Letters to the editor for Saturday, June 8, 2024

Gun Rights

Our readers share their opinions on a variety of topics

More youth basketball programs

I am a Scout in Troop 193. I love basketball. It is great for team building and other life skills. There should be more basketball programs for kids to learn these skills. Because of basketball, I am in better shape and I learned how to be on a team. It is also a really fun sport. Supporting youth basketball programs, especially for low-income children is an investment in our future. It ensures that these children have access to a positive, structured activity that contributes to their development and teach them about discipline and teamwork. For all of those reasons, I think more basketball programs are needed and would benefit the community.  Leo Barson, Fort Myers

A voice from the Holocaust

On May 27, 1945, as an American GI in Germany, the war in Europe over just weeks before, I attended a Liberation Concert by Jewish concentration camp survivors. They were part of the 20 to 30 thousand Jews then estimated to be still alive in Germany. The concert took place at a commandeered former German military hospital on the grounds of the Sankt Ottilien Benedictine Archabbey near the city of Landsberg. Four hundred and twenty sick and suffering survivors had been led there by a Moses of the Holocaust, Dr. Zalman Grinberg, a 32-year-old Lithuanian who survived the Kovno ghetto and the horrors of Dachau and Buchenwald. Many of those who were not murdered in the death camps, although now free, were dying from lack of food, clothing, medicines and shelter, de facto genocide by neglect on the part of the American military government occupation forces. Dr. Grinberg had organized many of those who had broken free from their German captors in the last days of the war, Jews and non-Jews, and led them to the hospital at Sankt Ottilien where he forcibly obtained quarters for the only hospital in the area for sick and wounded Holocaust survivors, operated by the survivors themselves. Over the next few years Dr. Grinberg played a key role in saving the lives of thousands and in the birth of hundreds.

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Dr. Grinberg spoke at the Liberation Concert following the playing of music that had been banned for years by the Nazis. He detailed many of the horrors of the Holocaust, including the systematic murder of six million Jews. As an ardent Zionist he was prominent in the effort to get surviving Jews to Palestine, especially in light of their rejection by almost every country in the world. He later emigrated to Palestine and subsequently to the United States. In light of events today, it seems appropriate — and ironic — to quote an excerpt from his Liberation Concert speech.

“Hitler has lost every battle on every front except the battle against defenseless and unarmed men, women and children. He won the war against the Jews of Europe. He carried out this war with the help of the German nation. However, we do not want revenge. If we took vengeance it would mean we would fall into the depths of ethics and morals the German nation has been in these past ten years. We are not able to slaughter women and children. We are not able to burn millions of people. We are not able to starve hundreds of thousands.”

Robert Hilliard, Sanibel

Request vote-by-mail ballot

About two weeks ago I received my vote by mail notice. I received this notice because I renewed my request to be eligible to vote by mail. In Florida everyone’s vote by mail request was canceled and must be renewed even if you received this automatically in the past. If you didn’t receive this notice as I did or you moved, please call this number (239) 533-8683 or go to their website www.lee.vote/vote-by-mail. The post office cannot forward ballots.

You will receive your first ballot 35 days before the August 20, 2024, primary election. 

Even though you might plan to vote in person, in case of an unforeseen circumstance request a vote-by-mail ballot. You then have the choice to do one or the other, of course you can’t do both.

Remember that whoever you decide to vote for, do so by doing your own research. Cast your vote without intimidation by friends, family or business partners or clients. Your vote is your choice only and the circle that you fill in on your ballot is personal and private. Pick the man or woman that you think will best serve the people of Lee County or the people of Florida or the people of the United States of America.

John M. Simon, Cape Coral

Right to clean water

I was recently at an event collecting petition signatures to get the Right To Clean Water Amendment on the 2026 Florida ballot. The questions and feedback were varied and interesting. For me the citizens’ eagerness to sign the petition was both encouraging and reflective of how the average voter feels about our state government’s handling of the environment.

Some were worried about access to drinking water, others were concerned about harmful algae blooms. The fishermen were of course worried about the death of untold numbers of fish due to red tide or dying algae killing fish by using up all the oxygen in the water. Some of those that outright refused to sign the petition were worried about government retribution! Others just didn’t want to get involved. One demographic stood out with almost unanimous support of the Right to Clean Water petition. It was generally registered voters over the age of 50! These citizens have lived long enough to remember when the water was clean almost everywhere they went in Southwest Florida. They were nostalgic about huge grass flats in the Caloosahatchee River, dolphins, tarpon and manatees were regular visitors to the canals. The beaches were always a safe and a wonderful place to visit on a hot summer day.

