Republican State Senator Joe Gruters of Sarasota is coming to Miami as part of what he calls an “immigration listening tour.” While he considered adding Miami to his tour, on the day of the massacre in El Paso I asked him not to come here. I reiterated my request in a formal letter.
Sen. Gruters was the sponsor of SB 168, passed by the Florida Legislature this year. It further involves state and local governments in immigration enforcement. I and many others opposed the bill because it is unnecessary. By driving undocumented immigrants further into the shadows when they are victims or witnesses to crime, it makes law enforcement’s job harder and makes us less safe.
Many in my district felt their voices were not heard when they opposed the bill, so why would they be heard now?
More importantly, Gruters is also chair of the Republican Party of Florida and an ally of President Trump. Whether by design or by consequence, his event will stoke the charged rhetoric directed at immigration and immigrants that is already at fever pitch nationally. We do not need more of that.
Many families in my community are tearful, angry and afraid by the deaths in Dayton and El Paso. Guns are lethal and so is the rhetoric of racial resentment. Fears are real among my constituents in a majority Latino district and a county with a high percentage of residents not born here. The El Paso murderer did not check immigration status.
There are positive issues with impact in immigrant communities on subjects like education, public safety and economic opportunity that many of us have proposed for a long time. They would foster unity rather than stoke political flames. I welcome sitting with Gruters and any of my colleagues to discuss these proposals
José Javier Rodríguez,
State Senator, District 37,
The Homestead detention center is finally empty. Activists and elected officials did fantastic work exposing the facility’s unsafe and horrific conditions and pushing for the center’s closure. While this dire circumstance may be relieved, we urge people to look beyond the headlines and think critically about the problems that persist.
Many children were reunited with family members or sponsors, others were simply moved to state-licensed facilities.Homestead remains on standby to take in children during immigration-related emergencies. But President Trump already has proven he will declare anything an emergency to promote his cruel anti-immigration policies. And government officials are already scouting Central Florida as a possible location for a new permanent center to house unaccompanied minor children.
Emptying Homestead is sleight of hand, making a problem that seemed unsolvable vanish suddenly and hoping no one looks closer. In reality, this development highlights how much the Trump administration has dragged its feet in reuniting families and how determined it is to avoid the systemic reform that is necessary to end these inhumane and traumatizing immigration policies.
Florida National Organization for Women,
Toni Van Pelt, president,
National Organization for Women,
New Port Richey
I hope I’m not the only one upset by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s continuing efforts to block a proposed assault-rifle ban from being on next year’s ballot. Her concern — that it would ban antique rifles like the one owned by her grandfather or “virtually every self-loading long gun” — as an equivalence to potentially reducing the deaths by firearms of her fellow citizens in this state says a lot, and I don’t find it comforting.
Perhaps Moody should be required to spend time in emergency rooms and surgical suites, trying to save some of the men, women and children being massacred by these weapons. Note that the proposed ban would not require individuals to get rid of their guns, but they would have to register them and would not be able to sell them.
Is it too much to ask that the attorney general act to protect the citizens of her state?
Kids are alright
After reading the Aug. 6 letter, “Mass shootings deny my unalienable right to live unafraid” by 16-year old Nicole Markus, all I can say is that if she and the students from Parkland High School are examples of our future leaders, there is hope for us yet.
The El Paso mass shooting, as tragic as it was, has disproved one ridiculous NRA theory: That a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.
Texas is an open carry state, with lots of people in that Walmart carrying permitted guns. Why did they not stop the shooter?
This theory is hogwash — just another marketing effort to sell more guns. Gun legislation is an urgent need but we know there will be no action by the Republican Senate or President Trump.
When you vote next time, remember this: A vote for a Republican is a vote for mass shootings.
Video game censors
I was impressed with the Aug. 6 letter, “Mass shootings deny my unalienable right to live unafraid” by the 16-year-old young lady from Palmetto High School. She expressed, very maturely, our common fears of being innocent victims of such mass shootings in America. I have read other opinions about the root causes of these shootings. There may be many factors which predispose our society to these mass murders.
One factor which can be changed is the odious violence and killings on electronic games, which allow a player to use military-type weapons to mow down bad guys with abandon. This can immunize susceptible, disturbed children and adults to the idea of killing real people in real time.
In 1954 the book, “Seduction of the Innocents” accused the original horror comic books of fostering juvenile delinquency.
A subsequent Congressional investigation led to the self-policing comic book code.
That self-editing by the comic book industry may have prevented some potential delinquents and helped parents deal with recurring nightmares of their children.
That sort of self-policing by the video game industry is certainly in order. These games sanction, nay, encourage mass casualties by the players.
Certainly background checks and confiscating weapons from known mentally disturbed people is a good start to controlling the situation.
Otherwise, in a free and open society, what more can be done? A lot, but let’s start somewhere.
Robert E. Pickard,
By not doing anything substantial about gun control, President Trump has committed everyone to the death penalty.
Unfortunately, this penalty will occur when one is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Jesse Bernstein, Aventura
Mental illness, bigotry and hatred are not conditions that have a quick fix. The banning of assault weapons does. Enough is enough!
I agree with Alfred McKnight’s comments in his Aug. 7 letter, “This masquerade”, after watching the deals passing, and others pending, at some of our local governments; namely, the link from Miami to Miami Beach, Ultra Music festival, the 836 extension road to nowhere, and the silly soccer stadium at Melreese Golf Course.
When the neighborhood surrounding the soccer stadium floods and the traffic snarls during a match and you have to catch a plane, you can bet all will be scratching their heads.
Citizens, vote them out!
Where’s that phone?
No need for car manufacturers to add additional things to cars to remind parents that they have a baby on board.
Just leave your phone in the back with your baby.
How far will you go without your phone?
According to a caption in The Miami Herald’s Aug. 7 editorial pages, “Ohio State Rep. Candice Keller has blamed the recent mass shootings on gay marriage and drag queens, among other things.”
Helen Keller would have had more insight!
Bay Harbor Island