Letters To The Editor 

About Those Gas Prices

Before those on the political right criticize President Obama for the high gas prices, they should remember these remarks from Fox News commentators when we had $4 a gallon gas during the summer of 2008, under President George W. Bush:

Cal Thomas — "No president has the power to increase or lower gas prices. Those are market forces."

Neil Cavuto — "You got China and India slopping up all of that oil faster than we can these days, and that is the not-so-sinister response to what's going on. Nothing to do with the president."

Bill O'Reilly — "Most Americans are getting hammered by high gas prices. Yesterday oil hit a record high and politicians cannot do a thing about it. ... The next time you hear a politician say he or she will bring down oil prices understand that it's complete BS."

I do not like paying these prices anymore than anyone else. But before you blame President Obama, remember the statements from the Fox commentators above.

Philip Williams
Memphis

Hate Speech

On the evening of March 14th, my sister and I went for our daily calorie-burning walk in Bartlett. As we made our way up Yale Road toward Altruria, three white male youths on bikes passed us. The shirtless leader of the group shouted the "n-word" at my sister and me, while the two behind him laughed. Shocked and disgusted, my sister and I quickly turned to watch the gang ride off into the night. Though I shouted back to them that I was going to call the police, I didn't.

But at the urging of my family, friends, and parish members, I traveled to the Bartlett Police Department headquarters on the following afternoon to file a formal complaint. When I recounted the incident to the assigned officer, an older white policeman, he was shockingly hostile, stating coldly: "That is freedom of speech." Stunned, I asked the officer if hate speech was covered under the First Amendment. Only then did he begrudgingly offer me the advice to call the police immediately if it happened again. He confessed to being unsure as to what I would want the police to do upon arrival. I thought to myself: their job. The officer did not file a report.

If I might, as a proud Shelby County native, issue a plea: Will all the decent people please stand up? Hatred is a learned behavior, and children, including those in Shelby County, are being taught to hate people based on race, gender, religion, orientation, etc. every day. Discrimination based on race, gender, religion, orientation, etc. is immoral and deadly. It is also against the law. Hate speech is not a First Amendment right!

Despite this hurtful episode, I remain hopeful because I am prayerful. I am also not afraid. I know that most people are decent, God-fearing, and law-abiding. Those youths and the offending police officer shamed themselves. In attempting to deny my sister and me our humanity, they denied their own. My hope — my prayer — is that, together, we can redeem it.

Shannen Dee Williams
Memphis

Zoo Costs

Critters are expensive. I've never calculated the annual cost of my lovable dog, but I'll bet it's several hundred dollars a year with food and vet bills. I don't care, because I love him. I can't imagine if I also had lions and tigers and bears ... oh, my. 

I'm a zoo aficionado and the Memphis Zoo is one of the best in the world. I have been a member of the zoo for years. I probably don't visit as much as I should, but I keep my membership to help offset the cost of what may be our biggest tourist attraction. Consider that a one-day pass to the San Diego Zoo is $42 per person. Our zoo leadership is making smart choices in keeping costs down and still allowing access to one of the finest learning experiences that exists. Please support our zoo.

Joey Hagan
Memphis

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