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Equal rights, equal responsibility

To the Editor:

I commend you for printing the article, "It's Your Turn, Dick," regarding the future of male birth control pills (May 18).

I have always wondered why, in a world where men have traditionally been responsible for leading government, military and corporations, that our perception and attitude regarding their ability to be responsible enough to swallow a damn pill every day eludes us. Worse yet, we as a society accept that. We spend millions of dollars and allocate funding for baldness, erectile disfunction and a variety of other "problems," but to fund research on male birth control options becomes an issue no one is willing to touch.

How can we as a nation justify not pursuing this as an option to partner with existing female birth control when there are millions of abortions each year in our country, children born who must rely on Uncle Sam because their fathers opt not to be responsible or accountable for their own offspring? And I don't mean just financially, I mean emotionally as well.

As a young woman who experienced an unplanned pregnancy and made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate my unborn child, it became quite obvious to me how far we have yet to travel down the road of reproductive responsibility and rights. Being handed a hundred dollars and being driven to the clinic by the father of my unborn child or face the rest of my life trying to make ends meet, and providing financially and emotionally for my child on my own, is not my idea of an ideal outcome from equality in reproductive responsbilities. Even if you don't want to hear it, female birth control pills have a one percent failure rate and emergency birth control only works 76 to 99 percent of the time. Maybe those figures sounds "good enough" to the general population, but for the other 1 to 24 percent of us who are in the failure category, it is a devastating statistic.

I am thankful for my legally protected right to choose the outcome of an unplanned pregnancy. However, in healing from my loss, I pray to God for a future where reproductive rights and responsibilities are shared willingly by both genders, children are not born when unplanned or unwanted, no woman or partner has to experience the tragic loss from an abortion, and that our future includes children viewed as the gifts that they truly are.

-- Anonymous, Over the Internet

Colorado Springs

Torture's intolerable

To the Editor:

My thanks to Cara DeGette for, once again, highlighting the continuing use of torture by County Sheriff John Anderson and his underlings (Public Eye, May 25). It is indeed a waste of time for our Congresspersons to debate whether or not to turn a blind eye on China's abuses of its people, while turning an even blinder eye on the very same abuses of human rights right here in River City.

Chemical, electric and positional ("restraint") torture are completely unacceptable, under any circumstances, and Amnesty International is quite right to cite El Paso County (among others) for these criminal practices. Unfortunately, all we can realistically expect from the current sheriff is more blithe excuse-making and no real change.

That being the case, I repeat here my usual admonition: The debate may rage on in the press (and many sincere thanks to those reporters who do their part!), but as long as Republicans and Democrats continue to be elected to positions like County Sheriff, these abuses will continue. They will end when, and, in all likelihood, only when, a Libertarian is elected to this position (or to enough legislative positions to force the change from the top). Do it before your son, your husband, or your wife or daughter becomes the next non-convicted person to die "accidentally" at these people's hands.

-- Patrick L. Lilly

Colorado Springs

Like everything else, Microsoft's not perfect

To the Editor:

"It's painfully predictable. Most users seem so brainwashed by an operating system that they'll defend it at all costs" ("Twice Bitten," Silicon Lounge, May 25).

Hmmmm. This should read: "It's painfully predictable. Most users that don't understand what an operating system is will defend their ignorance at all costs."

Donna Ladd's position implies that Microsoft purposefully designed security holes into "that Windows dud." These "holes" were found by individuals who derive their raison d'tre from digging into an operating system and making a name for it, and were found out because of these debatably illegal actions. Microsoft's response to attachments was more of a PR response, not a technical one, to appease the masses.

Why does everything in our society have to be 100 percent absolutely foolproof, have warning labels all over, and every act of God be warrantied? Why does the responsibility for the actions and ignorance of individuals have to be foisted upon the products that they do not know how to use properly?

Every day last summer, I was yelled at by yet another irate person because they failed to install a surge protector on the phone line, and had a lightning strike blow up their computer through the modem. It's our fault because nobody told them that they needed one, but they never took the time to research the subject or educate themselves on the dangers of lightning to computers.

Millions of users are duped into believing that someone is sending them a love letter, and it's Microsoft's fault for someone devising a worm to exploit a "hole" for a purpose that it was not designed for? We Black folks as a society are producing more basketball players than Urkels, and it's Apple's fault that they don't hire enough minorities.

So what other options does the average user have? Linux? Unix? Be? Solaris?

I say let them go for it. They'd actually have to go to school to use them, let alone understand them.

To be quite honest, I'd enjoy Ms. Ladd's column if it ever had a shred of true technical correctness instead of following whatever "tech buzz" that's being portrayed by the media.

-- Bland Rocker

Colorado Springs

Harrison District's problem a "board problem"

To the Editor:

I was more than a little disappointed with the recent article that Cara DeGette created in the the Independent about Harrison School District 2 ("Out of School," May 25).

As my wife teaches in the district, I have been familiar with the conduct and educational programs of Harrison School District over the past 30 years. Specifically, I have admired Harrison's comitment to goal setting, assessments and staff development. They are admired throughout our region for providing an excellent educational program for their students, often coming up with reform ideas and ways to improve instruction that are copied by other districts. It is also worth mentioning that their superintendent, Cliff Brookhart is highly respected in our community by many.

It is too bad that a district with an obvious board problem ("boys against the girls" -- give me a break!) is seen as an opportunity to bash education. The article had little substance and yet it probably demoralized an awful lot of committed teachers and administrators. Good going, Cara. I'd kind of like to know what really motivated that story.

-- David R. Fussell

Colorado Springs

Harrison District 2 failed to keep promises

To the Editor:

I was an English teacher at Sierra High School and currently work for a software company. I wanted to write and say "thank you" for exposing the mismanagement of District 2 funds. It has been a long-held belief that funds were misappropriated, yet internal questions about this were always met with stern stares and hints to keep quiet.

An example of this is during October Count (when the state counts the number of students in the school). We were well over 100 students above our projections and heard similar statistics for other schools in the district. According to the state, Sierra alone should have received $400,000 above the intended budget. Yet, every year we were required to cut teacher positions. Students read from books that are ten years old or cannot take books home because of having too few for a 34-student class (the average class size).

Look at the teacher turnover rate at Sierra. It is not because of the students or community but the problems caused by former principal Dean and District 2's Board of Education. They never followed through on promises made to students or staff and, consequently, lost the respect of the community, students and staff.

The students and faculty of Sierra, to this day, are some of my greatest friends and I have nothing but fond memories of my times there. The kids are truly wonderful, yet we never had the support of the District or our principal.

I hope that you fully expose what is happening at Sierra and the District as a whole. The community, students, and staff deserve much, much better than what they have received in the past years.

-- Brad Newell

Colorado Springs

Red Rock regional park?

To the Editor:

This is a test. ... This is a test. ...

The situation in Manitou Springs concerning the town, the owner and the developer ("The real costs of developing Red Rock Canyon," May 25) is not a battle but a test of the true grit of the people in the Pikes Peak region and El Paso County.

We are organized (not divided) into city, towns, unincorporated rural areas and national forest (as shown on a 1997 map of the county, available for $1 from the Planning Department, El Paso County Office Building, 27 E. Vermijo, 5th floor). Did you know that Colorado City, founded in 1859, played a major part in the early development of the land even after it was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917?

Saving Red Rock Canyon was begun several years ago and could be accomplished by a three-pronged effort on the part of the residents (three different petitions) in Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs and the rural parts of El Paso County. Could it not become a regional park?

Let's get moving!

-- Kay Arnold

West Side activist

Colorado Springs

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