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LETTERS & OPINIONS | Vol. 5, No. 19, May 12, 2005
(Blood Sport)

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Letters & Opinions

BAD GUN LAW? Perhaps if James P. Kimmel had taken time to read Florida's new self-defense law, he wouldn' t have felt the need to spew his tirade of hate toward law-abiding gun owners (Independent News, "New Violent Reality Game," May 5).

Kimmel's opposition to Florida's new "Castle Doctrine" law reveals his refusal to recognize the basic human right of self-protection against violent predators. He and other gun-haters prefer to protect criminals rather that trusting law-abiding people to defend themselves. Such unvarnished emotionalism is void of reason and fact and must be answered.

Thankfully, Florida law is now on the side of law-abiding victims rather than criminals.

The fact is the Castle Doctrine simply gives legal protection to victims of crime to defend themselves from attack by whatever means necessary.

The new law clearly says if a criminal breaks into your home or your occupied vehicle, you may presume he is there to do bodily harm and you may use any force, including deadly force, against him.

The Castle Doctrine law also removes the "duty to retreat" when you're outside your home and in a place you have a legal right to be.

Consider the following scenario: a woman is walking down the street and is attacked by a rapist who tries to drag her into an alley. Under prior Florida law, the woman had a legal "duty to retreat." The victim of the attack was required to try to run away.

Not anymore. Today, those women have no obligation to retreat. If they choose, they may meet force with force, if they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

No one knows what is in the twisted mind of a violent criminal. You can't expect a victim to wait before taking action to protect herself and say, "Excuse me, Mr. Criminal, did you drag me into this alley to kill me or do you just want to steal my purse?"

Calling 911 won't save a life. The victim has a split second to take action. This is why Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association all supported the measure, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill, and Gov. Jeb Bush signed it into law.

Law-abiding citizens only want to be able to protect themselves.

They shouldn't have to worry about being prosecuted for doing what the U.S. Constitution and common sense give us all the right to do.

That's what this law is all about. Restoring your right under the "Castle Doctrine" and the Constitution to protect yourself, your family and others. Because your

home is your castle and you have a right—as ancient as time itself—to absolute safety in it.

—Marion P. Hammer, NRA past-president, Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director

GOLE SPOKESMAN? "Apparently unafraid of public backlash, Bob Solarski threw in $20 to the (wet-dry) effort…What a spokesman coup for GOLE, though." (Independent News, The Buzz, May 5).

That would have been a great scoop had your facts been straight. A simple phone call could have accomplished that.

My father just called me, apologizing profusely about his donation to GOLE, having seen the article. I told him in no uncertain terms that he had, and has, no reason to apologize and that he can contribute to any group he feels like contributing to.

Just because his name is Robert (that's where I got my name, by the way) that should in no way prevent him from doing or saying anything.

For your future reference, my father is Robert Solarski. We call him Bob or dad. He lives on Frank Circle in Gulf Breeze with my mom, Heidi. Feel free to call them.

In fact, the next time you want to take an unresearched shot at a Bob Solarski, and question his integrity, I insist you do.

I'd give dad a few days to cool off first, though.

You can call me any time. Preferably BEFORE the next time you mention a Bob Solarski.

I'd ask for a correction, but I think I'll handle that myself. Were you saying something about a journalistic code of ethics?

—Bob Solarski, WEAR evening anchor

CHEAP SHOT The references to Bob Solarski in the Independent News (The Buzz, May 5) came as quite a shock to all of us, especially since what was written was completely wrong.

I can only tell you of the hurtful impact the cheap shot had on Bob, as well as the rest of our staff.

What were you guys thinking???????

—Peter Neumann,WEAR News Director

Editor's Note: The Independent News regrets the error.

DAILY'S ATTACK ON GAYS After college, I thought there couldn't be a better place to settle than Pensacola. However, I've been here over a year, and I've come to realize that Pensacola does not support community values.

This has been made most obvious by the Pensacola News Journal's recent article glorifying Tony Perkins' attacks on gay families, the president of the Family Research Council, and then refusing to print a responsive article by Jon Durre, interim president of Gulf Coast TIDE.

Most readers are probably unaware that Gulf Coast TIDE is a new non-profit in Pensacola seeking to bring together the Pensacola community through diversity awareness rather than tear it apart as Perkins would have. Founded in November, this group has already contributed to Pensacola's rebirth with a number of community service projects.

The immoral gay stereotypes Perkins and other church leaders emphasize is not representative of Pensacola's homosexual community. These diligent citizens are your accountants, doctors, teachers, and lawyers—like myself. We are your neighbors, living 9-to-5 lives and looking forward to seeing our families after a long day.

Yet, most of Pensacola will never know this because media outlets such as the PNJ refuse to deliver the message. Gays and lesbians are a part of building Pensacola, not breaking it down.

Stop misplacing the blame of the decline of the American family on decent people. The problems of the heterosexual marriage are not gays' and lesbians' fault.

—Joshua A. Jones, Gulf Breeze

SELL CITY HALL! I have to say right on about moving Pensacola City Hall (Independent News, Outtakes, May 5). I was just by there today and I think, "What a great place for condos."

Another spot to consider would be that big open space on Navy Boulevard behind the Ruby Tuesday's. It's big, accessible and already has loads of parking.

And as far as the "morale" of the city workers? Please, it can't be that bad that they can't wait for a new building.

I think most could put up with a lot, if they knew they were going to get brand new digs.

Ask some of the tenants at Naval Air Station Pensacola who work in buildings that leak like a sieve, and are condemned to working in the old morgue in the basement of the Admiral's building. You can make due for a long time.

—U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert Welborn, Pensacola