Guns should not be a partisan issue
I recently attended the dedication of the Victims Memorial Park here in Chattanooga. I sat by mothers who had lost their children to gun violence. A very moving event.
I wish it were a requirement for legislators and members of Congress to attend. None were there. I think they would start talking about ways to prevent this violence rather than avoiding the issue.
Unfortunately, our governor and his family have felt the sting of losing a dear friend to gun violence. Imagine how much it would be to lose a child. It has affected the governor enough to call a special session of the Tennessee legislature and talk about gun reform.
The governor wants to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.
I hope legislators will listen and follow the governor and the people's lead to solve this most important issue of our time.
This should not be a Democrat-Republican political issue but a crime prevention issue.
Stop the federal abortion farce
Why are the Washington D.C., politicians, both left and right, ranting about abortion? Each side claims they will pass laws to either uphold or deny abortion. The Supreme Court has determined that abortion legislation is a state issue, not a federal issue. If either side should manage to pass federal legislation concerning abortion, the court will strike it down. The U.S. Constitution must be amended to create federal abortion law.
If you don't like your state's abortion laws, either work to change them or find another state. But tell your folks in D.C. to stop gaslighting abortion and fix real federal issues like taxes, the debt ceiling and immigration.
Reader misses 'Jesus followers'
Pam Sohn, David Cook, Leonard Pitts — three names that I miss so much from the pages of the Times Free Press. I don't know if any of them identify as Christians (who could blame them if they don't in this day and age?), but in their lives and in their ethics they certainly should be known as "Jesus followers."
Oh, how much their words sustained my Christian hope while they were publishing.
Joe T. Porter
We don't need more 'corrupt efficiency'
Bradley Gitz's April 29, 2023, column on the Free Press editorial page hit at the base of what is apparently a Republican goal for American politics. Gitz reminisced of his days back in Chicago when the city was run by Mayor Richard Daley's "corrupt efficiency." He compared old Chicago as "safer, cleaner ... more navigable ... friendlier..." to the Chicago of today, which "has become the national symbol for urban decay."
Efficiency. Tennessee's House of Representatives worked to become more efficient by dismissing Democratic representatives for over-enthusiastically backing gun control measures. Republican states disregard women's rights with often draconian measures of efficiency to prevent even the most necessary abortions. Many Republicans back former President Trump's efficiency in running the country without respect for others' opinions, but with corporate directives. Derision of minority opinions appears to make only Republican views and values the only options for efficiency.
But a democracy hears many opinions, not just one, not just the majority's and not just what is temporarily most popular. It appears that the "corrupt efficiency" Gitz remembers eliminated "the noise of democracy."
Benito Mussolini ran Italy without the "noise of democracy," but it was often noted that his "corrupt efficiency" had "the trains running on time."
Grady S. Burgner
Diversity training efforts need support
To satisfy a work requirement, a family member recently attended a diversity training course. The purpose of the course was to help the attendees identify and deal with subconscious prejudices. Since a business must interact with those of differing ethnicities, economic circumstances, religious faiths and political persuasions, it is important that the staff be able to deal equally and fairly with the diverse population.
While diversity training is important in the business context, it is equally vital in the educational context, especially in the public-school environment. Students (and teachers) in our public schools are as diverse as people in the business environment. It is important that they be trained to identify their subconscious prejudices to be better prepared to educate, to be educated and to deal with a diverse population equally and fairly.
It appears that the Hamilton County School system has recognized the need for equity throughout the system but particularly with respect to underserved students. We hope that those in government, federal, state and local, will support the effort with, among other things, adequate funding for public education. Hopefully, they will not be distracted or deterred by the concerns of some about "implicit bias."
Let lawmakers see Hale's trans 'reality'
It has been just a month since Aiden Hale, a 28-year-old transgender, choreographed his own suicide after taking the lives of three 9-year-old students and three adults at Nashville's Covenant School. After the shooting, the police chief noted that Hale had been a student at the school and that there was evidence of resentment for having been sent there.
Hale left a "manifesto," which undoubtedly described the life he lived.
Now Sen. Todd Gardenhire has demanded to see Hale's writings to assist lawmakers in writing gun laws. For the love of God, give him the writings — all of them. He won't learn a thing about gun laws, but he might learn what it's like growing up as a trans person.
Send Hale's legacy to every legislature. Send it to Montana where a lawmaker was banished from the floor of the house for speaking truth about the needs of transgendered citizens. Send it to Missouri where a judge just stayed laws depriving children of gender-affirming medical and emotional care.
If you don't like something, you can ignore it, deny it, outlaw it or accept it, but it won't go away. Realty always will prevail, sometimes in very painful ways.
Supreme Court code of ethics must pass
The Supreme Court has a serious ethics problem, and the latest revelations about Clarence Thomas should be alarming to every American.
For 20 years, Thomas has accepted high-end, luxury, all-expense-paid vacations around the world from Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow. And he never disclosed any of it to the public. What's more, he sold three properties to the billionaire and never reported them on his financial disclosures. The vacations are blatantly unethical, and not reporting the real estate sales is potentially illegal.
Supreme Court decisions affect every facet of American life. Because of this, justices must be held to the highest ethical standards. When Americans see news like this about any justice, the Court demonstrates that it cannot hold itself accountable and it doesn't take its responsibilities seriously.
A court with no legitimacy only hurts the American people. It's time for Congress to pass a Supreme Court code of ethics to bring legitimacy back to the court.
Crest Road traffic dangers ignored
A neighbor was recently walking her dog on Missionary Ridge, on the sidewalk, when a landscaping truck drove up and onto the sidewalk, killing her 11-year-old cattle dog right in front of her.
This isn't an isolated incident. I've personally seen trucks and cars drive up and over the curbs in Missionary Ridge on a regular basis, as have my neighbors. In fact, I saw someone driving down the sidewalk while she was talking on her phone.
The problem is excessive speeding.
Simply put, drivers use Crest Road as a highway between Georgia and Chattanooga, and despite countless petitions, phone calls and meetings with the city's Department of Transportation, very little has been done to resolve the problem. In fact, nothing has been done on the section of South Crest where the resident's dog was just killed.
Why? Because the health and well-being of Chattanooga residents aren't a priority to government officials. The city's ongoing excuse for not taking action is they "don't have the money."
This excuse, however, comes as a new, unnecessary baseball field is being built downtown. The city has the money; officials just don't have the interest in protecting the safety and well-being Missionary Ridge residents.