I have seen firsthand the power that a museum has to transform and inspire the world around us. When my three boys were young, we spent countless hours at the Museum of Science & History — zigging and zagging through the Currents of Time exhibit, hiding in the treehouse and playing at the water table, always asking for “just five more minutes, mom.”
In 2020, I accepted the challenge to chair the newly formed MOSH Genesis Capital Campaign cabinet, which is raising private capital and public support for a new location at the Shipyards. This project will bring smart growth to Jacksonville and positively impact Downtown. By year three of operation, the new MOSH will attract an estimated 500,000 or more visitors and tourists alike to Downtown Jacksonville, which will support the ongoing growth and development of our riverfront.
MOSH Genesis is the foundation for a public-private partnership that will benefit all communities of Jacksonville. Our progress to date would not be possible without the support of our generous MOSH donors, Mayor Lenny Curry, the Downtown Investment Authority and the City Council. As we look to the future, we ask longtime advocates and new friends of MOSH to support us with donations and a call to action.
Contact your City Council member before they vote on legislation for the new MOSH location this Tuesday (April 11) or visit MOSHGenesis.com/support to submit an online email. This legislation will help MOSH move one step closer toward opening its doors on the Northbank.
As a mom, an engaged community member and a Jacksonville citizen, I am so excited about the future of MOSH. Our team is focused and proud to guide this project for everyone’s benefit.
Jill Davis, chairwoman, MOSH Genesis capital campaign cabinet
Insanity of gun laws
It has happened again — another school shooting. A few days later, the Florida Legislature passed a law allowing people to carry a concealed gun without requiring a permit. This new law doesn’t require even a background check. This is insanity to me.
People keep bringing up the second amendment while ignoring the part of the Second Amendment that says, “a well-regulated militia.” That sounds like the armed forces to me, not every person in the country.
I also hear, “a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun.” Uvalde proved that isn’t true. There were multiple police (good guys) with guns and body armor in the hall outside the room where the shooter was with a classroom of children. They waited more than an hour before entering the room to confront the shooter.
Meanwhile, wounded children were bleeding to death with no medical care or even someone to console them.
This is barbaric. How many innocent people have to die? When will our legislators grow a spine and pass common sense gun laws instead of repealing the laws we have?
We need a license to drive, fish, hunt and to get married. Why is it so bad to require a license to carry a loaded weapon? The AR-15 seems to be the gun of choice in most mass shootings; why aren’t these weapons banned?
They used to be prohibited, but the Republican majority Congress didn’t renew the ban during the Bush administration. No one took away your guns — you just could no longer buy an assault-style weapon.
Eleanor King, retired teacher, Jacksonville
State has bigger need than school vouchers
The recent expansion of the school voucher program in Florida is a glaring example of lawmakers giving yet another benefit to those who don’t need it while denying benefits to those desperate for help.
Under the voucher expansion, it’s possible for affluent parents now paying for private-school tuition to qualify for $8,000 in vouchers for their children. In effect, it’s a very attractive rebate program. Although there is a tiered priority system based on income, the cost of the voucher expansion is estimated at $4 billion, according to the Florida Policy Institute.
By contrast Florida lawmakers continue to refuse funding for the expansion of Medicaid. An estimated 1.7 million Floridians will lose their Medicaid coverage in coming months after the federal COVID expansion expires. The state already has one of the highest levels of uninsured residents in the nation, with about 12% of Florida’s population having no health insurance, compared to a national average of 8.6%.
Anyone who has visited an emergency room in our state can see the results of this policy in overcrowding and interminable waits. Lawmakers have repeatedly turned a deaf ear to pleas from Florida health care executives asking for relief as the uninsured flood their facilities.
Instead of doing anything to address this critical need, Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis are establishing another costly entitlement program, which will drain resources that could be used to meet an urgent need in our state.
Dan Dundon, Jacksonville
Mental health bigger issue than guns
We recently experienced another tragedy in the latest school shooting. These events have little to do with guns, in my opinion; they have to do with unresolved anger. Lack of conflict resolution skills, lack of meaningful consequences for inappropriate behavior and lack of societal attention to emotional or mental health needs add fuel to these fires, which destroy lives.
People who work with children are often barely paid minimum wage and yet are expected to deal with highly complex issues. Plus, our societal priorities have not featured children, but have instead focused on money and adult conveniences. There will continue to be useless killings until mental and emotional issues are seriously addressed — for adults, as well as children.
