Which is it? Stay inside or venture out?

A record number of new COVID-19 cases was reported Friday by our county health department, with the health department director quoted as saying: [The] "Health Department stresses how important it is for people to take every opportunity available to protect themselves and their families. Just because a business is open, doesn't mean it is the best choice for your family to visit."

Speak up, health department. Which is it? Do we roll up to the vehicle emissions testing station with our $9 to avoid violating the law and driving on an expired tag, or do we follow your stay-at-home advice?

State leaders are making terribly irresponsible decisions, and now county leadership is telling us to stay in (health department) and also to go out (tag and title folks). Who is in charge?

Michael Mallen


Right call on masks, but refund our money

I read in the paper that Gov. Bill Lee purchased millions of dollars' worth of protective masks that were then distributed free to the public by health departments. His quick response to the COVID-19 emergency was the right thing to do, and he deserves credit for it.

Unfortunately, his choice of companies, made without any competitive bids, was not. It was later reported that the producer, a U.S. based company, used toxic materials to make the woven cloth masks. No instructions were given, at the time of distribution, to inform the public that the masks should be washed before wearing.

Everyone makes mistakes but not all are responsible enough to correct them. I hope to learn that Gov. Lee has held the producers of these masks accountable and that taxpayers' money will be refunded.

The ultimate insult was felt yesterday at our hardware store as I plopped down $5 to purchase a new, safer mask. The new mask was labeled, "Made In China."

Dennis Schumacher

Crossville, Tennessee


We must change hearts and our ways

David Cook's May 31 commentary titled, "Looting in America," is a must read. He knows U.S. history. "Slavery is America's greatest shame." Today, it's police brutality.

George Floyd's murder is another example of black treatment since 1619 — the same year representative government began in America. So ironic! African Americans have bled in all our wars; nevertheless, they have never been respected. Racial injustice is so institutionalized that blacks feel real stress when white policemen approach.

It will be a daunting challenge to change, but this disease must be addressed. What's taking place across America is only symptomatic of this disease. As America burns, leadership should be coming from the president. Instead, we get silence or tweets of violent rhetoric. Trump's "get tough" stance sounds like George Wallace.

All who have eyes to read, and ears to hear, know much of Trump's base is racist. He's playing to them. There have been too many Ed Johnsons, Emmett Tills and George Floyds.

If you don't like what's happening, work to change the system. It will take us all. Leadership must come from courts, executives, legislatures and the clergy. If man's heart won't change, his ways must.

Wilbourne C. Markham Sr.

Signal Mountain