Lack of progress
Good show, Mr. Hazlehurst! Your June 9 column, "The Messy Reality of Life," is an excellent collection of thoughtful observations. We are all wired into a difficult daily struggle -- welcome to life. Your sage words about the "politics of illusion" are a cogent articulation of the unreality that generic suburbia breeds. Among other things, suburban blankness allows otherwise good people an opportunity to disconnect from the emotions, dreams and disappointments of fellow citizens.
My wife and I frequently travel to Colorado Springs, where we lived for 10 years, and we are routinely saddened by the stark lack of social progress since we moved to Denver five years ago. Colorado Springs needs a tidal wave of community-minded voices. Keep using your amplified voice to stir people's passions. In the words of Jesse Jackson, "Keep hope alive ..." Keep fighting for a better Colorado Springs.
John, I'd love to hook you up with a pair of Rolling Stones tickets for the Thanksgiving Pepsi Center show and a bottle of Chivas Regal, but my aborted -- thank the stars -- law school odyssey was really expensive!
Thanks again, and keep the strong words flowing.
-- Hascy Tarbox
Space to escape
I was raised in Wyoming, where "the deer and the antelope play." I have been a resident of rural Teller County, which is cougar county, for the past 12 years.
I also work at Checks Unlimited and was outside on the grounds when last week's mountain lion alert to stay inside the building was sent. There were many employees outside, and the lion made no attempt to attack anyone.
I would like to applaud the Colorado Springs Police Department for their actions in the situation. They alerted the public and, in a case like this, you obviously don't let your pets or children outside, nor do you try to confront the lion. The lion ventured into a populated area, and it appears that he was afraid and confused.
The police department tried to do the humane thing by having him tranquilized and moved to another location. Unfortunately, the Division of Wildlife botched the whole incident. What type of training or education do these people have, let alone common sense? Even a domesticated animal would not have submitted to such coercion tactics as yelling and throwing rocks. That lion had to have been terrified as he sought shelter behind the bushes.
Hadn't the DOW realized that shooting the lion with rubber bullets could have created the same "running into the street" scenario as a tranquilizer gun would have? If they were able to shoot him with the rubber bullets, why couldn't they have used a tranquilizer gun? Instead, they chose to injure and then kill him. Better yet, since the public was already notified, why didn't they give the lion some space to escape? They still could have monitored the situation at a distance. When darkness set in, that lion would have headed for Dodge without looking back.
Another DOW debacle.
-- Susan Albert
Editor's note: The previous two letters to the editor appeared in last week's newspaper, but due to a printing error did not appear in full. We apologize for any confusion.
Buffalo killings getting national attention. A terrified mountain lion pelted with rocks and then destroyed for not coming out.
I realize we never get the full picture from the media, and who knows if anyone else might have done better, but something just feels wrong about all this.
Perhaps as a sort of civic penance or karmic cleaning, we should start funding our zoo, and maybe the Pikes Peak Library District could choose Glendon Swarthout's Bless the Beasts and the Children as the next citywide read.
-- P. Higgins
Hanoi Jane story false
Jon R. Horton's letter in last week's Indy derided Jane Fonda for trips to Hanoi, but unfortunately appears to have promoted an urban legend in the process.
According to Mr. Horton, Ms. Fonda visited a POW camp, where prisoners slipped her notes. Ms. Fonda supposedly turned the notes over to North Vietnamese authorities, which resulted in the torture and even death of some of the camp prisoners.
A quick search of the Internet revealed that this particular story is false.
Former prisoners named in e-mails and other publications who supposedly are quoted telling this story, denied that the incident ever occurred. They also denied ever having shared such a story about a visit to a POW camp.
These are but three of the sites I found:
-- Roger Piwowarski
Green Mountain Falls
Beware of urban myths
Regarding Jon Horton's letter on Jane Fonda last week, I find it rather unfortunate when people don't have the good sense to investigate malicious rumors before spouting them off in public. Case in point is his assertion that she took a list of POWs that was handed to her by one of them, and turned it over to their captors. As the rumor continues, the prisoners were supposedly beaten, and two of them supposedly died.
While a great propaganda piece for conservatives who hate anti-war protesters, it simply isn't true. These "Hanoi Jane" emails started circulating around 1999, authored by a nameless, faceless writer, and subsequently were touted during the election last year as a way of attempting to taint John Kerry by association. They have been repeated, ad nauseam, despite being thoroughly refuted by reputable sources.
On snopes.com is a mention from one of the POWs Ms. Fonda interviewed:
"'The whole [e-mail] story about Jane Fonda is just malarkey,' said Edison Miller, 73, of California, a former Marine Corps pilot held more than five years. Miller was among seven POWs who met with Fonda in Hanoi. He said he didn't recall her asking any questions other than about their names, if that."
