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Your Views: Law officers dedication seen on grand jury
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The Times has had recent articles about a Hall County commissioner's concerns about Gainesville's proposed annexation of a small section of Interstate 985 for the possible purpose of a speed trap as a means of revenue generation. I would like to tell of my experiences and observations of those who are responsible for law enforcement and our court system in Gainesville and Hall County.

I served as foreman of the grand jury from July through October 2008 with 22 other jurors. During that four-month term, District Attorney Lee Darragh and his staff of attorneys presented the grand jury with 266 cases, of which 262 resulted in true bills of indictment.

We heard evidence from officers of Hall County Sheriff's Office, the Gainesville Police Department, the Flowery Branch Police Department, Oakwood Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and private citizens. The grand jury's responsibility is to hear evidence and determine if there is probable cause to believe that the person named has committed the crime and the case should be brought to trial. The grand jury also heard presentations from Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic, Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper and Sgt. Joe Amerling with the Gang Task Force.

I can not say enough about these three peace officers and District Attorney Darragh for their professionalism, ethics and their zeal for the positions they hold. The grand jury could easily see from their leadership that they have passed these traits to the people working for them.

I hope any of you who have the opportunity to serve on a grand jury or any jury will do so. It is an eye-opening experience to see what is occurring in our community. It will make you not only appreciative, but proud of our law officers and legal system. I can only imagine what a jungle we would live in without these fine dedicated people.

James Draffin
Gainesville

Nation's freedom compromised; everyone is out for themselves
Thomas Jefferson once said something to the effect, a government strong enough to give you everything that you want is strong enough to take all that you have. We now have a government bent on buying our souls with money that they don't have.
The time was when a man's word was his bond. Now it's a case of "looking out for No. 1," "get mine first" and "what's in it for me?" Everyone has their hand out. The spirit of the American dream has gone by the wayside.

Our government has entered on a definite path to socialism by virtually nationalizing our banking system and the auto industry. The White House has fired the CEO of General Motors, yet ignores the cause of its demise, the unfair demands and benefits allowed the out-of-control unions.

The leftists have demonstrated their total disdain for our tax laws or, as used to be popular, scofflaws. Just look at the number of proposed appointees to the present administration's cabinet who turned out to not have paid taxes in years. There has been a list composed naming the top 250 tax evaders amongst the entertainment industry.

President Barack Obama has stated that he can see no legitimate reason for an American citizen to own or possess a firearm. He commented on the people clinging to their guns and religion. In recent weeks, there have been three distinct and separate attempts to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights by back-door methods. The liberals want to eliminate our access to ammunition, ownership of hunting rifles and shotguns and to restrict the ownership and possession of handguns.

The president has gone on a world tour denigrating our core principles. He went into Turkey and announced that we are not a Christian nation, and into Saudi Arabia and embarrassed our nation by bowing low to the leader of Saudi Arabia. He had to bend down slightly to be able to shake Obama's hand.

Next he meets with our military, congratulating them on a job well done and promising his support to provide anything and everything they need to complete the job. At the same time, Congress is cutting $8 billion from the defense budget.

With 14 million illegal aliens in this country, the liberals are proposing amnesty instead of enforcement of our laws. With drug-smuggling violence spilling over our border, our director of Homeland Security is unable to detect it. Have we lost ALL of our incorruptible leaders with any integrity, moral upbringing or ethical standards? Where have all of our heroes gone? The last of great statesmen and standard-bearers have passed on.

Chuck Norris is advocating that Texas become an independent republic again and he is gaining a lot of support. There is a distinct problem with our government when seven states are seriously considering actually seceding from the union.
Soon you will envision a tombstone with the epitaph, "The Late Great United States Of America."

Rickey Tumlin
Clermont

Retirees remark was off base
In reference to Bill Beaty's recent letter to the editor, I wish to say thank you sir for setting the "esteemed " UGA Director of Economic Forecasting, Mr. Humphreys, straight on the downside of being a retiree.

It seems that those that have "cushy jobs paid for by the state" come out with the most ridiculous "forecasting" notions that could possibly be dreamed up. They were not researched, that is for certain.

Maybe Mr. Humphreys has the fortitude to back up his lame statement concerning how the economy "does not" affect retirees. Don't hold your breath; they almost never correct their mistakes.

Dave Oliver
Hoschton

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