published Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Possession busts lead to revolving doors and other letters to the editors

Possession busts lead to revolving doors

In a recent Times Free Press report, we found that “Hamilton County juvenile offense numbers drop but some areas remain troubled.” In the article one of the solutions mentioned was to lock property to prevent “crimes of opportunity.” However, another problem is occurring nationwide — an opportunity for police to continuously increase arrests for marijuana possession.

These “arrests of opportunity” happen 2.7 times more often for African-Americas than for whites in Hamilton County, according to a recent ACLU study.

… You may think that going after possession cases helps arrest the traffickers. On the contrary, when I was collecting surveys for my sociology thesis, I witnessed gang members selling drugs, outside, with police cars strolling by. It is my conclusion that easing up harsh marijuana possession punishments will help keep kids out of the revolving-door prison cycle, restore bridges between neighbors and police and help to eliminate violent organized crime.

CLIFTON BURRIS, White House, Tenn.


State’s leaders showed no class

Tuesday was “The Moment” to enjoy being an American. The president

came to Chattanooga. When Air Force One made its approach, I had goosebumps. To see our governor meet him as he exited the plane with our United States

senators and representatives exit behind the president.

To welcome Obama to our great state and our beautiful, friendly city. What a glorious moment to come together, not as Republicans and Democrats, together as Americans!

But that is not what happened. Governor Haslam, Senators Corker ( Chattanooga

native), Sen. Alexander and Congressmen Fleishmann and DesJarlais did not show.

They did not welcome our president. No wonder our nation is in such a mess. We have no great leaders in our state. Great men seize the monent, but that moment passed. Our Tennessee delegation missed an opportunity to step forward and set an example.

To offer their hand to the president. An opportunity to reach out and talk about

coming together as citizens to make good things happen for our state and nation.

Honey Boo Boo has a lot more class than any of our (so called) Tennessee leaders.

JUDY CORN DALE


Fishermen held for breraking law

read David Cook’s article about “Fishing while brown.” It appears that Mr. Cook is saying that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources officer is a racist for arresting four Hispanic men for fishing without a license and having no documentation for being in this country. They were breaking the law — they got arrested. How is this racist? Some time ago, my husband and some friends were fishing without a license and were arrested. The spent the night in jail until someone could pay their fines the next morning. My husband and his friends are white. They didn’t think it was racist — they thought they were arrested for breaking the law.

I’m sorry these men were arrested and spent the night in jail. The officer arrested them not because they were brown, but because they broke the law.

Mr. Cook, a license that is “two days expired” is still an expired license. We need to stop looking for racism behind everything. Yes, there are racists in America of every color. But most of us are not racists, and people are arrested for breaking a law, not because of their color.

JOY STURTEVANT, Monteagle, Tenn.


Money for trip could fund school

If the money spent on Obama’s trip to Chattanooga (at least $10 million, by some estimates) was spent here instead of for the trip, a new inner city school could have been built and staffed with teachers for a least one complete school year.

CHARLIE BENSON


Collegedale action is unconstitutional

Whatever their personal feelings, Collegedale commissioners have a duty to Tennessee and to Collegedale to reject the proposal to extend marriage benefits to a police detective in a domestic partnership.

The Tennessee Constitution, in Article XI, Section 18, states, “Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee.”

Any policy extending to domestic partners the same benefits extended to one man and one woman in marriage in any Tennessee municipality, including Collegedale, would, even if only implicitly, purport to redefine marriage in Tennessee and therefore “shall be void and unenforceable.”

Commissioners voting for this unconstitutional policy open Collegedale to potential legal action. Should they adopt this policy, the governor of Tennessee has a constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and the judges of Tennessee have a similar obligation not to recognize the policy’s validity. Meanwhile, the citizens of Collegedale have a duty to themselves to insist their tax dollars are not spent illegally.

