I found your editorial about the city pottery studio to be a pint size of truth topped off with a very mean sprit. The studio, like every other recreational facility in Chattanooga, is what makes this community great! Whether it's public basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, dog parks, river walk parks, skateboard parks, bicycle trails, football stadiums, soccer and baseball fields, all are for the community to enjoy, gather together, interact, learn and grow as humans are supposed to. That is what good life/good community is all about and is vital to the health of all of us.
Chattanooga has great things to offer, and if we take advantage of them instead of tearing them down, we would not be having a lot of the crime problems that Chattanooga currently has.
I vote to make use of our old landfills and make tent cities/jails. Cities are so strapped for money, and we are spending millions on jails that put our public schools to shame. Jail time is nothing for thugs but reunion time while getting physically fit and well-fed.
Let's make jail more like punishment and put these menaces to work. Put them in chains. Make them mow our medians and pick up road trash, to name just two. Take that saved money and start repaving our crappy roads, for starters. We ask what can be done to end this violence. One word "punishment."
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal car crashes involving 16- and 17-year-olds in Tennessee were higher during the first six months of 2012 than during the first six months of 2011. This is disconcerting. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and we must do more to protect our youngest drivers.
Tennessee lawmakers can lead these efforts. It is imperative lawmakers strengthen the state's teen driving laws to prohibit teen drivers from carrying any passengers, from driving after 10 p.m. and from using cellphones -- handheld and hands-free. Just one teen passenger -- permitted by current law -- can increase a teen driver's crash risk by as much as 48 percent. States with strong teen driving laws have seen as much as a 40 percent reduction in teen-related crashes. Tennessee must become one of those states, and stronger laws will help us achieve that goal.
I lead the Tennessee Teen Safe Driving Coalition, an initiative of The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council. I encourage teens, parents, traffic safety professionals and others passionate about this issue to join us and help educate the public about the importance of strong teen driving laws.
On March 18, the Chattanooga Times Free Press had a column titled "Propaganda isn't just an import" by Robin Smith, that was great.
The column points out that whether the propaganda is spewed out by the Communist North Koreans or the communist, socialist Obama administration, the message is the same.
The North Koreans want to scare us with a video about a nuclear weapon, and the Obama administration wants to scare us about the results of the sequestration.
What people need to understand is that we have communists and socialists here in the United States and their thoughts are the same as Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and other communist countries. The only difference is that here in the United States, they hide behind the "progressive" title.
It is time for the Tea Party and Republicans to expose the "progressives" for who they really are.
Thanks for a great paper.
BYRON J. HENDRIX, Cleveland, Tenn.
"Trusting Police: Culture needs investigation, too" struck me as odd. Hamilton County's sheriff shared what others expressed to him: their heightened fear of crime because America has a black president. The writer notes that Sheriff Jim Hammond actually was "commenting on fear ... and ... unwittingly ... feed[ing] distrust of law-enforcement authorities."
More than a dozen police officers walked past two others -- all white -- brutally beating a man as a video rolls. The FBI agent suspected of drinking and driving is white. At least one of Hays State Prison's disgraced officials is white. The beaten man is black. The Howard School shooter and his victim are black. Likely, so is the eyewitness at a gang-violence hearing who suddenly decided she hadn't seen anything.
While the commentator concludes police culture "is not without stain," how do fear of crime or distrust of white law enforcers involve our mixed-race president? Could it be because Obama is half white?
CARREN LOUISE BERSCH
The Republican Party and its tea party masters finally have gained a poster boy for their future forays into national politics. Behold Rand Paul! A young man full of hot air but no gas to go anywhere. He and his paranoid-enhancing father really do cast a "pall" on American political life.
I also feel much safer knowing that drones are not aimed at Red Bank in case there is a sudden emergence of "turist" activity and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.
DENNIS WESTMEIER, Red Bank
Todd South's article on prison classification was clearly written. The bottom line is the Tennessee Department of Correction has the responsibility of prisoner classification. The convincing force allowing TDOC to classify is clearly stated in 791F.2d 932 Larry Dell Gossett aka Dr. Laurence Dell Gossett vs. Billy McWherter, Joe Terry, Tommy Mills, Ernest Pellegrin. TDOC has the total picture of all prisoners coming into their care. What might seem horrible in a certain locality sometimes pales to what happens statewide.
Thank you to Times Free Press columnist David Cook for the insightful article regarding school start times. You raised many salient issues regarding the importance of changing the current policy of early start times. Unfortunately, you are correct that some may attempt to cloud the issue with concerns about the impact on athletics. It is always helpful to look at the facts.
There is exactly one boys basketball team from Hamilton County Schools playing in the state tournament -- the Hustlin' Tigers of Howard. Due to flexibility granted under No Child Left Behind, Howard School starts at 9 a.m.! We can only hope that our school board will address this next Thursday.
EDWINA GOWER, Signal Mountain