'We have an obligation to protect youth' and more Letters to the Editors

'We have an obligation to protect youth' and more Letters to the Editors

April 10th, 2012 in Opinion Letters

We have obligation to protect youth

We lose 5,000 people each year in car crashes involving teen drivers.

Since April 1-7 was National Public Health Week, everyone should learn more about this.

Teens are faced with many distractions and dangers when they get behind the wheel that all too often contribute to fatal car crashes. In fact, car crashes kill more teens than suicide and homicide combined. The statistics are unacceptable, and it's time to take action.

As the leader of the Tennessee Teen Safe Driving Coalition, I have dedicated my work to ensuring teens stay safe on our roadways.

Drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers.

The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council also established coalitions in nine other states to reduce crashes based on the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing. GDL works because it maximizes a teen driver's experience while minimizing the most common crash factors.

Talk to a teen about safe driving. We have an obligation to protect our youth not only during National Public Health Week, but every day.


TennesseeTeen Safe Driving Coalition Leader

Jackson, Tenn.

Pentagon budget cuts unacceptable

The repercussions of the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to agree on additional budget cuts take effect January 2013.

The additional $450 billion cut across the Department of Defense, on top of an already $487 billion cut, will have dire consequences.

As many as 150,000 troops and the potential 1,006,315 direct and indirect job losses in the civilian, industrial base will result, according to new study by Dr. Stephen Fuller at George Mason University.

Cutting or canceling major weapons programs has the consequence of terminating many existing contracts with industry. Industry and defense cannot plan effectively for the future without knowing if this possibility will actually occur or not.

The Department of Defense should pay its share in the deficit reduction. However, the $487 billion that the president has levied on DOD is quite sufficient, given that, as a percentage of gross domestic product, the Department of Defense spending is near an all-time low.

The Pentagon has already assumed a degree of risk in the budget cuts by putting off major programs, modernizing aging aircraft and emphasizing some areas of the world over others. But with sequestration, all bets are off the table.

We must decide what kind of Air Force we want and accept the consequences for our children and grandchildren.


Lt. Col. (Retired) USAF