I hope Mary Cashiola's excellent cover story ("Left Behind," July 23rd issue) will lead to another story dealing with factors driving the emigration of Memphis residents to the suburbs and beyond. Mayor Herenton notwithstanding, the flight of recent years to DeSoto, Tipton, and Fayette counties can only be rationally explained by changes in the Memphis environment, including:
1) A park system that once made national rankings now is in disrepair.
2) Neighborhoods (especially in North and South Memphis) were permitted to decay to a point at which some are almost uninhabitable. Two made a recent list of the nation's 25 worst.
3) Crime rates continue to accelerate, largely because politicians prevented the city from reaching beyond its borders for police recruits.
The pattern is almost identical to that described in a recent New York Times Magazine article entitled "The Death of Detroit."
Yes, the outer loop will encourage further emigration, but there's a big difference between "moving to" and "running from." And the latter better describes the factors driving Memphis' population losses.Bill Brody
It's Not All Bad
Two of my girlfriends and I recently took a two-week road tour through the southeastern United States. Yes, West Virginia was beautiful, and five days in Virginia Beach were relaxing. Then, since our trip was going so well, we decided to go to Memphis and visit Elvis. The state of Tennessee is like heaven! We were hot and thirsty, and the rest areas along the interstate were a revelation.
Our first night, we stopped in Kingston and ate and drank and smoked in the restaurant. I commented on this to the waitress and asked her if sex on the tables would be out of line. She just smiled and said, "Ya'll come back at 11 ... ."
This was quite an experience for us. In Iowa, we are allowed to smell pig crap and the fumes from chemicals rising off our fields of corn and beans, but heaven forbid we should light up in public.
The next day, we pulled into Memphis and loved it from the first minute. We called a cab and headed down to Beale Street. I want to live there. The combination of music, the cooking smells, the excitement and energy rolling down the street like a warm gumbo was unlike anything I have experienced.
I am recommending a trip to Memphis to all my friends and co-workers. I tell them, "Why go to New Orleans, when everything you desire is in Memphis?" We will be back. Soon.Troy R. Chindlund
Guns in Restaurants
In response to Ron Taylor's letter to the editor (July 23rd issue) about restaurants advertising whether or not they allow legal carry permit holders, it's a brilliant idea. As a law-abiding carry permit holder, I plan on frequenting only establishments that allow legal firearms.
Reading the paper, watching the local news, or hearing from the City Council, you still cannot escape the uninformed thinking that all restaurants that serve alcohol will become "shooting galleries," just like the Wild West. Keep in mind, it is illegal to consume adult beverages while carrying a handgun. This law applies to commissioned law-enforcement officers as well. Those of us who choose to carry know that the only time it is permissible to use deadly force is if our life or the life of someone near is at risk. Failure to comply with this law will get you a stiff jail sentence.
It does not mean you can blow somebody's head off if they step on your toes, as esteemed Councilwoman Janis Fullilove so aptly stated.John Jacobs
Today's current-events quiz: What do you get for doing the following?
1) Running a Ponzi scam that bilks $50 billion to $65 billion from thousands of voluntary investors.
2) Running Ponzi scams that bilk trillions of dollars from millions who are forced to participate (called Social Security and Medicare).
1) 150 years in prison.
2) One or more terms in Congress or the White House and a chance to take over all health care in the nation.Herbert E. Kook Jr.
Correction: Alfred Thompson Bricher's "Twilight in the Wilderness," part of the "Bold, Cautious, True" exhibition at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, was misidentified in last week's issue.