The Most Dangerous Neighborhood
Bianca Phillips' cover story ("The Most Dangerous Neighborhood in Memphis?" August 19th issue) was an outstanding piece of reporting. Too often the issue of "crime" is covered in a sensationalistic way by local media, particularly our television stations.
The fact is that the crime rate has been declining in Memphis since 2006, and good people in neighborhoods all over the city, even "bad" ones, are doing their best to make a difference in the quality of life for themselves — and for all of us. With smarter police techniques and an involved citizenry, Memphis can be a great example for other cities in showing how to effectively fight urban crime.
In 1781, 10 years before the Bill of Rights, Thomas Jefferson defended the unpopular Quakers, who refused to fight Britain. "They cast their eyes on these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free only for the reigning sect." The third offense for Quakers caught assembling in Virginia was death. Jefferson understood it was wrong to judge individuals based on their religion: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God."
In 2010, according to Fox News, 64 percent of Americans are against our Muslim neighbors assembling two blocks from ground zero. Opponents claim this is not a freedom of religion issue: They have the right to build, but it is wrong to build there.
This "Not There" issue is actually a cloaked "Not Them" argument. It does us no injury for our Catholic or Mormon brothers to erect a church there, but we are injured by our Muslim and Islamic sisters building there — Not Them!
I'm being asked to discriminate against fellow Americans, because they are the wrong race and practice the wrong religion. I can not do it and am saddened that many can. As individuals, they have the right to discriminate, but is it right for them to do it?
As the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech approaches, maybe we could continue his and Jefferson's conversations concerning race and religion and ask ourselves, "What is the content of our country's character?"
Brandon Chase Goldsmith
I would like to ask a question of all of the Muslims in Memphis. Are there any moderate Muslims in Memphis? Why is it that all the Muslims I know and have worked with will not speak up for or endorse the Jewish homeland in Israel? Most Muslims I have met say the land that the Jews inhabit belongs to them, and they (the Jews) have stolen it from them. Muslims also believe that the Bible is a reliable book, because their forefather Abraham was a real person who was their direct ancestor.
If they cannot accept the Jews in Israel, then they cannot be moderate. They are extremists. The Imam who is trying to build a mosque near ground zero in New York supports Hamas. Should he and his like-minded followers be allowed to build there? Absolutely not. They are only sticking a finger in the eye of the American people.
Joe M. Spitzer
Eggs Are Unhealthy
Hundreds of people have come down with Salmonella Enteritidis poisoning, leading to the recall of 550 million eggs by the Wright County Egg Company and Hillandale Farms in Iowa. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100,000 Americans suffer from egg-borne Salmonella infections each year. Common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
Salmonella infection is only the most publicized health effect of egg consumption. An average egg contains loads of fat and 213 mg of cholesterol, key factors in the incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
Incidentally, those recalled eggs were the product of nearly 1,500,000 birds suffering for a year in tiny wire-mesh cages that cut their feet and tore out their feathers. Their waste was dumped into a nearby stream, contributing to massive pollution of the Mississippi River, and, eventually, to a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico three times the size of the BP oil spill.
The good news is that our local supermarkets offer a number of healthful, eco-friendly, delicious egg replacers.
encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or send us e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.