We can turn back the clock! I believe we ALL have the right to clean and healthy water. Please go to FloridaRighttoCleanWater.org. Download, print and mail your signed petition. We need almost a million signatures!

Dan Carney, Cape Coral

Make waters healthy again

If someone you love is deathly sick and the doctor recommends a treatment found very successful, you aren’t concerned with the doctor’s political leanings, but you tend to respect that person’s expertise. Another opinion may be obtained, but again the focus is on the cure and helping the sick loved one. Well, our beloved Florida waters are currently close to being on life support. They are deteriorating more and more every year, and our hearts should be breaking. A cure for our ailing and dying waters is available, but we don’t seem to be able to commit ourselves to trying the cure because politics always takes over.

And what might that cure be? “Stricter regulations and enforcement of pollution standards (along with wastewater treatment facility updates) could cleanse waters until they’re again worthy of the vaunted Florida protections,” says retired state biologist and planning expert Jim Beever in the May 31, 2024 News-Press. We keep hearing this again and again: Enforce the current regulations and impose new, stricter regulations. Those who saw the waters 50 years ago remembered how it used to be. If those in charge won’t do this, then it’s time for all of us to step up and take charge of making our waters healthy again. Why not sign the Florida Right to Clean waters petition? With this right we can compel those in charge to fulfil their responsibilities and enforce the laws we have and make new stricter ones. Go to LeeRighttoCleanWater@gmail.com or FloridaRighttoCleanWater.org.

Mary Tracy Sigman, Fort Myers

Honor veterans, their sacrifices

As I watched the coverage of the 80th anniversary celebration of D-Day, I couldn’t help but get emotional.  My father (Air Force) and his four brothers (Army) all served during WWII.   My father’s plane was shot down and he spent time in a POW camp in Germany and one of my uncles was injured by shrapnel but, unlike so many others, they all came home.

I was happy to see so many dignitaries and everyday citizens from so many countries coming together to remember and honor the fallen and surviving soldiers. What gives me angst is what I see in this country today that tells me some of us have, indeed, forgotten what was never supposed to be forgotten and still others who are ignorant of the past and the lessons it taught.

How anybody who has served in this country’s military, or the family members of those soldiers, can even consider voting for Donald Trump who has called them losers and suckers. 

That’s inexcusable, particularly from someone who avoided service by claiming to have heel spurs.  Soldiers, especially in battle, suffer far worse than sore feet.

My husband served in the Navy and Naval Reserve and my eldest son served 24 years in the Navy.

I honor veterans and the sacrifices they made and continue to make every day and do not support or vote for anyone, Democrat or GOP, that doesn’t do likewise.

Emily Maggio, Collier County

Merchant Marine and D-Day

June 6 on the 80th anniversary of D-Day at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, six of the surviving American Merchant Marine WWII Veterans were bestowed the French Legion of Honor medal. France’s highest decoration recognizes eminent services to the French Republic. Each 100+ year-old individual, struggling to stand, was pinned by French President Macron. With the music of the Hanks movie “Saving Private Ryan” there was not a dry eye. These veterans were also honored with the unveiling of a Merchant Marine memorial on June 5 at Utah Beach which highlights the historic significance and the Merchant Marine’s contribution to victory. Among them was 107-year-old Reynolds Tomter who also participated in the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with President Biden, as well as receiving the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal with the other mariner survivors for their service in defending freedom.  

Incredibly it is the French who honor the Merchant Mariner veterans and not the American Legion of Marco Island. 

Merchant Mariner veterans have been a credit to the Legion like Robert “Dusty” Rhoads whose ship approached close to Utah Beach taking artillery fire while fighting off dive bombers to disgorge men and supplies. He raised funds for the American Legion until 1988 when these mariners gained full veteran status and Dusty joined the Legion serving as the post chaplain.   

Let them know you want veteran events in Veterans Park to include the Merchant Marine.

Capt. Ralph G. Rohena Jr., Marco Island

Jim Crow comments

Byron Donalds says Republicans are trying to engage African Americans. Well good luck to them, how many Black people will be seduced by his statements alluding to good things related to Jim Crow and slavery. I have heard these same statements from evangelical conservatives and racists. These are the people he is talking to. The only thing one can say is that he will do anything to curry favor with his racist idol Donald Trump. Is uncle Tomism making a comeback?Don’t like to tell people what to do but think carefully before you vote for these racists. Vote for the better alternative, Democrats!