DR. BRIAN HALE, Ph.D, Red Bank


Many misunderstand U.S. judicial system

It is troubling to me that the reaction to the verdict in the George Zimmerman case is so far removed from an understanding by all too many, of the American judicial system, how it works, the circumstances confronting the jury in the case at hand, and the lengths to which our ideals of justice have taken us to protect the innocent.

In every criminal case, the judge instructs the jury to take all evidence admitted by the prosecution and defense into account. On this basis, the jury is informed of the burden of proof, that they must be convinced the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, jurors may have reason to believe that the defendant is guilty, even feel that he is guilty, and still vote he’s innocent, because the prosecution failed to make the case that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the difference between what jurors may believe happened, weighed against that degree of certainty required by law and instructed by the court.

A widespread discussion on issues of race, profiling, discrimination, crime, poverty and injustice is in order, requiring awareness, but these issues should be considered entirely on their merits unrelated to the case under current discussion.

JOHN BRATTON, Sewanee, Tenn.


CEO’s lawsuit is opportunism

Regarding the ex-CEO of Erlanger who is a black woman and who is suing for racial issues. Several years ago, I worked in Erlanger’s records department. Most all the women I worked with were black, and I was viciously persecuted and bullied by them. When I went to management, they did nothing. After these black women made me cry while trying to do my job, they sat laughing at me. I went to the upper bosses. They called it racism but did nothing to help me.

I finally had to quit, and on the way out, a janitor saw me crying and asked if it was due to racism. When I said yes, he said that he too endured blacks at Erlanger bullying him, but no boss would help him. I made an EEOC complaint and wrote to the CEO of Erlanger to tell them of my issue. The CEO ignored me, and the EEOC insisted on giving me a black woman for an investigator, for which I withdrew my case because I had learned to distrust blacks. Erlanger protects blacks and ignores the cries of bullied whites, so this woman’s lawsuit is just opportunism and is repugnant.

PAMELA ALEXANDER, Signal Mountain


Medicare rule very costly

I go to the pharmacy to get my prescription, and I wish to pay for it out of my own pocket with a coupon, which would only cost $18. If I get it through Medicare it would be $40 with Medicare picking up the remaining $220 to the drug maker. I was refused because I am on Medicare. Medicare would rather pay more than I would pay out of my pocket. Then our spineless politicians can scream national debt.

DAVID GILES, Harrison


‘Retooling’ won’t work

In explaining that location helps to explain poverty, Pam Sohn proceeds to endorse the president’s perpetual campaign to “tretool this country’s middle class.” Perhaps an effective talking point but social and economic nonsense.

Simple questions: Who has the wisdom to retool the lives of tens of millions of Americans? Who has the authority to do so? And what in the world does it mean to “retool” the huge socio-economic middle of this country’s population?

In any meaningful sense, the middle class is a lifestyle and set of values embraced for generations by the vast majority of Americans. Personal responsibility and hard work are high on this list, as is the deferred gratification that enables the capital accumulation which in turn facilitates “getting ahead.”

What is the incubator of these values? Common sense tells us that government programs have nothing to do with either their introduction or perpetuation and that intact, two-parent families are the primary training ground.

GARY LINDLEY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

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Ki said...

If what Mr. JOHN BRATTON of Sewanee, Tenn. say is true then why are blacks who use self-defense and SYG laws where they've been signed into law are convicted more often and whites are acquitted using those laws as their defense? The laws favor whites over blacks and browns and are very selective in who gets convicted and who gets acquitted based on race. And anyone who continues to use that tired old, "But Zimmerman isn't black" is lying to themselves. By American standards on race Zimmerman had long been indoctrinated, assimilated and accepted as a member of America's white privileged class. The icing on the cake was when he was acquitted of murdering a barely 17 year old black teen. He became the hero of every racist and every racist hate group in America awaiting their opportunity to go on their own human hunting misadventure.

