News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2007


Confiscated suicide note a little too protective

To The Daily: It was the sad duty of my family to bury my stepfather in Decatur. He committed suicide April 17. Such a death always leaves people asking questions, almost all of them about “Why?”

He left a note, which was confiscated by the police. Several days after his death, and the funeral past, no one had been allowed to see it. My sister-in-law was finally able to secure it, but only after considerable resistance at the police station. Regardless of what the note said, or who it was addressed to, they did not want our family to have it.

No one begrudges officers doing their reasonable duty. But things like this are a commentary on policies that are not in keeping with the idea of public service. Officials, and their official reports, are necessary, but I think we all felt a little too protected.

We live in peculiar times. People can have their children taken away for spanking them. Such conduct can initiate responses from multiple reporting agencies. Protecting self, loved ones or property seems to be bad citizenship as well. The approved response seems to be to call 911 after the fact, so that, as in the case of my stepdad, proper reports can be filed. We can even witness the amazing valor of a SWAT team marching surviving children out at gunpoint with hands over their heads after a school shooting. Lists must be assembled when things like this happen.

I suppose that, all things considered, our family should be grateful to the Decatur Police Department for not pursuing some avenue that would have forced us to hire one or more attorneys. We had enough morbidity to deal with as it was.

Phil Corn
Houston, Texas

Property values vs. property rights

To The Daily: Do I want to look at my neighbor’s dead washing machine or rusted-out ’83 Dodge parked in their front yard? No. Would this bring down my property value? Maybe or maybe not. Do I want the government dictating to me where to park my car, or telling me what color I can paint my house, what type of mulch I can put around my bushes, or any other number of ridiculous possibilities in the name of preserving property value? Absolutely not.

If these things sound ridiculous, do a little homework on other communities around the country and see just what a slippery slope this is. If a particular situation truly presents a health hazard to the community, then there are laws already on the books to deal with that.

Otherwise, if people want to live in an insular little world where property values are far more precious than property rights, then Decatur will soon find itself to be a sterile place, like so many other cookie-cutter communities, with no personality and nothing unique or whimsical to offer.

Chris Laster

Bus needs to keep up or avoid rush-hour traffic

To The Daily: Each morning I travel to my job in Huntsville on I-565 and try to leave no later than 7:10 a.m. Several times a week a small, short, public transportation bus from Morgan County uses this same route.

Here’s the problem: The bus travels about 40 mph with red lights on the back that flash constantly about every 30 seconds. Some drivers aren’t sure if the bus intends to stop, so they hit their brakes, which creates traffic slowdowns. This creates a real nuisance for rush-hour traffic. The bus needs to stay out of rush-hour traffic or speed up. The phone number is on the side of the bus.

Sarah M. Etheredge

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