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I am writing to debunk an argument used sometimes against the use of federal tax dollars to provide adequate female health care, such as contraceptive care and abortion, and social justice, such as the right to adopt by non-traditional couples.
These people argue that using tax dollars for such purposes that violate their religious and moral beliefs is an overreach of government, an infringement on religious freedom. "The government is using my money in ways that I find religiously and morally objectionable, against my will."
This line of thinking commits equivocation, which is the shift in the meaning of a key term, "my money," to create confusion and mislead to an irrelevant conclusion.
One use of this term is my personal money, which I have in my pocket or bank account. It is true that forcing people to use their personal money in a way that violates their conscience would be a serious injustice to them.
The argument then shifts to a collective sense of "my money." We as taxpayers belong to a group, and the tax dollars belong to all of us collectively. It is no longer personal money, because no specific expenditure can be traced to a specific person who paid taxes. If you argue that your personal money paid for this abortion, I could just as futilely argue that it was my personal dollars.
To argue that using tax dollars for legal and constitutional expenditures violates anyone's personal rights or freedom simply does not follow. To accept the principle that an individual's personal belief and value system can restrict the government's use of tax dollars would disrupt society and create chaos.
Religious freedom and civil freedom are different things, and they are compatible if tolerance can replace bigotry.
— John Palan
Don't blame the gun
I read with interest City Sage by John Hazlehurst ("The golden age of guns," April 17). As do many others, John tries to put the blame on inanimate objects for death and destruction. A car or a gun sits dormant until put to use by a person. Neither cars nor guns make a decision to go on an uncontrolled rampage. The blame belongs to the owner.
I would like to know his statistics on vehicle accidents during the '50s, '60s and '70s involving the cars stated: L-88 Corvettes, GT-500 Mustangs, Plymouth Superbirds and the other muscle cars of the era. I believe he would find that the large percentage of vehicle deaths were not due to this category of cars, that the majority were killed in accidents involving everyday, ordinary plain Jane cars.
I also don't understand how the NRA could be a descendant of the NHRA. The NRA began 80 years before the formation of the NHRA. John should also research the NRA program for all the training and safety courses conducted every year by NRA-certified instructors, from military, law enforcement, hunter education and the "Eddie Eagle" programs.
I wonder if John has attended a hunter education class or a basic handgun safety course or talked to the people there. He might learn something and come to realize it is not the metal and plastic tool, but the person responsible for its use.
— Tom Leeman
The 2.7 percent
This is a response to the letter "Self-defense argument" by Elaine Brush (April 24).
Let's start with the DoJ's crime survey showing that 2.7 percent of firearms homicides were justifiable.
The fact that criminals use guns is not a reasonable argument to curb my right to defend myself and my family with the best tools available for that job. The fact of the matter is that those 2.7 percent are most likely very glad that they had a firearm or they might have become homicide statistics themselves.
Once again, I reject your reasoning. Better 10 guilty people go free than one innocent goes to jail. It's the same here — guns are used in violent scenarios, we know this — however that does not give anyone the right to take away those tools from people like myself, even if self-defense is the minority of cases.
I can apply the same argument to your next criticism: "In another twist on the self-defense argument, the NRA likes to claim that women in particular need guns to guard against bullies and rapists. But crime statistics ... indicate that only about 10 percent of those who shoot people in self defense are women."
So you're saying that you'd be willing to let those 10 percent go defenseless? That's seriously disturbing. Most of the women in my life choose to carry for their own protection and I applaud them for it.
And finally I respond to this: "Don't let your love of guns, and the lies the NRA brainwashes you with, confuse you with actual facts."
With this: "Don't let your hatred of guns and the lies that the liberal left tries to shove down your throat confuse you into believing that people don't have a right to self-defense."
— Anthony Garcia
Safe and secure
I'm a veteran and gun owner, and I'm embarrassed by the vendetta pursued by a small but vocal group of gun rights activists. A former law enforcement officer, including time as the police chief for the City of Fountain, Sen. John Morse understands the realities of public safety, and has the courage to make tough decisions.
I want to offer a thought to those provoking hysteria under the guise of "protecting" Second Amendment rights: Gun owners have a duty to be part of the solution.
People think "gun control" means opposition to guns. More accurate is the understanding that we must limit the situations in which people can use guns, limit who can access them, and limit the types available.
Should a child be able to carry a firearm? A known mentally handicapped person? A felon convicted of a violent crime? If you want to limit the use of guns by people like this, then you support "gun control." Even conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that there are "undoubtedly" limits to a person's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
More to ponder for the single-issue voters seeking revenge for votes they don't agree with:
• There are still thousands of guns to buy.
• Most voters believe in sensible legislation, to include extensive background checks.
• Recalls exist so we can remove corrupt legislators, not because we disagree with a vote.
• Your irrational beliefs will force all of us to foot the bill for an expensive taxpayer-funded recall election.
This mindset is truly selfish and inconsistent with the Constitution I swore to defend while I was in the military. It's time for gun advocates to place the welfare of the country first.
We can preserve the Second Amendment and keep people safe.
— Rev. Renee L. Ten Eyck
Morse and SB 252
Colorado Springs residents should be proud of Sen. John Morse. He has taken a stand to support economic growth in Colorado in the face of strong headwinds. His support of SB 252 will extend our clean-energy electricity standard so that it better serves rural communities.