Without guns to shoot, there will still be poisons to use, knives to wield and deadly plans to be made. It’s not just schools where this rampage behavior is killing so many. It’s also at shopping centers, churches, homes, street corners, small towns, large cities and every neighborhood in between.
Where can we be safe? Painfully, our values and priorities need to be examined. Then maybe we can hope for a reduction of useless killings and work towards safety for all.
Susan Conroy, Jacksonville
‘Thoughts and prayers’ not working
The NRA and its followers continuously point to (and misinterpret) the Second Amendment to justify why any of us may fill our den with assault-style weapons. This has led to a society inconsistent with an important goal of our Founding Fathers.
The Preamble to our Constitution states that one aim of government is to “insure domestic tranquility.” With mass killings occurring on almost a daily basis — each more heinous than the last — we are not experiencing domestic tranquility.
Gun advocates say the problem is not the guns, but untreated mental health problems. These issues must certainly be confronted, but the most lethal problem occurs when mentally ill people have ready (and completely legal) access to weapons that were unimagined by our Founding Fathers.
We must cut off this pipeline of death. Of course, laws to reduce the number of guns on our streets would have little immediate effect — there are far too many assault weapons out there already. But, over time, our current gun culture would fade. We need to start the change now.
“Thoughts and prayers” of lawmakers won’t change the situation, but Congressional actions could. Isn’t saving lives more important than losing NRA support?
Fran and Pete Sheridan, Atlantic Beach
Books more dangerous than guns?
I think COVID destroyed simple logic and common sense. For example, take limitation of firearms. Children and teenagers are more likely to die from guns than any other cause. Not from books, or controversial subjects.
Yet politicians want to shelter kids from education, instead of protecting them from guns. To me, this is simple idiocy. Can any of us begin to comprehend the pain, the primal fear a young child faces at the very moment of being shot? Or a parent’s grief?
If politicians could concern themselves with the safety of our children instead of the money of big corporations, we might see some progress. No one is saying take away the Second Amendment right to own a gun. All we are saying is be sensible and practical. No one should own a semi-automatic rifle — there is no purpose whatsoever.
Also, solidify the background checks for those who purchase any type of gun. Of course, this won’t stop all massacres. But even if it saves one child’s life, isn’t it worth it?
Joseph Boyle, Atlantic Beach
Florida, the ‘cultural desert’
Leave it to Florida to (once again) make international headline news for being a backwater, cultural desert. Thanks to three parents of a few Tallahassee Classical School students, Michelangelo’s 16th-century iconic masterpiece “David” was deemed pornographic and inappropriate for middle schoolers. Thus, creating an uproar and leading to the forced resignation of their principal. Are you kidding me?
This is but the latest example of the reprehensible hijacking of reasonable, well-established societal norms by the alt-right, perversely and disingenuously in the name of “parental rights.” Many in this same group are also attacking long-held personal liberties in the areas of civil and reproductive rights.
Our successful secular democracy ― championed and supported by the overwhelming majority of the population — is being viciously attacked by a small but vocal minority who believe their version of morality trumps all others. To that group I’d say that if you want to live in a regressive, repressive theocracy — move to Iran or Afghanistan. But leave America out of your dystopian ambitions.
Philip May, Jacksonville
Irony in the Legislature
It strikes me as ironic how two different constitutional rights are being treated by our Legislature right now. The right to free speech is being curtailed by expanding defamation lawsuits and laws against protesting or assembling in the Capitol, but we are told the Constitution doesn’t allow for any restrictions on guns, at the cost of our own safety.
They obviously don’t think the Constitution gives carte blanche on all rights, or the First Amendment wouldn’t be restricted. They are, however, pandering to those who want no restrictions for the Second Amendment, even though the vast majority of Americans do want some common-sense gun laws.
Susan Miller, Arlington
Well done, Mr. Woods
Thank you for columnist Mark Woods. I’m an 80-year-old Democrat (or as Gov. Ron DeSantis puts it, a “woke” liberal). I’ve lived in Florida for more than three decades now and for the first time, I’ve begun to feel a bit unwelcome here.
I am concerned about how the politics in this state are beginning to resemble the banana republics in South America. Woods’ March 26 column, “Laws are for thee, not for our state’s lawmakers,” was spot on, a breath of fresh air and a reminder that we still have a free press.
Charles Booher, St. Augustine