Saturday's article ("Obama remains optimistic on cliff," Dec. 22), in reference to the House members, made the following quote: "We had a number of our members who just really didn't want to be perceived as having raised taxes. That is the real issue."
The real issue is ... they refuse to work together. How about the real facts? Democrats and Republicans are perceived by the whole nation as not doing their jobs! If I didn't do my job, I would be fired. Do your job, Washington! Do what is best for we the people, not the good ol' boys club.
The time has come to stop letting people own these automatic guns. Only the military should have them. There also has to be a law on how much ammunition a person can buy.
The mother was to blame for what happened in Connecticut. She put guns in the hands of a disturbed person. Parents know when their child changes habits and does odd things. This horrible killing could of been avoided if taken care of early in his life.
It's a shame people can't feel safe going to malls, movies or sending their children to school. We should have the feeling of being safe.
The president said this was the hardest things he had to do in the four years of office. It showed in his speech and his tears. Also, the media did a great job reporting, which must of been one of their hardest assignments they had to cover.
The outpouring of love from other countries shows something has to change. Parents need to take responsibility and get help for their children. All those killed are gone too soon.
MRS. DAVID NEWHARD, Hamilton, Tenn.
I grew up in south Louisiana, and have hunted ducks, geese, quail, dove, rabbits and squirrels since I was in high school. I learned gun safety and the basics of safe and responsible shooting from my father. I have taught these same things to my three sons. I have owned and do own several shotguns appropriate for hunting. I say that to make clear that I am not opposed to appropriate gun ownership or the proper use of guns.
That being said, in the light of the recent atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I want to raise the question: Why does any private citizen need to own or have access to an assault weapon, a 30-round clip, or armor-piercing ammunition? I am well aware that banning these items is not the full solution to the growing problem of multiple murders by shooting in our country, but it is a solid start.
I urge all of our members of Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, 30-round clips, and armor- piercing ammunition. If the murder of 20 6- and 7-year-olds plus six of their teachers and school staff is not reason enough, what is?
THE REV. H. HUNTER HUCKABAY JR.
On Friday, I had a phone call asking for funds to buy bullet-proof vests for police. This is not the first time I have received this type of call. Bullet-proof vests should be part of the routine uniform of the police and should be included in the budget process. If not, why not, and if so, why do they need to ask the public for additional funds?
I think the police should be adequately protected, and this should be in their budget.
BEN KEIM JR.
The tragic deaths in the Connecticut school may be more of a mental-health issue than a gun issue. All the recent senseless killings have been done by people with lifetime mental-health issues. According to a psychiatrist and child psychologist speaking on a national panel recently, early detection of children as young as 4 to 6 years of age need to be identified by the family doctors and get them treatment. It doesn't work well later on in life, according to these health-care professionals. After they reach the age of the shooters who have perpetrated these atrocities on their vulnerable unarmed victims, it's pretty much too late.
In the meantime, I believe a person trained in weapons should be placed in the schools until new mental-health laws that Congress needs to pass have time to take effect. The issue with guns with large-capacity clips should be dealt with by Congress.
I'm an 81-year-old male who has many years to reflect back on societies failings, so until change happens I'll continue to exercise my Tennessee Concealed weapons permit.
LINDY THOMAS, Cleveland, Tenn.
The terrible tragedy in Newtown could have been prevented or lessened if the shooter had met armed resistance, or even if he knew there was a possibility.
We should examine the choice of the location of these attacks as much as the choice of weapons for these cowards. The mass public murders are always perpetrated in "gun-free" zones where they expect no resistance. Could there be a more cowardly act then shooting at children?
Banning firearms or a group of firearms will not stop these terrible tragedies from happening. To those who think banning firearms will make us safer, I offer one irrefutable argument. How effective is the ban on narcotics? We deem cocaine, crack, meth, etc. detrimental to society in general so we ban them, make it illegal to buy, sell or possess them. Yet there is a thriving drug trade to rival any industry in the world. How many lives are lost or ruined annually due to illegal drug use or trade.
The media does not report the frequent times when firearms are used in self-defense to prevent robberies, home-invasions, sexual assaults and other attacks because they would rather exploit tragedies than report the news.
JAMES BOTTUM, Hillsboro, Tenn.
We need to stop pretending guns are a panacea. They are not. They are lethal.
A few days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just up the road, a 2-year-old died from a gunshot wound. According to this very newspaper: "Not much is known about how 2-year-old Brennan Nowell got hold of a family handgun and shot himself."
This same newspaper reported three other Chattanooga-area children under the age of 14 died because of accidental gunfire in 2012.
"One boy was shot in a bathroom when a shotgun slipped ... An 11-year-old was shot in the face by her brother. A 3-year-old shot herself in the face with her grandfather's handgun."
Brennan Nowell is the fourth. He was shot with his grandfather's gun.
So, I guess guns don't kill people, innocent children do. They kill themselves while "playing."
Maybe we ought to consider that nice, white, middle-class so-called "responsible" gun owners aren't very responsible at all. A University of North Carolina study discovered that 45 percent of parents with children under the age of 7 failed to lock their weapons and 57 percent failed to store them in a locked compartment.
Ignorance, madness and denial.
ARLENE JARA STRICKLAND, Ooltewah
Enough of this DesJarlais vendetta. These women chose not to use birth control and to do what they did -- their choices. I am reminded that Christ defended a woman about to be punished for adultery. He addressed the mob by saying, "Who among you is without sin, let him cast the first stone." They left in shame.
At least 90 percent of national politicians must worry regarding when the shoe will drop as to themselves. Do an exposé on all of them.
May I add that people suffer while unaccountable trillions of our monies are thrown into space where no man can live except in an "iron lung." Trillions -- and soldiers killed or traumatized for life fighting another no-win Afghanistan War.
TVA's personnel are already paid far above the average wages and now these obscene bonuses -- rewards for Kingston debacle? We are a nation in chaos.
DOROTHY ROBERTS, Fairfield Glade, Tenn.