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Stop the torture

Thanks for your informative, if depressing, article on the local sheriff's department's spending our money to buy electric torture weapons to use on us ["Shocking decision," News, Jan. 23-29]. Special thanks for featuring it prominently.

While the cop establishment would no doubt prefer that their acquisitions and use of new repression technologies take place quietly, with no one the wiser, the public badly needs to know about this as soon as it happens.

Electric "control" of people is torture, plain and simple, and simply must not be tolerated. I could say a lot on this subject, having written publicly on related issues for over 25 years. But the bottom line is that this merely underscores what I said during my 2000 campaign for state Senate: the first and highest priority of any legislative body today is to de-militarize and retake control of the police.

We, the people, must move decisively to stop letting them write their own rules, and take all military-style and abusive technologies away from them. Electric torture devices are only "needed" by a police force that has converted itself into an occupying army, and is carrying out an agenda of repression and intimidation, instead of legitimate enforcement of legitimate laws.

At the present time, there is one and only one peaceful way for the people of Colorado to put the brakes on the police's constant "upgrading" of their ability to torture and abuse. That is to start electing Libertarians to the state Legislature, the county commission, and every other legislative body.

Libertarians are opposed, on principle, to militarized police forces, as well as to the growing police state, which tactics like electric torture are intended to keep in place. Nothing less will stop these people from continuing to turn the world into an ever more brutal prison camp.

-- Patrick L. Lilly

Occupied Cheyenne Caon

near Colorado Springs

Swallow the pride

That the Colorado Springs Symphony needs to be restructured is palpably obvious to anyone familiar with its operation.

That the musicians, through their negotiators, have chosen to ignore this fact and their role in it for years is to their discredit.

But far worse, that the Board of Directors, fully aware of where their future lay, chose to do nothing until it was too late, to the callous detriment of those they employ, is inexcusable.

Both parties should engage a knowledgeable mediator, swallow their sizable prides, and focus on the community that has supported them for 75 years -- for though it may not be all they need or want, it is, at this point, all they have.

-- David Ball

Colorado Springs

What might have been

I am sure there will be replies to the eloquent "Roe v. Wade -- 30 Years and Counting" Your Turn article that appeared in the Jan. 23 issue. I am sure opponents will bewail what some have called the "30-year nightmare," lamenting the 41 million "children" lost to abortions since then. But let's just consider what would have happened had Roe not legalized abortion in 1973.

Many of the abortions performed since then were medically necessary. Had they not taken place, we would have many babies born severely handicapped and many women with lifetime impairments. The intact dilation and extraction method of abortion (what opponents try to term "partial-birth") would not have been available to preserve a woman's fertility, so the later births of healthy children would not have occurred.

Other abortions represented unplanned pregnancies. Had these been forced to be born, statistics show that a large portion of those children would have been abused, neglected, or given a poor education. This would have increased crime and the numbers in our prisons, as most there come from just such a background. Many of the births would have forced families onto the already burgeoning welfare rolls.

And what of those women who would have borne the child and given it up for adoption? Opponents try to portray abortion as a tragic experience that leads to regret and sorrow. But spending the rest of your life wondering about the safety and well being of a child you "gave away" can be even more traumatic and sorrowful.

A portion of those 41 million wouldn't be born at all. With legal abortions unavailable, many women would have resorted to the solutions of pre-Roe days -- dangerous back-alley abortions or suicide.

The real tragedy is that for 30 years those who claim to hate abortion have attacked comprehensive sex education and the use of contraceptives -- the two things that would reduce the need for abortions.

-- Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Missionarrogance

David Eller's Jan. 23 article certainly reflects an attitude of arrogance. Not to mention a great deal of ignorance concerning modern missionary work. It seems that what Eller knows of missionaries comes from Rudyard Kipling and bad Hollywood movies. It is no longer the "white mans burden" that sends most missionaries to these nations but compassion and the desire to give aid where necessary.

I have an uncle who has been active for many years as a missionary. He and his family lived in Ethiopia for over 15 years before being forced to leave at gunpoint by the incoming Marxist government. Before leaving, he arranged for the adoption of as many Ethiopian children as possible, including adding another son to his own large family.

The people who where killed in Yemen and Pakistan recently were committing the crimes of providing medical care and education to women.

Does Eller believe that educating a women that she has rights or providing the medical care she needs to live a healthy life are acts of arrogance? Perhaps he should get out and talk to people who have worked overseas in Christian organizations and stop thinking in the little box you have provided for yourself.

I also find it ironic that the Independent published Eller's column in the same paper that talked about the Sudanese in Colorado Springs ("Circle of Refuge," Jan. 23). Many of these people got to the U.S. through the efforts of Christian missionaries.

-- Richard Shirley

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The weekly Freethought Views, where Eller's opinion appeared, is a paid advertisement and is not part of the editorial content of the newspaper.

State of the union

I'm writing this letter on the eve of the weapons inspector's report to the U.N. Security Council. I think regardless of the report, Bush and his cronies will scream blue murder and howl for the head of Hussein.

What with Bush's this-week-to-be-delivered State of the Union address, the guy can hardly go on national TV and say, "Well folks, the economy is swirling in the toilet. The country is losing jobs like a drunk at a poker game. We're borrowing more money than we can ever hope to repay, and we have crushed all the rights and liberties we could in the last 16 months. Yet none of that seems to help. So what I propose is this: We borrow even more money and invade a sovereign nation. Mind you, we will be violating the very international laws we claim to be upholding, but shucks, that madman over there may or may not have weapons that he may or may not use in the near or distant future -- I guarantee it."

Yes, Bush will have to shout War! because there is not one single positive thing he can cite in a speech of this type.

We can't afford this war, monetarily, and he will borrow huge amounts of money that we will all have to repay. He will also borrow the lives of our sons, daughters, friends and neighbors, which, once lost, can never be repaid. So, please call your Congress critters to ensure Bush & Co. follow the lead of the U.N. on this matter.

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

Sour note

I have read with dismay that my colleagues in the Colorado Springs Symphony have been locked out and negotiations with management seem to have reached impasse. I might also add that the manner with which they negotiated with the musicians and their local union has been utterly unprofessional and un-businesslike.

The artists in your orchestra have given their lives to music at a very modest rate of compensation; management and the Board have been given the privilege to fulfill the organization's mission by presenting concerts of various types utilizing this wealth of talent at their disposal. But how do they reward these dedicated professionals, who wish to do nothing more than continue living and working as citizens of the community? They pay them with a swift kick in their behinds.... some reward!

And this after the musicians have agreed to negotiate in good faith, exploring any avenue that would ensure the future health, artistically and financially, of your organization. But can they really imagine the members of the community wanting to buy a ticket to a concert featuring artists who would actually work under the conditions proposed?

The seriousness of their actions I don't believe have been thoroughly thought out by the Executive Committee. How can the CSSO marketing department sell a series of concerts with an orchestra that has agreed to work, then get paid, at some rate to be determined, maybe, if all other expenses are covered? There is no precedent for this anywhere in the world and the CSSO organization is foolhardy if they think there is a chance in hell of creating one!

My advice to CSSO Executive Director Larry Barrett is to get back to the table.... and fast! You risk losing a vital artistic institution in Colorado Springs, one that cannot afford to be lost; the community as a whole stand to be the losers in all of this, to say nothing of your talented artists who have made their lives in Colorado Springs performing, teaching, educating, and involving themselves in every way in the life of the city.

-- J. Scott Janusch

Principal Oboe, Honolulu Symphony

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