I am a Boy Scout for Troop 147 and a Venture Scout of Crew 2147. I am working on finishing my Communications merit badge and thought that I would contact the editor for the local newspaper.
I would like to share my opinion of the incident that happened on Raccoon Mountain. I hope that the boys are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that they will be an example to all of the southern anti-bicyclist community.
I read David Cook's column and I have a very similar opinion. Although I do support people riding bikes on the road, I usually do not due to the fact that it is unsafe. Speaking from a cyclist's perspective I hope that the Chattanooga area will change, welcome and greet cyclists with the Southern hospitality that the South is known for.
I just wish to reconfirm what Mr. Darden Newman stated in his letter to the Times Free Press on Jan. 23 concerning the Delta Queen. I also feel that Chattanooga is very fortunate to have this "Old Lady" moored right here on our river front. This historic old paddle ship has a very interesting history which for me creates waves of nostalgia when I view her from our Walnut Street Bridge vantage point. Perhaps some of those who do not share the same feelings as Mr. Newman and myself have never been on board the old boat. My family and I booked a night on board about 2 years ago and were fascinated by the woodwork and mahogany ceilings, not to mention the various ghost stories about the original female owner/captain, etc.
Please pass on my comments to Mayor Andy Berke. I am all for our continued beautification of our river front. Let's focus on the old industrial area along the Moccasin Bend section of the Tennessee river that is so visible at the 1-24/Highway 27 junction as you approach downtown Chattanooga from Birmingham and Nashville.
Mayor Andy Berke explained his violence reduction initiative: "Here's how it works. First, we map out the different groups around the city. Second, we show people we take action when shootings occur. Third, we communicate with them clearly and effectively: If a shooting occurs, law enforcement will focus in on you and your group for any and all crimes committed -- drugs, warrants, open cases, probation and parole violations, anything -- no matter which person pulls the trigger. And fourth, we offer services like vocational support and alcohol and drug rehabilitation to those who are wiling to put down their weapons."
Times Free Press staff writer Beth Burger gave her interpretation of the VRI in her front page article, Jan. 7. "Offenders are called in for a meeting where authorities explain the charges pending against them unless they agree to quit committing violent crimes. They are then offered support and services to make changes in their lives."
It's no wonder the black community is confused and suspicious about its mayor's initiative and his logic. The offender "with charges pending" won't be charged? Just agree to stop shooting, be set free, and get "support? Duh!