In praise of local police
On Dec. 19, at 3 p.m., I was held at gunpoint by two young men. Their intention was to rob me -- or worse if I did not comply. But someone, perhaps an angel, distracted them and they turned and ran. I called 911 to report the incident and in seconds police were on the scene. I gave descriptions of what the boys were wearing and since they were on foot an observant patrolman had one suspect in custody within less than 15 minutes. The suspect confessed and gave the street name of the other perpetrator who was familiar to the officers. I am impressed! The professionalism, the effective police work, the genuine concern for the victim and the follow-up calls as to the outcome -- all these made me proud to be a Chattanoogan. I believe this kind of police work is the rule here in our city, not the exception. Perhaps more media light should be directed toward what happens 90 percent of the time in our police department. They certainly are Chattanooga's finest.
CLIF ROTH, Hixson
Poverty not so simple
Robin Smith's MLK Day commentary that "Dr. King's life continues" was simplistic, rose-colored and myopic. The opportunities she writes Dr. King and the civil rights movement brought about remain out of reach for too many. Ms. Smith seems to blame the victims of poverty for their situations by their making excuses rather than them simply taking advantage of the opportunities that are now available to all. Does she really believe racial, religious, sexual, filial, economic, political and other considerations are simply "self-imposed exceptions" to the opportunities available in this country? Yes, as she states, we all have 24 hours in our days, and we can all work hard, be honest and observe the golden rule. And, no, we shouldn't make excuses for failure but rather look into the content of our own character. But a shrinking middle-class, an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, and a look at the growing influence of "the 1 percent" point to the fact that the poor of any cultural grouping continue to lose the struggle for opportunity. Much has been accomplished in the area of equal opportunity during and since Dr. King's time. Hopefully his life will continue to inspire.
GRADY S. BURGNER, Ooltewah
Blood and civic duty
A recent Page One article in the Times Free Press examines altruism as a major motivation of blood donors. I believe the knowledge of the profound good that such donations of blood products do for the public is the overwhelming reason. Altruism has motivated me to share my gift of life with Blood Assurance since 1972. I am proud of the 420 donations I have rendered. Taken in their entirety my shared whole blood, red blood cells, plasma and platelets represents the most significant and noble act of my life. Certainly, because of this I consider myself a useful member of the community and region which otherwise I would not. I also urge young adult donors to join the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry when you next visit the blood bank.