Letters to the Editor, March 16

Marco Eagle

Message to graduates: Vote wisely

An open letter to the high school class of 2018: One-third of the Senate seats and all of those in the House of Representatives will be filled by the election in November.

Right now you want to change the country and the world and you can, but in a few months you will graduate from high school. You’ll find a job, join the military or go to technical school or college. You’ll be busy and distracted, but you mustn’t lose today’s passion and commitment. What you must do is read about your candidates’ views, listen to them speak, register to vote and vote.

I’m 73 and won’t live to see what the world you will build will be like in the coming decades, but my children and grandchildren will. Make it a good one.

Peggy Boehm, Marco Island

Ed toon


Help pay for students’ trip

On Feb. 24, my husband and I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser at Carrabba’s Italian Grill for the Barron Collier High School choral group to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The singers were superb. The servers were also in the choral group and they were attentive and polite.

I was informed by a parent that the cost for each student was $1,900.

How sad I was when I saw a student and said, “You must be very excited to be singing at Carnegie Hall.” Her reply was, “I can’t afford to go.”

What’s wrong with this picture? Every student should be able to attend. How can we expect every student to afford that amount of money? Even low- to middle-income families have students at Barron Collier.

There are many philanthropists in Naples; perhaps they can help these deserving students. No choral member should be left out. Kids, you all did a great job.

Rena Perna, Marco Island

Untimely ad

This message ma y be ineff ectual, but I am not pleased to see the advertisement for Alamo shooting range in the paper recently. Surely corporate profits are superseded by a sense of timeliness?

Judith Reich, Marco Island

Patients helping patients

When it comes to insidious diseases, Lupus comes to mind.  Lupus is a poorly understood disease and while most people think it is a rare disease, that couldn't be farther from the truth.  There isn't much publicity regarding Lupus but it is far more common than most realize.  At least 1.5 million Americans have Lupus with more than 16,000 new cases of lupus reported each year.  The actual number may be higher as there have been no large-scale studies to show the actual number of people in the U.S. living with Lupus. 

 Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing ages from 15 to 44, however men, children and teenagers develop Lupus as well.  Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop Lupus than Caucasians. 

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which can damage any joint or organ in the body. Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.  In Lupus something goes wrong with the immune system and the body which fights off viruses, bacteria and germs (foreign invaders like the flu). Normally, our immune systems produce proteins called antibodies which protect the body from those invaders.  However, autoimmunity means that your body cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body's healthy tissues. As a result it creates autoantibodies ("auto" means "self") which attack and destroy healthy tissue.  These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. 

Because Lupus can affect so many different organs in the body, a wide range of signs and symptoms can occur.

These symptoms may come and go and different symptoms may appear at different times during the course of the disease.  Most common symptoms are extreme fatigue, headaches, painful or swollen joints, fever, anemia, swelling or pain in the chest or breathing problems, pleurisy (lungs), pericarditis (heart), butterfly rash across cheeks and nose, sun or light sensitivity, hair loss, abnormal blood clotting, fingers turning blue or white with cold (Raynauds phenomenon) mouth or nose ulcers and numerous other signs and symptoms which can affect any joint or organ in the body. It is a great imitator as it's symptoms can mimic those of other illnesses and it is somewhat difficult to diagnose and patients sometimes suffer for years before a positive diagnosis and proper treatment can take effect.

Lupus is not contagious, you can't "catch" Lupus or "give" Lupus to someone

Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant or abnormal cells that grow rapidly and spread into surrounding tissues

Lupus is an autoimmune disease as described above, however some of the treatments for Lupus may include immunosuppressive drugs that are also used in chemotherapy.

Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immunosuppressive Deficiency) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) In HIV or AIDS the immune system is underactive, in Lupus the immune system is overactive.

 Lupus can range from mild to life threatening and should always be treated by a doctor.  With good medical care, most people with Lupus can lead a full life.

