Temple shootings a crime against all
America, the land of the free. A country whose Constitution guarantees unconditional freedoms -- a rare feat in a world so divided, so prejudiced.
That is why the recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin comes as such a shock to all of us. American took up arms against fellow American. Even more so, a human being took the lives of fellow human beings.
It is not about whether the crime was meant to express hate against Sikhs or Hindus or Muslims. This incident was a crime not just against any religion, but against humanity. People spend time cultivating hate in themselves against people who are different from them. But rather than doing this, it would be a more difficult feat to cultivate a much stronger, more beneficial feeling: respect.
As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I believe that all centers of worship and all human lives are sacred. So, in the face of such hatred, I hope that we can all strive to follow the simplistic motto set forth by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, "Love for All, Hatred for None," especially as citizens of the United States of America, which strives to protect the freedoms and rights of all human beings.
NAJIA HUMAYUN, Tunnel Hill, Ga.
Does Obama 'understand us'?
President Obama would have us believe he understands us, but what does that mean? I've asked that question to people I talk with. Some, when asked, "Why did you vote for Obama," I get the same answer. "He understands us." When I challenge that statement to gain more insight, I'm told, "You wouldn't understand." For the record, what has Obama done for "us." His stimulus package cost taxpayers over $250,000 (per) job it created?
Many who feel "he understands us" should ask the question: will he put them to work if re-elected or continue to grow government?
Our country is at a turning point, and if conditions don't change after November 2012, I'm not sure our nation will ever recover. Sad testimony to leave our kids.
FRANK GREGG, Gallatin, Tenn.
Rule of law under attack
My complaints are not social or economic but about the rule of law that made this country great. The Justice Department, under Obama/Holder, refuses to prosecute voter intimidation if those intimidated are not minorities. Is that justice?
The Labor Department recently ordered a major company, which is complying with federal law, to not issue layoff notices so as not to hurt President Obama's re-election. That is tyranny, not democracy.
President Obama has announced that he is not going to enforce immigration law. A president not enforcing all of the laws of the land after taking the oath of office indicating that it is his sworn and constitutional duty to enforce all laws should scare everyone, Democrat and Republican. Since when can a president pick and choose the laws to enforce? What if a future president decided not to enforce voter intimidation or civil rights? Obama has set that precedent. That is tyranny, not democracy.
What can you do? Contribute now (to Mitt Romney's website) and push everyone who you know to do the same. Do not let Obama buy this election. Do not sit this one out. America as we know and love it is at stake.
COL. (R) ROGER L. DUCKWORTH, Ooltewah
Learn about the candidates
Chip Forrester, the Tennessee Democratic Party chairman, stated that Democrats nominated Mark Clayton, a member of a hate group, for U.S. Senate. He speculated that the voters didn't know anything about the candidates, so they voted for the first name on the ballot. That's good material for an editorial cartoon. The worst thing that a citizen can do is to vote for someone without knowing anything about the candidate or the issues. We could wind up with Barack Obama for our president. Oh wait, we already did!
Legislative system broken
Ever wonder why nations that recently have won their freedom no longer use our constitution as a model for their first venture into self-government? Or if George W. had had to defend his policies before Congress every week like the British PM, would there have been a war in Iraq?
The system that has served us well is essentially rooted in its antiquated 18th century origins and has become unwieldy, unrepresentative, undemocratic, divisive and disenfranchising. It's "winner-take-all" politics, and shameless gerrymandering leaves much of the electorate underrepresented.
Our legislative system is broken. We send representatives to Washington to debate and vote on legislation, not to block bills from debate or from ever coming to a vote. There have been more filibusters since 2006 than between 1920 and 1980. Over 400 bills passed by the House currently await Senate action and over 50 judicial benches and untold important government posts remain unfilled because the Senate refuses to obey its mandate.
The Constitution provides for Congress to periodically review and amend its rules and procedures. That will happen six weeks after Hell freezes over. We need radical, systemic changes now that can only come from grass-roots-initiated constitutional amendments. Are we up to it?
GEORGE B. REED JR., Rossville, Ga.
Cut the waste in defense budget
Responding to a recent letter in opposition to the scheduled cuts in defense spending, we are currently spending in excess of $700 billion a year for what amounts to a world police force with 662 overseas bases in 38 foreign countries. Adjusted for inflation, that's more that we have spent on defense since WWII. If we are suffering shortages in need areas, then the cure is to eliminate the waste and reallocate funds where they are needed.
