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Fracking and floods and perhaps the next recalls 

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Not so slick

September's torrential rains caused widespread devastation across Colorado. We all watched the reports and video footage of flood waters raging through our communities and devastating roads, bridges and homes, not excluding the horrifying scenes as oil and gas sites unfolded their very own environmental disaster.

As days of precipitation inundated the region, we bore collective witness to the human tragedy and to the poisoning of our environment. Counties reported oil and gas facilities had been submerged and that damaged containment units holding toxic chemicals had ruptured, toppled over, or had been removed from their slabs, and floated downstream. Containment units were not secured to pad sites or were secured with a chain. Damaged pipelines and leaking wells continued to operate because access to site locations was not an option.

Fracking wells have put our drinking water at risk of toxic chemicals finding their way to our aquifers. Now, flooding is another delivery system whereby toxic chemicals from fracking will not only contaminate our drinking water, but also soil for the affected region.

The industry response to the oil spills was to deploy absorbent booms. This is an acceptable industry "standard." How effective is an absorbent boom when flood waters rage? What is the percentage of captured spill in this scenario? Let it be noted that absorbent booms are completely ineffective to sequester any of the toxic chemicals released when containment units were breached. And state officials now warn that there is a high likelihood of contamination of flooded areas from fracking chemicals and oil and gas operations.

Some call this an epic flood, occurring one in every 500 or 1,000 years. Will that be the excuse that prevents the industry from doing anything to make substantial changes to their "Emergency Response Plan" in the future?

— Deborah George

Colorado Springs

'Fire!' in rain

Every time it rains in Manitou, we get a little edgy. The whole state has suffered many losses in the past year, and we've all lost a little something.

Even if we haven't lost something physical, we've all lost a sense of safety and security. Every time it rains, we have to check the radar to see if we can get home safely. How many tenths of an inch? How fast and where, exactly? We check on the neighbors to make sure everyone is accounted for and on higher ground. Because sometimes the sirens don't sound, and sometimes the reverse 911 call comes way too late.

So when it starts raining and we see tourists or news crews or whoever driving or walking into Williams Canyon, well, we get even edgier. We'll ask you to turn around or please not go. We're not trying to be rude, we are trying to keep people who may not know any better from putting themselves at risk.

Whatever you do, please don't come out of the canyon screaming, "The flood is coming!" when it's not, like two "gentlemen" did just a couple of weeks after the devastating Aug. 11 event.

The only people joking and laughing when you do that are your bros. It's not cute and it's not funny.

You are not bigger or badder than that canyon with several inches of rain coming down. We're just hoping we don't have to jump in and save your sorry butts because, frankly, you're not very nice people. But, if I've learned anything in the past year, it is that I have the most awesome and giving neighbors and community in the world. I hope I don't lose any of them while they try to rescue you in your most epic moment of hubris.

— Alexis Neumann

Manitou Springs

The majority rules

According to Mark Rance ("Missing the point," Letters, Sept. 18) and many others, one of the reasons for the justification of recalling state Sen. John Morse was that he acted against the majority view of his constituents.

Following this line of reasoning, Mr. Rance and his fellow travelers should enthusiastically support the recall of the Colorado Springs City Council, Mayor Steve Bach and the El Paso County commissioners for not adhering to the will of the majority of voters on Amendment 64. Not to support such a recall strikes me as hypocritical.

— Jeff Barkley

Colorado Springs

Pill-popping off

We've heard that guns don't kill people — people kill. That is most certainly true, but there is a third element in play here: SSRI and other antidepressant drugs. Even in the most recent Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis was using one of these mind-altering drugs.

These drugs may be at the root of school shootings, workplace violence, murder/suicides, road rage and a host of other violent acts against others. These drugs played out with Columbine, where antidepressants were used by one of the killers. Again antidepressants are suspected in the Virginia Tech shooting. Prozac, Luvox and others in the family of drugs have been found to be a possible cause in a wide range of violent acts against others.

The sad thing is that we just pass it off again and again.

One thing is clear on the gun debate: Neither side wants to solve the real problem. The left doesn't because their real objective is to rid society of guns and they really aren't concerned about stopping the violence. In fact, they need the violence to achieve their ultimate goal. The right doesn't want to because they would rather focus on keeping their guns. For some unknown reason, nobody wants to attack the SSRI and antidepressant drugs even when there are volumes of published reports about their use and violence.

Sure, the pharmaceutical companies are massive money machines and you can bet there is a lot of lobby money being spent keeping this topic from ever seeing the light of day. The topic is as secret as Obama's original birth certificate. Just how much money is being spent to hide this fact from the American people is unknown. It is time to focus on SSRI drugs and other antidepressants and their impact on violence.

— Bob Cherry

Colorado Springs

Shipyard case study

Some letter-writers do not understand why gun owners wanted Senators Morse and Giron recalled for limiting the capacity of bullets in magazines to 15 and putting in laws to force people to get background checks for private gun sales. What happened on Monday, the 16th of September, is the reason, and that was the D.C. Navy Yard shooting.

Aaron Alexis allegedly killed 12 people using an 870 Remington pump-action hunting shotgun. This gun holds at most eight shells and has no detachable magazine. Aaron had passed two background checks, one for security clearance at the shipyard and one to buy the shotgun.

The point is that when these laws do not work to stop mass shootings, what would these senators have wanted next? The only logical conclusion would be to ban all guns.

— Ron Coleman

Colorado Springs

The Quakers' take

Minutes taken at the Colorado Springs Friends Meeting, Sept. 15:

As Quakers, we oppose any military action throughout the world and at this time, we wish to emphasize our opposition to U.S. military action in Syria.

Military action by the U.S. and other foreign countries will not stop the killing in Syria or bring those responsible for the use of chemical weapons to justice.

Only international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court are likely to be effective in establishing a negotiated peace agreement in Syria.

Diplomatic engagement with all regional stakeholders is what is called for right now. We support the current diplomatic efforts to remove chemical weapons from Syria and cease their manufacture.

For further information please contact the Friends Committee for National Legislation at fcnl.org.

— William R. Durland

Clerk, Peace and Social Concerns Committee

Colorado Springs

Feeling no pain

I must take issue with Fr. Bill Carmody's claim ("Assad and abortion," Sept 18) that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is equivalent to using RU-486 to terminate pregnancies.

A brain must exist before pain and terror can be felt, and valid medical research shows that "beginning at 21 to 23 weeks of gestation there is a transition to a neocortex potentially in receipt of sensory input." This means that a fetus has no central nervous system to feel pain until then. Since RU-486 must be used within nine weeks after the start of a woman's last menstrual period, it follows that such an abortion cannot be painful to the fetus.

By contrast, the pictures of the writhing, tormented bodies of dying children in Syria demonstrate intense suffering. There are worse things than not being born.

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

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