Hamilton county sheriff Jim Hammond says he has heard more agreement than criticism following a published report that having a black president has led to more insecurity in this country.
Hammond says the statement is factual---not racist.
Not everyone agrees, and that the issue has sparked a lot of community discussion.
SHERIFF JIM HAMMOND, HAMILTON COUNTY IN:04:16 "anytime you have something new and unusual, like our first black president, instance in this case...you're going to get people who misunderstand what's going to happen. They get nervous. " BUMP "People, when they are fearful..they want more guns."
Sheriff Hammond said he feels the newspaper headline mis-represented what he said..or why he said it.
REV. KENNETH LOVE, CHATTANOOGA "I think the statements were very derogatory and do not really encourage or try to find a method to solve the problem."
SHERIFF JIM HAMMOND "These things happen. And there has to be calmer voices that deal with it. And I went on with my speech. Nothing was ever said to indicate that I just simply made a statement that there's a black president that's making people fearful."
Some saw Hammond's remarks as a statement of the way things are---not why! Tracy Knauss is a frequent voice for liberal and civil rights issues.
TRACY KNAUSS, POLITICAL ACTIVIST "I'm a gun owner myself, and there's no doubt we now have a black man in the white house..this creates a hysteria. I think the gun industry and the lobby plays on that and beefs up their sales through the fear factor. I think what sheriff Hammond said is correct...I have black friends I've talked this over with and they say the same thing."
Rev. Kenneth Love calls the remarks a continuation of previous actions by the sheriff.
REV. KENNETH LOVE "I'm not surprised, this has been done once before when I heard the comment from the sheriff concerning gang violence within the city and his tone on putting them in the grave..running them out of town."
SHERIFF JIM HAMMOND "People just have a lot more fear than they used to, and now particularly fearful when they hear all these rumors about the government going to come in and take their guns."
The sheriff also explained his remarks when he was asked about them at this morning's county commission meeting.