published Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Get to work on clearing rape cases and other letters to the editors

Get to work on clearing rape cases

According to the 2012 Crime in Tennessee Report issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Chattanooga Police Department cleared 43 percent of the forcible rape offenses. The Hamilton Country Sheriff's Department cleared 5 percent of the forcible rape offenses. However, the Chattanooga Police Department cleared 88 percent of drug violations and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department cleared 83 percent of drug violations. Am I the only one who sees something wrong here?

It takes an officer a minimum average of two and a half hours to make a marijuana possession arrest, according to Drug Policy Alliance. Some of this time could be used to clear the aggravated assault and forcible rape charges that were not cleared in 2012.

Recently, local authorities insisted in a multiyear-long drug investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration where 32 "worst of the worst" criminals were indicted and arrested. First, what makes these criminals the worst of the worst? Did we forget about the rapist, murderers, child molesters? And secondly, did the local authorities forget to work the violent and property crimes in the area? Is this why we have such a low clearance rate on violent and property crimes in 2012?

CHICOYA M. SMITH


Right-wing is unethical

A basic tenet of right wing philosophy is that government exists mainly to be of service to the wealthy private sector, especially corporations. The right wing shows no concern over the plight of millions of responsible hard-working citizens regarding obtaining adequate food, shelter and medical attention for their families. These citizens are described as lazy and prone to inventing and exaggerating problems. Obamacare is a humane program with wonderful benefits and protections being subjected to an extensive barrage of slander and lies from congressional Republicans fronting for the insurance industry. Wars historically have been waged for material gain, e.g. our own assault on Iraq. That action was fueled by right-wing propaganda fabricating dangers to this country while hiding the selfish motives involved. Thus our losses and agonies and the killings and mutilations of Iraqis came to be perceived as the costs of a war forced upon us: immoral beyond description. Right-wing philosophy entails giving only when greater returns are forthcoming. It encourages using any means available to attain goals, including carnage. Conscience is lacking, although patriotism and God's guidance are loudly proclaimed. Indifference to and denial of the existence of others' needs and sufferings are basic characteristics. Sadly many are deceived into supporting this unethical ideology.

A. SHELDON GELBURD PhD.


Cook wrong on race, crime

David Cook's piece about racial issues surrounding Chattanooga crime leads readers in the wrong direction. Cook asks what constitutes making one crime worse than another. He evidences cases in which whites have committed "white collar" crimes and highlights the discrepancy between whites and blacks in "poor" and "wealthy" neighborhoods in Chattanooga, (failing to clarify "poor" versus "wealthy" neighborhoods, mind you). In his claim, however, Cook never addresses his own question: Are we justified labeling some criminals worse than others? When you take off racial blinders, a group that has committed over 300 crimes in Hamilton County, including assault, murder, and rape, should be considered worse than a group that has lied or stolen. No crime is condonable, but there's a clear legal standard establishing which crimes afflict the most harm to society. Cook's piece failed to consider whether crimes committed by the "worst" group were more detrimental to society than crimes committed by the "white-collar" group because he wasn't trying to write a piece from a logical perspective. He wanted to write a racial piece. And he wants to make you believe there's a racial problem concerning crime in our city, regardless of the facts supporting a position.

BRIENT HOBBS, Rossville


Protect UTC from zealots

With all the awards Chattanooga has received lately -- best place to live, best sports town, best retirement spot, etc.--it also should receive votes for being the most conservative and religious-minded city in America, a dubious honor at best. A case in point is the flap at UTC, which recently welcomed a street preacher to its campus. In doing so, its administration's action was not unlike the FCC's allowing unsolicited calls from businesses. In this case, political correctness has gone too far, giving more rights to religious fanatics than its own tuition-paying students! It is this writer's opinion that there is no place on a college campus for in-your-face proselytizing. If UTC caves to the Bible thumpers, then "messages" from the preachers should be held in closed conferences, with elective admission, not blaring outdoors on campus thoroughfares. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten that the main service a college should offer is an unbiased education, certainly not force-fed propaganda by loud-mouthed zealots. UTC earns an F for putting its students through the muck. TOM BAKER, Hixson Be careful what you wish Thanks to Patty Collier for her letter of Nov. 4 on Erlanger's ban on smoking. She had nothing but good points. I would like to add a couple of more. While leaving your smoke-free workplace and going downtown for your smoke-free lunch, don't forget to breathe in all the exhaust from buildings and cars. After all, it's only carbon monoxide. And don't forget when you go to your favorite lounge after work, make sure you finish that sixth (or is it the seventh) alcoholic drink, then get behind the wheel of your car -- but please don't touch that cigarette! For everyone who thinks the whole city is going smoke free, or the whole state for that matter, would make everyone healthy and happy, forget it. When the hundreds of millions of dollars are lost from the tax on tobacco, it will have to be made up from somewhere else, either higher taxes on income or cuts to services. The government loses, we pay. Be careful what you wish for.

JIM PARRISH


Boyd lauded for school help

As the director of bands at East Ridge Middle and High schools, I want to thank Commissioner Tim Boyd who has shown extraordinary support for the East Ridge schools. During the last decade, it has become increasingly difficult to fund school classes and activities. I understand the school board's vigilance and determination to direct resources into curriculum they believe will give every student the best chance for success. The board members I have known truly desire to serve students in the best possible way. Sadly, we all must make decisions based on resources and finances available. Mr. Boyd recognized many needs in our school and community. He has helped to provide funds for football jerseys, repairs to dilapidated stadium buildings, helped to replace 12-year-old band uniforms and contacted faculty to discern needs that the board just cannot fund. I support Commissioner Boyd's use of his discretionary funds to help support our schools. I believe the vast majority of discretionary funds went to schools in the commissioner's various districts. We, the members of the East Ridge community and especially the students, are being well served by Commissioner Boyd's desire to support excellence in our public schools. His most recent donation of $20,000 to our Fine Arts Department will help to match the funds raised and donated by the parents. This money is needed to replace well worn band uniforms and purchase choral risers.

PERRY VANDERGRIFF

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