In that same state, Florida, where Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges, there have been several cases where those same SYG and self defense laws should have worked but didn't, and the individual was convicted. Especially when the shooter is black or brown Latino and the person they shoot is white. Trevor Dooley, a black man, who shot James Thomas, a white man, is a fine example of where Florida's self defense and SYG laws should have worked for Dooley, but failed. He was convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison for manslaughter.

Maybe America will have to use that ancient Brazil once had, where in order to convict a white person of a crime they had to paint them blue. No matter how hideous and heinous the crime, a white person couldn't be convicted or executed. So a plan was devised to override the law. They painted them blue, convicted and proceeded to executed them anyway.

August 4, 2013 at 3:05 a.m.
Ki said...

JOY STURTEVANT, Monteagle, Tenn. but was an arrest necessary? Or was it overkill? The point Mr. Cook was making is if the individuals hadn't been brown skin Latinos they'd likely have received a warning at the least and a citation at the most. But arrest? That's really overkill. Especially with so many fishing without a license. I'm sure this game warden, or whatever his title is, have come across several he didn't arrest.

August 4, 2013 at 3:10 a.m.
jjmez said...

Under Florida's self defense laws and other similar laws in effect around the country, any potential victim of a crime can end up being considered the aggressor if they decide to put up resistance against their assailant and, at sometime during their struggle they gain the upper hand, albeit temporarily. Their assailant can then claim Stand Your Ground and self defense laws in their defense. It won't matter if they're a burglar who breaks into your home, a mugger on the street, a rapist, or child predator who kills their victim in the process of committing the crime.

It's easy for lawmakers to sit around a table and create stupid laws when they envision some dark figure in a hoodie. They don't take time to realize how such stupid laws will translate and be applied in the real world. The Georgia hiker who valiantly fought for her life, using her martial arts skills to fend off her abductor {Gary Hilton}, and was later killed and decapitated by him after four days being held in captivity, at some point would have gone from being the victim of a crime to the aggressor. Whereas here assailant would have had the legal right to kill her under such laws like the ones in Florida. The state of Tennessee also has a SYG law. Although I'm not sure if it's as extreme and stupid as the Florida one. But still stupid and not well thought out in either case. Who ever said you had to have a brain and a moral compass to become a lawmaker, though? %?

August 4, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
Plato said...

RE: JUDY CORN DALE letter regarding Republican "no shows" for the Obama visit, in fairness Congress was in session during the president's trip so it would not have been feasible for the 3 members mentioned to fly back for this. Can't say about the Gov.

August 4, 2013 at 12:33 p.m.
Ki said...

corrections on my first response to John Bratton. It should have read: * "But Zimmerman isn't WHITE" is lying to themselves. By American standards on race Zimmerman had long been indoctrinated, assimilated and accepted as a member of America's white privileged class*


I'd also like to add:

Although I've had my doubts over the years, I'm not yet prepared to say what the Marine who returned from war said when he stated: "Once you've been to war you realize there is no God." I've both witnessed the power and protection of something greater than man, especially when others sought to do me harm. Right at the critical moment, something unique, something mystical, something stronger and more powerful protected me, and often something terrible befell those who tried to harm me. I do, however, believe in the words of the Chinese philosopher who, decades ago (likely during America's more sinister and darker lynching periods), stated something to the effect: "A nation that condones lynching cannot call itself a Christian nation." And make no mistake about it, what happened to that barely 17 year old man/child, the laws that were changed specifically for such an occasion as this tragedy, the law that initially refused to arrest and the courts that refused to convict, were nothing more than a modern day version of the old South's evil Jim Crow/lynching period taking place in modern day 21ST century America. Future generations will know this. They will be burden with trying to correct it__like so many other old injustices not recognized or dealt with in their times. History will be on the side of righteousness and recognize the murder of Trayvon Martin for what it is. Nothing more than a 21ST century American lynching.

August 4, 2013 at 4:39 p.m.
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