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Gun deaths, outdoor rudeness, Ranger Rich and more 

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Piece of fraud

Now that we've all relived the past 50 years since the Kennedy assassination, we get to relive what happened a year ago when the senseless murders of 20 innocent first-graders occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The question is: Has this country gotten safer with all the proliferation of guns, as the National Rifle Association would have us believe?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to answer that question ... yet nothing has been done about it!

Colorado Springs had a chance to make a difference in dealing with gun violence, but the citizens chose to impeach two state senators who morally voted to make change. For that, this city and county should feel great shame.

Particularly shameful are our county commissioners who not only boast of being gun nuts, but declare an "NRA Appreciation Day"!

I attended a talk recently by Commissioner Peggy Littleton on emergency preparedness. Whatever good points she made were completely lost by her fear-mongering, which led to her stating, "An armed society is a safe society." That statement sure is full of bullet holes!

When I approached her that she went over the line with her guns-and-ammo bit, her reply was, "I'm upholding my Second Amendment right." I quote [former] Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, Jan. 14, 1990: "The Second Amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat 'fraud,' on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."

Has it ever occurred to the citizens of Colorado Springs, or this whole country, that the proliferation of guns is the problem?

— Elaine Brush

Colorado Springs

Al fresco rudeness

Is this where you want to live?

During one of my recent runs at Stratton Open Space I observed a dog owner, ahead of her unleashed dog, intently watching her canine defecate just off the trail. There was no indication of her planning to pick up the pile. When I had the audacity to ask, "Who, do you think, will pick up after your dog?" I had invective hurled at me. Mercifully, I could not understand most of it since I was speeding away.

I also had two mountain bikers barrel down the trail behind me, without even making an attempt to slow down — heaven forbid a decrease of their adrenaline rush because of a mere runner on the trail! — expecting me to jump out of the way, which I gladly did. They were not even able to utter a brief "Thank you," even though bikers are supposed to yield to hikers.

Maybe I was invisible that day, since the next hiker with an unleashed dog could not condescend to acknowledge my friendly "hello," much less reciprocate it, staring instead straight ahead.

As Colorado Springs has seen a huge population increase and is slated to continue to grow, our precious outdoors will become more crowded, population pressures will increase, and we humans will experience more stress. This has the potential to degrade our interpersonal interactions even more, and to put a damper on our personal experiences outside. Who wants to feel vexed while out there because of experiences like the ones above?

— Tanja Britton

Colorado Springs

Give him a raise

In regards to our great Ranger Rich's column and how some have written letters against him, I would say he is great. He says how things are out there, and this is why I pick up the Independent each week, just to read Rich's column!

I don't think he writes his column drunk, that's how he is, and says the truth, and is funny! If others don't like his column, then read other newspapers out there and get drunk yourself, and leave our Ranger Rich alone so he can do his great column each week.

The Independent doesn't want to lose our Ranger Rich. In fact, give him a raise for all the great columns he does. He deserves it!

— Joe Atencio

Colorado Springs

Think it through

Whitney Galbraith's letter lamenting the conviction of the photographer in New Mexico who refused a job at a gay wedding ("An American gulag," Letters, Nov. 6), is a good example of the kind of sophistic reasoning often used by those who oppose equal-rights legislation. The letter purports to argue from fundamental American values when, in fact, the reasoning violates the founding principle of this nation: The rule of law.

Our Founding Fathers rebelled against the British monarchy on the basis that law should apply equally to everyone, in every case. The New Mexico case, like similar cases in Colorado, turns on the issue of compelling everyone equally to obey the law as written.

I admit that I personally would not want an unwilling worker to perform an important job for me. However, I must challenge Mr. Galbraith to extend his reasoning beyond the narrow instance he cites, including situations where Mr. Galbraith himself might be the victim of discrimination.

What if the photographer had refused to photograph your wedding, Mr. Galbraith, perhaps because he hated people with Scottish surnames? Probably, like most of us, you'd be a bit annoyed, but you'd get another photographer — likely someone who expressed enthusiasm for the job. No big deal. But what if it were a more important service being denied — a tow-truck driver refusing you service in a blizzard, or maybe an emergency medical technician after a car accident?

Suppose, Mr. Galbraith, that you and your wife had gotten dressed up to attend an event, and when the event is over, late at night, your car won't start. You call a cab, and when the driver shows up, he tells you that he is a fundamentalist Christian, your wife looks like a harlot in her makeup, and he doesn't want to let you into his cab. I suppose, by the logic of your letter, you would stand up strong for the cabbie's freedom to deny you vital services?

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs

Honored by serving

I understand people want to help the military for their service. Starbucks and Walmart want to hire them when they come back because of their service. I spent my time in the service, but I have a problem with giving military personnel priority over the civilian population that has a massive unemployed count.

Service in the armed forces is a privilege and an honor to perform. In the service you get a free education in whatever type of work you choose. Now I have no problem if the serviceman has the qualifications for the same job as the civilian, but I don't believe they should have priority over the civilian because they served.

Serving is one of the highest honors you could receive, and knowing you have kept your country free is reward enough.

— Rodney Hammond

Colorado Springs

Life's 'interrupters'

In my dream a little girl wandered from her father on a street corner. He was tweeting and didn't notice until her loud, painful crying: "Daddy, I goed down the stairs!" She was OK — scared, scraped, bruised but not seriously injured.

I've wondered how it works though, both for children and their parents ... that is, the constant use of iPhones, etc.

With my young son, I was usually distracted by handling responsibilities and thinking about money, laundry, work, or? Sometimes, though, I did parent the way I really wanted to — responding to emotional needs, noting growing interests, catching physical symptoms, or taking pleasure in his being-himselfness. That was before even cell phones. There were few external interruptions in our often harried process — moving through naps, appointments, shopping, work schedules, daycare, meals, diapers, etc. — just an occasional phone call at home.

Now, however, most of us have the "interrupters" with us every moment and everywhere, often a foot from our noses. Nearly constant input or output is the normal texture of life; we spend an increasing amount of mental and emotional life detached from the location and people in our presence.

There's concern about danger in texting while driving. Is there danger in texting and parenting? Don't jump to, "You could never enforce that ..." Not my point. I just wonder at the incredible challenge of parenting in this environment.

You could plug your child into electronics that keep him or her occupied so that the process becomes easier. Is that good for your child? And is it good for you? Most of us who want children want to experience their growing up, to enjoy and be important in it.

Will you be jilted out of parenthood's pleasures (most of them tiny moments interspersed throughout daily challenges)?

— Joslyn Dewell

Cascade

Editor's note

In "Share your thoughts" (Letters, Nov. 20), writer J. Lee Tangen originally wrote that "Stargazers will host 14 events over the next 3 months, and World Arena will be used 18 days over the next 4½ months." Those numbers came from a review of the World Arena's online calendar of events and a Stargazers advertisement in the Gazette.

In fact-checking this letter, the Independent talked with World Arena general manager Dot Lischick, who said the number of events (many of which aren't publicized) is between 150 and 180-plus a year. We also found that Stargazers' online calendar included more events than the Gazette advertisement.

We adjusted the numbers accordingly, but failed to explain the source of such information to either J. Lee or to our readers. We regret and apologize for the omission.

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