In a recent Times Free Press report, we found that "Hamilton County juvenile offense numbers drop but some areas remain troubled." In the article one of the solutions mentioned was to lock property to prevent "crimes of opportunity." However, another problem is occurring nationwide - an opportunity for police to continuously increase arrests for marijuana possession.
These "arrests of opportunity" happen 2.7 times more often for African-Americas than for whites in Hamilton County, according to a recent ACLU study.
... You may think that going after possession cases helps arrest the traffickers. On the contrary, when I was collecting surveys for my sociology thesis, I witnessed gang members selling drugs, outside, with police cars strolling by. It is my conclusion that easing up harsh marijuana possession punishments will help keep kids out of the revolving-door prison cycle, restore bridges between neighbors and police and help to eliminate violent organized crime.
CLIFTON BURRIS, White House, Tenn.
Tuesday was "The Moment" to enjoy being an American. The president
came to Chattanooga. When Air Force One made its approach, I had goosebumps. To see our governor meet him as he exited the plane with our United States
senators and representatives exit behind the president.
To welcome Obama to our great state and our beautiful, friendly city. What a glorious moment to come together, not as Republicans and Democrats, together as Americans!
But that is not what happened. Governor Haslam, Senators Corker ( Chattanooga
native), Sen. Alexander and Congressmen Fleishmann and DesJarlais did not show.
They did not welcome our president. No wonder our nation is in such a mess. We have no great leaders in our state. Great men seize the monent, but that moment passed. Our Tennessee delegation missed an opportunity to step forward and set an example.
To offer their hand to the president. An opportunity to reach out and talk about
coming together as citizens to make good things happen for our state and nation.
Honey Boo Boo has a lot more class than any of our (so called) Tennessee leaders.
JUDY CORN DALE
read David Cook's article about "Fishing while brown." It appears that Mr. Cook is saying that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources officer is a racist for arresting four Hispanic men for fishing without a license and having no documentation for being in this country. They were breaking the law - they got arrested. How is this racist? Some time ago, my husband and some friends were fishing without a license and were arrested. The spent the night in jail until someone could pay their fines the next morning. My husband and his friends are white. They didn't think it was racist - they thought they were arrested for breaking the law.
I'm sorry these men were arrested and spent the night in jail. The officer arrested them not because they were brown, but because they broke the law.
Mr. Cook, a license that is "two days expired" is still an expired license. We need to stop looking for racism behind everything. Yes, there are racists in America of every color. But most of us are not racists, and people are arrested for breaking a law, not because of their color.
JOY STURTEVANT, Monteagle, Tenn.
If the money spent on Obama's trip to Chattanooga (at least $10 million, by some estimates) was spent here instead of for the trip, a new inner city school could have been built and staffed with teachers for a least one complete school year.
Whatever their personal feelings, Collegedale commissioners have a duty to Tennessee and to Collegedale to reject the proposal to extend marriage benefits to a police detective in a domestic partnership.
The Tennessee Constitution, in Article XI, Section 18, states, "Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee."
Any policy extending to domestic partners the same benefits extended to one man and one woman in marriage in any Tennessee municipality, including Collegedale, would, even if only implicitly, purport to redefine marriage in Tennessee and therefore "shall be void and unenforceable."
Commissioners voting for this unconstitutional policy open Collegedale to potential legal action. Should they adopt this policy, the governor of Tennessee has a constitutional obligation to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and the judges of Tennessee have a similar obligation not to recognize the policy's validity. Meanwhile, the citizens of Collegedale have a duty to themselves to insist their tax dollars are not spent illegally.
DR. BRIAN HALE, Ph.D, Red Bank
It is troubling to me that the reaction to the verdict in the George Zimmerman case is so far removed from an understanding by all too many, of the American judicial system, how it works, the circumstances confronting the jury in the case at hand, and the lengths to which our ideals of justice have taken us to protect the innocent.
In every criminal case, the judge instructs the jury to take all evidence admitted by the prosecution and defense into account. On this basis, the jury is informed of the burden of proof, that they must be convinced the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, jurors may have reason to believe that the defendant is guilty, even feel that he is guilty, and still vote he's innocent, because the prosecution failed to make the case that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the difference between what jurors may believe happened, weighed against that degree of certainty required by law and instructed by the court.
A widespread discussion on issues of race, profiling, discrimination, crime, poverty and injustice is in order, requiring awareness, but these issues should be considered entirely on their merits unrelated to the case under current discussion.
JOHN BRATTON, Sewanee, Tenn.
Regarding the ex-CEO of Erlanger who is a black woman and who is suing for racial issues. Several years ago, I worked in Erlanger's records department. Most all the women I worked with were black, and I was viciously persecuted and bullied by them. When I went to management, they did nothing. After these black women made me cry while trying to do my job, they sat laughing at me. I went to the upper bosses. They called it racism but did nothing to help me.
I finally had to quit, and on the way out, a janitor saw me crying and asked if it was due to racism. When I said yes, he said that he too endured blacks at Erlanger bullying him, but no boss would help him. I made an EEOC complaint and wrote to the CEO of Erlanger to tell them of my issue. The CEO ignored me, and the EEOC insisted on giving me a black woman for an investigator, for which I withdrew my case because I had learned to distrust blacks. Erlanger protects blacks and ignores the cries of bullied whites, so this woman's lawsuit is just opportunism and is repugnant.
PAMELA ALEXANDER, Signal Mountain
I go to the pharmacy to get my prescription, and I wish to pay for it out of my own pocket with a coupon, which would only cost $18. If I get it through Medicare it would be $40 with Medicare picking up the remaining $220 to the drug maker. I was refused because I am on Medicare. Medicare would rather pay more than I would pay out of my pocket. Then our spineless politicians can scream national debt.
DAVID GILES, Harrison
In explaining that location helps to explain poverty, Pam Sohn proceeds to endorse the president's perpetual campaign to "tretool this country's middle class." Perhaps an effective talking point but social and economic nonsense.
Simple questions: Who has the wisdom to retool the lives of tens of millions of Americans? Who has the authority to do so? And what in the world does it mean to "retool" the huge socio-economic middle of this country's population?
In any meaningful sense, the middle class is a lifestyle and set of values embraced for generations by the vast majority of Americans. Personal responsibility and hard work are high on this list, as is the deferred gratification that enables the capital accumulation which in turn facilitates "getting ahead."
What is the incubator of these values? Common sense tells us that government programs have nothing to do with either their introduction or perpetuation and that intact, two-parent families are the primary training ground.
GARY LINDLEY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.