One egregious example of waste is the F22 fighter, which was designed for Cold-War operations over Europe. GAO estimated that production costs now are $414 million each for 180 planes that were never even deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Former Reagan speech writer and columnist Peggy Noonan has suggested that we do a complete re-evaluation of our current defense needs. She thinks we can defend our country and our national interests without mortgaging our children's future paychecks.
But rather than cutting, candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to add $100 billion a year more! It seems strange to me that while conservatives are quick to point out throwing money at problems like education doesn't work, the same principle never applies to the bloated Department of Defense budget.
Freebies would start run on IDs
If Mr. Obama started a new freebie giveaway that required a photo ID to get the goodies, how long do you think it would take the whiners to get the necessary information together and get the photo ID?
WILLIAM J. BURTON, Cleveland, Tenn.
Value and keep what is good
Why is it that almost always people have to lose what they need to appreciate it? Then the habit of this gets lost in the losing and retrieving of what really matters. We realize what we truly need at the worst times and know how we lost those people or things, but only temporarily quit those other wants in order to get what we need back.
What if the other person finally says "enough is enough"? When is too many chances enough? How many of us have heard "please give me another chance"? And how many people do give it, only to be hurt again? At what point does giving chances become the problem?
It is the rarest of people who remind themselves of the tragic times to better appreciate and not lose what good they have. Too few spend their lives valuing and working to keep what's good to prevent the bad from taking away.
Love of money spurs horse abuse
Thank you for keeping us informed about the walking-horse industry and its horrible secret. How shameful that a law was passed 40 years ago to end the practice of soring horses' feet, yet abuses continue today! The industry has plenty of cash to hire a PR firm to make the public forget the abuse seen on a recent video.
I applaud restaurant owner Bill Crowder for not buying a walking horse supportive sign. I hope compassionate people in Shelbyville will dine at Mr. Crowder's diner.
And I applaud Pepsi, which backed out of sponsoring the Walking Horse Celebration.
Shame on the Shelbyville Times-Gazette for refusing to accept paid ads from the Humane Society! If there was nothing to hide behind those barn doors, the newspaper should give equal voice to anyone with hard, cold cash ... right? After all, this entire problem stems from the human love of money.
Photos of the horses show terror in their eyes as they endure pain to lift their feet high so a few humans can make a pile of money. It is heartbreaking that we cannot help them!
ANNE GARRARD GRINDLE, Sewanee, Tenn.
Be faithful and respectful
The Hamilton County Commission has spent too much time engaged in the sacrilegious practice of treating the sacred act of prayer as a political football. Serious Christians understand that we are supposed to pray for our leaders, but Jesus taught us to pray in private, not to make a big show of it (Matthew 6:5-6).
Additionally, in a religiously plural culture like ours, it is even more difficult to pray in a government setting without violating someone's religious liberty and the right of other citizens not to be religious at all.
Limitations on government-sponsored prayer are a key component of the First Amendment's "no-establishment" principle and serve to protect individual freedom of conscience by ensuring that all citizens may freely participate in the democratic process without regard to one's religious belief. Those who want to pray can and those who don't want to don't have to.
Those of us who call ourselves Christians can be good citizens and good Christians at the same time; we can be faithful while also being respectful to others.
JUNE McEWEN, Signal Mountain
Sentence for soring absolutely absurd
Message to U.S. District Judge Sandy Mattice: Disappointed, but not surprised at Judge Mattice's light- handed sentencing to John Mays in the "illegal" horse soring. Did you see the video? Did you review the evidence?
If not, then please step aside and allow someone who is able to effectively hand down sentencing who will prevent this heinous abuse instead of encouraging it.
You may as well have required Mays to sit in a corner for a 20-minute time-out or write 20 times on a chalk board "I will not abuse horses" ... absolutely absurd.
I certainly hope this is not a preview of the September sentencing of McConnell, Dockery and Abernathy.
LIBBY SIMONS, Harrison
Franklin quote applicable now
This being an election year, with each of us having to make a choice, it might be wise to read a quote from Benjamin Franklin. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty."
WAYNE W. WALLACE, Hixson
Where are verses on U.S. founding?
On Aug. 2, you printed a letter claiming that America is founded on the Bible. On Aug. 5, you printed another letter claiming that religious freedom is founded on the Bible.
These are not the first letters to make such claims.
None of these letters quote Bible verses that say:
• Separate the powers of government.
• Elect a Congress and a president.
• Allow the free exercise of other religions.
Why not? Is it because there are no such verses?
JAMES WALLACE THOMTE, Ringgold, Ga.