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We must curve gun violence

There’s nothing particularly special about me that would predispose me to gun violence. However, in just three years I’ve been impacted by four acts of preventable gun violence.

Three years ago, as a Florida State University student, I stayed up all night reaching out to friends and classmates to confirm that they were not in the university’s library where an armed gunman entered and shot three students. After that incident, the place where I felt at home started to feel less safe.

Two years ago, on a Sunday morning, I watched in horror as the death toll at Pulse nightclub in Orlando kept climbing, hoping that no loved ones were there during the massacre.

Members of my LGBTQ Latin community who gathered for a fun night out were attacked in a violent way. This moved me in an incredibly deep and personal way.

Then last October, as news broke of the massacre at the Las Vegas music festival, I frantically texted a friend present at the event.

I was relieved to hear that she was safe, but she will now live for the rest of her life with the mental scars left by a domestic terrorist.

And last week, gun violence struck close to home again, as I learned of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The shooting was just blocks away from my parent’s home. A school administrator from my high school lost his life.

The most frustrating part about all of this is that the solutions are out there. We just need elected officials to propose and vote on common-sense gun reform.

We need to reject terrible ideas by politicians in the pockets of the gun lobby, and instead champion sensible legislation like SB 196. This bill would ban the sale of assault weapons like the ones used in Pulse, Las Vegas, and Stoneman Douglas High School.

We must also be vigilant in allowing rhetoric that demonizes mental illnesses and direct our action to the root cause of these tragedies: weak gun laws.

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Broward school shooting

I am watching the news as the Broward shooting is unfolding. As I write this, very little is known. As a parent of three children, I can’t imagine what the affected parents are dealing with.

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The flu shot

Howard Cohen’s Feb. 6 article, “Debunking myths about the flu shot” was one of the best that I’ve seen over the years. The stories and language used fit with the research we know works to change behavior. Keep it up!

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Miami Beach corruption

Joey Flechas’ excellent reporting in the Feb. 9 story “After another Miami Beach corruption scandal, some ask: Why did no one speak up?” is undermined by the city government’s reaction, especially that of new Mayor Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor ostensibly schooled in reducing public corruption.

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Flushed hamster

What a terrible, heart-wrenching story of the girl, Belen Aldecosea, who was told to flush her hamster down the toilet. It is hard to believe that any member of an airline’s staff could have suggested this method of disposal of a beloved pet. Sometimes there is mix up or communication when calling an airline, but there must be written rules to cover such things as bringing service animals on flights. This college girl should bring a suit against Spirit and collect a large sum for pain and suffering. Martin Menter, Pompano Beach Boat show Re: the Feb. 6 article “Everybody wants a piece of Virginia Key. Will Miami ever stop trying to cash in?” The Miami International Boat Show has far-reaching community and economic impact beyond being a mere “marine sales extravaganza,” as the story said. The show is critical to the success of many Miami-Dade businesses — and their workers — that count on the event for a large portion of their annual sales; it brings thousands of visitors to our community each year; and generates an impressive $854 million of economic activity in South Florida each year. In the years since the show moved to its new home at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, we have worked closely with the Miami Rowing Club to minimize the show’s impact on rowers and other users of the club’s facility. We also continue to work with city, county, state and federal agencies. Additionally, we proudly partner with area nonprofits to allow Miami-Dade County’s underprivileged children to experience the show and Miami’s beautiful waterfront, while supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation in its efforts to restore the historic stadium. This Feb. 15-19, we look forward to hosting the 77th annual boat show and welcoming locals and visitors to our home at Miami Marine Stadium for the third year in a row. Larry Berryman, manager, Miami International Boat Show, Miami Lakes Teddy knew

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Memo disappoints

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes and President Trump, in the prologue to the memo, promised to bring out a three-ring circus full of acts and wild animals. People were salivating, waiting for it to get into town. And what do we get?

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Diaz-Balart’s silence

If Fidel or Raul Castro had ever called Haiti, African countries or another nation a “shithole” country, would Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart have remained silent?

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Keys housing

Re Jan. 2 article “Keys legislator asks for millions toward hurricane housing.” It seems that State Rep. Holly Raschein wants the state Legislature to allocate funds toward purchasing property for affordable housing.

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Trump on Jerusalem

Every major Arab leader Trump spoke to about his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital told him there would surely be violence if he did such a thing.

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Sunset Place mall

I live near Sunset Place mall and am concerned about the revitalization of downtown South Miami. A top-notch team of real-estate professionals has been working with South Miami for almost two years to create a solution. Unfortunately, three of the five South Miami city commissioners recently vetoed the plan.

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City Beautiful?

Following the destruction of Hurricane Irma, the mayor and commissioners of Coral Gables publicly attacked and filed a lawsuit against FPL for not restoring power to 100 percent of its residents, immediately.

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Fight Club series

I read with horror the Herald’s online stories, “Fight Club,” on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Some of the same writers regularly detail the horrors of the foster care and other child welfare programs run by the Department of Children and Families.

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