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One toke over the line

An open letter to Police Chief Luis Velez:

Perhaps you were caught up in the moment. Perhaps your heart, like mine, has a special place for people trying to improve their situation. Regardless, your public comments, as reported in the May 4 Independent referring to the May 1 demonstration by/for illegal aliens ("We are human beings," News) were highly inappropriate. I believe you owe the citizens an explanation and an apology, or perhaps a resignation should you desire to leave the honorable profession of law enforcement for the world of politics (not recommended).

Your current duty is to enforce existing laws, including those you might deem inappropriate for some reason. For example, many citizens believe laws against the personal possession/use of marijuana create a needless waste of resources and make criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens. However, should a crowd of a few thousand citizens light up joints in Acacia Park and demonstrate to demand their "rights" to do so, would you be there publicly supporting their peaceful display, empathizing with them, and citing the burden of enforcing the laws as a reason not to do so?

Government officials who advocate rewarding those who have knowingly broken our laws, by forgiving their trespass, easing their citizenship process, or by simply granting it because they are already across our border, demean and diminish the value of citizenship and betray the trust placed in them by the citizenry. How bizarre that the first step on an easier route to U.S. citizenship would be to break our federal laws.

A foreign national illegally here is not an undocumented immigrant. "Undocumented" is a meaningless political contrivance created for the convenience of cowards. You would not refer to an illegal trespasser poaching game on posted land as an undocumented visitor. You would arrest him for breaking the law, even if he was just trying to feed his family.

You are the chief of police. Illegal stuff is your reason for existence. Please stick to enforcing today's laws and using accurate terminology to describe law-breakers. Please leave the cowardly politically correct stuff to the politicians.

Tom Huffman

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Huffman, a former El Paso county commissioner, represented eastern Colorado Springs and eastern El Paso County between 2000 and 2004.

Soured at least temporarily by elected office, Huffman opted not to seek a second term.

Can't keep a bargain

Recently, a National Public Radio segment featured an alien legally in the United States on a visa that permits him to work. He and his wife, both doctors, were promised green cards and resident status if they agreed to practice in an underserved area for three years.

Three years and more have come and gone. They fulfilled their part of the bargain, but the United States has not. Every year when they apply for their green card and permanent resident status, they are turned down because their native country's quota is filled.

If we can't keep our part of the bargain with well-educated, highly skilled people who learned English, pay lots of taxes and are in every way but birth Americans, how can we possibly consider amnesty for people from any country who enter the United States illegally with low skills, poor education, and do not learn our language and assimilate?

Joe Fabeck

Manitou Springs

Storming the borders

May 4 letter writer Megumi Esperanza ("In the cage") has it wrong! Illegals have no right to demand anything in this country. You say that you protest dehumanization, criminalization. Illegals breaking the law makes them criminals! Mexicans who want to come to the United States should stay in line like everybody else until permission is given to enter this country. Europeans did not storm our borders illegally and demand to be taken. They respected the law.

If you want the Mexican flag displayed, do so in Mexico. Here, we have our U.S. flag. Do not sing our national anthem in Spanish, in words to your liking.

This letter comes from a legal immigrant from Europe in 1948.

Elfriede Little

Colorado Springs

Give us beefcake

What the hell gives with the cheesecake on the front cover of the April 20 Earth Day issue? I was really put off when you had that model highlight the "Best Of" issue, but let it slide. But then you went and did it again. Earth Day is not exactly a highly promoted holiday; it would seem much more appropriate to have a cover that honors our planet and brings attention to the importance of caring for it. Instead, you have a sex figure straddling the globe, a nice symbol of all the ways the Earth is exploited. Perhaps you could use that image when publishing a shopping issue, or one on corporations hey, how about the Christmas issue?

So, let's have some turnabout. Give us some beefcake, a barely dressed, nicely shaped male in a suggestive position. Should be appropriate for, say, the issue on summer reading, or perhaps an election issue. You know, something totally unrelated, like the stupid April 20 issue.

I think you owe us an explanation.

Judith Lee

Colorado Springs

They are everywhere

The Indy has stooped to a new low in yellow journalism. During recent issues, you have glorified sex, alcohol, drug usage, illegal immigration and now the harangue of a book-promoting zealot. Scott Ritter, on the cover of the May 4 issue, is a sanctimonious, pharisaic, self-righteous twerp who doesn't deserve to be called an ex-Marine.

The Indy didn't even conduct the interview, but used their pages to promote this peacenik. Ritter would be speaking with a British accent if George Washington and others had adopted his passive approach in 1776. Ritter brags about loving the Constitution; however, he conveniently forgets all the sacrifices that were made to achieve the freedoms he enjoys to spew his venom.

