Readers write, March 3


Legislators put citizens in danger with gun bill

Years ago, Kil Townsend, the legendary legislator who represented Buckhead, stood before a town hall meeting and told his constituents, “You don’t know how much danger you are in when the Georgia Legislature is in session.” That statement has never been more true than now.

House Bill 875, this year’s notorious gun legislation, is making its way through the Senate despite the opposition of roughly three-quarters of all Georgians. They are opposed to this bill because of the fear of concealed weapons carried into houses of worship; fear for children in school where untrained staff are carrying guns; fear of college students aware that carrying a concealed weapon on campus is nothing more than a misdemeanor; fear that a casual date at a bar could result in death at the hands of intoxicated, armed patrons; fear of being shot in an airport by someone legally carrying a concealed weapon or by a disgruntled citizen in a government building.

The list goes on of where people may be put at risk by this egregious bill.



To end abuse, reform civil forfeiture laws

A bill regarding asset forfeiture is making its way through the General Assembly (“Seizing: There’s a better way to do it,” Opinion, Feb. 17). Asset forfeiture is a nasty racket that has a long history of shameful abuse. A person can have his money or property seized even if he is not guilty of any crime. This is obviously grossly unjust, but we still allow this shady practice to continue. Many innocent people have suffered losses in this legal scam.

For them to be fair, asset seizure statutes must be revised to require that, before property can be seized, a suspect must be charged and convicted of a crime, and police must go before a judge and justify the forfeiture. Also, when an innocent owner has to go to court to recover his property, the government should reimburse his legal expenses, and perhaps even pay some punitive compensation. This is only reasonable.



Hartsfield talk doesn’t sound very Southern

Why are the announcements at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport delivered in a Northern accent? They send listeners a confusing subliminal message. Are we in Milwaukee? Omaha? Pittsburgh? Certainly not Georgia. Of course they shouldn’t be in a Georgia accent too thick to be understood by visitors. Deploying the Full Paula wouldn’t be hospitable. But a gentle, soothing, obviously Southern voice (black or white, male or female — it doesn’t matter) could deliver the announcements and let people know where they are at the same time.



Public transit policy is already too Balkanized

Kyle Wingfield recently wrote a column (“Tax bill offers flexibility,” Opinion, Feb. 16) extolling the virtues of HB 195, giving local jurisdictions the option of combining for little SPLOSTs for transportation. We already have that. It’s called Fulton, DeKalb and Atlanta pay for MARTA, while Cobb and Gwinnett have their own systems and Clayton used to have one as long as someone else paid for it.

Just think what kind of transportation system we would have now if the Legislature had decreed 40 years ago that all metro counties would pay into MARTA. I think we’ve already proved that Balkanizing public transportation doesn’t work.


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