Charlie did his duty 

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, in my opinion, was not AWOL when it came to a protecting the rights of service members to vote. When it came to the soldiers of the 39th Infantry Brigade of the Arkansas Army National Guard serving in Iraq, Charlie Daniels made himself available and granted every request that our unit made of him. I was there, and I know.

I contacted Jim Lagrone, his Republican opponent, by e-mail on Aug. 15 after I heard Jim’s charge of AWOL against Charlie. I told him that Charlie had done everything that could have been expected given the challenges Arkansas faced due to the Nader lawsuit. One of the offers I made to Jim was that he was welcome to any of my e-mails to Charlie Daniels and his staff, and the responses that I received, as we all worked to make sure our soldiers had the opportunity to vote. I believe in our Freedom of Information Act and everything on this matter is, of course, unclassified. I think that anyone who viewed these e-mails would see that any charge of AWOL against Charlie Daniels is baseless.

When I spoke with Matt Lagrone last week, I told him I appreciated his service to our nation. I asked him if he would tell me about his voting experience. This is when I first learned that he was in Mississippi, and that he had received his ballot two days before the election. I told Matt that I could not know why his vote did not get counted, but I did not believe it was Charlie Daniels’ fault.

Another thing I told Matt was that voting assistance officers are very important to the process of protecting the rights of service members to vote. Each unit in the military is supposed to have an officer that is assigned to this task to insure service members get to vote. For the 39th, it was Maj. Travis Mann, who I worked with a great deal. Getting ballots distributed and voting in Iraq was not easy. We all had a lot to do. But I feel everyone in Arkansas did their level best to help us vote, especially Charlie Daniels.

John Edwards
Little Rock

NLR’s woes
The North Little Rock police department needs money to fill positions and now the mayor wants to install security cameras to fight crime, but doesn’t know how much it will cost. Hmmm. WE passed a tax for a baseball stadium, the police department has openings but no money to pay for the officers, they wanted to tax us for jail bed space, we are paying for the submarine, possibly doubling our electric bill but not sure when they will know how much, we helped pay for the Big Dam Bridge too. Gosh, do citizens of North Little Rock have bottomless pockets?

Am I correct that the state had a surplus of money? What are they doing with it? Giving the Huckster a going-away party? Maybe he could replace Patrick Henry Hays. I don’t think we would be any worse off.

Tom Dashiell
North Little Rock

Guns and crime
I truly hope that Robert McCord’s wishes come true (“Start with the guns,” Aug. 31), but I think the world needs more Bill Cosbys, not more police. To me, education seems to be the best method to reduce violent crime. In my opinion, everyone would be better off in every conceivable way if we were able to surround ourselves with more intelligent people.

I hate to abuse the old adage that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” but it is in fact the truth. Criminologists may report that there are too many guns in the world, but Mr. McCord should not be so amazed at the ease with which law-abiding Arkansans can obtain a permit to carry a pistol. The majority of Americans in general can handle the responsibility of owning a handgun, and a majority is the basis of our entire democratic system. I guess it is our human nature to believe that we can reduce homicide by reducing the number of guns, but if weapons of all types were to be entirely banned tomorrow, the only people who would possess them would be criminals.

My cousin was murdered on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 9 p.m. as he tried to exit his place of employment. It was the 10th murder of the year here in Arkansas. I truly doubt that the 18-year-old boy who shot him to death would have dared pull out his pistol if every member of that business had been equally armed. A more intelligent 18-year-old would not have even been tempted by the 25-year-old man who put him up to it.

Curry Shelton
Little Rock

Still running
Judge Bill Smith told me that Tom Terrell, one of Arkansas’s few one-term governors, in his death bed deliriums made speeches urging an endorsement term.

My granddaughter, Allison Jane, tells me that I am still mentally running for governor and in the immortal words of Bill Fulbright, she “may be right.”

To dissuade illegitimacy, one of the first bills I introduced in the 1951 session of the Arkansas Senate was to require mothers of children born out of wedlock to make demands upon the father for support of the child before calling upon the state for help.

The bill passed, but as far as I can tell it has never been enforced.

Now I’m told that there are almost as many out-of-wedlock children born in Arkansas each year as there are legitimate births.

These children are not to blame. It’s their choice of parents that is unfortunate. There is nothing as tragic as an unwanted child.

If I were indeed in a position of governmental authority, I would beg Dr. Joycelyn Elders, America’s greatest surgeon general, to come out of retirement and head a special department charged with the responsibility of correcting this greatest social problem of our times. And, if in her judgment it would help, I would ask the General Assembly to authorize her and her staff to dispense morning-after pills like popcorn.

Jim Johnson


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