Letters to the Editor

Column tackles many types of rail systems

Walter Jones seems to be all over the place ("Rail system needs fixing," July 26). He starts out talking about long distance, intercity rail and ends up talking about commuter rail. Though they can share the same track, they are essentially different creatures.

He is correct that the low-cost, quick fix is to put conventional passenger and commuter rail on existing tracks. Depending on the distances traveled and the speed desires, the tracks probably will need to be upgraded and new signaling installed. If sharing the tracks with the freight lines can be worked out, this is certainly a good way to go initially.

But what happens after the existing rail is put to use? Nostalgia trains are fine for tourists, but I don't fly a DC-3 when I take a plane just because nostalgia buffs enjoy them. I want something fast, comfortable and affordable.

Actually, it would be easier and probably cheaper to put maglev, monorail or even elevated rail near existing downtowns in places like College Park, Athens or Griffin than any new conventional rail. It certainly would be safer for pedestrians and automobile drivers to have them elevated and totally separated.

Yes, put the existing rail to use if possible. But for the future and especially for any regional travel, maglev is the way to go.

- Larry Henson

Memphis, Tenn.

We're giving away precious freedoms

The U.S. Constitution was written to protect our freedoms by severely limiting the power of the federal government.

Unfortunately, we as a people have been willing to give the government powers that it was not supposed to have in exchange for some small perceived benefit such as more security.

We are unwisely giving away the precious freedoms that our ancestors fought and died to give us. For example, the Fourth Amendment specifically requires probable cause for a search warrant.

But we have meekly agreed that the government can search innocent people for no reason because we hope it will make us a little safer. History shows us the dangers of leaders with unlimited powers. Will our great-grandchildren read about us and say, "Those cowards gave away the freedoms that we should have had."?

- Bill Whitlow


No need to see bombs

How many of you folks just had to see pictures of the homemade bombs the terrorists were using in the recent London attacks? Why on earth would we have to see what the bombs looked like?

It just so happens that ABC recently obtained police photos of the bombs that they found in a car in London. By the way, there were 16 bombs, unused, in the car. The police in London specifically asked ABC News not to show the bombs on TV because of the ongoing investigation. ABC News aired them almost immediately.

Did they feel like it was our right to know what those bombs looked like? Did they feel that it would be professionally unethical to not show the bombs? Did they consider if they did show the bombs it may impede the London authorities' investigation? Did they consider that, by showing the bombs, it may give future terrorists ideas on how to make them?

Nope. It was none of the above. They just wanted to be the first on the air with sensational pictures.

- John Reed