Saturday, February 25, 2012
Letters to the editor

Letter-writer omitted two relevant similes

Mr. Lawrence Root Sr.'s, assertion that the "American experiment is heading into failure" paints a gloomy picture offering up similes that Americans are either wolves, inhabiting the government, public sector and media; or they are sheep hungering for handouts. Only the sheepdogs, presumably the Republican hard-core, are sufficiently prescient to "see what is coming and prepar[e]." Drawing upon Ayn Rand's philosophy regarding "reality," Mr. Root eschews acceptance of the way things are as opposed to what he would have them be.

Within Rand's theory of objectivism, reality comes from the senses, i.e., what appeals to a human being becomes reality. In a world in which everyone thought the same way and uniformly perceived happiness, this theory would be workable. Alas, we do not live in a world of one human being; we number in the millions and each of us has our own unique qualifications for happiness.

Under Mr. Root's reality, fully one-third of all Americans are "excess," i.e., unneeded, because they are uneducated and have no skills needed to rebuild the American economy. Those facts, coupled with a "greenie" gridlock and misdirected public concerns for what is important, have caused Mr. Root to prophesy that the American experiment is heading into failure.

The similes of wolves, sheep and sheepdogs miss the true inquiry, which is who are Americans and are they redefining themselves. Some Americans fear the idea of redefining how they view themselves. They tend to look over their shoulders at the "good old days" and yearn for the comfort of all things familiar. They also tend to see things as settled and become upset and intolerant of anyone who objects to the status quo. In simile fashion, they are like dinosaurs.

Many Americans have no fear of redefining how they view themselves. They tend to look forward at what we can become and look back only for lessons on how to correctly move forward. They embrace the idea Americans can change, and these Americans will become forceful only when dinosaurs promote or perpetuate unfairness and/or inequality. In simile fashion, these Americans are patriots.

Ron Hignight

Key West

Was letter a Citizen plot to incite readers?

Mr. Root's benighted letter about America's failings is so idiotic it must be a tongue-in-cheek attempt by The Citizen to stimulate public outrage, lots of letters and a boomlet in newspaper sales. How else can one explain the absurd charge that "a third of our population is excess" or the mystifying animal analogy dividing humans into three categories, with Mr. Root playing the role of sheepdog?

Only a desperate publication, with sense of humor, would go to such lengths.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Key West

Bicyclists can pass on the right of cars

Please refrain from publishing inaccurate information regarding bicycle laws. It creates unnecessary discord between cyclists and automobile drivers.

[A Citizen story states:] "It is illegal for a bicyclist to pass a car on the right, especially through an intersection."

The following information was taken directly from the Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide: Cyclists traveling in a bicycle lane, or in a lane wide enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to share, may pass motor vehicles on the right, but must take care to avoid turning vehicles. Passing is allowed in these cases, since there is sufficient width for two lines of moving traffic (one of which is bicycle traffic).

In other words, on a bicycle, you can pass a car on the right as long as there are no cars parked on your right and you yield to right-turning vehicles ahead of you.

Perhaps the article should have focused on the fact that although we are similar in population, we are not similar in terms of the amount of cyclists on our streets on any given day. Or your reporter could have questioned why tangible improvements like signage were not included in this grant, only education and ticketing of a population that will most likely not be here in a year, given the transient nature of Key West.

What about educating automobile drivers? They are the ones doing the maiming and killing of our cyclists. Finally, why interview only one person who actually rides a bike? Could your reporter not find one other cyclist?

Tom Theisen

Key West