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Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Oppose treaty

Published:   |   Updated: June 20, 2013 at 07:00 AM

Oppose treaty

My parents were born deaf, and my son could be qualified as having a disability. I understand their struggles. But the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) would do much more harm than good. Proponents intend to ratify it in July.

This treaty never states a definition of "disability," so the bureaucrats decide who falls under this treaty. Also, this treaty makes any form of spanking illegal for any child (not just those with disabilities).

Countries under a similar treaty, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), have given fines and or one to two years in jail for any form of spanking. Also, proponents state this treaty would not be binding on us and that children in other nations would be helped if we ratify. But this treaty would be binding, and our ratification has no effect on children in other countries per the Vienna Convention articles 26 and 2.

Most importantly, the "best interest of the child" principle would allow the government to override every decision made by every parent of a child with a "disability" if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision. The parent's decision about the child's best interest in all areas, such as medical treatment, education and social and religious participation, are all superseded by those in authority who have a differing idea of your child's best interest.

Scotland, under the CRC, proposes to assign a social worker to monitor every child from birth, and many countries under the CRC outlawed home-schooling, which could be adopted here for disabled children under the CRPD. Please call your senators to ask them to vote against the CRPD. See Parentalrights.org for more information.

Margie Parajon

Valrico

Insurance 'victim'

Two years ago my national homeowners insurance company canceled me after 15 years with no claims, and I had to go with Citizens Property Insurance. About two weeks ago, I received letters from Citizens and Heritage Insurance. I was told that Citizens was offering my policy to Heritage. The Heritage letter stated they were willing to take my policy from Citizens. They gave me until June 23 to decide. If they didn't hear from me by then, they would automatically assume my policy. They also stated that if I didn't allow them to assume my policy, I may be subject to a 45 percent assessment in the event of a catastrophic storm. And they didn't tell me what they would be charging me. My agent said there was no way to find out.

In researching Heritage Insurance, I found that they have been in business about a year and are being given $51 million by the state of Florida to assume some of Citizens' policies. I don't believe they have the assets to cover damages from a large storm. What will happen to us little guys should they go bankrupt? And they gave Gov. Rick Scott a $110,000 campaign donation, which is profoundly disturbing.

I feel like a victim. I am being bullied by the very people who were elected to look after my best interests. What recourse do I have?

Fern Williams

Zephyrhills

Draft pros and cons

Regarding recent letters about reinstating the draft:

One reason why the draft was so unpopular in the Vietnam War era was because it was less than fair. Rich and even moderately well-off students received deferments while attending college, while those who could not afford college would register and within six months be in service. Some joined voluntarily, enlisting in the Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard, which, even then, were "all-volunteer" services. Those drafted were inducted into either the Army or Marines.

Even the advent of the "draft lottery" did not change things very much, other than to let everyone draft-eligible know their probability of being called up.

But the draft did have its benefits. Across all services, the basic training/boot camp sergeants yelled at everybody and didn't much care if you were rich, poor, black, white or purple, with pink polka-dots. You learned to work together as a team, and to quickly heed instructions and obey orders. And, for many, it was a massive culture shock, with shared misery for eight weeks to 12 weeks.

That being said, if there were a way to administer the draft without regard for social status or gender, to limit deferments to a total of seven years, and to require two years of service from all mentally and physically able persons between the ages of 18 and 35, without exception, then I would favor the draft's return. Those who have conscientious or religious objections to bearing arms could be trained as medics or chaplains' assistants or, as an alternative, spend four years in the Peace Corps.

And while the military is often looked upon as an entity whose main purpose is "to kill people and break things," it is much more. Each service has numerous jobs in combat support fields, such as personnel, finance, journalism (both print and electronic) and mechanics. Look no further than MacDill Air Force Base, a city in itself. And uniformed military run or supervise it all.

Kenneth R. Gilder

St. Petersburg

The writer is a retired Army broadcaster who served with the American Forces Radio and Television Service (now called AFN) in Korea, Germany, Vietnam, the Canal Zone and Thailand.

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