On urbanlegends.com, anyone doing a Google search can find the following from an ex-soldier who served in Vietnam and investigated the rumors:
"A good cause is never well served by lies, and that's how all of the ex-POWs I spoke or corresponded with about the falsehoods in this message felt. Paul Galanti said: 'None of us are members of the Jane Fonda Fan Club, but these fabrications are something she just did not do ... 'She did enough to place her name in the trash bin of history,' (Mike) McGrath explained. 'None of us need to make up stories on her.'" http://urbanlegends.about.com/ library/weekly/aa110399.htm.
It's seems that these days, if a story is repeated often enough it gets a life of its own, and whether it's true or false really becomes secondary to how juicy and/or useful it is. Karl Rove would be proud of the author of that original story. Then again, maybe he even knows who it is?
-- Alan Sindler
Was it hard? Hell, yes!
I just finished reading "Tough Love," the cover story that appeared on June 9. Bob Holmes, many thanks to you for showing us the real picture. Speaking of pictures, the one with two homeless men asleep during a rally was priceless.
Yes, give the homeless ID cards. Here's my thought on this: If you want to be homeless, that's your business! Please explain to me why we have to dress, feed you and give you free medical care. So you can lounge at the park and listen to a radio and meet interesting people? Please.
The downtown library has been taken over by homeless people. The furniture is filthy and it stinks! Take a walk downtown, and at every street corner someone is begging for money. Quit giving these people money!
I'm a 55-year-old white female who 10 years ago was at the Red Cross Shelter with two children, I moved there from a motel on South Nevada (very expensive), and finally six months later into an apartment. I worked six days a week, 12-hour days (had no car). It took three weeks of pay to pay the rent. I was getting food stamps only! Was it hard? Hell, yes! But I did it. I'm proud to say I'm a success story. It's still hard, but it's worth it.
-- Diana Hudson
Chip off the block
A few thoughts leap to mind upon reading last week's cover story, "Safe Child Syndrome":
1. The author notes that parents can wind up the target of Child Protective Services investigations simply for letting their kids play in a park, then wonders why parents are afraid to let their kids out of their sight. The answer seems obvious to me.
2. The author also notes that a whole generation of adults fought against and largely discarded their parents' child-rearing methods, then wonders why they can't produce the same results their parents did. Again, the answer seems pretty obvious.
Perhaps I'm just hopelessly old-fashioned: I heartily support corporal punishment for kids. My 9-year-old son knows what it's like to be spanked. He also knows how to safely handle firearms -- I taught him myself and trust him, thanks to my hopelessly old-fashioned parenting methods.
He's also a brown belt in karate, as I am seized with the apparently irrational conviction that the best thing that can happen to a bully is not therapy, but to suffer acute failure of the victim selection process. And again -- I trust him to use his knowledge wisely.
On top of all that, my wife and I home-school our kids, as we are seized with another apparently irrational conviction: That we know our kids, and what's best for them, better than any school district bureaucrat in the country.
Parenting is 95 percent instinct and only 5 percent education. If more parents would trust their instincts instead of letting the experts talk every last ounce of common sense out of them, you would have had to write about something else for your cover story last week.
-- Greg Hartman
We hollered, they listened
Thank you for publishing our letter last week and thanks to all the folks who helped with Capitol Hill. In an unexpected move Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives approved a measure to restore $100 million of funding for NPR, PBS and local public stations. Republican leaders were proposing to slash $200 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but you all helped stop them.
So why did 87 Republicans break with the majority of their party and vote to restore the funding? In large part, because over 1 million of you signed the petition calling on Congress to reverse course. And over 40,000 of you made phone calls to your elected representatives. There was a surge of public outrage that couldn't be ignored. This victory was possible because we were joined by Free Press, Common Cause and strong allies in the House.
Despite this incredible progress, the House Republicans did manage to cut over $100 million, including funding for children's programming like Sesame Street. We'll take our fight to the Senate when it considers the budget later this summer. But last week's vote makes it much more likely we can restore every last cent for NPR and PBS by acting together.
Friday also brought darker news in the fight for public broadcasting. The Republican-dominated board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) hired a former Republican National Committee chair as the next president, injecting partisanship into the very organization designed to shield public broadcasting from political meddling. This is only the latest effort to remake public broadcasting as a partisan mouthpiece. To save NPR and PBS, we'll need to take on CPB board chair Kenneth Tomlinson, but last week we showed that the public can and will defend public broadcasting from partisan attack.
So, we must realize that a few voices can make a difference and never give up the fight when it comes to our job in keeping this country one we can all be proud of.
-- Richard and Barbara Rhodes
The June 2 cover story, "Breathing Fire," mistakenly stated the number of Class III firearms licenses in Colorado. The correct number is 48. Also, as a note of clarification, the federal assault weapons ban did not expire when President Bush chose not to re-sign it last year; it, in fact, was killed in Congress.