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Jay Greeson

We are less than a week from the year anniversary of a horrific nightmare perpetrated against an Ooltewah freshman by his basketball teammates.

With news Friday that Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole dismissed the case against former Ooltewah coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery and the knowledge that an early defendant took pretrial diversion on the same charges Montgomery faced, none of the adults responsible for watching those students have faced any legal punishment.

The toll can be felt in other ways, for sure. Loss of jobs, damaged reputations, the threat of high-priced civil lawsuits, and whatever other ramifications may come.

But with Montgomery's case dismissed and the three former Ooltewah players who committed the terrible acts of sexual assault with a pool cue going to Juvenile Court, you can't help but wonder if the victim feels the legal system abandoned him.

Judge Poole has, by all measures, an excellent legal mind, and we're certain he did not take this decision lightly.

Poole also reminded everyone in the courtroom that people can't be charged on moral obligations and that the court is required by law to make its decision on the law.

It's a noble and valid point, and certainly spot-on legally.

And his ruling likely will force the state to examine that statute about reporting sexual assaults and the steps required in similar scenarios.

Hopefully, the next legislation will be more clear and more forceful. Heck, add in a couple of extra guidelines about those we charge with teaching and supervising our children who ignore hazing, while you're at it.

The law must be better and more clear, that seems obvious.

But it's awfully tough to hear the court's inability to act because of perceived moral obligations when something this dreadful and awful and downright immoral happened to a high school freshman.

2016 STRIKES AGAIN

Man, this has been a rough year for folks who reached the pinnacle of their profession, especially in the sports world.

Look around. We lost arguably the best boxer (Muhammad Ali), the best hockey player (Gordie Howe), the best female coach in college sports history (Pat Summitt) and the best ambassador in golf (Arnold Palmer).

This week, Craig Sager died. He was 65. And whether you know exactly who he was or not, he was the best sideline reporter in sports.

How good was Sager? Well, very few coaches like to do those awful and informationless midgame interviews, but Sager was the only one who consistently made those awkward moments watchable.

For context, even the most crusty of coaches — and they can be a crusty group by nature — sang his praises this week.

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

The most recent passing made me think of this:

What if we tried to treat people and speak of people in daily life the way we do in the days after they die?

Think how much more peaceful that place of clarity and emotional freedom would be.

Maybe that should be on my New Year's checklist.

CHRISTMAS TIDBIT

We listed some of our favorite Christmas things earlier this week. High on that list is Christmas music.

"The Little Drummer Boy" is our personal favorite, but we always have been intrigued by the "12 Days of Christmas."

First, what percentage of the populace do you think knows all the gifts of the 12 days? We'd say no more than 10 percent, right? (Of course, that's not saying much, since most surveys show that fewer than 50 percent of Americans know who the vice president is. Now if we somehow got 11 Bidens biding, well, we'd be in a real pickle.)

We do know, thanks to thefiscaltimes.com, that buying all of the items mentioned in "The 12 Days of Christmas" would run you roughly $34,000. Now that's the total of everything from "A partridge in a pear tree," value $210, to "12 drummers drumming" with a value of roughly $2,934, according to the website. Amazingly, if you tried to purchase every gift mentioned and the number of times it was mentioned, the total soars to more than $156,000. Merry Christmas, indeed.

SATURDAY STARS

To the good folks at Worcester Wreath Co., which through a campaign called Wreaths Across America began donating wreaths in tribute to veterans laid to rest since 1992.

Today at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, the public is invited for the holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor our nation's veterans.

After the ceremony at noon at the cemetery's Armed Forces Pavilion, participants are encouraged to help place the more than 8,000 donated wreaths on specific graves in designated areas of the cemetery.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343.

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