Column is wrong
Dan Smith's column "The roots of random murder in the U.S." is wrong on so many levels I scarcely know where to begin.
He contends that control laws will "create a black market bonanza" for gun runners. However, most countries in the developed world have gun regulations that are enforced and they do not suffer black market bonanzas. More importantly, no other developed country suffers seeing its babies blown to bits at school. Mr. Smith's point does highlight the need for national regulations. It does no good for New York (for example) to enact reasonable gun regulations if runners can legally load up a utility truck at a Virginia gun show and drive their cargo north.
Dan should stick to fishing
I think Dan Smith should stick to writing articles about fish, which he may be marginally qualified to discourse on even that subject. I believe in freedom of speech, but to make the ridiculous assertion that our increase in gun violence is the result of women getting jobs is just preposterous.
Sure, he was raised in the rural south, where everyone had a gun, but was it an assault weapon? He actually believes the explosion of guns in the U.S., the closing of mental facilities, the lack of background checks, have nothing to do with the increase in violence? Or the failed war on drugs? Or the fact 20 years ago the National Rifle Association figured out a way to promote the Second Amendment to such a hysterical pitch, thereby increasing gun sales many fold and making themselves even richer? It used to be that gun manufacturers (who fund the NRA )and sales were looked down on as lower than moneychangers in biblical times. That's also changed since Dan was a kid. To claim the lack of a two-parent household causes these shootings defies the fact that many of these mass shooters were in fact from traditional two parent households.
Another opinion going around is mass shooters get the idea from violent video games, or violent movies. This is just again, an opinion. There is no evidence of this, even though common sense says this is a total waste of time and has ruined an entire generation of boys from an intellectual standpoint.
In fact, there isn't really much research on gun violence in the U.S. and its cause. And the reason is because 15 years ago NRA lobbyists succeeded in having Republicans insert riders attached to bills that funded our Centers for Disease Control and our National Institutes of Health provisions that expressly forbid any research on gun violence in the U.S. The NRA has been running this country's gun policies for 15 years and they have never been elected. We are reaping their policies now, in a complex mix of changes in our mental health system, our culture, and our massive accumulation of guns with too few background checks. To suggest the cause is women who have jobs is simplistic at best.
Parents must take responsibility
I first want to say that my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the shooting in Connecticut. I think what they have had to deal with is something I would never want to be in. I also think the knee jerk reaction for gun bans is not the solution. I would like to see the statistics of how many of these school shootings were done by legally owned guns by the assailant. This kid who did the shootings had mental health issues. His mother knew it, he was seeing a doctor and his mother had a gun in her home. Now, the family wants to sue the doctor because the family doesn't have the ability to understand they were the first line of defense. I know that is a cold harsh thing to say, but let's be honest. If parents would begin to parent and stop blaming everyone else for the problems their child has, things would be better. When a responsible parent or family sees their child has issues, you continue until you can find out the problem. Why is it that because some people cannot accept the responsibility for what their child has done, we are now going to try and ban guns again.
In response to: 'Don't waste money on feral cats'
The recent rant, "Don't waste money on feral cats" paints a misleading picture of the feral cat problem. The trap and kill approach favored by the author of that rant has been tried throughout the world for many years without success. When ferals are removed from an area, they are quickly replaced by others, a fact you can confirm if you live in a neighborhood where cats have been rounded up and euthanized. Misguided and irresponsible people continue to abandon cats or allow them to roam. The vast majority is fertile and will produce up to three litters per year in our warm climate, overwhelming attempts to catch and exterminate all of them. The ideal solution, of course, is for people to have their pets neutered and kept under control.
Until that happens, attempting to kill our way out of this situation is expensive as well as inhumane. The millions of dollars spent each year on extermination efforts in Florida have not put a dent in the feral cat population. Trap and kill costs range from $60 to $90 per cat. Compare this to the $25-$40 charged for neutering a cat by cooperating veterinarians and clinics.
Faced with these facts, communities across the country have turned to "trap, neuter and release" programs that are based on the principal that cats, as territorial animals, will keep other ferals out of their territory. Once the cats in a given area have been neutered they continue to defend their territory, resulting in the stabilization and gradual decline of the feral population through attrition. As an added benefit, neutered cats no longer spray or make as much noise as breeding cats. Those who consider them a nuisance can choose from a number of repellents that are available or even use motion activated water sprays to keep cats (as well as various other critters) off their properties.
What about the snakes?
I have a question, considering that some of you call the feral cats homeless, same as humans. Do you take that same attitude with the python snakes that are continually dumped in the Everglades? After all, these snakes were purchased and raised and once they got too big they got dumped, making them homeless. So, why is it OK to shoot and kill these illegal animals, but not feral cats. How about the stray dogs that end up in packs? Is it okay to kill them but save the cats?
