Love/Hate Mail 

Garrigan the Great

Liz Garrigan hit a home run with that article ("The Punchline State," April 15). It's a brilliant piece of dead-on journalism with a mix of humor and sophistication that should be sent out to every member of the Tennessee legislature who can read. But I'm afraid it didn't go far enough. Garrigan listed only a handful of "organizations beyond the NRA" who cozy up to Tennessee's pro-idiot politicians. It never mentioned Glocks for Christ, Christian Youths with a Weapon, the Tea Bag Full of Gun Powder for Republican Obstructionists, the Society of Bullets and Bibles, the Christian Armed Militia with Rifles and Revelation, and let's not forget God, Guts and Jews with Guns. 

 Rhio Hirsch — Whites Creek

More love for Liz

[Liz] Garrigan's "Culture War Idiocy" approbation fits dead square on ("The Punchline State," April 15). How is what we are observing among our notable solons in the legislature different from what has been unfolding since the age of slavery? It would be nice to be wrong, but abandonment of the "Redneck Way" seems not to be a possibility in our lovely Volunteer State until there has been some kind of epiphany for treasured rural constituencies. And it would seem perhaps that ridicule of coonskin-cap, muzzle-loader, squirrel-hunter mentality might do the trick. Leading up to a time at which they might allow themselves to release the old, traditional mind-set and be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

So, that not having happened yet, we must yet again be subjected to folks such as Bill Ketron and his English-only drivers test. Then there is "Barack, the Magic Negro." And Cheetah. The guns-in-bars issue is also totally predictable, given the standard redneck proclivity for arming oneself in preparation to blow "them" totally away. Whoever "them" may be.

Lots of comments quote favorable statistics about carrying concealed weapons. Fine. Let 'em carry 'em. And shoot lots of other rednecks. Who knows, that might hasten the evolution toward civility. Since I'm too old for it to matter to me anymore, whatever fate might befall Ketron et al. is of little or no concern. Just leave me the hell alone in my dotage to do as I please. Then, once we've arrived at a place of civility, our diligent chamber of commerce just might find effective persuasion for attractive outsiders to join together with us here — in the "Athens of the South."

Keep on keeping on, good lady.

W.D. Humpfree — Nashville

'Angel' flies too close to the ground

My name is Allen Flemming and I am writing the biography of Larry Norman ("The Devil's Music," April 15). I saw the premiere of Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman at the San Jose film festival on March 1, 2009. I was appalled. Larry Norman had passed away only the year before, and here was a movie with a diabolic angle — to destroy the legacy of Larry Norman. Equally appalling was the handful of Christians who had appeared in the film showing up in person to support the film, and to continue their attacks on Larry Norman. Two of these characters, Randy Stonehill and his manager Ray Ware, [were] tagging along with Fallen Angel in Nashville to continue this charade.

God have mercy.

Even if all the accusations about Larry Norman were true, which they are not, one would expect these Christians, who claim to have experienced the forgiveness for their sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus, would have, after three or four decades, forgiven their brother in Christ, so recently buried. You would not expect followers of Jesus to gather around to peck at the reputation of their brother in Christ for sins they believe he had committed so long ago.

Where were the thoughts of compassion toward the grieving family?  Where was the love for their brother in Christ who had so recently passed and was therefore unable to respond? What type of people participate in this sort of postmortem character assassination? What species of Christianity is this?

As Larry Norman's biographer I have access to all sorts of documents, audio files and interviews with people in the film and, more importantly, people not asked to be in the film: Larry Norman's mother, son, sisters, cousin and best friends. All of whom tell a much different story than this little venue of discontents.

Allen Flemming — Oakland, Calif.

Consider it done

This letter is about the woman who I was married to for almost 50 years. My angel was born on April 3 in the year 1938. Sixteen years later, I married my angel. My angel passed away on February 22, 2003, and if she had lived until October 20 of that year, we would have been married for 50 years. People said that our marriage would not last two weeks, but we proved them wrong. We never fought, and if we did, we made a pact to never go to bed mad at each other, because if something was to happen during the night, the person would have to live with that. Every night when I go to bed, I ask God to take me, so that I can be reunited with my angel Jo Ann. Please print this letter. It is about love, not hate.

Fred Hester — La Vergne

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