Benjamin Glick, Naples

Anti-democratic evil

On this 80th anniversary of the D-Day victory in Normandy, I’m reminded of the Greatest Generation’s sacrifices of lives and limbs to take down the last patently evil force that was hell bent on subjugating their fellow human beings and slaughtering those who didn’t fit the Aryan model.That anti-democratic evil is attempting to rise again in the world and here in America.Let’s honor the Greatest Generation’s sacrifices and set aside our party affiliations to unite once again as proud Americans to defeat that evil, without warfare, by voting FOR Democracy in November.

J. Cant, Naples

Aid to Ukraine

Right now there is a genocide of Ukrainians – my family’s people.Byron Donalds has voted down all aid to Ukraine. He stands by and watches as Russia launches the deadliest invasion to human life in modern history.

How can this man have the audacity to mouth off about about racism when his policies actively leave innocent life defenseless in a brutal campaign against humanity. He has lost touch with American history, the quintessential and binding tradition of overcoming oppression and slavery.

Byron Donalds took this seat – he had his moment in history – and he screwed it up big time.

Alexandra Zakhvatayev, Cape Coral

The real suckers and losers

On June 6, 2024, much of the news, as it should have been, was covering the remaining World War II heroic octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarian “suckers and losers” (Mr. Trump’s words) as they revisited the beaches of Normandy. The Fox (you can’t handle the truth) network, meanwhile, was reporting that the United States should withdraw all support for Ukraine and let Putin have his way. For those who graduated from one of Mr. DeSantis’ selective facts only history courses, it was on Normandy Beach, France that the “suckers and losers” prevented the dictatorial, genocidal Nazi machine from overrunning Europe and continuing their rampage onto the shores of this country. Note there has always been a palpable silence from Mr. Trump on the subject of moral courage, integrity, character, honesty and fidelity to your wife or anything other than yourself for that matter.  Those are the traits these men possessed. Mr. Trump’s political MAGA lackeys here in Florida, whose soul Mr. Trump has hollowed out, have also become church mice when it comes to Mr. Trump’s characterization of these brave heroes. It is not convenient. It does not sit well with a MAGA cult that can’t handle any truth that denigrates the dear leader. As a veteran, I hope the voters speak loud and clear in November and tell Mr. Trump we want more truly brave men like these and less, if any, like him. We all know in our hearts the real suckers and losers are those who mouth the word patriot all the while giving their support to a man who calls these courageous Americans suckers and losers and says he would be a dictator from day one as president.

Thomas Minor, Bonita Springs

Tale of two trials

There are two voices noticeably missing from the illegal gun purchase criminal trial of President Biden’s son, Hunter, who has none of the type of claque of supporters that accompanied the former president at his “hush money” trial wearing similar costumes.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), which usually is vociferous in asserting that any kind of firearm offense infringes the Second Amendment right to bear arms, has not raised a peep opposing the criminal charge that the president’s son violated the federal law barring gun purchases by drug addicts or users. But the organization is not reticent when gun-related regulations are used to prosecute other individuals not named Biden.

Another sound of silence comes from former President Trump and his supporters, who minimize his hush money payoff to mislead the electorate in the 2016 presidential election as a mere “paperwork” error. But the gravamen of the case against Biden’s son is his misleading failure to check off a box on the gun purchase form, a “paperwork” gaffe. Yet, no one is showing up at the trial wearing Hunter Biden apparel to protest this oversight as a minor mistake.The silence from those quarters shows that the former president and his acolytes are correct in saying that there are two tiers of justice in this country, but not the pair he views; it’s an indulgent one for him and one with less lenity for everyone else.

Marshall H. Tanick, Naples

Order on the border

In September 2021, Mayorkas bragged that President Biden had rescinded so many of Trump’s executive orders on the border that it would take too long to name them all. Now President Biden is issuing an executive order on the border and the lapdogs of the mainstream media will try to sell the public that Biden has solved the problem. What a joke, especially after the liar in chief has said many times that he has done all he could to control the border. Those on the Left should be embarrassed to even try to discuss the issue after all the different positions they have taken in the last three years. However, this is simply the way of the Left: lie, deflect, divert, ignore facts and cover up.

Ron Wobbeking, Naples

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