I lived in Tucson for over 40 years, raising three daughters before moving here in 2004.
I can tell you the people in Tucson are no better or worse than here in Colorado Springs.
What I can also tell you is this: There is poison there, here, and across the whole United States. That poison is what we are hearing, reading and seeing every day.
The poison comes from people like Sarah Palin (targeting Democrats in her "crosshairs"), Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann — all making millions of dollars spewing their hatred, bigotry and deception.
Who are the victims? Nine-year-old Christina Green, an honor student who had an interest in politics. And yes, every American who believes in the goodness this country has to offer.
We do not need any foreign terrorists here, thank you, we have our own. Save your suicide bombers. We are self-destructing on our own.
— Elaine Brush
Just stop it
Enough is enough! The horrific tragedy that happened in Tucson with the shooting of people at a political event, resulting in Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head and in critical condition, is a shame on our country.
The killing of six people, including a 9-year-old girl, and 14 injured should be a dire warning about hateful media rhetoric as well as political leaders and their followers who put opponents' districts in crosshairs and tout the Second Amendment in order to promote using guns to stop the other party's political agenda.
We must come out of this terrible mentality of growing violence. We must put an end to the hateful rhetoric and outrageous comments that promote uncivil and unlawful behavior. We must establish laws against inciting violence. This is not free speech. It's incitement, which is interpreted as encouraging or assisting crime and criminal behavior. Anyone who participates in incitement should be held accountable because they are an accessory to murder. Otherwise, where is democracy?
Right now, it's a fading dream. If we cannot feel safe in America, what does that say about us?
— Sharlene White
Example for gays
As I read Leonard Pitts' recent article in the Gazette, "Time for blacks to share their own harsh history," it occurred to me that it may be time for the gay community to do the same.
I can't help but think there were gay soldiers involved with the liberation of Jews from concentration camps. Gay people were incarcerated in those camps, as well. And those gay people were "liberated" from those concentration camps directly to jail.
Today, we have military leaders who believe that gays and lesbians should remain in their own "personal prisons" rather than serve openly in the military. This is in spite of support from the top military leadership in the country. But one of these military chiefs of staff will allow that maybe we could liberate these gay people in a "couple of years."
Amazingly, this individual, Gen. Norton Schwartz, is Jewish. How would he feel if it had been decided it would take a "couple of years" to absorb Jews back into society? How outraged would people have been (and today would be) if the decision had been to take Jews directly to jail, as they were not worthy of being in society?
I think the history of gays and lesbians needs to be known better, as well.
— Bill Mead
Don't label Skorman
As I analyzed Duane Slocum's analysis of Richard Skorman's qualifications for mayor ( Letters, Jan. 6), I concluded his opinions were conceived in personal politics, not from Skorman's exceptional experience in business and government. Slocum defines Skorman as a liberal, but I wouldn't expect any less from Slocum, easily identified as a conservative Republican. So, anyone not of the rigid political persuasion as he, must be a liberal.
No one as successful as Skorman has been in downtown Colorado Springs could be labeled a liberal. By the way, if you haven't been downtown lately and you want a damn good pizza, or a healthy, tasty sandwich, or as good a soup as you'll find, send your hunger to Richard's restaurant. If you're looking for a unique toy, buy it next door in his toy store. Take a few strides and you're in his cafe and wine bar, a haven for your taste buds, and meet a potpourri of Springs citizenry. Finally, next door is his bookstore with the latest editions, thousands of soft-covered books and other various and sundry items. So enjoy the Springs' best-kept secret: Skorman's Sanctuary. (Darned if I didn't digress.)
With this many businesses and employees for this long a time, you can bet Skorman has made thousands of hard decisions (a trait Slocum says a mayor needs).
I'm sure many of you know far more about his skills and attributes than I, but what I do know is enough for me to vote for him. So let the word go forth, spread the news that Colorado Springs urgently needs Richard Skorman for mayor.
Mayor Skorman. Hmmm, has a decisive sound, doesn't it? Of course it does, just admit it.
— Phil Kenny
Developers at work
I couldn't help noticing that the biggest "strong mayor" backers were mostly developers with seemingly bottomless pockets, pouring hundreds of thousands into a slick and relentless campaign. What's with that?
Now, some candidates for strong mayor seem to be still more developers, financing much of their campaigns with their own money. Puzzling, isn't it? The backers of "strong mayor" claimed they put huge chunks of their cash into it because of their concern and commitment to the "community."
It's been my experience that developers have not typically been noted for their largesse or magnanimity. They seem to be acquisitive folks, driven by fierce profit motives.
My friend Squint says the strong-mayor movement is simply a slick power move led by developers to take over city government with even more control.
They got the city to back the (recently bankrupt) Banning-Lewis Ranch annexation years ago, and needed the multibillion-dollar SDS (Southern Delivery System, aka Supreme Developer Scam) to provide water for developments across the region.
Now, Squint says, the city is legally on the hook for it. Utilities must now increase water fees over coming years. Notice that Utilities is a monopoly. You cannot get out of it if you want to shower or flush. Get ready, here come the bills, and the developers are giddy, Squint says.
Squint says the strong mayor, if he or she is a big-business person or developer, can be expected to back all kinds of pro-business concessions and giveaways. Anything for a profit, he says, with the citizens picking up the tab, again and again. Squint tells me a vote for any candidate backed by developers or big business is a vote for a greedy slickster, so we should vote for anyone else.