Our renewable energy standard was established in 2004 by the voters and has been supported and increased by a majority of our Colorado state legislators from both parties during several sessions. It has provided the basis for nearly 10,000 jobs in the state, attracted a number of large and small manufacturing, construction and installation business operations to be located here, and has provided diversity to our economic portfolio. His support of this bill to expand the opportunities for renewable energy in rural areas served by electricity cooperatives will bring these benefits to our farm and ranch communities across the state.
He faces opposition from those who are afraid of the change in regulations necessary to give these new opportunities equal footing in the competitive energy marketplace. As a 30-year resident of Colorado Springs, I support his efforts to move us forward. Please support John Morse and those joining in this effort to pass SB 252.
— Lisa Tormoen Hickey
Stop the anger
In "Too much bigotry," (Letters, April 10) Michael McMahon states that "Colorado Springs has become one of the most extreme right-wing Christian cities in this country." If my math is right you have lived here 34 years. Why didn't you leave earlier? You are now leaving when we have a Democratic House and Senate and governor.
McMahon states, "Colorado Springs has a stench of bigotry and hatred that has been suffocating me and my family since Lionel Rivera took office." We have gay parades here every year. The trouble is that both sides who have different opinions on this subject should let the attacks stop and go on without anger toward each other.
Neither side can solve it except by realizing you're in America and we have the right to live our lives in freedom. In other words stop the hatred and go through life with less bitterness.
— Rodney Hammond
A people's budget
In this season of debates about the deficit, we can expect to see an onslaught of "objective," "both sides do it" editorials implying that "entitlement reform" is an essential part of any grand bargain, and that any solution that doesn't include it is not serious.
The term "entitlement reform" would make Orwell proud. How about a more descriptive term: raiding the retirement funds of American workers to pay for illegal wars, unregulated banks and untaxed corporations.
The Social Security fund has been financed by a regressive tax paid by working Americans. The amount of financial duress the fund is now experiencing has been exaggerated by Wall Street shills who want to get their hands on that money.
No income over $110,000 is taxed to contribute to the fund. There is a very easy fix to the Social Security problem: Raise the payroll tax ceiling. Instead, we get bromides about how we all have to sacrifice and compromise, and nothing about making the people who created the deficit problem pay something to solve it.
There is more than enough income inequality in this land. We don't really need to shift more income to the 1 percent.
The deficit problem is far from insurmountable, in spite of what the "very serious people" are saying. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has put together a budget proposal that addresses this problem in an effective and just manner.
As far as the mainstream media goes, this budget doesn't exist. There has been almost nothing written about it. I guess people might like it too much. It seems we don't deserve a true debate with all options on the table.
— Steve Milligan
Recently, Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young used the ethnic slur "wetbacks" to describe individuals that worked on the family farm of his youth.
Young first brushed off the comment as something that used to be acceptable ("I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California"). But "wetback" was considered offensive and just as derogatory back in the "good old days."
Do Republicans really assume Hispanics are so stupid to think they actually care about them now that the GOP suddenly wants to explore immigration reform? It's not about immigration reform. It's about: Do you really care and give a damn about all Americans?
Stop pretending to value inclusion by having token Hispanic speakers at your national conventions address the audience in Spanish, but then have a party platform that calls for the U.S. to be an "English-only" society. Stop pretending that you're looking to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party because there's a sharing of values, but then endorse the kind of racial profiling used by police in Arizona and Alabama. Stop pretending that you care about kids and their future, but then be against the Dream Act.
Stop pretending to support the spread of democracy, but then push rigid voter identification laws that hinder participation and disenfranchise poor and minority citizens. Stop pretending that all are equal in the U.S., but then have a party platform that looks upon gay and lesbian Americans as second-class citizens.
I am not a Democrat, and I don't have any skin in this immigration game. What I do have is contempt for the appalling hypocrisy and animus sown by Republicans that contributes to vile partisanship and loathsome racial tension.
— Elfego Gomez III
It's time to address a serious problem in Colorado. There is a growing number of people who I like to call leftists, elitists and takers. Their numbers are much closer to the 99 percent than the 1 percent. This "occupy" movement has created such a bottleneck that it has nearly halted honest movement throughout the state and, of course, the media has given it no coverage.
The outrageous issue of which I speak is the steadfast occupation of the left lane on Colorado's highways.
I frequently drive to Denver for work. The number of people camped out in the left lane is agonizing. Despite numerous signs instructing people to "Keep Right Except to Pass" or "Slower Traffic Use Right Lane," many drivers seem to think it is their right as a Colorado taxpayer to take whichever lane they please.
I commonly see a line of cars waiting for a "leftist" to move out of the way. Not only is it inconvenient, but it is unsafe. Too many cars bunch up in the one lane instead of spreading out over all the lanes. Meanwhile, aggressive drivers end up passing on the right.
If you're one of these drivers, please be considerate. Follow the signs and use the right lane except to pass. You're not so elite that you can ignore traffic laws. Unless you have flashing lights and a siren on your vehicle, you're not entitled to anything on the roads. Make a reasonable effort to get out of the way of somebody who wishes to pass you. You're taking precious time from others.
Please know that I'm not encouraging you to go faster. I'm just saying lead, follow, or get out of the way.
— Jonathan Berry