Under Cover
Re: "That's So Gay," by Eric Snider (Jan. 19-25)I have been shopping at Publix for 15 years almost exclusively and I have NEVER seen a cover over Redbook or Cosmopolitan magazines. They sit there in the magazine racks with the rest of the publications right out in the open. And they are usually in a magazine rack more at the eye level of a child than the National Enquirer. And many of the topics on their covers are a lot worse than anything I've ever seen in an Enquirer headline. Why is everything that should be a non-issue becoming an issue in this country? What's wrong with opening a dialogue and telling a kid what gay is? Unless you're such a homophobe you think that by telling a child what gay means the kid will automatically jump camps and become gay. Or, if you don't think the kid is ready - how about just saying gay means happy? The word does have more than one definition. So much ado about nothing!!

K. NovakPinellas Park

Re: "Outside," by Tim Ohr and Jim Stem (Jan. 19-25)What an amazing article with such sad but truthful pictures. The THORN organization opens the eyes to how little the majority of us do to help those in need. My simple volunteering during highly recognized holidays now feels minuscule in relation to the daily necessities of local thousands. Remarkable is the power of one person to change and even save lives of so many. You must be honored to have worked this project. A job well done!Its mission, I suppose - to inform people. Well, beyond informing me - it moved me. I'm now considering a weekend of volunteering with my children - what a great lesson to teach them of both social responsibility and the appreciation of life as they have it.

Michelle CardExecutive Director, Kids Voting Tampa BayHernando Beach

Re: "Get Some Guts," Letters, by Donald Kraus (Jan. 12-18)The "answer" to St. Petersburg's homeless problem is not more shelters, but more police enforcement. Although I sympathize with the mentally and physically challenged who live on the streets, they, admirably enough, do not beg for change. It is the able-bodied men, disproportionately representing the homeless population, who drunkenly ask me for money, and mutter under their breath about "slitting my throat" when I refuse them. Having recently moved here from Tampa to escape a one-and-a-half-year heroin habit, I have little sympathy for these loafers who refuse to work. To demean myself by begging or stealing, no matter how dope-sick, would have been anathema, yet I constantly overhear broad-backed vagrants brag about how they'll never work or let anyone tell them what to do. It's a shame that the residents and authorities seem to have given up, because St. Pete is too beautiful a city to give over to the roving packs of homeless that make women (and many men) afraid to walk the streets at night.

Name withheld on request

Re: "Erasing King," by John Sugg (Jan. 12-18)Great article. To listen to the media and black advocacy groups, one would think all Dr. King did was make the "I Have a Dream" speech. It's sad that he is cast only as a civil rights (read: black issues) figure. I read several excerpts of his other speeches in Ebony magazine in the '80s and was amazed to find that most of the speeches still were relevant. He was ahead of his time in decrying the economic disparity caused by corporate greed. You are right that the media and so-called liberals are no better than Republicans in their silence on such issues. They, like the right wingers, want to protect their piece of the pie and will do little to rock the boat. It's also unfortunate that black advocacy groups such as the NAACP and the grandstanders such as Jackson and Sharpton do little but race-bait and muddle along as if they can't find anything constructive to do. The economic and environmental issues that King was focusing on in his final years are even more important today. It is sad that his followers have dropped the ball when it comes to advancing these issues.

Beverly Rice

Charlotte, N.C.

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