G is for gun
I am perplexed and amused by the Gazette being against gun-free zones. Growing up in my parents' home, my father did not allow guns in our home. The reason was some family member might be "short a full deck of cards."
There are lots of people in that category in the United States, and I assume one or more might be employed at the Gazette. If all Gazette employees "pack heat," I expect one day they will get to make use of their gun-zone policy. The Gazette's view on this is encouraging me to buy some firearms; then I might be a potential Gazette employee.
I am so saddened by the recent shootings at Northern Illinois University. The shootings were horrific and it breaks my heart. Yet I am equally saddened by the lack of coverage and concern from the media. Are school shootings now so common that they do not merit more coverage?
I remember how we as a nation reached out to Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. Yet I did not experience our nation reaching out to Northern Illinois in the same manner or degree. I hope we have not become so callous to these things that they no longer affect us.
God forbid, but if there is another school shooting, will we even care?
Fr. Bill Carmody
Not so blue
Geez, lighten up on dissing the local Democratic Party, you guys! Two articles in the Feb. 14 edition ("Your caucus pick did matter ... um, right?" News, and "Count every vote, please," Between the Lines) bemoaned the fact local Democrats still had uncounted precincts from Super Tuesday and expressed negativity bordering on hostility for an organization that is 99.9 percent voluntary. (The local party has one part-time paid position.)
Let it be known that the local party gets no financial support from the state or national party. So, when you compare the local party with other elections staffed by trained, paid individuals, please remember the hundreds of hours that dedicated El Paso County party volunteers have put in to further the enormous change we've witnessed here in just a few short years.
In 2006, the caucus location I managed had 12 people show up from 20 precincts. (I live in Briargate.) This year, over 400 people showed up. Yes, there were untrained people leading their precinct caucuses; and yes, you bet, it was chaotic. But this is the good kind of chaos to have, because it shows just how far we've come in such a brief time.
At long last, even the North End is becoming a multi-party system, slowly but surely. Much of this progress is the result of the efforts of party chair John Morris, whom you ridiculed in both articles with blatant implications of unacceptable disorganization. I recommend, for the articles in which you opt to blend opinions with facts, that you keep in mind how closeted and/or alone we El Paso County Democrats felt just a short time ago, and how excited and filled with hope we are today.
Candidate, House District 20
I absolutely cannot understand why our congressman, Doug Lamborn, has chosen to spurn the flood of calls and letters from local individuals and groups regarding Browns Canyon. Literally thousands of messages have been sent to his attention on this subject. Sent and ignored, sent and not even acknowledged.
If there is some logical explanation behind his action (or inaction), none has been received from his office. Regardless of differences of opinions, there can be no excuse for such indifference toward the public. Such indifference and lack of communication toward a constituency seems to be a risky path to follow.
Colorado's 5th District voters deserve better from their representative.
We moved to Colorado Springs two years ago from the Midwest, thinking Colorado would be America's most progressive, environmentally friendly state. This environment does not exist anywhere else in the world. Call me an ignorant optimist, but I felt Colorado would welcome those different from those born here. I expected this state to be tolerant, open-minded. I thought it would be a role model.
Now we realize Colorado is more torn and unaccepting than any state we have ever lived in. Also, a very shocking realization: a state with this environment doesn't recycle without an expensive cost (it's legally binding in every state where we have lived). The last thing we wanted was a state so torn and divisive.
As two dedicated public school teachers, our duty is to offer the greatest open-minded, real-world, tolerant education for every student. We worry that children who are puppets of private education will not receive the same well-rounded, real-world, successful education.
I'm not the type who will jump ship and run away, but teachers who actually offer a well-rounded, tolerant, real-world education are being scared away by those who are closed-minded and stifling. We are scared away by a future that will not accept diverse Americans as they are.
Should we not embrace tolerance: political, religious and civil? Should we not embrace differences?
It's a scary future ahead of us. Colorado is very similar to early America that accepted those who were not born here. We have a lot of transplants, including myself. Many who live here are not natives. We need a more tolerant, all-accepting community of diverse individuals.
With this ideal, we will create a less violent, more accepting community. The choice is yours.
AWOL on eco
I was appalled to learn that John McCain was the only senator who three weeks ago chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote. Now I am even more appalled to learn this is a pattern with Sen. McCain.
On the League of Conservation Voters scorecard, he received a zero for missing the 15 most important environmental votes in 2007. McCain's score is lower than that of members of Congress who died last year.
McCain's LCV score exposes the real record behind the rhetoric: a lifetime pattern of voting with polluters and special interests and ducking the important votes.
Recently I returned from a visit to Europe. I attended the world-famous Carnival of Basel (German: Basler Fasnacht), the biggest carnival in Switzerland. Most carnival-goers were Swiss citizens, but many other nationalities came to party. Together they thronged the city streets. They pressed into the pubs. They numbered in the tens of thousands.
Everyone appeared in a festive, good-tempered mood. On public streets, the imbibing of alcohol was convivial and often encountered. Police were not to be seen, even though the carnival began in the deliberately darkened city. Everyone I observed behaved well and got along with each other, whether out and about or elbow-to-elbow in a tavern, with copious consumption of the local brew not withstanding.
With that experience freshly in mind, imagine my disappointment to learn of the shameful alcohol-related hooliganism, resulting in far too many calls for police service, adversely affecting a few downtown Colorado Springs nightspots.
America has one of the world's highest purchase ages, 21, for alcoholic beverages. In Switzerland, wine and beer can generally be purchased at 16 and spirits at 18.
In Colorado Springs, my home for over 20 years, police are now seemingly omnipresent. In much of Europe, where there is a strong sense of community, together with conscientious personal responsibility and a high standard of living, police presence is normally minimal.
No preachy admonition is necessary here. The already mentioned facts, coupled with my observations of self-disciplined Switzerland, convey their own ringing message.
John "Doc" Holiday
This letter is to bid a public, and reluctant, farewell to all the businesses located on or near Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs. Since the city government seems determined to go ahead with a plan to put up spy cameras in this area, which they say will be up in March, I will no longer be able to patronize any of you, as I, unlike so many in contemporary America, refuse to volunteer to be spied upon.
I am especially sad to have to quit doing business with the folks at Mountain Chalet, who have provided me with many pieces of equipment, and a good deal of valuable advice, for my mountain adventures over the years. I have continued to try to take as much business as possible downtown, in preference to the various malls, for 30 years, as the government has instituted one downtown-destroying policy after another. But there's nothing I can do about this one.
Sorry, guys! When, and if, the cameras ever go, I'll be back. Not until.
Patrick L. Lilly
Occupied Cheyenne Cañon
Mad about cows
Last week's recall of 143 million pounds of beef by the U.S. Department of Agriculture should provide a loud and clear wake-up call that federal inspection is not adequate to ensure a safe meat supply.
This largest meat recall in U.S. history was actually brought on by an animal rights organization's undercover video showing California slaughterhouse workers using kicks, electric shock, high-pressure water hoses and a forklift to force sick or injured animals onto the kill floor. USDA regulations prohibit sick animals from entering the food supply because of the high risk of contamination by E. coli, salmonella or "mad cow" disease.
About 37 million pounds of the recalled meat went to school lunch and other federal nutrition programs since October 2006, and "almost all of it is likely to have been consumed," according to a USDA official.
Parents must insist that the USDA stop using the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. The rest of us must learn to treat all meat, and particularly ground beef, as a hazardous substance to be consumed at one's own peril.