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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • e-mail: letters@csindy.com

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Who knew?

From the Independent issue dated July 18, this was in the review of The Dark Knight Rises:

"This is a dysfunctional world that cannot continue, and yet it seems intractable. The cast is altogether extraordinary, carrying a weight of tragic, unavoidable destiny throughout. They make a dark movie for our dark days even more gloomy, and less dismissible as mere entertainment. This is a beast of a film ... a beast that has us all in its red rageful glare."

In the wee hours of July 21, headlines across the country screamed:

Colorado Massacre in Theater at opening of The Dark Knight Rises

Twelve killed, 58 wounded

Shooter says he is "The Joker"

Both chilling and prophetic.

— Kay Jones-Hutchins

Colorado Springs

No need for revenge

Citizens across the country are crying out for the death of James Holmes, and we will all hear many arguments for and against this in the coming weeks and months.

I'd like us to consider a few things, especially as citizens of a traditionally conservative city.

If Mr. Holmes is mentally ill at all, execution would be unreasonably cruel and malicious — in fact, unconstitutional. However, let's just pretend we know he was sane at the time of his crime. It costs less to incarcerate someone for life than to execute him. According to Columbia University, it costs from 2.5 to 5 times more to execute a prisoner versus incarceration for life (without parole).

Do you know what America has in common with Afghanistan, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Syria, Uganda, and 37 others? Capital punishment. In fact in 2011, we were fifth in the world in executions, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Seventeen U.S. states have banned capital punishment. The remaining 33 rank us fifth.

Knowing that capital punishment costs us more financially, does it actually serve us as a society to execute him? Do we desire to neutralize his threat to society or do we desire to punish him in the most final way? In the end, we must ask ourselves: Do we, as a society, pander to our desire to hurt someone who has hurt us, or do we rise above that very human reaction?

These are hard questions to answer in hypothetical cases. Harder still just days after such a horrendous tragedy.

It is important to remember that how we react to this will define us. What do we want that definition to be?

— Tanya Martin

Colorado Springs

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Maher's misstep

Some time ago I heard the incredible guitarist John Scofield play the Boulder Theater (we all know that is in Boulder; right?) and he started his show with the greeting, "Hello Denver"!? I heard much shudder and disappointment from the crowd who paid $$ to hear him.

When announcing his appearance in Colorado Springs on his show "Real Time" (Episode 254 on Xfinity cable), Bill Maher announced, "I'll be at Pikes Peak in Denver, Colorado, July 28."

Come on. I know these famous folks are busy with a lot on their mind, and I even like what they say and play for the most part, but surely they can afford to get their tour itinerary and locale straight.

Colorado Springs is not Denver! Boulder is not Denver!

It is an insult to the residents of these towns and more importantly, the people who busted their butts to book them in those venues.

— Alan Joseph

Colorado springs

Good role model

You published a letter ("Lean to the Right," July 18) that suggested peeking out a window to reinforce that we don't live in Boulder.

But would it be so awful for our village to be more like that city? Boulder has the highest density of Ph.D.s per capita in the U.S. — besting even Cambridge, Mass. That goes a long way in explaining why Boulder County's median household income far exceeds our village, which has had to lay off firefighters and police, stop watering our parks and extinguish our street lights.

Boulder is certainly no more physically beautiful than the Springs. Yet that city attracts the innovators, investors, scientists and tech entrepreneurs — people and businesses that pay taxes. Conversely, here we attract churches and religious leaders — entities that unfortunately do not contribute tax revenue. It is a rare world-class scientist who would be attracted to this intolerant town.

— Steven Silz-Carson

Colorado Springs

Mitt's tax returns

If voters could remember only one thing as they go to vote, it should be that Willard Mitt Romney wants to reduce his income tax rate to zero. He has told us that dozens of times. I remember in January, he was addressing several elderly people before the primary in Florida, he said that he wanted to reduce the tax rate on capital gains to zero, "so you folks could put some money in the bank."

A few days later, he said he strongly approved the Ryan budget. This budget would eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. Not too long after that, he released one year's tax return. That revealed about 95 percent of his income was from capital gains and his 2010 tax rate was 13.9 percent.

That means, if he gets his wish, he could gross, say, $20 million, give $2 million (10 percent) to the Mormon church for a tax credit and owe nothing in taxes, even though he had an income of TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!

— David M. Justice

Colorado Springs

Forget the lease

Is there no opposition to the Memorial Health System lease agreement? Yes, there is. One voice. Maybe two or three more. We'll never know until we stand up in a public forum and challenge this travesty being foisted on the citizens. There were "public meetings" at times that would discourage the public from attending. "Fifteen minutes" at the end of MHS commission meetings for public input. No challenges to the presenters. No input from the public at the "MHS Task Force" meetings, again at inconvenient times for the public to attend. A few town halls that were basically dog-and-pony shows.

