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How long must the story be replayed?

We've heard it before. We've seen it before. We'll see it again. The names Highland Park, Uvalde, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Margery Stoneman Douglas mark only a handful of places where blood has been spilled, lives taken, survivors struggling and America temporarily grieving.

We know the sequence: the police reports, the eyewitness stories, the names, the victim photos, the floral tributes, the funerals. The cries for gun control, the politicians citing the Second Amendment, the voices saying it can't happen here; we're not like that. The questions about the shooters: Did they have accomplices, were they terrorists, where did they get their weapons, why did nobody read their screeds? Where were their parents, siblings and neighbors?

What will we do? Continue to watch horrific scenes on television, read stories about victims and heroes, watch the flowers fade and die. We butt our heads against the Constitution: written by men whose weapons were muskets and pistols, who could never have conceived of an AK-47, who called for "a well-regulated militia."

We'll live through this again. I pray it's not my community, my loved ones. I don't wish it on any community. But it will happen again and again.

Sally Durand

Signal Mountain

 

Venus, Serena Williams true Best of Preps 'superstars'

Many thanks to TFP sports writer Mark Weidmer for his recent overview of superstar athletes appearing at the annual Times Free Press "Best of the Preps" sports banquet.

What most area residents don't know is what happened behind the scenes — away from the fans and fanfare. In June 2010, world-class tennis headliners Venus and Serena Williams took time out of a very busy local schedule to visit with pediatric cancer patients at Children's Hospital at Erlanger. These two world-renowned athletes quietly slipped into a back entrance of Children's Hospital and spent well over an hour visiting with a group of young cancer patients and their parents. Here, they happily and graciously answered questions, posed for pictures, signed autographs and offered encouraging words to children and parents alike.

Their kindness, humor and keen interest in this small private "audience" were not lost on anyone in attendance that day. It's no surprise these two superstars continue to serve as ambassadors of goodwill and inspiration 12 years after their much heralded appearance in Chattanooga.

Pat Charles

 

Rapes convinced me: my body, my choice

In March 2014, I went out with a guy I barely knew. This guy raped me twice. This experience was traumatic, and I became depressed and suicidal. The Sunday after it happened, I woke up, came out of denial and realized what happened. I ran into my parents' arms, crying uncontrollable tears, and told them: "I was raped." My parents started crying, and both of them held me close, and told me: "We love you and are here for you."

That day, my mother took me to the ER at Erlanger East hospital, where I told them: "I was raped." They treated me with kindness, love and compassion. The ER doctor who saw me consoled me and told me she was a rape survivor and was there for me. However, I didn't become pregnant from my rapes. With Roe vs. Wade recently being overturned, women have lost their right to their bodies, to their reproductive rights.

I used to be so fearful of speaking out not anymore. It is my body, my choice. I'm fighting for myself, all women and the future for my two young nieces.

Tara Blake

 

No new convention for me, thank you

My state House representative, Esther Helton, signed a pledge to support an Article V convention calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to impose term limits for U.S. House and Senate seats. While I think Chuck Fleischmann needs to be forcibly retired, several issues emerge: 1) All proposed amendments to the Constitution have originated in the Congress and were then passed by the requisite number of states; 2) In the 235 years since the ratification of the Constitution, there has never been an Article V convention called by the states; 3) Article V is unclear whether a convention can be limited to a specific reason as specified in the call, and it is also unclear who can adjudicate the scope of a called convention of the states; and 4) In this current state of distrust in our nation, I fail to see the urgency in such a calling.

While the think tank that gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 was imperfect, I trust its collected wisdom more than I trust those calling for a present-day convention that could alter our form of government with its checks and balances for a fascist oligarchy.

Wayne Cook

 

Jan. 6 panel legal but still illegitimate

I continue to be amazed that some supposedly intelligent people on TV and radio (journalists, reporters, commentators, and other talking heads, including some on Fox News) fail to understand why Republicans think the House Jan. 6 Committee is illegitimate under House rules. The Constitution, Article 1, Section 5, gives each house the authority to determine its own rules for how it operates.

For over 200 years, the House rules allowed the minority party to appoint its own members to every committee. But this time, the speaker of the House decided to ignore that rule, and she appointed every member of the Jan. 6 Committee. Therefore, 200 years of precedent and the House rules were flushed down the toilet by Pelosi, but Democrats and the news media think that is OK. This is why the Jan. 6 Committee is legal but illegitimate. Her actions were a dirty trick on the American people, and hopefully in January 2023 she will be out of a job.

Rusty Lacy

Rossville, Ga.

 

USA on collision course with death

America is dying. We won't defend our borders, our history or our streets. Our cities have become anarchist playgrounds. We are a nation of dependents. We have gone from education to indoctrination. Patriotism is called insurrection, treason celebrated and lawlessness ignored. A man in blue gets less respect than a man in a dress.

College graduates routinely fail history tests that fifth graders could pass a generation ago. Crime rates soar, and we blame the Second Amendment and slash police budgets.

How did we slip from the greatness of past generations to this? Simple. We spent far beyond our ability to repay; we refused to guard our borders, allowing the nation to be inundated by millions of illegal aliens; we surrendered control of our cities to mob rule; we allowed indoctrination of the young; we are moving from a republic form of government guided by the Constitution to an oligarchy ignoring the Constitution; we're losing national identity; we are migrating from capitalism to socialism; and we have abandoned faith and family, the foundation of social order.

If this is not reversed, our nation will eventually die.

Gary Hayes

Ooltewah, Tenn.

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