is true a life was lost, but so were 40 years of life's memories for the Wicker family. Jeff Bush was not a Wicker family member and had only lived there a short time.
The Wickers raised four children there, as well as grandchildren, and the mother died while living there. Family gatherings were held there, and memories were made there. I remember the moving-in days so many years ago and the excitement of all. From that time, to the awful moment a year ago, things were there for the family. I was there when it was determined Jeff Bush's body could not be recovered, and the house would be destroyed. So you might say I saw the beginning to the end.
Even though I think his loss should be remembered, let's not forget that it was the Wicker house. They should be remembered, first of all, for all they lost that tragic night.