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Facts, not emotions

Dennis Apuan's letter urges us to consider more gun control ("Guns kill people," Letters, Aug. 1). The facts do not justify doing this.

I am referring to the research of Professor of Criminology Gary Kleck at Florida State University who is a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat, member of the ACLU and Common Cause and won a prestigious award for his research.

He started his research on gun control decades ago to prove we need more restrictions on firearms. He came away with the conclusion that gun control does not work and 3 million people a year use guns for self-defense. Some will not believe what I write, so I urge you to Google "Professor Kleck on gun control" and watch his video on the truth about the issue. We need the facts on the issue not the emotions Dennis Apuan wants us to use.

— Jill Coleman

Colorado Springs

Mixed messages

Congratulations to J. Adrian Stanley for her excellent article, "In a smoke-filled room." As Ms. Stanley points out, "They started smoking when their brain was still developing." In other words, young people are especially susceptible to suggestions from peers and in the media that smoking is "cool" or "hip." Once hooked on tobacco, they then find it difficult to quit, even when they know of the great dangers of smoking.

Ironically, in last week's Indy, on page 30, is an advertisement by the Indy itself, entitled, "So they call you a hipster," which defines "hipster" as including, among other things, "You only smoke Lucky Strikes." The ad, which suggests following the Indy on Facebook and Twitter, features an oh-so-cool-looking young male and attempts to define what is hip. ("So uncool, it's deck.") So, in other words, the Indy is suggesting (perhaps with tongue in cheek) that smoking is part of being a hipster.

What if even one impressionable young person takes this ad seriously and starts smoking to also be "hip?" There is, of course, as Ms. Stanley suggests in her article, nothing "hip" about becoming addicted to tobacco and nothing "deck" about dying of lung cancer or pulmonary disease.

I suggest that you start a series of advertisements, of at least the same size as the "hipster" ad, depicting the dangers of smoking and containing pictures of "hipsters" breathing from oxygen tubes.

I have great admiration for Ms. Stanley and assume that she simply did not see the contradiction between her article and the "hipster" ad.

I would like to see a response from her and from the person who wrote last week's ad.

— Tom Barnes

Colorado Springs

Note: Mr. Barnes is on to something, as the Independent's advertising/marketing operation runs completely separately from its editorial operation.

While we understand his concerns about impressionable young people, the Indy is a newspaper for adults that includes advertising for tobacco and alcohol products, medical marijuana and "adult" stores. The noted ad is a marketing piece "defining" a hipster, and neither supports nor opposes the use of tobacco any more that it supports or opposes an individual shopping at a "new" clothing store or a "used" clothing store.

Since tobacco is a legal substance in Colorado, we trust our readers to make informed decisions about their purchases and health. Mr. Barnes' healthy choice is evident, and we laud his decision. — Carrie Simison-Bitz, general manager

No extra credit

I, like many, watched as the recent fire scorched the city. I am happy there were many charitable people who were able to give aid to those who were evacuated, and that no more than two people lost their lives. However, let us give credit where credit is due.

I laughed when Terri Weber ("Grateful to be an American," Letters, July 11) boasted, "When a cop came to Chipotle for dinner, I offered the cashier money to cover his burrito." She claimed, "When Obama came ... the people were relieved. He brought humor, concern and the national light." "Local resources were not enough to save our city. You, my fellow taxpayers, paid for ... the extra boots on the ground. This is the big government that some people are wailing about. I am so tickled to have it ..." she bragged.

I laughed more when John [Leach] ("Saved by the feds," Letters, July 18) claimed, "It seems to me too few of the people ... acknowledge the majority role the federal government had in stopping this horrific fire. I ... find it a class act that ... Obama made it a personal priority to come here to place a national focus on the level of disaster in Colorado Springs ... knowing full well the majority ... were highly unlikely to vote for him under any circumstances."

I have three questions: 1) Why should we neatly bundle all these entities together, when in fact only the firefighters risked their lives to save others? 2) Why should anyone give credit to the federal bureaucrats who allowed the fire to burn for days, before they cut the red tape to assist the local services? 3) Why does a tragic situation become an opportunity for brainwashed Americans to promote Obama and Big Government?

— J.D. Shaffer

Colorado Springs


Rethinking Memorial

Initially I was inclined to support the plan to lease Memorial Hospital to out-of-town health-care entities. It seemed wise to connect with experienced hospital systems and administrators who could better navigate the new waters of the health care environment. I also welcomed the idea of getting the city government (with its dysfunction, infighting and big egos) out of Memorial's business, though 40 years seems like a long time for an experiment.

Now I am wondering about the lease payments to the city — $259 million up front, plus $5.6 million to $8.1 million annually. Where will this come from and how will it affect access to health care for low-income and uninsured city residents? If Memorial is already having financial problems, as we have been told, then how will it be able to handle these big payments? Will loss of access to affordable health care become a by-product of the new lease payments?