The Lupus Foundation of Florida sponsors Lupus support groups, one of which we are fortunate to have here in Southwest Florida. The group meets on the third Saturday of each month at Physicians Regional Medical Center at 8300 Collier Blvd in Naples.  The meetings are held in the Palm Dining Room from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Everyone is welcomed, patients, families and interested parties are invited to learn and share information. For more information feel free to call Marilyn Honahan at 239-398-4800 or Jan Cirillo at 239-389-2749

Marilyn Honahan, Naples

Hold parents, gun sellers accountable

I attended U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney's town hall meeting on Marco Island. The 800-pound gorilla in the room was gun control. What was clearly evident from the congressman's weak response to a multitude of questions on this very vital topic is that many of his constituents are myopically focused on making this a political issue and taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. Good luck with that.

Improving background checks and school security are good ideas and should be able to garner bipartisan support. While reinstating the ban on assault rifles is a no-brainer in my book, that frontal approach will only muddy the political swamp water and absolutely guarantee political gridlock.  

Perhaps there is another way to come at this issue through the legal concept of accessory liability. If a minor is allowed to keep a gun in the home or the adult keeps a gun in the home and the minor commits a felony with that weapon the parent(s) or guardian(s) are equally responsible under the law as an "accessory before the fact." The adults are charged with constructive notice of the presence of any gun in the home. The "we didn't know junior had a gun" won't fly as a legal defense.

If a gun is sold through a private sale (according to Rooney the majority of guns are transferred in this manner to avoid the background check requirement) or given as a gift, the seller/giver will be responsible as an accessory before the fact for any crimes subsequently committed with that weapon.

No more political razzle-dazzle. This is an issue that transcends politics. Regardless of anyone’s political persuasion, all children and grandchildren bleed the same. As a grandparent, my future political support and vote are directly tied to this issue.

Bill Klug, Naples

Gun control won’t happen

The Second Amendment of the Constitution clearly states in one sentence how we should “keep and bear Arms”:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

We have totally lost the intent of this very precious addition in the Bill of Rights.

I believe that the ownership and use of “Arms” should be controlled by our militia, as is successfully done in Switzerland. Military training and service are the foundation of the right to own and operate deadly weapons.

The operation of a motor vehicle requires a license with strict controls. Weapons (arms) should be controlled as is clearly stated in our Constitution.

Will it happen?

It is doubtful. We Americans have given up our Declaration of Independence, the foundation of our Constitution and the principles that our founders clearly stated. We have transferred our rights to the lobbyists, lawyers and bureaucrats who now control our society.

Bruce Sammut, Naples

History of presidential nepotism

Charges of nepotism bellowed from some in the media with the announcement that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was denied top-secret security clearance.

Is this a stain on the presidency or should we temper criticism when it’s realized that examples of nepotism abound in American history?

Early in the republic, John Adams appointed his young son, John Quincy Adams, as minister to Prussia. Critics howled. George Washington applauded and commented he was “the most valuable of America’s officials abroad.”

Fast-forward to the 1940s when wheelchair-bound President Franklin Delano Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor, to be his “eyes and ears.” Her influence was immense as she functioned as a minister without portfolio, with plenipotentiary powers.

Few presidential appointments have stirred more protest than John F. Kennedy’s naming his brother, Robert Kennedy, as attorney general. President-elect Kennedy sarcastically remarked that he “just wanted to give him a little legal practice before he became a lawyer.”

A spiteful President Lyndon Johnson thought that the issue of nepotism in presidential appointments was put to rest with the passage of the federal Anti-Nepotism Statute of 1967. It was nicknamed the “Bobby Kennedy Law.”

The law was later tested in 1993 when President Bill Clinton appointed his wife, Hillary Clinton, as the czarina of health care reform. It didn’t matter that she had no experience in the health care field, either as a provider or as a policy expert.

These historical vignettes could well serve as lessons for future presidents: Be cautious when appointing relatives, as the political backlash may be too great and not worth it.

James F. Lally, Naples