It is time to talk about gun control. It is time to take action to protect our children. The gun lobby says "guns don't kill people, people kill people." That implies that there is some way to allow people to have assault rifles and still protect ourselves from the ones who mean to use them as weapons of mass murder. No. Guns kill people. If Mr. Lanza had been armed with a bow and arrow or knife, there would not be 26 funerals in Newtown.
Who needs an assault rifle? You don't need one to protect yourself or your family and you don't need one to shoot deer and birds. I hope everyone who, like me, experiences the sadness that comes from observing 26 preventable deaths, 20 of which were innocent children counting down the days until Christmas, can find the courage to stand up to the mighty gun lobby and those who think that any control on the sale and possession of guns violates their twisted and historically flimsy argument that the Second Amendment "right" to own an assault rifle somehow triumphs over sanity and public safety.
JOHN C. CAVETT JR
Our Constitution was written by wise men to form a more perfect union for liberty and tranquility but flexible enough to adapt as times change. Embassy security budgets last year were cut despite security admonishments to Congress, who are responsible for budgets. Could businesses operate effectively or efficiently with 535 politicians making these decisions?
The NRA, funded mostly by arms merchants, must sell the 8 million guns manufactured annually to those with the widest possible variety of objectives. Ask families of Newtown or those estimated 10,000 annual homicide victims in the U.S. how they feel. Yet, 40 percent of gun sales (mostly gun shows) are not background checked, and only one in 200 are turned down when it occurs. One might question the scope of these checks.
But one can foresee the political ads now if one countered the NRA or the old ways. They would chastise absence of patriotism or worse.
Unfortunately, government doesn't function like business. The latter focuses on root causes, lessons learned over fingerpointing. The caliber of our institutions are a reflection of our values and emphasis.
JOHN EARY, Ringgold, Ga.
As a frequent airline traveler, I concur with Ms. McAllister of TAC Air that the Chattanooga Airport Authority is doing a very poor job of operating and maintaining the airport while spending millions to develop and sustain a money-losing facility to serve private corporate travelers. It is becoming impossible at times to find a long-term parking space at the airport, the bathrooms are often in need of cleaning, the walkways are broken and covered in leaves, and the landscaping in the parking lot is abysmal.
I would like for Mr. Hart and Mr. Jacobson to please explain why they see the need to build additional hangars for private aircraft instead of developing additional parking facilities and updating the baggage claim area. We have a first-rate city with a third-rate airport compared to similar U.S. cities, and the Airport Authority and the chief executive should be held accountable for the inexcusable situation at Lovell Field.
The tragedy at Newtown indicates that it may be time for a new "gun association"; one dominated by owners instead of arms and munitions firms. Let's call it the "Rational Rifle Association."
BYRON CHAPIN, Hixson
On Sept. 11, in Benghazi, four Americans were murdered by the Taliban and no one, not Hillary nor Obama, lifted a finger to save them. And for whatever reason they let this happen, both Hillary and this radical president should be brought up on murder charges and convicted of these atrocities because they alone are responsible.
JOANN WHITLOW, Soddy-Daisy
David Cook has as much right as anyone to feel sorrow and pain for the senseless slaughter in Newtown, Conn., (column "Guns kill, not autism" Dec. 19). This rant about autism/mental illness was unnecessary and actually insulting. To blame this incident on anything other than the killer is premature at best, but to deny that people who suffer from mental illness can be violent is wrong. People with migraine headaches can be prone to violence.
Rather than being overly sensitive to the suggestion that this killer may have suffered from a mental condition, perhaps we can admit that violence can come from many sources. Instead he, and many others, continue to blame the weapon used. I'm not sure a semi-automatic rifle is to blame for this carnage. President Reagan's attack that nearly killed him was from a revolver fired six times in under two seconds. How much damage did it cause? However, politicians and the gun-fearing public immediately started the debate on gun control and possibly confiscation.
The question that needs to be asked, if there is to be an intelligent debate on this issue, is this: Which came first, the evil or the weapon? This time around, let the discussions about gun violence emphasize the "violence."
As a member of a party that includes the likes of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock, a more prudent person would think twice before carelessly calling anyone or anything else "wacky." Perhaps Gerald McCormick, Tennessee House majority leader (Times Free Press, Dec. 20, Metro, B5) can garner further "accolades" for our state by following the lead of another of his party members, Rep. Alan West, and determine if there are any Communists lurking in our Legislature.
Ah, those were the days! I grew up in Red Bank in the '50s and '60s. All the churches on Dayton Boulevard were full on Sunday. People believed that they were created by God in His image, not products of evolution from lower forms of life. We had a Bible teacher at the elementary school. At the high school, the doors were not locked. The boys all carried knives, and we played mumbletypeg on lunch break.
I could thumb a ride to the University of Chattanooga. You could leave your bike out at night and it would still be there the next morning. Young people addressed adults as "ma'am" and "sir." People respected authority at every level. Many people owned guns, but they were used for hunting or target shooting.
Back then people believed that husbands and wives would have children, and they would care for them themselves. In those days, entire families could sit down and watch television together, enjoy music together and even talk with each other. The concepts of God, family and community were valuable and practical. Ah, those really were the days!
WILLIAM A. GREER JR., Hixson