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Letters to the Editor

Nathan B. Forrest, No to Sales Tax, Second Amendment Blues ...

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General Forrest
Clearly, General Forrest's intention was to lie for eternity in Elmwood Cemetery ("Sign of the Times," January 10th issue). He was buried there in 1877. In 1904, during a bizarre yet predictable period of yearning for a romanticized past, he and his wife's remains were moved to Union Avenue. Can't we just move him, his wife, and the statue to Elmwood? A more fitting memorial on Union Avenue would be to Ida B. Wells. Maybe we could get schoolchildren to donate pennies as they did to fund the doughboy statue in Overton Park. This really needs to end.

Willy Bearden
Memphis

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Not "Outside the Box"
Your call to increase the sales tax to fund pre-K education while reducing property taxes in Memphis is not "thinking outside the box" as you suggest in your "Reappraisals" editorial (January 10th issue).

Tennessee residents already pay the highest combined state and local sales taxes in the nation. Do you want to ensure Memphians have the most regressive tax structure in the world as well?

Also, no one really believes this is about funding pre-K. That's a sop to get support from unwitting voters. No, this is about reducing the property tax rate, because presumably our most upstanding citizens are moving to the suburbs to avoid onerous city property taxes.

Trouble is, they're not leaving because of taxes. Not really. Anyone who knows Memphis and is honest knows they're leaving out of fear. This fear has different names: gangs, crime, blacks controlling city government, black people in general, the failed school system, depending on how well-heeled the (usually white) person is with whom you're speaking. It's what used to be called "white flight." It's been going on for decades. And people would be leaving even if we paid them, so stop with the tax relief nonsense.

You want to save Memphis? All you folks who are running away need to turn your wimpy butts around, stand shoulder to shoulder with us, and help confront the challenges. We don't need your money, we need you. Want to get rid of blight? Help us plant urban gardens. Want to reduce crime? Help poor people find jobs with the new skills you've taught them. Want to get rid of gangs? Let's build the country's largest mentoring program. Every child in Memphis is a precious resource; the way we waste this resource is criminally callous.

How about Extreme Makeover — Neighborhood Edition? With donated materials and a volunteer army, we could remake the city's worst neighborhood, then move on to the next worst, and so on. In a few years, we could transform our city, both physically and spiritually. With innovation and determination, common cause and a lot of sweat, we could build one of America's most livable cities. I see a Memphis where every single person is valued and everyone has a role to play.

You see a sales tax increase. That's one tiny little box you're thinking outside of.

Jim Adams
Memphis

Guns
The only thing worse than Mr. Bialek's knowledge of history (Letters, December 27th issue) is his knowledge of the Constitution. The purpose of the militia was to defend the country from enemies foreign and domestic. The militia were all citizen soldiers, not the National Guard or Coast Guard. And certainly not a standing army, which the founding fathers did not want to establish.

The main reason for citizens to own firearms is to maintain "the security of a free State." The Second Amendment is not about hunting or self-defense. It is for this reason that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." These are rights derived from God and natural law, not the government. These rights are unalienable and the government has no right to tell the citizens what guns they can or cannot own, what caliber I should shoot, type of action, or amount of bullets they can put in a magazine.

James Madison said it best: "Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed population." Looks like the government has already gotten two and is working its way into disarming the public, if we the people allow it.

Danny Bowers
Memphis

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