Letters to the Editor

Hot car deaths can be avoided with new technology

My heart is breaking over yet another hot car death of a young child, but I’m distressed over the attitudes of what is being published.

The most recent was the Aug. 2 letter from Stephen G. Zeitz, “Forget me ‘knot’”, who finds it hard to believe that a person can leave a child in the back seat of a vehicle.

I also was judgmental and incredulous every time I heard that such a thing happened, until it happened to me.

The letter writer claims that he’s come up with a “simple solution” of tying a tennis ball or toy on the rear-view mirror to remind the driver there is a child in the backseat.

The organization, Kids and Cars.org, has been attempting to educate the public about these deaths, yet the number of deaths are increasing every year.

Another organization has been touting “Bag in the Back” as a solution.

Here is the truth: Nobody will tie a tennis ball or put a their bag in the back because nobody — no one — who loves their child ever thinks they could do such a thing.

Education or “simple” solutions have not worked.

But there is one solution that will: Technology is available to warn a driver there is a baby or pet in the car when the vehicle’s door is closed.

Kia is trying it on some of its models.

As I write this, the Hot Cars Act, requiring this technology on new cars, is making its way through the U.S. House and Senate.

Yet, I have seen no mention of this in the Miami Herald, nothing but calls for “justice” and “simple solutions.”

A former Herald editor, Gene Weingarten, wrote a 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning article, “Fatal distraction,” about hot car deaths.

It can be accessed in the Kids and Cars.org website. Please read it.

Marta Magellan,


Suggested actions

Dear President Trump:

In light of recent horrifying events, it is time to knock your NRA affiliation on the head and focus on the real threat of domestic terrorism.

You are a businessman and can get things done, such as tariffs on Chinese goods. So here are five things you need to do immediately to help protect American lives.

Immediately ban the sale of semi-automatic assault-style weapons; put a 1,000 percent tax on all ammunition; close all open gun shows; install mandatory background checks; begin mandatory 10-day waiting period after gun purchases.

Other things you should consider are national gun buyback plans and sweeping reform of social media giants such as Facebook and Google.

You need to contact some of our large corporations that may need some much needed positive publicity, Boeing and Walmart are examples. They could help sponsor a plan to buy back guns in an effort to get arms off our city streets. Weapons could be bough back at $1,000 per gun, and $300 per box of ammunition.

With the support of all the Silicon Valley giants, we also need to eradicate all hateful websites and bring those who are guilty to face charges.

Geoff Willerton, Miami

Mass shootings

Over the past week, we have seen three mass shootings with more than 30 dead and nearly 60 wounded, some seriously.

There have been shootings at concerts, movies, synagogues, churches and now, malls. Are we safe anywhere?

Adding fuel to the fire is Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist chants. It should be noted that the El Paso shooter was probably a white nationalist moved by anti-immigrant rhetoric into taking action.

Sadly, we are a gun culture society. The rate of murder and manslaughter by guns in America is highest in the industrialized world.

Despite the fact that most Americans favor an assault weapon ban and stricter background checks, nothing is being done by Congress. With Trump and the Republicans in the Senate beholden to the NRA, I doubt anything will happen.

We need more than the same platitudes: “Our prayers and thoughts are with you.”

The litmus test was Sandy Hook.

Barry Rabinowitz,


College president

Recent allegations over the lack of transparency in Miami Dade College’s selection of its next president are incredibly troubling. As MDC continues its selection process, it is critical that it meets the high standards and focus on research and workforce training our community needs.

Miami Dade College is one of our nation’s most important, enrolling one of the largest undergraduate classes in the country. The college serves more than 160,000 students from diverse backgrounds, opening the door to higher learning so first-generation students can earn skills that will lead to successful careers and a stronger economy in South Florida.

Miami Dade College makes it affordable to attend college for students that have often given up on that dream and helps create a workforce that is better prepared for the economy of the future.

It is crucial the president selected to lead MDC has the necessary experience and understands the need to prepare students for the economy of the future. The selection committee must respect the process set out by the Board of Trustees, and it must be transparent to ensure the new president is fit to provide our community with the top-quality education we deserve.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-