That Squint — he's always been such a suspicious bastard.
— Larimore Nicholl
To be desired
It must have been a slow news week for Ranger Rich. In his latest column ("The 84-year-old Playboy," Jan. 6), he does a number on Hugh Hefner. Why he chose to ridicule such a sad old man is a mystery. What next, Ranger Rich, a column on Oprah Winfrey?
— Don Smith
Who's the minority?
Tea partiers take notice; you do not speak for America or the majority of Americans or Coloradans, especially regarding health care reform and the legislation passed in Congress in the past session.
Let me repeat, you do not speak for Americans and Coloradans. In fact, Coloradans spoke on the issue on last November's ballot, where 53.07 percent turned down a constitutional amendment sponsored by the right-wing Independence Institute that stated "all persons should have the right of health care choice."
Additionally, the proposal noted that choice would overrule any law, whether it be state or federal, that required "individuals to buy insurance, join a health-care exchange or accept government-subsidized care." Amendment 63 even fared relatively poorly in Tea Party-laden El Paso County, where 40.31 percent voted no (a higher percentage — 39.86 — than those who voted for Obama in 2008!)
The Tea Party nationwide is working to overturn health-care reform, and I invite them to go ahead and stage some grandstanding symbolic legislative event. But they shouldn't expect Colorado to join them. We may be the state with the most Tea Party voters, but they lost both top-of-the-ticket races in November, including one to Sen. Michael Bennet who openly supported Obama's agenda.
So it appears very clear that progressives, liberals and centrist independents have more votes in Colorado and are not buying their reactionary radical agendas. So stop saying you speak for America. Say you speak for your selfish selves or merely a third of the electorate — but not the majority.
— Bob Nemanich
Middle East hope
Regarding Bill and Genie Durland's letter ("Right to resist," Dec. 30): Their letter comes from the ideology that the state of Israel has no legitimate right to exist or defend itself. Without reviewing the entire history of Jews and Israel since Adam and Eve, the facts negate those arguments.
Most land that Israel captured was taken during the June 1967 war. That war was started by the Arabs when Egypt kicked the United Nations observers out of Sinai on May 16 and blockaded the southern Israeli city of Eilat on May 22. In early 1967, Syria was attacking northern Israeli kibbutzes from the Golan Heights. Accompanying the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979, Israel gave the Sinai to the Egyptians, most of the land taken in the 1967 war. Israel now seeks a lasting peace with establishment of a Palestinian state in territories taken in the 1967 war.
The Durlands' equation of the Palestinians to victims of the Holocaust is part of a disturbing trend to trivialize and even deny the Holocaust. The underlying intent is to vilify and delegitimize the Jewish state and the Jewish people's history. This will not be the basis for a Palestinian state and a lasting peace in the Middle East.
All parties in this complex region have grievances and issues. Both Israel's ruling coalition and the Palestinian Authority face internal, political pressures that add difficulties to the peace process. But there is reason to hope. Israeli and West Bank leadership have committed to a two-state solution, recognizing Israel's right to exist and a Palestinian state in the territories Israel still holds from the 1967 war.
On Jan. 2, Israel committed to nonstop talks until reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians can get the West Bank by returning to direct negotiations with Israel.
— Sari S. Escovitz
Time for noise
Not all Muslims are terrorists, but it does feel like most terrorists are Muslims.
The best solution for the insanity of terrorism lies with the Muslim community. They need to stand up for reason and peace, and for themselves and their religion, and become a louder and more active part of the solution. Good Muslims need to start making a lot more noise than the bad ones are.
The same applies to Catholics and evangelists. Not all priests are pedophiles, and not all evangelists are money-grubbing charlatans, but the bad ones make most of the noise and get all the attention while the good ones go quietly about their business.
The faithful need to start representin'. It's their problem to fix; the rest of us are just victims. Bring on da noise. Da good noise.
— Steve Suhre
In response to "Grasping for hope" (Letters, Dec. 30), the writer in her last sentence touched on the very heart of the matter: The stigma of mental illness has assigned, and still assigns, valuable, gifted, contributing members of our community with mental illness to the shadows and fringes of society, further perpetuating an erroneous stereotype. As a result, few of us "shadow people" venture out of these confines because by doing so, we often risk more than what we stand to gain.
The writer is absolutely right when she states that the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Colorado Springs cannot meet everyone's needs. We need much, much more, and losing the St. Francis Behavioral Health Inpatient Program poses a serious loss to the city.
Although not a replacement for medical help, DBSA Colorado Springs is still offering support groups for people diagnosed with depressive illnesses: 10 specialized groups for people with mood disorders. At present over 150 people attend any one of these groups every week.
Without a doubt, the majority of people who attend DBSA support groups have additional diagnosed illnesses, and disorders, and accompanying issues as well. The fact that DBSA Colorado Springs is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization with no paid staff, with all its programs offered free of charge, is commendable enough. Even more so is the fact that it is consumer-run, meaning that this organization is made up of the very people it serves. No one understands better the need to have more specialized groups than we do, and we know there are shortfalls. Yet, our strength and ability to expand and enhance our programs depends on those who believe in our cause.
In closing I thank you, dear writer, for the important message you so well conveyed in your letter.
— Karen Fallahi, president
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Colorado Springs
Editor's note: This letter first ran as a longer online posting in response to an anonymous letter in the Dec. 30 Indy.