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Dylann Roof's teachers, Bernie Sanders' chances, and more



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Complicit confederates

I wept this morning as I read of events the previous night in Charleston. And now young Mr. Roof has been captured, and we are seeing photos of him sporting the predictable white-supremacist insignia and paraphernalia.

He will certainly stand trial. But I want to know: Who taught him to believe that members of a certain group are justifiable targets of an irrational rage? Who taught him that a gun and a pocketful of bullets can ever resolve anything? When he stands trial, who will stand next to him and say, "I taught him such things that he came to feel justified in this mad act"? How many of our proud Confederate flag flyers will own up to their part? How many of our proud and patriotic Second Amendment lunatics will stand with him and own up to their responsibility?

Come on, patriots. Do your patriotic duty and stand up with Dylann Roof. I want to see you face-to-face: the proud parents of your own 21st-century Frankenstein's monster.

— John Birkhead

Colorado Springs

Pueblo's radical idea

In 1971, my family was living in El Centro, California, where my husband was stationed at the Naval Air Facility. I was a member of "The Citizens for Agriculture," a group formed to protect both growers and legal green-card field workers against the threats to their lives and families from the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee.

Legal green-card field workers were coerced into joining the union. Union membership would mean a loss of income to field workers and growers. Cesar Chavez's philosophy was either "join the union or suffer the consequences." Chavez was a man who had been indoctrinated by Saul Alinsky, who wrote Rules for Radicals.

Green-carders worked in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit to provide for their families and at risk of dying from heat stroke. During the grape boycott by Chavez, our group went to buy grapes and wine at the local grocers, in defiance of union threats, where we were physically roughed up by Chavez's union goons.

I recently learned that Pueblo has plans to honor Chavez by naming a road after him. While our nation sends husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters abroad to fight terrorism, why would a city in America honor a terrorist?

— Margaret Henkens

Colorado Springs

Tongue, meet cheek

I found Tom Tomorrow's cartoon of July 17 to be insightful, except that he left out a third incident that follows shortly after those he reports.

The third indefensible event was when an African-American policeman shot a white prison escapee who also had a record much like those African-Americans that the white policemen shot. What a dilemma; what are we to do?

— Dan Goor

Colorado Springs

Sounds good

This is in reply to Ed Herlik and "That sound of freedom" letter in the June 17 edition of the Indy.

First, thanks to great men like Bill Andrews, Ed Herlik and thousands of others like them who serve and have served this country in the military. You are what has kept us free.

Ed's point, that the training the Air Force Academy cadets get in flying is most valuable and allows them to defend this country, is right on. I too have the small AFA planes over my house all the time, and it doesn't bother me one bit to hear their engines pass by. I say thank God that we have young ones who want to serve in the military instead of the ones who are wasting their lives and toking up on marijuana to get high.

Our military is top-notch, and I thank every one of them who has chosen to serve. Like Ed, I too smile when AFA cadets and the Thunderbirds and others fly over my property. I call it the sweet sound of freedom!

— Helen Sabin

Colorado Springs

Loving the long shot

Gandhi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." He might have been talking about Bernie Sanders' run for president.

Bernie has attracted massive crowds, much more than any other candidates. In a straw poll at the Wisconsin state Democratic Party convention, Clinton got 49 percent and Sanders got 41 percent. The corporate media dismisses him because he is a democratic socialist but his positions are shared by strong majorities of Americans, as Juan Cole has pointed out. Yes, he is a "radical" but in the original sense of the word ("going to the root of society's problems").

He is the only major-party candidate to come out for free college tuition, a ban on fracking, single-payer Medicare for All, a $5.5 billion proposal to employ 1 million young people and a bill to support co-ops and worker-owned businesses. He is a leading opponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership. He supports legislation to make it easier to join a union. He supports paid family leave, pay equity and genuine progressive tax reform.

As Bernie says, "We must stand up and fight back. We must launch a political revolution that engages millions of Americans from all walks of life in the struggle for real change. This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class."

Vote in the Democratic Party caucuses for Bernie in March. If you aren't registered as a Dem, please do it as soon as possible.

Hey! Sometimes long shots win!

— Dave Anderson


'I will do better'

In line with paragraph 8 of Pope Francis' recent gift (, I would like to acknowledge my contributions to the disfigurement and destruction of Creation. When I drive I pollute your air, as does using most forms of energy. I design things for others knowing their project will pollute our air and probably have other implications for ecosystems.

Once as a teenager I changed my oil without a pan. Since then I've disposed of it properly only to have someone else burn it into our air. I'm an accomplice in destruction of God's first gift to us.

Nothing has benefitted humanity more, and degraded our natural world more, than our energy choices. This weighs on me more than most people, perhaps because I am aware, whereas others are simply naive, and too many aware yet greedy.

I'm getting better. My food choices have less environmental impact than the conventional fuel- and chemical-intensive methods of big farms. And I get a bonus in that the better food for us humans is also better for the environment.

I upgraded my car from 30 mpg to 50. Yet, last year I trashed 420,000 cubic feet of air. My electric use of 300 kWhr per month might have poisoned 720,000 cubic feet of air last year if I weren't paying a fair price for wind power. My house is efficient but still too big. My trash hauler only needs to come once a quarter.

I don't jet around much, and I've planted hundreds of trees, yet my contribution to environmental degradation is far from zero and I have stolen some "intergenerational equity" from your children by having lessened the natural capital available to them. I am sorry. I will do better.

— Scott Harvey, P.E.

Colorado Springs

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