I am writing regarding a letter to the editor (September 22nd issue). A reader from West Virginia commented on the fitness of Judge Potter to sit as a judge. Judges are not allowed to comment on rulings, so it is incumbent that local attorneys speak out on this issue.
The last thing I want to do is to take an article out of a newspaper and try to decide if a judge is right or wrong on a ruling. The evidence is what is before a judge. Only those items that are allowed into evidence are to be considered by the trier of fact. If I am to comment on a ruling, I need to know the extent of the evidence that was produced and allowed before the court.
As another reader commented, perhaps the local ordinance should be changed, but that is not within the purview of Judge Potter. He must apply the law that exists. Judge Potter has been recognized for his work on environmental matters, and he takes his responsibility very seriously. One may disagree with how a judge rules, but to say that a judge is unfit is a statement that should be made only after a serious and sober consideration of facts.
In response to a recently published letter entitled "Constitutional Sheriff's Bill" (September 22nd issue): Good luck with that sovereignty thing, but comparing the recent raid on the Gibson Guitar factory to the tragic events of Waco and Ruby Ridge, in which innocent children were killed, is a ridiculous stretch.
As a Memphian, I take pride in the Gibson name and sincerely hope they will continue to operate and prosper lawfully within our community for years to come. But we have laws and international agreements protecting endangered plants and animals from illegal poaching for very good reasons. These efforts mean little unless the nations that have historically patronized their trade acknowledge and enforce them.
The Gibson company has preemptively proclaimed respect for these laws as well as their innocence, and they have (for now) a right to that presumption. But if they are found to have violated them in spirit if not letter, then a little contrition coupled with a commitment to corrective action might prove to be a more intelligent or less self-destructive response.
What we've been treated to thus far — a blatant foray into partisan politics, the misleading fears about seizing vintage instruments, the mischaracterizing of the underlying issue as one of American versus foreign jobs (and themselves as victims of big government run amuck), and frankly the incredible national and international publicity that they themselves have sewn — all of this could really hurt Gibson in the long run. I hope I'm wrong.
It amazes me how few Memphians seem to recognize themselves in the movie The Help ("The Women," August 11th issue).
Hilly is hardly unique. I was raised in an Alabama home by a housekeeper. I have lifelong friends whose mothers cared for white children during the day while neglecting their own at night because they were exhausted. I earn less than a living wage as a housekeeper in Memphis today, cooking, cleaning, coping without health insurance, overtime pay, or vacation time. I consider myself an expert on this subject. The next time I hear a Memphian say how "good" their family was to the help, I may scream!
I am "good" to my pets, love them dearly, and consider them "part of the family." Why can't whites just admit that they participated in, helped to perpetuate (to this day), and benefited from a system that diminishes the humanity of thousands of fellow citizens? Any employer in that system is guilty of exploitation, whether they admit it or not. When whites validate the feelings of blacks who fought daily for human dignity, we will all move on.
Karen Jo Smiley
One could be easily depressed by the behavior of the Tea Partiers walking around with their guns in their Bible Belts, cheering at the mention of the Texas slaughter, having no mercy for a man on death row who is probably innocent, and feeling no compassion for a sick person too poor to afford medical treatment.
Lord, save me from your followers. I'd rather be sinning.