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Mexican leader is a hypocrite

It amazes me that the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, can stand beside the president of the United States and criticize the state of Arizona for passing a law that allows police in that state to do what is done every hour in Mexico.

My wife and I drove across Mexico in a car with Tennessee license plates and were repeatedly stopped by state and local police officers merely because we were not Mexican. We had to provide passports and driver's licenses over and over. In Mexico, law enforcement authorities routinely torture, brutalize and extort their citizens as well as visitors, and the term "civil rights" has no meaning.

Shame on you, Señor Calderon, and shame on this administration for providing a forum for this anti-American hypocrisy.

WAYNE H. SMITH


Marijuana arrests waste resources

According to "Crime in America: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2008" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 2008), there were a total of 14,005,615 arrests that year. Of those arrests, 847,863 were for marijuana (6.05 percent) and 754,224 were for simple possession of marijuana (5.39 percent).

However, there were only 594,911 arrests for violent crimes (4.25 percent). We arrested more people for simple possession of marijuana than we did for violent crimes!

The state of Tennessee and the city of Chattanooga have already experienced senseless rapes, random shootings and unsolved murders, as well as gang-related incidents. What's the logic in devoting law enforcement resources to arrest our citizens for simple possession of a substance that's safer than alcohol or tobacco than to stop violent crime and gang-related activity?

Wouldn't it make more sense to free up prison space for murderers and rapists and help unclog the courts and justice system to prosecute dangerous criminals? It's time to realize we must learn from history and realize prohibition doesn't work and it's a failed policy.

With our state facing a looming budget deficit and decreased revenues, wouldn't it make more sense to spend precious law enforcement resources in protecting our citizens from real, violent criminals?

MARTHA GREGORY

Hixson


Residents' bottom line is increasing

I voted for Mayor Ron Littlefield both times because I thought he was a fair-minded man.

Some things he has said and suggested recently make me wonder about him and some others on the commission.

They pat themselves on the back for not raising our taxes, but I compared what I paid on two houses in 2008 and 2009 and I paid $778.61 more in 2009 than 2008. Some of these fellows think we are naive, but I suspect some of us can read the bottom line and what comes out of our pocket.

HOWARD SAWYER


Homeless people needn't go hungry

I read with great interest the Sunday article on the homeless in regard to the teens riding the rail.

I have also spent the last six months and over 100 hours interviewing homeless individuals for a new book, "How To Live Homeless In Style" (www.cokefloat.com) and I have many interesting conclusions I feel the public may like to know. A few are below.

First, there is absolutely no reason to go hungry in the greater Chattanooga area. The Community Kitchen feeds up to 420 meals a day. If you want a fourth meal, go to the Chattanooga Rescue Mission.

Second, the Food Bank also does a great job helping many families with 55 pounds of food per month to deserving families through church networking in a 21-county area.

Lastly, I followed a homeless individual through a fence into an active rail yard not far behind Erlanger. I was not challenged and took pictures of this man living in a locomotive. This is a major homeland defense issue. Chlorine and anhydrous ammonia tank cars were nearby. That is a lot of potential deaths with someone who wants to hurt people. If a terrorist wants to be invisible in the U.S., just pretend to be homeless.

DR. ROBERT SPALDING

Signal Mountain


Guns-in-bars bill a waste of time

The governor had the sense to veto the guns-in-bars bill.

The whole thing left me scratching my head from the beginning. I support being able to carry weapons, but not being able to carry them where alcohol is served is a no-brainer.

Why in the blazes do people think a bill has to be passed so they can carry a gun in a bar? Who needs to do that? That's just asking for trouble.

Let's face it, people are not getting any nicer these days. Had this thing passed, then we would have gotten to hear more stories about how people are getting blown away for no reason. Guns and free-flowing alcohol just don't mix. We have a horrible budget crisis, and this is what makes its way to the floor of our Capitol? At least the governor knew it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

State reps, please stop wasting my tax dollars and move on to something productive like making sure everyone has adequate health insurance.

SARAH GUSSOW

Hixson


Story of travelers honest, compelling

Thanks to Joan Garrett for "Hard like Nails?" in Sunday's paper (May 23). Well-written and compelling, her article was a sensitive and sympathetic account of a "traveling kid's" tragic life as he spent a few weeks in Chattanooga.

What I especially appreciate about the author's efforts (and the research must have been considerable) is that she treats her subject kindly, but she in no way portrays him and his female companion as victims. She allows them the dignity of their humanity.

They make choices daily which place them on the very fringe of society, and these choices are slowly killing them.

Their unbridled freedom, the freedom to hop trains and the freedom to live on the streets and in the shadows, is a freedom which in the end spells death.

Thank you, Joan, for digging out a worthwhile story and for telling it in such a way that your subjects are honored but not glorified. There was truth in your account.

GARY LINDLEY

Lookout Mountain, Ga.

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