Amendment 4 a fair one
I strongly support Amendment 4 and urge all fair-minded voters to vote for this amendment in November. I am very glad to see FLORIDA TODAY endorse this amendment. Those who commit nonviolent crimes should not have the scarlet letter of “felon” for the rest of their lives in the first place, since these crimes are not equal to crimes that physically harm or threaten someone.
The entire justice system is in bad need of reform, top to bottom. Our” justice system” is broken and does not meet the test of common sense and fairness anymore. No responsible person advocates not holding those who violate the law responsible for their actions, or is against fair and reasonable punishment. But to label one who shoplifts at 18 for three reckless times a “felon” for life — destroying their civil liberties, their chances of getting a good job and contributing to society, to serve their country in the military, or even volunteer to serve their children’s schools as a volunteer — is totally unjust and unwise. There is a huge difference in murder and rape or other violent crimes and in simple theft or other nonviolent crimes.
Vote for Amendment 4 and move to demanding reforms in what is and is not a “felony.” Do not throw nonviolent and non-dangerous people into the same category as murderers, rapists and violent people. People can learn from their mistakes and be constructive, responsible citizens, and should have the chance to do so.
Vernon Loyd, Rockledge
Felons and voting rights
Arguing in favor of restoring felon voting rights by raising the specter of Jim Crow is disingenuous (‘Why you should vote to restore felons’ voting rights,’ Our View, Feb. 5). Jim Crow laws specifically targeted blacks. The deprivation of voting rights for felons applies to all races.
The prohibition of felons voting has been part of Florida’s Constitution through the tenure of three Constitutional Revision Commissions, including as late as 1998. So suggesting it is a vestige of Jim Crow merely because it was originally enacted during that unfortunate era is misleading.
Organized society is a social contract. In exchange for the benefits derived from society, individuals agree to live by the laws of that society. Adjudicated felons breached that contract by their proven unwillingness to conform to societal norms, thus forfeiting the right to participate in how the benefits of society are determined and distributed.
Gary Beatty, Sharpes
Get smokers’ butts out of parks
In response to the recent letter about smoking in parks: If we increased the price of cigarettes and could get 5 cents for every butt found on the ground, I bet there would never be any butts all over the ground.
Sally Gourd, Indian Harbour Beach
Put opiod fight dollars to better use
How far do we, as a society, go to salvage those who are hell bent on self-destruction? The government spends millions educating us on the consequences of substance abuse. The vast majority of us get it — but many choose to let others be responsible for their irresponsibility. It’s time we get it.
So now Congress is nearing the approval of a $6 billion grant to address an opioid epidemic, caused by people who simply choose to ignore what has long been obvious.
If the families teach it, and the teachers teach it, and our good friends advise against it, and you choose to do it anyway — what’s up with that? Time to stop the self-pity, take stock in yourself and choose to grow up. And it’s time for the rest of us to stop being overly nurturing to those who continue to self-destruct — it isn’t working.
Congress, please put that money to better use.
Mike Austin, Titusville
Questions on that FISA warrant?
Responding to Mr. Kunzweiler’s recent letter, he questions why Jim Comey, Rod Rosenstein, et al signed the renewal of the FISA warrant. I assume he’s referring to the warrant on Carter Page. He correctly stated the information must be substantiated. He incorrectly stated the court was not told the truth.
There were warrants on Page before the Christopher (not Michael) Steele dossier. Page was well known to the FBI as a Russia sympathizer and he himself wrote a letter in 2013 bragging about his connection to the Kremlin. This alone was cause for surveillance. Although Steele is an expert on Russia and trusted FBI source, the surveillance had nothing to do with his concerns for our nation in his “dossier.” While Mr. Kunzweiler states the dossier is fiction, the truth is that while some of the information has not yet been substantiated, some actually has been found to be true. Nothing in the dossier has been found to be false at this point.
With reference to Peter Strozk’s texts about Trump, he also sent negative messages about Hillary, Bernie, Holder, Lynch, etc. I believe the question should be “Why did Mr. Trump hire so many people for his campaign and his administration with connections to Russia?” Why is Trump unwilling to address the problem of Russian meddling in our democratic processes if he wasn’t complicit? He swore to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Please watch something other than Fox.
Susan Termini, Merritt Island
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