We were a few battles away from being a land that speaks Japanese after the destruction at Pearl Harbor. Of course, Ritter wasn't there to defend this country. Ritter looks for a forum to promote his book and to join the throngs harping away at anyone who isn't a pacifist. The appeasement approach didn't work for Woodrow Wilson, and it doesn't work in today's world. Nobody wants or enjoys the ravages of war.

Ritter is not the issue. These "Jane Fonda" type of people are found everywhere, looking for a way to divide the country and create a socialist society. The Indy uses Ritter's interview by a San Diego, Calif., paper, to denigrate the president of the United States and has the audacity to pronounce Ritter an "American patriot" in their headline.

Tabloid-ism at its best.

Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Peace strategy

I heard Scott Ritter speak last year and have read various articles by him on the Internet, but I cannot find a Scott Ritter site, or a strategy laid out by Scott.I would like to see this movement that he is talking about. I would help support it.

Scott, will you please start the movement?If you provide good leadership, you will find many people willing to work with you.

Sally Brownfield

Olympia, Wash.

Nation of suckers

Here I was feeling some relief that President Bush's poll numbers are at the lowest number yet (33 percent job approval rating, according to a recent Ipsos poll) and that an end to the Iraq war might actually be on the horizon. The Scott Ritter interview that you published reminded me not to feel so smug; George II's biggest failing, it seems, is not an illegal war, but a losing one.

Robert Downey Jr.'s character in the movie Back to School said that football was a "crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war." Truer words were never spoken. Our society is addicted not only to violence, but a winner-loser, zero-sum orientation that is killing not only our "enemies" but our very spirit.

The truly, truly scary thing, though, is that we are being set up as a nation of suckers to do it all over again and invade Iran, perhaps even with nuclear weapons. (You know the drill: Set up some straw-man issue with an unlovable nation, attack, then defend the war with empty phrases about "freedom" and "democracy." Label skeptics "traitors" and mortgage a nation's future to pay for it.)

If you value freedom and believe right is right, not just winning, vote Democratic in this November's election. Somebody needs to stand up to a president who is disconnected not only from his nation, but from reality itself.

Mike Maddox

Colorado Springs

Transcending politics

In July, loving, committed families will walk from the Colorado State Capitol to my hometown of Colorado Springs on a 65-mile journey of faith and celebration. What makes this act unique? These families happen to have gay parents.

With organizations like Soul Force behind them, hundreds of families, diverse in their ethnicities, faiths and hometowns, will participate in this weeklong family march. This event's main goal is to bring the message of tolerance to Colorado by breaking down barriers of fear, stereotypes and injustice.It is a message that transcends politics one that simply speaks about the reality of families with same-sex parents: that they are just as loving and committed as any other family.

All too often, anti-gay advocates undermine the image of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and same-sex families with their extremist views and hateful agendas. While claiming to support the institution of families, they routinely break it down, dehumanizing and discriminating against those who are different. Worse, in their desperate attempt to claim moral superiority, they make outrageous claims that sexual orientation is something that can be "caught" or "spread." Hasn't Colorado had enough of this kind of hate and bigotry?

In a world where there are millions of families that include mixtures of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and foster parents, why do we simply accept the claim that families must adhere to a certain recipe? Aren't the ingredients of love, devotion and nurturing the more important components to a healthy family than the "one mother, one father and 2.5 kids" formula? Coloradans know better.

More children are born in July than in any other month. Let this family-walk be a wake up call to Coloradans and Americans that children deserve the right to loving, committed family homes, regardless of sexual orientation. Anyone who claims differently has no true focus on families.

Ken Seifert

Arlington, Va.

A step further

Colorado Springs City Council needs to reconsider its recent decision to stop water restrictions. Because we live in a low-rainfall region, it is shortsighted to lift restrictions whenever we seem to have enough water for one particular year. Water restrictions of two or three times a week signal that we recognize and value the environment we live in.

As this area explodes in growth, we may be able to suck vast amounts of water out of the Arkansas River and other sources throughout the state, but even if this is legal, is it fair? There's a vast ecosystem depending on those water sources, and we are just a part of it.

Let's go a step further. We don't have to be another Kentucky-bluegrass city. Why not be recognized as an outstanding city because of the emphasis on Xeriscaping and conserving water? We could be a showcase for the low-water alternatives to big lawns.

If people here could choose, as in Denver, the two or three days that they water, and they're limited to six hours a day, we would be taking a positive, reasonable step toward accepting and enjoying where we live.

Meg Remple

Colorado Springs

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