There are several animals that are purchased that are not supposed to be in the area, but they are. When the owner becomes irresponsible and just dumps the animal, why is it now my problem?
I think it is awesome that you think you're a grand speaker for the feral cats in the area. I am glad that you're cleaning up someone else's mess, so I don't have to. However, I still feel that as long there are feral cats in the area there are problems.
I have seen people who start feral colonies and for a while they take care of them, but then those people move or pass away. Then who takes over?
Other irresponsible people toss their cats into a feral colony because they are moving and the cat is no longer wanted. There are pluses and minuses to these colonies, but understand if you live near me, I will be complaining on a regular basis. I don't want your problems. I have my own problems. Maybe you can start an unwanted python colony, then you can save the world.
Caring not a crime
In regards to the person ranting about feral cats and the compassionate people who help them, you are definitely not an animal lover. You're a mean, cold-hearted bitter person who has nothing to do but criticize others. You feel absolutely nothing for helpless animals. Animals don't pick how they live. Some are strays, and some are abandoned by thoughtless people who move and don't have the common sense to find them a home or bring them to a shelter. Until the cities come up with a plan to deal with the situation, they have no right to threaten fines for people who do care. I will not watch an animal starve, and I can't take them all in. If caring is a crime, then a lot of us are guilty.
Magic feral cats
In response to all who wrote about how wonderful they are for feeding feral cats in the City of Edgewater, please note. If you go to the website CityofEdgewater.org, click on the Main Menu, then click on Animal Control as you scroll through the laws, you will discover this little part of law.
Every person who is feeding feral cats in the City of Edgewater is breaking the law. Please, before you spout, you should know the law in the city. According to the website, the city is a Bird Sanctuary. Feral Cats harm the true wildlife that is supposed to be in this area. Unless you have "magic feral cats" that don't kill the beautiful and sometimes rare birds, then maybe you should think before you act. You may not like my opinion, but I will not back down when I choose to obey the laws of this city.
Sec. 5-10. -- Feeding of wildlife prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for anyone to feed, entice, shelter or encourage any wildlife, including feral cats as defined in section 5-2, or as otherwise prohibited by state law.
Cats can't read
I agree totally to what all of you said in your responses and all of my friends were as pleased with you folks as I was.
"I am a very big animal lover" the comment in the Jan. 4 edition made me sick.
Your "compassion for all animals" fails to convince anyone of your sincerity -- do you think hypocrisy would be more convincing? All of the cats that I saved and are presently caring for also cannot read. They do not know where they are to live or how to get there. Please do not tell us what we should "understand" until you can get all these poor cats to read.
In response to: 'SoNapaGate ensnares city officials'
In the complaint to the Florida Ethics Commission, Bob Tolley complains that the subject party "... was planned and facilitated by city staff at taxpayers' expense ..." Imagine, this is just outrageous, the city doing something to honor someone for 19 years of service to the city. This is totally unacceptable. But why does Mr. Tolley stop there. With a little investigation, I'll bet Mr. Tolley can find that city staff drink coffee, call their daycare provider and use the bathrooms at taxpayer expense. This is equally unacceptable.
When this complaint is dismissed by the Ethics Commission, this taxpayer demands the City of New Smyrna Beach take all actions necessary to recoup (for the city and the taxpayers) all costs, possibly in the tens of thousands of dollars according to the article, incurred in defending against this frivolous complaint. This is the only way to stop troublemakers with too much time on their hands from filing complaint after complaint in their crusade against government.
Don't lure me in
Why do you continue to allow Dan Smith to use your newspaper as nothing but a blatant plug for his "Dan Smith Special Edition" lures. Week after week after week his column, "Fishing With Dan," tells us embellished stories of how fish can only be caught with his lures. And where to buy them.
I really get upset with wait staff who, when given cash to pay my check, ask me, "Do you want change?" That's when I would love to sit them down or write a long note on the back of my check telling them I find that question impertinent and very rude. They are, in fact, begging me for a tip. When I give a wait staff person a $20 bill for a $9 lunch what do they think? That I'm going to give them a tip that is higher than the cost of my lunch?
I used to work in the hospitality industry when minimum wage was a little more than $2 an hour and I worked very hard for that wage. When my diners presented me with their cash payment, I would simply say something like, "Thank you, I'll be right back." It was then left up to the customer to make the decision as to how and if he wanted to leave a tip. I think managers should train their wait staff to not ask such a rude question. The minute I hear that question, the tip that I was going to leave is immediately lessened to a smaller amount. I had a wonderful meal at a local pizza restaurant, but the experience and the ambience was completely ruined by the waiter asking me "if I wanted change."
Smarten up, wait staff. Your tips may be larger, if you just say something polite.