Published Jul. 9
Whites fear crazy white people, too
June letter of the month
Columnist Jonathan Capehart explains that most Black Americans live in fear of crazy white people, and he defines the crazy aspect as being those willing to do whatever it takes to preserve and enhance white majority and control. It was a good read. I would add that many white people also live in fear of crazy white people. The white supremacists and conspiracy theorists for whom all logic, reason and compassion are absent are the extremes of society and should be a concern to us all.
David L. Frishkorn, Tampa
Confusing the two C’s
Conservative Hillsdale College is helping DeSantis reshape Florida education | July 5
I have served in various positions for 47 years in Christian higher education at three universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. I first encountered Hillsdale College through a cooperative study abroad program at Oxford University. I discovered a college that indeed had serious, professing Christians, but was frustrated with the college using the “Christian Card” whenever it helped the cause. However, I mostly met people who confused conservatism with Christianity. These two words are not synonymous terms, although a high percentage of my fellow evangelicals confuse the two.
I am critical of Hillsdale College and Gov. Ron DeSantis playing the “C” game. I don’t judge their sincerity necessarily, but I am critical of their confusion. When engaging the life and teachings of Jesus honestly, it is, frankly, impossible to pigeonhole him politically. The same analysis applies to the Bible.
We do have genuine Christian colleges here in Florida that seek to provide an education whereupon faith is thought to be integral to the curriculum. For example, check out Warner University or Palm Beach Atlantic University. The majority of their academics and leaders recognize that the pursuit of truth is not quite so simple and don’t confuse the C’s. You will find a mix of conservative, moderate and liberal faculty on their campuses who all agree to the importance of pursuing a Christian faith.
Richard Gathro, Largo
Weapons of war
Images of gun violence could prod the public | Column, July 8
Images of devastated cities, burning buildings, rescuers carrying badly wounded people, grieving people mourning the dead, and millions fleeing westward from Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine have riveted us since February. While all of us can be thankful no outside force is invading our country, by July 4 this year the United States had suffered through 309 mass shootings. That’s 60 times more than the five mass shootings that occurred in all 44 European countries. And when Japan was shocked by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination this week, remember that there was only one firearm-related death in all of 2021 — in a country of 125 million people.
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Indeed, not only are we leading the world in mass shootings we live in a country where every place of worship, every community center, every civil servant, every shopping center, every school and every police force has to plan for an attack by one of our own; an angry, deranged U.S. citizen armed with a weapon of war. Recently, the Senate celebrated after passing gun legislation that increased funding for mental health, tightened background checks and enhanced school safety. Were the weapons of war or high-capacity magazines that are continually used to devastate so many American communities and families even openly debated? No.
Sadly, while immersed in celebrating Independence Day, our nation was again ruptured with violence and we watched in horror what happened in Highland Park, Illinois. Why should these peaceful, nation-loving citizens have to worry about being wounded or killed by a weapon of war? There is a critical need to build a safer society and support the many public servants, especially the police, who will undoubtedly be called upon to face deranged individuals, and hate groups, armed with weapons of war. For me, dealing with weapons of war is not only urgent, it is vital to sustain our democracy.
Peter Betzer, St. Petersburg
Could DeSantis be a bigger threat to the republic? | Column, July 7
Just when I was beginning to wonder if the Tampa Bay Times is truly afraid of Gov. Ron DeSantis, here comes a column by Max Boot exposing our governor for the petty, mean-spirited authoritarian that I think he is. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in the power of the free press. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts, and with Gov. DeSantis’ rise in political power, I fear that might not be for much longer.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg