Don't keep attacking firefighters' benefits
I made the decision years ago to enter public service as a firefighter.
I made this decision knowing I would never be wealthy making about $40,000 a year and wouldn't be able to work as long as I wanted due to the very nature of my work.
Unlike most people who can work 35-40 years and retire with enough money set aside, I hope to avoid serious physical injury before achieving 25 years of service.
When I joined the fire department, I was promised a certain set of benefits that would provide my family with a safe, secure retirement. Now, city and elected officials want to adjust our pension since they believe my benefits are too "rich." I even heard our benefits described as a "Cadillac" plan. That's unbelievable and offensive. How can you have a Cadillac plan when you make $40,000 per year?
I've enjoyed Chattanooga's growth, but city officials have ignored the costs that come with growth. It's difficult enough to recruit young people to our career without having our benefits under constant attack. Soon, recruiting good people will be even harder.
Please, mayor and City Council members, think public safety first. That is what citizens deserve and expect.
LT. TERRY KNOWLES, Ooltewah
Evidence shows slavery as cause
Re: letter of April 20. The letter's premise is the Civil War was due to the federal government collecting revenue generated by the seceded states. President Lincoln's first Inaugural Address is cited as proof.
Lincoln was saying he had no intention of attacking the states, nor the institution of slavery where it legally existed. Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery to the territories and new states. Later in the address, Lincoln states the true basis of the Civil War. "One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute."
Slavery, or its extension, was the cause that ignited the Civil War. Read Mississippi's Resolution on Secession. The resolution states in part, ..."they claim the right ... to exclude slavery from the territories ...; to exclude from admittance into the union any new state that tolerates slavery... ."
Read the Cornerstone Speech of March 21, 1861, by Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy. He asserts: African slavery... was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.
The evidence establishes that slavery was the cause of the war.
Pitts undermining real issues of war
In reference to the Sunday (April 17) article by Leonard Pitts Jr.:
Mr. Pitts avers the American (Un)Civil War was all about slavery. At $1,000 apiece, more than a year's earnings in those times, very few Southerners could have afforded a slave. Fewer still could have afforded the immense plantations where slaves toiled.
The common Southerner didn't care about the slavery issue. He did care passionately about the individual states retaining their right to govern themselves without interference from the federal government.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all the slaves, just the ones in the South. The slaves in the North were not freed until much later. Yes, there were slaves in the North. History shows both sides raised black regiments. Both sides promised freedom to any slave who served.
Slavery was and is wrong. We shouldn't remember the Civil War because of the slavery issue. We should remember it because those who fail to learn from the errors of the past are doomed to repeat those errors.
Mr. Pitts owes an apology to his readers for attempting to subvert the real issues from the War of Northern Aggression.
Governments need to come together
I just wanted to commend your editorial page and the editorial titled "The county's tax delusion" (April 19) for the understanding and explanation of the sales tax agreement and its complexities and inequities.
This agreement was one of my husband's greatest disappointments when he was mayor because he could not get a consensus between city and county for a more equitable allocation.
Hopefully the atmosphere has improved and situations changed over the past 50 years so that the next agreement will achieve the best results for all concerned.
It is time all our residents realized that both our governments and our people need to come together with a common goal of unity and progress for the entire area.
Check-free guns sold via classifieds
In response to the April 23 letter to the editor, "Weapons editorial needs clarifications," and your April 16 editorial on "The Gun Show loophole."
I note that in your classifieds page April 23 you have various and sundry high-power guns for sale that undergo no background checks at all. AR-15 and AK-47 type guns frequently are for sale check-free in your advertisements.
I suppose this is the "Chattanooga Times Free Press loophole" whereby you take money for advertising check-free sales and simultaneously accept advertisers' checks, all the while disclaiming the former, but not the latter, practice in your editorials.
The editorial and the classifieds department managers evidently speak different languages, or work on different floors maybe? Law-abiding gun-owners look on in wonder.
BOB HUTCHISON, Rocky Face, Ga.
State rep confused about warming
At risk of being called an "intellectual bully" by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, let me comment on Rep. Sheila Butt's confusion surrounding science, ozone depletion, and global warming ("House Bill promotes critical thinking," April 8).
Butt said that in high school, "we gave up Aqua Net hair spray" because of fears "it was causing global warming. Since then scientists have said ... that aerosol can was actually absorbing Earth's rays and keeping us from global warming."
Actually ozone depletion in the stratosphere speeds up global warming. Ozone, as in Butt's school days, continues to be necessary to filter out ultraviolet radiation from the sun, saving living creatures from cancers, cataracts and damage to the immune system.
Back in Butt's school days banning the chloroflouoro carbons (CFCs) in aerosol cans stopped a threat to life.
Readers can Google "The relationship of Ozone Depletion and Greenhouse Effect, citing ten pages of references."
There is zero evidence for Butt's contrary claim. Rep. Butt and like-minded colleagues should be encouraged to read a report by our country's Defense Department on the truth of global warming, calling it the worst threat to our national security.
FRANCIS X. WALTER, Sewanee, Tenn.
All is safe after poker raid
As a frequent visitor to "The Scenic City," my hat goes off to Police Sgt. Jerri Weary and the department for the recent raid of the "Texas Hold-Em Gang."
Although no large cache of arms, drugs or illegal cash was found, I'm certain that the good sergeant had first responders on red alert to transport the injured in case some innocent person was inadvertently struck by a flying poker chip.
Possibly, the Marine-like precision with which this operation was carried out can, at some point, be put to use in quelling still more life-threatening skullduggery in another seething hotbed of crime.
Goodness, I feel safer already.
LOUIS SCHUBERT, Blue Ridge, Ga.