published Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Letters to the Editor

GOP governor back to the old ways

Our last Republican governor closed rest areas on the Interstate highways. This made a great impression on visitors to the state. Now this one, in his first budget hearing, is proposing to close swimming pools at the state parks.

Visitors from out of state will really be impressed with such treatment and, of course, plan another visit to Tennessee state parks.

I am also concerned about the proposal to reduce payments for state prisoners held in county jails. Maybe the counties should take no state prisoners, forcing the state to build new prisons. Oh wait. New prisons would not be needed since there also is a proposal to release prisoners early.

ROGER THOMPSON

Tullahoma, Tenn.

• • •

Armed civilians can deter crime

The National Rifle Association has never advocated the ownership of firearms by mentally unstable people.

After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, the NRA pointed out that the shooter had been hospitalized for mental illness and should have never been allowed to purchase a gun. He was able to buy a gun because the mental health facility where he was treated never turned in his name to authorities as required by law.

Firearm deaths are regrettable, but there has never been statistical evidence to prove that gun bans lower crime. Municipalities with the strictest gun laws often have the highest rates of gun crime. Chicago and Washington, D.C., are prime examples.

Weeks before the Arizona shooting, a deranged gunman was shot and stopped by an armed civilian during a Florida school board meeting. It's not adolescent fantasy to think that an armed civilian can stop a crime. Twice, the display of my weapon has stopped me from being a victim. Several of my friends have had similar experiences. The real fantasy is to think that there will always be a police officer present to protect you when you really need it.

JEFF FISHER

• • •

Why do some block AIDS information?

I had the privilege of attending the Chattanooga observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 3 at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. The keynote speaker, Marvelyn Brown, spoke openly and honestly about how and why she became infected with HIV.

The predominantly African-American audience responded with support and enthusiasm. I came away with the sense that there is a significant part of the Chattanooga-area black community which will work very hard to spread the word about the need to educate young people in the region (of all races) about ways in which HIV is spread and about the health consequences.

I am saddened that Ms. Brown has been denied access to certain schools and churches. Ignorance abides among the young as does denial and wishful thinking.

No child should go through schooling without possessing a frank knowledge about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

HARRY GELLER

• • •

Don't use PR firm in tax agreement

To City Council members Deborah Scott and Manny Rico.

Your responsibilities as council members include collecting and disseminating information regarding such topics as the tax agreement between Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga.

A "PR" firm is not warranted to inform the public.

Make the agreement public and the citizens can make their own conclusions, absent any unnecessary and probably biased "spin" from professional talking heads.

If you are not informed enough and capable of making these decisions, which is exactly what you were elected to do, perhaps you might abdicate and defer to others who are willing to make the hard decisions.

The last thing the public needs is a paid cheerleader influencing these important decisions.

Take a hint from (County) Mayor Jim Coppinger about not spending taxpayer money for public relations purposes.

RANDALL CARD

Soddy-Daisy

• • •

Universal care erases fears

We are the only industrialized nation that does not have quality universal care, and I support it. Affordable health care is the very least we can do for our fellow citizens. This frees Americans from the fear of insurance companies raising their premiums unfairly; this is taking advantage of people's trust.

SUSAN ANDERSON

• • •

Take-home policy is a dumb move

To the Chattanooga Police Department, Mayor Littlefield or whoever is in charge of police cars. This is a dumb move for whoever is in charge of take-home police cars.

If each car were taken home, there would be plenty of room for police parking and other cars for police business. When will we get some leaders with common sense? The police put their lives on the line every day, which doesn't matter to the ones like that.

ROBERT COMBS

• • •

Method needed to voice concerns

I recently attended the town hall meeting in which the Velsicol remediation plan was presented to the community and the public was invited to pose questions/concerns about Velsicol's proposal to cover the site of the former plant with 12-18 inches of topsoil.

After various state and Velsicol officials spoke, the floor was opened to anyone who had scientific objections to the remediation plan. Many people raised concerns they had with the plan and its environmental effects, yet none of the comments were scientific in nature.

The meeting was frustrating to witness, as it was apparent the state and Velsicol officials disregarded issues touched on by the townspeople because they had little "scientific merit."

Barring the officials with access to the site, who could possibly attain science-based concerns with the currently proposed remediation plan?

The community surrounding Chattanooga Creek, who are limited to observation, have been deprived of their ability to speak on their own behalf because neither Velsicol nor state officials have provided a medium in which they can participate.

Surely there is a means by which the concerns of the people of South Chattanooga can be voiced and heard by people with the ability to respond to these people's heartfelt, yet unscientific, concerns.

JACOB WARREN

Ringgold, Ga.

• • •

Many animals left for our amusement

Reading about the zoo animals and the venomous snakes in the black box makes me think of the animals in our world in the "care" of humans.

Many of our "pet" rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, and even man's best friend live in solitary confinement, often surrounded by their own waste and never given the chance to meet others of their own species.

Imagine being a bird that is never given the chance to fly! Or a shark swimming round and around in a 200-foot long tank (instead of swimming miles per day in the fascinating ocean)?

This treatment is worse than death row, because even death row inmates have a flush toilet, books, music and time away from their cage.

Humans choose to ignore the fact that animals have brains and hearts, because we entertain ourselves (or look cool to friends) by keeping a creature. Owning an animal because it is cute or interesting is a shameful act. Selling all creatures should be banned!

But making money from the animal trade is big business, so a ban will never happen. The magnificent creatures of the earth are tragically stuck with whatever we decide to do with them. God help us!

ANNE GARRARD

GRINDLE

Sewanee, Tenn.

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