If there is one thing I know about Mayor Steve Bach, it is that he wants cash for the city out of this deal. My interests are broader. What will it give the community in terms of continuing affordable health care? This is a time of great turmoil in health care — many people can't afford insurance, and fewer employers are offering coverage. Are we promoting a solution that is best for the community?

While I understand that a new foundation will be set up to receive and disburse the payments from Memorial for "health-related purposes," this part is very fuzzy and not fleshed out enough to guarantee accessible and affordable health care for the city. I recommend that the city step up with the real financial implications of this deal and how it will meet the new costs without restricting care.

— Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

Everybody's Olympics

As I am originally from Detroit, the only city in the continental U.S. where you can go south to Canada, I have had the pleasure of watching the Olympics on CBC, the Canadian national network. Believe me, it's a totally different Olympics than we see here. There are sports that Americans have virtually no chance of winning, such as badminton and judo. These sports can be fascinating, even without the red, white and blue contending for medals. In Canada, they show these sports on TV.

Did you know there are medal ceremonies where they don't play "The Star Spangled Banner"? It's true. People from other countries actually win gold medals, and have their own national anthems, some of which are compellingly beautiful, especially when the winner comes from some place nobody ever heard of, where people ride donkeys to work.

Even more moving is when a Canadian wins a gold medal, which has only been done 59 times in the entire history of the Summer Olympics. Canada hosted an Olympics where they didn't win a single gold medal, after not winning one at the previous Olympics either. CBC took us up-close and personal with great athletes from all over the world, and Canadian athletes toiling tirelessly at sports they had no chance to win.

In college, I was forced to watch The Triumph of the Will, Hitler's paean to the Berlin Olympics. NBC's Olympic coverage might as well be of Berlin in 1936. It's not the triumph of the Aryan race being celebrated, but the triumph of American-style capitalism being trumpeted. Our jingoistic coverage of the Olympics seems to have forgotten that the Olympics are a triumph of international goodwill and cooperation, not another thing Americans came, saw and conquered.

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs

Greening the desert

I would like to share with you and your readers the letter I have just sent to the White House and shared with Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Republican nominee Mitt Romney:

Dear President Obama:

This is an idea whose time has come — greening the Middle East.

I've noticed that green landscapes help create peaceful demeanors, happy individuals, calm minds. Where in the world are peace and a verdant landscape most missing? The Middle East.

Please watch this video:, and share it with your colleagues in Iran, Palestine, Syria and other places with challenging environments. Life is hard without friendly surroundings.

— Allison J. Edwards

Colorado Springs

Fiscal un-conservative

So Romney supports Israel 100 percent. Jerusalem must feel like a Florida homeowner with a sinkhole surrounding the patio. Whoa, there goes Egypt, oh my, there goes Syria. What? They're going to backfill the hole with fundamentalist Islam? I suppose you could say that any state is a "created" state. Even the USA was "created" from a French ideal of democracy on Indian land 200 and some years ago. But Israel was created by the same English, French and American politicians that carved up the Ottoman Empire after the previous World War.

All this meddling in the region is expensive and destructive. We got Hitler and Osama, yay, but Romney wants to double down in the region by going after Iran. We just can't afford a Romney presidency, in terms of blood or treasure (thanks China, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a thermonuclear war today.")

Romney is the most fiscally un-conservative candidate there could ever be. I don't think even George Dubya planned to wage war before he was president. OK, just calm down (I tell myself) we'll elect a Mormon president when hell freezes over. Luckily, the global pendulum is swinging the other way. I'm selling my island in the Maldives (elevation 4 feet), and buying farmland in Greenland!

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs


Where's the coverage?

This is the worst election coverage that I have seen in my 60 years of voting. All I get is biased reporting on both parties. All I can find out is what they are according to character.

One presidential candidate, they go after his taxes, but want to go back more years than anyone else — but he pays his taxes according to the law. On the other side, they go after the birth certificate. I want to know how are they going to solve my problems.

Social Security, wars we don't need to be in, medical problems — not a big change but a small one to take care of and not destroy one of the best medical systems in the world— education, etc. I could go on and on. We are not getting any reporting on the important things.

We have become a society that editorializes instead of reporting the truth on both parties. We have lost respect between parties so we can't reach a compromise and help our country.

I hope the debates will be where we get the right questions put to both and we can find out which one can stand up and answer questions that are not pre-set-up and we can find out if they can be strong and intelligent when speaking without any help.

— Rodney E. Hammond

Colorado Springs

Playing chicken

So the LGBT and gay marriage advocates have their hair on fire and their shorts in a knot just because a national business owner responds in a Christian-interview venue that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman?

Is that marriage arrangement supposed to be some shocking abnormality in our culture that justifies ridicule and protest? Some gay marriage advocates are planning a kiss-in at the business locations.

Would there be a similar protest response if a business owner on Tejon Street made a statement supporting gay marriage? I doubt it. The gay marriage advocates should be embarrassed by their demonstrated irrational and intolerant behavior.

— Phil Hosmer

Black Forest

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