On Reducing Gun Violence - And Response (2)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I am a registered nurse, retired, who has worked in public health in Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee. I have also worked in a level 1 trauma center in Knoxville and have seen some of the devastation caused by gun violence and its effects upon the victim's families. I chose nursing as a profession when I was 18 years of age because I wanted to help people. I worked in the profession of nursing for 40+ years. When it comes to public health, I believe in preventive measures being instituted.

I became concerned after the incident at Newtown, Conn., where 26 people were gunned down, 20 of whom were small children. I decided to write about this because I believe that this incident was avoidable. While It is true that comprehensive background checks would not have made much difference in this outcome, it is also true that better access to mental health services would possibly have made a big difference.

It is time for responsible citizens to stand up to the gun lobby and demand that our elected officials vote to pass comprehensive background checks and better access to mental health services.

Gun violence is not just an urban problem--It is our problem. It is a suburban, small town and rural problem. We have been told by representatives of the gun industry that the best way to combat gun violence is a "good guy with a gun". In my opinion, this is a distraction that prevents us from examining a "failing system".

I do no see how my second amendment rights would be violated if we, as a society, decide to have "comprehensive background checks and better access to mental health services"

Carolyn J. Ingram 

* * * 

Carolyn, I agree with everything in your well-written letter. You are not from around here are you?  At any rate, I certainly have to admire you for not preaching to the choir, as it were. Sadly, most replies will be swift, angry and predictable.  Thanks for making the effort, though. 

Herb Montgomery
Chattanooga 

* * * 

Gun violence has very little to do with the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Legal gun owners protect their rights by not using them in a violent way. I know that if I use my legal firearm to shoot someone in the leg because they belong to a rival gang, I will lose my rights. 

It is easy to see the criminal records of violent offenders in Hamilton County. Go to the Hamilton County website, click on court records, go to sessions court criminal, click on dispositions. Enter the name of the most recent shooter.  Most of the time you will pull up a criminal history that dates back several years. Enter that same name in the criminal dispositions and you will see the actual penalty for the crimes.

If you will spend the time to see for yourself what happens to criminals in Hamilton County, I think you will better understand that background checks mean nothing to criminals.  None of the violent shooters have ever had a background check and they never will.  They know that street violence can't be prosecuted in Hamilton County because the overall burden of crime dictates that 99 out of 100 crimes will not come to trial.  A dozen crimes will be combined over a period of time that it takes to wind through the sessions court, then grand jury and finally to criminal court. Plea bargains will result in 11 charges being dropped in exchange for a six-month suspended sentence. The criminal starts over with a single conviction and no jail time. This is the reason so many violent offenders are right back in business after bonding out. 

We have laws to stop gun violence. We don't have the support of the taxpayer to build the jails or hire the judges and prosecutors to put away the violent offenders. The grand jury is antiquated and adds a year to criminal prosecutions.  It is sad that criminals know more about how the system works than the average citizen. They know they won't go to jail. If we send a violent offender to Nashville, a violent offender has to be released early to make room.

So don't confuse the rights of legal gun owners with the failure of the criminal justice system. We already know the violent offenders, they have created a background that prevents them from owning guns legally and as long as they have no fear of justice, the violence will continue. 

Harry Presley
Chattanooga


Raise Your Voice In Behalf Of Education

I am lifting my voice in support of education for our children in Chattanooga's Hamilton County Schools, to include funding and rebuilding education. On Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and via personal letter to elected officials I wish to express that until we are able to do better, do what we can. We must always be committed to education, no matter what, because "people perish ... (click for more)

311 Inefficiency

I must agree that the city's 311 system is inefficient.  I have been struggling with them for two years over various items.  The system needs auditing.  Things to look at: a.  Work orders closed without the work being done b.  The software used ---needs upgrading.  It has unnecessary redundancy as well as other limits c.  Clarification ... (click for more)

City Seeking Grant To Improve Signals At 32 Intersections

The city is seeking a $2 million federal grant to go along with $500,000 in city funds for a project to improve signals at 32 intersections. There would also be bike and pedestrian improvements. The routes include Brainerd Road, Lee Highway, Shallowford Road, Gunbarrel Road and Hamilton Place Boulevard. The application is for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant. (click for more)

Olympian Kristin Armstrong Sets Course Record; Talansky Is Men's Winner

Two-time Olympic goal medal winner Kristin Armstrong won the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship in a record time at the Volkswagen course on Saturday morning. She finished the 19.2-mile course in 42 minutes, 8 seconds. The time trial victory assures the 41-year-old Armstrong of a spot as one of three American women to compete in the world championship time trial ... (click for more)

Winter Leads CFC To 3-1 Win Over Jesters

The Chattanooga Football Club's Luke Winter had two first half goals to lead the home team to a 3-1 win over visiting New Orleans Jesters at Finley Stadium on Saturday.  Winter scored in the 9th and 33rd minute.  Winter's first goal came off a nice cross by Jose Ferraz.  Winter picked up his second goal after Leo DeSmedt sent a ball into the box and Winter ... (click for more)

Flames Fall In NCCAA Baseball Championship

The Lee fans waited and waited for the big hit that had ignited the Flames in five other wins during the 2015 NCCAA World Series. The hit never came and neither did the big inning in the 6-2 loss to Fresno Pacific in Saturday afternoon's championship at Prasco Park. It marked the second straight year that the Sunbirds defeated the Flames in the NCCAA final. Lee wraps up the ... (click for more)