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Today on Context Florida: Stephanie Collins, Rep. Erik Fresen and the Confederate flag

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Today on Context Florida:

Catherine Durkin Robinson talks about Stephanie Collins, a high school friend who was abducted and murdered by a serial killer and his wife, who both thrived off the attention. It is difficult to get a guilty verdict and death sentence once, she writes, never mind three times, in Florida. Therefore it’s worth noting how pathetic it is that the man continues to sit on death row and appeal these convictions over and over again. Robinson demands Gov. Rick Scott sign this man’s death warrant. She says the families have been through enough.

The teacher who taught state Rep. Erik Fresen his ABCs, if he or she were around, should certainly regret it, says Chris Timmons. Because — astonishingly, or maybe not — Fresen believes that the insights gleaned from a casual reading during a long airplane flight (Amanda Ripley’s “The Smartest Kids in the World,” according to Fresen) entitles him to remake state education policy, affecting 2.7 million students.

History will record that on June 17, a young gunman slaughtered nine good people in a racially motivated attack. White supremacy was the stated foundation of the murders. With the victims laid to rest, the focus now shifts to the Confederate flag. Calls range from removing the flag from public property, to criminalizing possession of it, or entirely eradicating it. Bob Sparks says people have the right to fly the Confederate flag — on private property. It is perfectly legitimate to have the flag placed in a museum as part of our country’s history.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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