The horrific killings in Connecticut suggest two necessary actions. First, those who murder and then commit suicide should not have the satisfaction of infamy. It should be illegal to name, in the public space, any perpetrator who murders and then kills himself.
Second, school administrators and state and local officials should consider the use of non-lethal force to protect children. There are many ways to subdue a shooter besides killing him. The effective use of lights, sounds, odors, or other non-lethal weapons by teachers and administrators could make the issue of guns in schools irrelevant.
Buildings could be made much more secure with simple and relatively inexpensive changes in doors, locking systems and alarms.
MARCUS SHEFFIELD, Ooltewah
Dr. Scott DesJarlais and his family are our friends. He has been our family doctor since he came to Marion County many years ago. We know Scott, Amy and their children. So, enough is enough already. I don't believe there is a person who reads your paper who doesn't know of Dr. DesJarlais' mistakes.
Why is it that someone says "Oh I may be his opponent in the next election," and all the same things that have been written about his life since July need to be all said again?
Why not wait until next election to write all those things again? It seems David Cook, Chris Carroll and Andy Sher have decided to make him their daily story. There is nothing new in his life to add, so give the man and his family a rest and move on to something else until next election.
BOBBY and DORIS WIGGINS, Monteagle, Tenn.
When we suffer a tragedy like the one at the elementary school in Connecticut, we have a rash of proposals and demands to fix the problem. Many of these proposals are from authorities in law enforcement and/or education.
What makes this unsettling is none of them get to the root cause. We are like a bunch of amateur firefighters who are fighting the forest fire but paying no attention to the arsonist whatsoever.
Our problem lies precisely in the misuse of the First Amendment. Our First Amendment was intended to protect our freedom to criticize our government and/or government officials when we felt they were wrong. In two generations this intended use of the First Amendment has been turned on its head. Now, no matter where we go, filth, perverted sex, practices of deceit and rampant violence are in our face. We simply cannot expect our children to have this garbage continually in their faces from earliest memories and still grow up to be decent citizens.
Until the First Amendment is amended to say precisely what the forefathers intended and the trash can be replaced with decent entertainment, we will continue these tragedies and worse.
KENNETH W. SIMONDS
As a voter, taxpaying constituent and poker enthusiast, I ask for your support in passing legislation to license and regulate Internet poker.
From what I understand, the GOP's proposed budget cuts will leave seniors like me stranded at home eating cat food. After Congress throws us all over the cliff, online poker will be just about the only pleasure we will have left.
Online poker tournaments can be played for as little as 50 cents, which allows players to play in their homes on a cat-food budget.
Licensing and regulation will ensure that age verification measures are implemented, consumer protections are provided and protections for those with excessive gaming habits are mandated. Current law does not provide any protections for anyone.
Licensed and regulated U.S.-based horse race wagering sites have proven through years of experience that online betting sites can successfully implement these important protections. The game of poker deserves no less.
If you support generating tax revenue without increasing taxes and creating domestic jobs rather than outsourcing them, you will support the licensing and regulation of online poker. I and over 1 million fellow Poker Players Alliance members ask your support.
F. DOUG CRAIG
Shame on you, Sen. Corker, and your fellow legislators. You contemplate reducing our retirement plan (Social Security) and our medical plan (Medicare) while you get the Cadillac of retirement and medical plans.
The Social Security plan is on the brink of bankruptcy because legislators took money from it for years to pay for benefits to their constituents so they could get re-elected rather than taxing them to pay for the benefits. Because if they had taxed us we would have voted them all out of office and/or told them we did not want the benefits they were offering as the price was too high.
To help straighten this out the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate should abolish their ruling class spoils of special retirement and health plans and only have what we have, Social Security and Medicare. Then maybe they all will think longer and wiser as they try to solve our fiscal problems.
MICHAEL K. ARNETT
No! Do not put armed guards in schools! If you did that, you would have to put guards in movies, shopping centers and on street corners. Nothing would be safe!
Instead, put God, Bible and prayers back in our schools and elsewhere. Begin each day in our schools with chapel. After all, God is sovereign and in charge. He also answers prayers. Open games with prayers. And pray in Jesus' name, as he is our mediator. No one comes to the Father but by him.
Honor the Lord Jesus in stores, not just commercial sales. Put out the manger scene. Display the Ten Commandments in fast-food facilities, restaurants bars, buses -- everywhere. Put them in City Hall along with the Constitution. After all, we are a nation under God! Let's say so!
Personally, pray and have Bible reading in your home with your family. Make sure your children know who Jesus is. And make sure you do. He is God the Son, our Savior.
I believe God is trying to get our attention. Let's give it to him.
MARGE McNUTT, Signal Mountain
We Americans must change.
Our society has lost the essentials that make democracy. We speak of "freedom," but we no longer understand what that means. It's not selfish, my way, my things, my comfort, that ignores responsibility for other people. It is an awareness of how our decisions affect all of society. We isolate ourselves out of fear and see all "others" as a threat to our things. We arm ourselves with deadly weapons to protect our things, our space from "others." We fail to support actions that help the sick or addicted or drunk to recover. We buy higher fences, bigger cars and more powerful guns to keep them away.
I continue to grieve the death of 20 small innocents and six self-sacrificing women. Their deaths stain every American whose near-sightedness or selfishness has prevented rational gun laws and reasonable mental health care initiatives and who continue the culture of greed and self-indulgence that is their idea of "freedom."
More guns are not the answer. Violence does not cure violence.
Every gun owner should view photographs of 20 tiny, bloody, lifeless bodies when he or she buys another gun, another round, then given the warning, "This could be your gun ... your fault."
PAMELA PHILLIPS, Hixson
If more people would learn how to calm down and practice self control, they would not only lower their blood pressure, there would be less road rage and a less need for gun control.
Some may need to seek a professional to learn how to calm down. Talking to God is a great way. He is on duty 24/7. No one needs an appointment to talk to God. He is never on vacation.
There are several Bible Scriptures you can read to calm down. One is Psalm 23. The other I recommend is Matthew 11:28-30. If you can read those two Scriptures slowly and take deep breaths of air as you read, you may see they will not only calm you down but give you a good night's sleep as well.
My husband and I were at the Dupont walking trail when I fell and hurt my right foot, right arm and left hand. A nice couple who were driving by stopped to offer assistance. The man helped my husband get me up and helped me to their car. The lady drove me to our truck.
We want to thank them for their thoughtfulness. Unfortunately, we didn't get their names but we will always appreciate the care they extended by stopping to lend a helping hand.
JERRY and JEAN ADAMS