Regarding "What I learned about guns on the Cass Street Bridge" (Views, Jan. 11):
I just returned from Arizona, living there the last two years. Arizona has a gun open-carry rule that means you do not have to conceal your weapon. In Florida, if you have a concealed weapon permit, you have to conceal it. In Arizona it's legal for your weapon to be visible. If a bad person sees a visible weapon on a good person, the bad person will think a little harder before doing an evil deed. That is the thinking behind open carry.
If Jen Miller, the writer of the article, had had a visible weapon strapped to her hip, the person who robbed her with a gun would have had second thoughts, and if he intended to harm her she would've had a chance to defend herself.
Jen Miller and others who think like her have not contemplated the entire picture or they would not think as they do. Good people with guns can't keep the criminals from illegally getting guns, but good people with guns can protect themselves from criminals using guns.
My father, who was a captain in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, taught all his children in their early teens the proper way to safely handle guns. He told us, "I pray you never have to use your gun to defend yourself, but if you do I want you to know how to properly defend yourself."
A gun is like a life preserver in a boat — it is always kept in the boat and hopefully never has to be used to save your life. But when it is needed in an emergency, unless that life vest or gun is there it can't save your life. Life preservers in a boat are required by law because they are proven to save lives in emergency situations, and so do guns.
I read The Tampa Tribune Thursday morning, and there were a few articles that caught my attention, the first being the Rodgers Middle School death ("Elia calls for shake-up," front page).
I applaud Hillsborough County School Board Chairwoman April Griffin's response to the tragedy. The consequences were more than fair, a little too fair, since the death of a child was involved. For far too long we have allowed the guilty to simply walk away untouched by any form of consequences to their actions.
And yes, the principal and the vice principal were to blame, maybe more so than anyone else involved other than the aide who was assigned to watch the special needs child. Why do you ask? It is simple.
We send our children to school knowing, or at least we thought we knew, that they would be safe in their environment — especially those with special needs. The educators and the school system know the children's needs are beyond the normal realm. They are taught preventive measures to keep things like this from happening.
The principal is the person who has to answer to the school board when something is found out of place and out of the appropriate guidelines. The same goes for the assistant principal. You simply cannot just blame the aide or aides. The aides were reported for failing to do their jobs. And now the two people who could have prevented this tragedy are answering for their own failure to do their jobs.
I thought the column by Thomas Sowell was appropriate after reading about the young girl's death ('"Educators' can undermine a nation," Views).
We all must learn that our actions or inactions have consequences. And we must deal with those consequences just as the victims must deal with the injustices committed against them.
J. R. Rogers