The "leadership" did not and does not want public participation in MHS' future, only the "yes" votes. Many people I've talked to, including some in the medical profession, don't have a clue as to what is happening with Memorial. Mushroom management is alive and well: "Keep 'em in the dark and feed them horse manure."

I oppose it because the arrangement is not good for the community. Proponents purport the deal will inject $1.9 billion into the economy. I say, "Where is your proof and justification with documentation? Who are these proponents? With only six months guaranteed employment to the staff, can Colorado Springs handle another influx of unemployed? (El Paso County employment grew only 1 percent last year with a -2.5 percent decrease in wages — Denver Post). What companies can absorb them at their current wage scale?

There will be no local control or oversight of MHS. One could add that a "nonprofit" is a "nonprofit" and cannot make a profit.

Therefore, there cannot be any "profit-sharing" and who would the "profits" be shared with?

Lot more 'splaining needs to be done. Vote "no" on the MHS lease. We can do better.

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

Know the cause

Thanks to Terri Weber for your great letter ("Grateful to be American") in the July 11 issue.

As you said, "there is climate change in Colorado."

But your next phrase — "whether it is manmade is a moot point" — I take strong issue with.

Understanding the cause is essential for solving the puzzle to reduce climate change and adapt to it. An overwhelming majority of scientists, who publish climate change research in peer-reviewed journals, agree that it is manmade.

Having figured out what man has done to cause climate change tells us what we have to do differently to turn things around.

The three primary greenhouse gasses that act like a blanket holding in heat around the Earth are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

We as a nation must push for the political will to get our local, state and federal governments to limit these gases and take action to adapt to the changes we already have.

— Jacquie Ostrom

Colorado Springs

Short memories

Neither the Waldo Canyon firefighters nor anyone else could do anything about temperatures in the 90s, humidities in the single digits.

Or about drought conditions that had dried out live trees so much, they burned as readily as dead wood.

Or steep terrain.

Or a thunderstorm that popped up and created winds that fanned the fire into a raging monster.

All they could do was retreat, regroup and continue the fight. Property and lives were lost. The incident commander explained that, even though they had performed to the best of their ability, they all felt a sense of failure, that they had let us down.

But the enemy they fight knows no surrender, so those forced to retreat, however heavy their hearts, were soon back on the lines. It doesn't get any more heroic than that.

Who could possibly contrive to make their jobs more difficult?

What about the developers who designed and built houses that went up like torches, with roads ill-suited for evacuating the area?

And the public officials who endorsed the plan? As far as I am concerned, they have blood on their hands. I wonder if they feel a sense of failure.

The shocking events of June 26 reminded me of a 1999 news story. The fire chief and the fire marshal testified that the proposed development of Stratmoor Forest — 100 acres in a heavily wooded area, with only a single access road — was a disaster waiting to happen. But because no easement for a second road could be obtained, the project was approved. What followed, I do not know.

So firefighters have to contend with a force unleashed by public officialdom, a force that defeats even the immortals.

A translation from Schiller goes as follows: Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

— Kurt Foster

Colorado Springs

 

Sounds familiar

I had another dream. Or was it another nightmare?

The scene: Situation room, Romney headquarters.

Present: Romney's top campaign strategists — Biff, Lance and Swifty.

Biff: Where's Mitt this morning?

Swifty: He's out driving around again, asking people if they have any Grey Poupon.

Biff: Will he be back this afternoon?

Lance: He said he'd be out checking on one of his multi-million-dollar mansions, the construction site of that new one he's having built after tearing down his old multi-million-dollar mansion there.

Biff: That's OK. We don't need him. We've got the daily list of Talking Points from the Koch Brothers team.

Swifty: I love the name of their organization — Americans for Prosperity. But they left off the other words: For the Top One-Half of 1 Percent.

Lance: What if the press ask us some tough policy questions?

Biff: No sweat. Tell them Mitt's position is like Reagan's, except when it's not. If there's any problems later, we'll say he was misquoted by the Liberal Press.

Swifty: Man, did you see our paychecks? I never thought I'd be able to buy a mansion of my own! (Nods, smiles, chuckles all around.)

Lance: You know, I'm worried now about the debates with Obama. What does Mitt say when he's questioned about specifics on what he would do if elected?

Biff: We tell him to be vague; be very, very vague ... then he can use Nixon's old strategy: Tell everyone you have a Secret Plan that will fix everything. It got Nixon re-elected.

Swifty: Holy crap, I just had a thought: What if Mitt actually gets elected!? What's the policy? (Sighs, morose looks, head-shaking all around.)

Biff, hitting the table: No worries! Mitt just brings in the old Bush Team!

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Correction

In "Choking on the ashes," (News, July 11), Kim and Lon Rust were identified as Kim and Lon Rush. We regret the error.

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