Letters to the editor

Stand Your Ground

Travis Devon Wiggins was arrested for shooting Lee Andrew Thomas in Highway Park, according to local papers. Thomas died and the whole thing started over a parking dispute. Wiggins is accused of going back to his car, getting a gun, returning to the fight and shooting Thomas.

If you think this is a routine crime story, consider this: An apartment maintenance man got a gun from his car and shot a mentally disturbed tenant who was making somewhat incoherent threats. James Robert Wagner shot Billy Ray Elkins, who died in Winter Haven in 2011. Last December, a judge ruled that Wagner was within his rights, although Elkins was unarmed.

There are some differences. Wiggins apparently had a criminal record and should not have had a gun when he shot Thomas. Wagner did not have that problem. Nevertheless, a judge has ruled that Stand Your Ground, reaching for a gun instead of a cell phone to call 911, is normal behavior. Getting a gun from a car instead of locking yourself in is also considered normal.

Stand Your Ground is going to complicate many homicide cases. Actions that used to be a sign of premeditation are now routine. The absurd Stand Your Ground law was sold to the public by saying that you have to be able to stand up to an armed intruder or an armed assailant. In practice, in case after case the person who winds up dead wasn’t armed and wasn’t a violent criminal.

Dale L. Gillis


Veterans affairs

First it was the Fast and Furious gun smuggling incident, then the IRS investigating the returns of Tea Party people, the Benghazi disaster and now the VA scandal — all of which that community organizer in the White House claims no knowledge of and his Attorney General refuses to prosecute anyone involved.

Obama apparently only hears of these problems after the fact, usually while he is out making yet another campaign speech at a donors’ dinner somewhere. Even his best friends, the left-wing media, have noticed, finally, that he seems a little indifferent to the problems that surround him.

The head of the VA, Gen. Shinseki, has commented that 26 VA facilities are under investigation for various problems and others for falsifying records. This is all due to the fact of the overwhelming number of veterans and underwhelming number of people to handle the cases. Sen. McCain and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have both said the VA should allow veterans to go to private hospital and local medical facilities to lessen the workload on the VA hospitals. I agree. The only difference in VA and private medical care is the VA people are government employees which, in turn, allows the federal government absolute control, which, of course, is the whole purpose of this administration.

All of these scandals are serious problems, but the only thing we read about any more out of Washington, D.C. is abortion on demand, same-sex marriages, gays and lesbians, red lines toward Syria and closing Vladimir Putin’s Visa account because he wants to start the Cold War again. The most “transparent administration,” as promised back in 2008, has become the most deceptive and closed administration in recent memory. Read Bob Gates’ recent book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” and get a look at how the Oval Office views the world.

The 2014 elections are an absolute reason to change the makeup in the U.S. Senate if we are to stop the further erosion of our Constitution and further sliding into socialism.

How is your day going so far?

Hal Graves