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Waldo Canyon Fire reporting, the gun debate, and tax-season blues

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

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Chasing the devil

Pam Zubeck continues her excellent reporting on the Waldo Canyon Fire ("Warmed Over," News, April 10) arguably the greatest disaster to strike this city ever. Other reporters in this area have been satisfied to take the canned answers of officialdom at face value and repeat the stock phrase that "we made some mistakes but we'll do better next time." Not so fast. The devil is in the details and we have to find them out and expose them so we can do better next time.

— Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

Firing back

Linda Dyer's letter to the editor ("No better cause?" April 10) does not tell the whole story.

First of all, she says that "often a child picks up a gun left nearby" and someone is killed. According to the National Safety Council, about 1 percent of accidental deaths of children are from firearms. Most of the deaths are from drowning, poisoning and other causes.

She is also appalled by the amount of gun deaths in the U.S., but in Mexico where guns are all but banned for the public to own, their firearm homicide rate is 10 per 100,000 people. Yet in the U.S. where guns are not very restricted, the homicide rate is 3.2 per 100,000.

She states that gun makers benefit the most from the NRA. That would be like saying abortion clinics benefit the most from the pro-choice lobby.

So whether you approve of these rights or not, without a way to exercise them you have no right! As to why our county commissioners would want to be "Friends of the NRA," it is because that money goes to train kids in gun safety, something that Linda Dyer claims she is for!

— Jill Coleman

Colorado Springs

Distracted by gun love

An open letter to County Commissioner Amy Lathen:

Guns, guns and more guns are not the solutions to our nation's gun-violence situations.

I know how much you and Sheriff Terry Maketa love guns, and guns rule your governing of this county. You love the NRA and anything remotely favorable to, for, toward, and involving guns.

But, you do not represent every person's views.

There are many (myself included) who are sick and tired of the bully tactics that Maketa and others like you try to espouse and push your gun-loving, "more guns, more glory" views on your constituents.

We have real problems in El Paso County. I drive over 20 miles, one way, weekdays from one end of it to another, and have since September. Despite the passing of the new taxes in November to ensure more patrolling by the sheriff's office, I have yet to see an increase in county patrols.

The sheriff has been busy being a highly/very public figure for his pro-gun stance — at the cost of doing his job, which is to serve, protect, enforce laws, and provide a sense of security for all citizens.

I am a highly intelligent person and I understand and know many of the problems that face the citizens here. We have a huge problem with substance abuse, and our area's suicide rate (with both younger and older citizens) is an absolute crime — because you, and our other area "leaders" continue to put your heads in the sand about these issues and get some quick publicity — locally, regionally, and even nationally for issues that matter to only you (and Maketa).

Deal with the real, hardcore issues/matters/problems that this area faces, and get your face out of the press.

— Addy M. Hansen

Colorado Springs

Punishing James Holmes

After snuffing out 12 innocent lives and injuring 60 others, James Holmes is trying to negotiate a life sentence of medical care, food, shelter, heat, TV, gym and library for pleading guilty. Sounds like a career move! I might give him life in solitary confinement.

What bargaining power does he have? If he's able to determine what is best for him in this instance, then he is mentally competent to face a court setting. And hopefully the jury will see that this animal deserves no mercy and no consideration.

James Holmes deserves to be executed like Timothy James McVeigh was. And if there is a God, may he subject Mr. Holmes to the sum total of all the pain and trauma which Holmes subjected all of his victims to.

— Joseph Dupont

Towanda, Pa.

 

Bullet buy

Shazam! So Jim Hightower is just now finding out a department of the federal government is buying 1.6 billion bullets and it's not the Department of Defense ("DHS is bullish on bullets," LowDown, March 27)? He actually uncovered the Department of Homeland Security in this little procurement? Who knew?

Well, if he had been paying attention, this little bullet-buying extravaganza has been going on for some time now. Couple this unusually high demand with the president's newfound voice on controlling guns and ammo, and we the people have been waiting in long lines since Newtown to get, if we're lucky, a box of bullets anywhere, anyplace.

The recently awakened Hightower might also have considered why DHS needs all these rounds, especially considering that many of their employees, all those airport security agents, are unarmed. If they happen to catch you lugging your Desert Eagle through one of those checkpoints, they have to call in a badged officer with jurisdiction in the airport.

And digging further, Mr. Hightower could have found coupled to the big bullet buy a DHS request for a quote for 7,000 5.56x45mm North Atlantic Treaty Organization personal defense weapons. (This is solicitation HSCEMS-12-R-00011, entered June 7, 2012.) These PDWs look suspiciously like your garden-variety AR-15 rifle, always called by Dianne Feinstein and perhaps Mr. Hightower, an assault weapon.

DHS further notes in their RFQ that the rifle is to be fully automatic, 20- and 30-round magazines are required, and that this personal protection weapon is "suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required."

Well Mr. Hightower, welcome to the Save the Second Amendment party. The next thing we'll hear is you shilling for the latest conspiracy theory with Glenn Beck.

— Joseph C. Hunter

Colorado Springs

A pro-Earth sickness?

Regarding the letter from Lorena Townsend to the Independent ("Peggy, please," Letters, April 3), I was able to make a diagnosis that she is suffering from Acute Environmental Whackoitis (AEW). The disease was first diagnosed by Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s.

The first case of AEW was found in Dr. James Hansen, a government scientist at NASA. The first symptoms were reported when Dr. Hansen testified in 1988 in the U.S. Senate that at a minimum, the USA had very little time to do something about global warming; otherwise, we were all doomed. Gore has gone on to make millions by spreading inconvenient half-truths.

From that humble beginning, the disease has spread like wildfire across college campuses, particularly among ecology majors who graduate by the thousands without any jobs to go to — unless you work for the EPA or a Private Environmental Whacko (PEW) organization. Lawsuits filed by PEWs are costing American consumers millions and delaying important projects like Keystone Pipeline that could create good-paying jobs.

Thanks to people like Ms. Townsend, many good-paying jobs in Colorado will be delayed. History shows that, after being used for over 30 years, fracking is perfectly safe technology, and AEW is destroying job and energy sources.

— Sam Taylor

Colorado Springs

Masters of jazz

Thanks for your lists of places to go and things to do in the Pikes Peak region (InSider insert, April 3). Your coverage of the music scene left out one of the best, but least known, of all.

I'm talking about the Colorado Springs Contemporary Jazz Big Band performance every Wednesday evening at the Thirsty Parrot (corner of Tejon Street and Colorado Avenue). It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and features some of the best musicians in the country, a few of whom come from as far away as Greeley and Pueblo. And it's free!

— Jack Frost

Colorado Springs

Tax happy

Tax preparation is really simple. You just select your filing status and exemptions, then enter your wages and 18 other possible sources of reportable income, 14 possible adjustments to your income, and don't forget the 47 strange questions on Schedule C if you have any sort of business, the 22 strange questions on Schedule D if you've invested, and the 43 strange questions on Schedule E if you have something or other else going, because these will change what you owe, especially if you attach other forms which explain those forms; then check the tax tables to see what you owe minus about 20 possible tax credits, minus any or all of seven or so different kinds of tax payments or credits, then compare that to what has been withheld. Don't worry. Be happy.

— Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

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