News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Immigrants a promise, not a threat


My father's land and North Alabama were pretty much mine to roam. The world I knew — my loving family, the best of medical and dental care, fresh fruit, milk and meat, my three-speed English bicycle — had nothing to do with my deserving or not deserving.

Sixty-eight, son of a cotton farmer and former Madison County state senator, I was born to privilege. I mean from braces on my teeth to piano, voice and tap lessons. Barely 16, I remember having a Henry J, a 14-foot boat and a 10-horsepower Evinrude. Within parameters, I could even charge shotgun shells; and I did, sometimes, by the case.

Compare that, reader, to the life of people leaving their native lands and making their way to this country. Why do they come? To get rich? I think not. I think they come to have a chance. They come with hope. They come to earn and send back to their families; and when they can, they send for their families.

All any ask is the chance to hope and the opportunity to strive towards that hope.

Those who risk all and those who die trying are my brothers and sisters. God bless their lives. I see no threat; rather, I see promise, even renewal. America needs hearts and minds and hopes like theirs. Their success is America's success, my success.

Mack Vann


Immigrants neither needed nor wanted


From the mid-1920s until 1965, when the Immigration Act was created, only about 235,000 people per year came to America. During this time, nonetheless, America's economy thrived. We built the largest economy in the world, got our houses built, our grass cut and our chickens processed. We also started a space program, which later led to a man going to the moon. It is absurd to think we cannot run a country without excessive numbers of foreigners.

The argument of our being a nation of immigrants doesn't wash. About 85 percent of the residents of the United States are native born. We are descendants of immigrants. We're already the most diverse country in the world, so the argument about needing diversity doesn't wash, either. Immigration policy should never be decided on racial or ethnic grounds. There is already Balkanization, the separation of a population in ethnic, political groups that do nothing but fight. If we have racial problems now, how will they improve by adding millions to the mix? It is not xenophobic to control our borders. It is prudent, necessary and our right. Immigration policy should also not be based upon a fear of being perceived as not compassionate. Nearly 5 billion people in the world live in poverty greater than that of Mexico.

Our government will likely ultimately sell us out in the interests of big business and of greed, knowing the majority of this country's population is opposed to illegal immigration and to mass legal immigration. Illegal alien criminals will be rewarded for disrespecting our laws. As a result, our government will have taught our posterity that we can be bullied by rabid demands and made to feel guilty for considering the well-being of our nation instead of standing up for its best interests. How pathetic.

Carmen Callahan


Kindness of strangers appreciated


Recently, I attended the Daikin Festival with my two teenagers. We parked in a grassy lot, eager to view the festivities, since it was our first time to attend. In the confusion, somehow my keys got locked in the car, and my spare key was miles away. I'll be extra careful in the future. My son ran to the police directing traffic and asked them to assist us in calling a locksmith. Many people in the parking lot tried to help us, but one person stands out: Linda (I didn't get her last name). She was with the Decatur Police Department. She was wonderful and offered support, called fellow officers directing traffic and alerted them to my situation and told me they would direct the locksmith to where I was parked.

When the locksmith didn't arrive as soon as we hoped, Linda got my phone number, entered it into her phone and promised to see what she could do, since she was then off duty. About 30 minutes later, just as the locksmith arrived, she called to ask if I still needed one — she had called one who could come out.

This person cared to make sure I was taken care of and did it all with good humor and a smile. A Decatur family leaving about the same time also took the time to call a locksmith to get a promise of one coming out to help.

I wish I could thank all of them in some big way, but I hope saying "thank you" to Linda, that helpful couple and the locksmith in this letter will suffice. It's nice to know when we travel away from home that there are strangers who act as our neighbors.

Sallee Chandler


Defendant's story should not be told


This is in response to the May 26 article regarding the trial of 16-year-old Demetrick Young, which appeared on your Web site. I was no less than appalled at the thought of your paper interviewing, and then printing the interview, with Ouida Brown, Young's attorney. It is apparent that her intention, as well as yours, is to relinquish any involvement Young may have had in the incident and put the blame on someone else, whom neither Young nor Mrs. Brown will name. Various other media organizations reported on the hearing yesterday, but none in the defense of Young.

I would remind you and those who write for your paper that this was a case that affected not only Jester's family, but also traumatized hundreds of young children and scarred educators across the state. Her life was taken as a result of a random act of violence, of which any and all involved should be punished.

How quickly some forget the events of the week of Oct. 26, 2005. Perhaps you should review newspaper articles and video clips from the time of her death to the day of her burial. It is my recollection that the "juvenile" admitted to his fellow classmates that he had hurt a teacher, ultimately leading to his arrest. And you say there is no evidence? Perhaps you should have stood by her bedside, looking at the results of what was done or attended the funeral and comforted her family, friends and students who loved her so dearly as they mourned her death.

It is a shame that you would print such an article, knowing that many will read it and could be potential jurors once this case goes to trial. I would urge you to be fair and tactful in your reporting, perhaps printing both sides next time.

Emily Hurst


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