Crash and Burn
Bad example: You really could have picked a better representative of the experimental aircraft community than Luis Sotero, the pilot with a criminal background ("Paper Planes," Michael E. Miller, December 8). I'd like to extend an opportunity for you to fly again. I'm a retired naval aviator and experimental test pilot. I've never been arrested and I don't hit my instruments to make them work. Palm trees are not the tool I use to gauge wind speed. If you are interested in truly learning about experimental aviation in a balanced fashion, please agree to my offer.
Retired Cmdr. Kenneth G. Kopp
Pilots are key: It's true, all sectors of aviation deserve more attention to safety. However, Miller's bias could not be more evident. I invite anyone from your staff to inspect my home-built aircraft and to experience the way I operate it, which is quite the contrast to what Miller described. Every aircraft can be dangerous in the wrong hands, as can every automobile.
Redneck report: This story was akin to interviewing and taking a ride in a redneck, broken-down, piece-of-trash truck and reporting about how all road vehicles are unsafe.
Wright brothers were right: Americans have been building and flying home-built, experimental aircraft since 1903. All meaningful advances in aircraft technology have, by definition, been tested on experimental aircraft. Your sensationalistic reporting simply inflames the emotions of the ignorant.
Religious schools are wrong: Your investigation into the ongoing fraud and waste in the McKay scholarship program ("The Principal's Office," Gus Garcia-Roberts, December 8) shows that public schools are the best way to educate disabled students if the schools receive the funding they should. I am strongly against my tax dollars going to private and religious schools.
Republicans heart socialism: It is just sickening the way Republicans love socialism, but only for themselves. John M. McKay had a learning-disabled daughter. He didn't want to pay for her needs. So he passed a law to get every Florida citizen to pay for her. Then he tells his friends what he accomplished, and they want the money too. This is the breaking of America, one stab wound at a time.
Not all bad: Though the program needs greater oversight and certain schools take advantage of the lack thereof, McKay scholarships still help thousands of disabled students become contributing members of society when the public system has failed them.
GOP plot: The McKay scholarship exists for three reasons: to help destroy public schools, to undermine and destroy teachers associations, and to publicly fund religious education — that is, Christian education. The failure of McKay is the premise it was founded on: to destroy an educational system, not to improve it. Now, under a one-party system in Republican-dominated Tallahassee, it has ruined the education of many who can't stand up for themselves and is contributing to the destruction of public education. Eventually, Florida voters will have to face the responsibility of the damage they have done.
Hazed and Confused
Selective enforcement: Uncle Luke is right-on about the scandal at Florida A&M University, where a drum major died after hazing ("Luke's Gospel," Luther Campbell, December 8). Punish whomever was involved in this death, but don't punish the entire university. We don't need a whole college closed. We are short of black colleges as it is.
Adopt instead: At the same time local website purebredbreeders.com faces a class-action lawsuit over accusations it sells sick dogs from puppy mills ("Puppy Problem," Tim Elfrink, December 8), millions of other animals end up in landfills every year just because they are unwanted. If someone wants a pet, look no further than your local shelter. If your heart is set on a purebred animal, Google the breed and seek out one of the many breed-specific rescues around the country. And for those of you who believe it's important for your family to experience the "miracle of life," it might make sense to visit your local shelter to see the tragedy of death.
Humane Society lies: I find this claim to be bunk. The Humane Society and the others that push this crap are full of it. People want pets, do they not? Then someone has to sell them. I don't believe in puppy mills or back-yard breeders who are irresponsible. But the bottom line is most people want a puppy. They're easier to fit into a home, they're easier to train, and they don't come with a lot of the problems a shelter dog comes with. That said, the Humane Society needs to figure out its agenda without trying to blast anyone who sells dogs, especially those of us who are responsible breeders.