Views from elsewhere
Posted: Friday, March 5, 2010 8:01 pm
By The Associated Press
Some recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
Chattanooga Free Press on the paradox of human nature:
Men and women can do wonderfully positive and constructive things — but unfortunately, some do horribly destructive things.
Consider the countless unselfish charitable acts of humane concern that many people do for others throughout the world.
But then lament war and horrible viciousness as some suicide bombers in Iraq indiscriminately murder large numbers of innocent people whom they do not know and cannot personally identify as their enemies.
And then there are the uncontrollable forces of nature such as we have seen displayed in many parts of the world in recent days.
We were shocked by the earthquake in poverty-stricken Haiti, which added to the misery of the people there, and caused many deaths.
Then news came from many miles away, from Chile, where the shakings of the earth tumbled buildings, causing many deaths, although the structures there were more substantially erected than those in Haiti.
Also, over great expanses of our world, many thousands of people have been driven from their homes in fear of destructive tsunami waves spreading over the ocean to distant places.
We cannot foresee many of the ravages of nature, and have difficulties racing from their destruction when mighty forces threaten lives and property. But just think how much better off the people in many places would be if there were none of the purposeful human destruction in warfare and vicious acts of terrorism that cause deaths and casualties and impoverish people.
Yet after some of the worst examples of man’s inhumanity and nature’s ravages, there inevitably rise some of the best aspects of mankind, as many people rush aid and comfort to those left in despair from nature’s or mankind’s destruction. Many people seek to bind up wounds and help in countless ways to put survivors’ shattered lives back to some kind of order.
Many terrible tragedies cannot be prevented, but there are so many negatives that could be avoided if only the good that we see in many people prevailed always in all mankind.
The Knoxville News Sentinel on traffic cameras legislation:
Traffic cameras in Tennessee are legal, according to an opinion from the state attorney general, and now we wait to see what legislation will come during the current session of the General Assembly that might restrict their use.
Attorney General Bob Cooper, expanding upon a 2008 legal opinion, reiterated that the cameras are legal despite court decisions in other states that have overturned laws allowing the cameras to be used for ticketing motorists.
Cooper’s opinion was requested by state Rep. Bob Shipley, R-Kingsport, who questioned whether the cameras conflicted with provisions of state statutes or with the Tennessee or U.S. constitutions.
Shipley asked whether traffic tickets issued on the basis of camera photos would be “criminal or civil in nature.” If criminal, more constitutional protections would have to apply than in civil cases.
Cooper’s opinion says that federal courts likely would conclude that the fines are civil in nature. However, he added that a state Court of Appeals case could leave open the question of constitutionality.
Cooper gave his consent to legislation that would require traffic surveillance camera operations to comply with new restrictions that might be imposed on them in the future.
The legislation in question is a House bill that won approval from the House Transportation Committee, but any further action was delayed until Cooper could issue an opinion on whether the bill passes constitutional muster. ...
It’s understandable that lawmakers may want to provide some uniformity to the use of a technology that is fairly new to Tennessee. But, ultimately, lawmakers should respect the autonomy of local governments, which have to deal with the realities of enforcing traffic laws, and balancing budgets.
We don’t need legislators trying to win populist votes by imposing heavy-handed restrictions on city and counties that are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves.
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Published in The Messenger 3.5.10