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Teach how to exercise rights

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Intolerance of freedom of speech, which appears to be normal behavior on college campuses, seems to lead to violence. Banning other views, a common occurrence, is an extreme act of denial which may provoke violence when one encounters a countering view.

Intolerance of the right to peaceably assemble? Why attack a person who holds a different view? Our right to assemble requires a peaceable response.

Unless and until our society teaches how to exercise the rights espoused in the First Amendment, public demonstrations will end in violence, especially when extreme right and left participants hijack the show to allow media to publicize them.

Michael Gaynor, Marco Island

Fitting description of Congress

Recent news regarding the health care issue brings to mind some more American history, which by the way most Americans need to grasp infinitely more than ever.

When the Constitution was in its infancy in the 18th century, it was a target of advocates as well as anti-proposals by those who saw insufficient guarantees of the people’s rights in their interpretation of this new Constitution. Those trains of thought brought about many opinions pro and con. In particular, a Pennsylvanian thought the proposed Constitution would amplify the power of government and warned, “The natural course of power is to make the many the slaves to the few.” Congress fits the bill to a T .

As for that nincompoop in the White House? Thomas Jefferson said it best when dealing with the Barbary pirates back in 1785 (read your history): “An insult unpunished is the parent of many others.”

Dick Murphy, Golden Gate Estates

Beware of distracted driving

This Labor Day weekend, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages Florida drivers to be aware of their surroundings on our roadways.

Put your smartphone away before you start driving. Don’t talk, text or use apps while driving. Limit other distractions too, such as eating, fiddling with controls or talking to passengers. With auto accidents dramatically increasing over the last three years, now is the time to act and be the defensive drivers our baby boomer parents taught us to be.

According to the National Safety Council, about 40,000 people died in car crashes in the U.S. in 2016 — the biggest causes being alcohol, speeding and distracted driving. With distracted driving as one of the top three causes of these deadly crashes and Labor Day weekend travel adding more congested traffic to Florida’s roadways, it is important to be very cognizant of our surroundings.

We all know it’s easy to get distracted on the road. A single glance at your phone, answering a call, or messing with the GPS isn’t worth risking the lives of yourself and those around you. Distracted driving isn’t just limited to phones, either. It can also include eating or drinking, reaching for something in another seat or bag, or just talking to another passenger.

This Labor Day weekend is not only a cause for celebration for Florida’s hardworking families, it is a cause for Florida

drivers to take the time to avoid potentially dangerous situations on roadways during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. So let’s put down our phones and reduce distractions in the car so we can all stay focused on the road and Florida families can remain safe.

Logan McFaddin Florida regional manager, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

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