Readers comment on a local land conservation purchase, Vladimir Putin and more

A paddler guides his kayak through the mist to River Rise on the Santa Fe River in High Springs.
A paddler guides his kayak through the mist to River Rise on the Santa Fe River in High Springs.

Environmental win

With eyes cast to Florida’s disappearing wild places, don’t let an important victory go uncelebrated. Last week, Florida’s Cabinet approved protection and management of over 26 square miles of land (over 17,000 acres) under the Florida Forever program.

Closest to home, River Rise State Park will be expanded, protecting our water supply and offering a cascade of ecological benefits. Many of these acres lay within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, lands that are vital to the survival of our captivating Florida native species, and ourselves. The Florida Forever program is a great kindness to our future generations and our irreplaceable environmental heritage.

Dread and sorrow for our environment may ignite us into action, but we must also embrace a rarer and more precious feeling: hope. We should remain critical of the actions of our governor’s office, if only because we know the potential for monumental positive change.

Let’s celebrate a win for spring water, birdsong and fresh air, and use our awareness of such splendor to hold elected officials accountable.

Arthur Coughlin, Gainesville

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Readers comment on Gainesville housing policies, Trump and Putin, and more

Late with Putin

A few years ago Rachel Maddow recommended “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder as being worth reading (it’s now available free online). I obtained a copy and was impressed by the history lesson. Recently, I heard about a “graphic edition” of it and ordered it.

When it arrived, I immediately read the table of contents and stopped in my tracks at No. 18, “Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.” It was the first chapter I re-read.

It starts out, “Modern tyranny is terror management.” The author references the Reichstag fire in February 1933. Soon the German parliament passed an “enabling act” allowing Adolf Hitler to lead by decree — for the next 12 years. The rest of the chapter details how Putin made his rise to power — this was 2017!

He states: “For us, the lesson is that our natural fear and grief must not enable the destruction of our institutions. Courage does not mean not fearing, or not grieving. It does mean recognizing and resisting terror management right away, from the moment of the attack, precisely when it seems most difficult to do so.”

We are somewhat late in dealing with Putin.

June Littler, Gainesville

Betrayal occurring

Joe Biden is wrong to trust Russia and Iran. It is common knowledge that the Biden administration is willing to trust Russia to help implement a nuclear deal with Iran. Not only does that leave one feeling a bit betrayed in light of the savagery now being visited upon the Ukrainian people by Vladimir Putin, but it reveals the Barack Obama 2015 nuclear deal with Iran signed without any approval by the U.S. Senate as a foreign policy mistake.

Under the 2015 deal, the U.S. trusted Russia to take possession of Iran’s enriched uranium, and Biden’s deal would follow the same framework. Iran and Russia come out the winners if Biden prevails. Fortunately for us, President Donald Trump interrupted the John Kerry-led 2015 deal; killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps leader; and never would have allowed Putin to invade had he remained president.

Americans should be appalled by the betrayal occurring.

Tom Cunilio, Lake City

Life’s certainties

I’d like to add a couple of items to Ben Franklin’s “certainties” of life — death and taxes: 1) Russia/the Soviet Union still wants to “bury” us/the West, and 2) Ron DeSantis wants to be president — at any cost!

Judith Hogan, Hawthorne

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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Letters to the editor for April 8, 2022: Comments on River Rise, more