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Getting it right

Thanks for sponsoring the promotion of Silver City. Once in a while you get it right, with the exception of "Red Meat," which is always right.

Despite having a staff of losers like John Hazlehurst, Rick Tosches and Cara DeGette, I believe you all are still interested in democracy now and then. This is more than I can say for the other newspaper. It's kinda like dumb and dumber. The only journalism berstars in our village are Mike Madsen, David Ramsey and Milo Bryant.

I digress. Have you noticed how Chris Cooper, like Sean Connery and Ashley Judd, just keeps getting better and better? That's tough when you're usually the heavy (e.g., in The Bourne Identity). I urge all 250 of your readers to turn out just to see Cooper.

Maybe the flick will make a dent in the election. I gave money to the GOP with the greatest of pain because of our pathetically researched foray into Iraq. The lesser of two evils against a man whose claim to fame was his Vietnam service. I volunteered for the draft in 1966 and was so very intimately involved that my gut says the opportunistic Sen. John Kerry should run maybe for dogcatcher.

Don't drop "Red Meat."

-- John E. Anderson

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: A page of photos from the Silver City premiere appears on page 33. The film opens in Colorado Springs on Friday, Sept. 17 at Kimball's Twin Peak downtown.

Debt to society

Last week's news article "Ex-felons can vote" was shocking. It is appalling to think that one-third of county election officials had no idea about felons' voting rights. This, in particular, makes me question the knowledge ability of the general public on the legal rights (or lack thereof) of felons.

The truth is, that while felons are granted the right to vote, many rights that are taken for granted by ordinary citizens are all but denied to felons, even after the completion of their sentences. Indeed, anyone who knows a felon or "ex-felon" has undoubtedly witnessed the difficulty that a felon encounters when seeking an apartment or gainful employment.

Why is it that the public becomes outraged when any group is denied equal rights, yet felons, as a group, go overlooked and unrepresented? The article stated that "fifty-six percent of felons were imprisoned for nonviolent offenses" and yet, even after release, that 56 percent are denied the same rights as the other 44.

While the violent offenders should most definitely retain a number of restrictions, conceivably, the non-violent offenders should be allowed far more freedoms than they are presently allotted. Theoretically, the release of an inmate suggests that the felon in question has paid his or her debt to society and that we, as a society, have deemed that person fit to rejoin our ranks. That's it. We're even. We're square.

As unlikely as it is, hopefully some changes may come for the better. The change that is most necessary, however, is the public's awareness of the issues. The masses need to make an effort to read and learn about the issues, then make their own choices and vote accordingly. Then change will follow.

So the next time you hear someone bellow about his/her equal rights, remember that there are groups equally deserving of those rights with no voice to bellow.

-- Adam McAlister

Via the Internet

Life is precious

I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished Rich Tosches' columns about his beloved dog, Max (As the Village Turns, Sept. 2 and 9). I too had a lab whose hips went out, and I too had to make that lousy decision to put an end to what was becoming a painful, difficult life for my friend, Shadow. He was in constant pain, and he couldn't even lie down correctly, as we would hear him drop to his side for sitting was becoming too painful a process.

I never thought it would be as hard as it turned out to be. Making the decision was painful, but eventual. His hips went out on him, making it difficult to stand, and often he would slip when he still tried to run, which was often. Almost 15, Shadow still ran like a puppy when he got into the back yard that he so loved. Funny, he could barely stand on the carpet, but he still ran in the yard, even until his last day on earth.

The last month or so of his life, he was losing control of his bowel movements, and when it happened, although we were obviously never angry, he looked at me with the saddest eyes. It was almost as if he were saying, "It's time, master." Sigh.

The "procedure" went about as well as one could ask for, but my wife and I found ourselves weeping like babies when he gently passed.

Losing a dog, like losing any loved one, is more than the loss of that pet or person. One begins to think about all the things in life that are missed, and I found myself not only wanting my dog back, but wanting the puppy that played with my children when they too were young, along with dozens of other things now gone which lay deeply buried in my memory for so long, but ironically resurrected at the very moment my old friend was laid to rest.

Life is precious, and if there's one thing that pets teach us, nothing is more important or memorable than the love that we share.

-- Alan Sindler

Colorado Springs

Ode to Rich

For those of us who have loved our dogs beyond all reason, who have spent the last cent of our Social Security, who have done without food and necessary medication, who have been ostracized by friends and family for this unconditional devotion, for those of us who have suffered unrelenting anguish over the decision to have them put to sleep ... I would like to dedicate the biggest and the very brightest star to Rich Tosches.

-- W. Dean Morgan

Colorado Springs

Jump start

It's not surprising that the Springs ranks first for bad traffic since, over 12 years ago, a one-half-cent (1984 voter-approved) sales tax that was designated for capital-improvement projects that included roads was eliminated. Our ability to fund transportation improvements while maintaining existing roads and bridges has reached dangerous lows.

On Nov. 2, voters in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Manitou Springs and Green Mountain Falls have an opportunity to be part of the solution to the dilemma our region finds itself in. Ballot Issue 1A will create a Rural Transportation Authority funded by a one-cent, 10-year sales tax that will provide specifically designated transportation, maintenance and transit-service improvements. We have not kept pace with the growing needs of our community, and the time to start is now by voting yes on Ballot Issue 1A.

-- Bill Knapp and Family

Colorado Springs

Changing the world

I recently moved to Santa Cruz from Colorado Springs, but I still make it a habit to read the Independent whenever I get the chance. I've never written in before but after reading Zachary Timura's letter, "A waste of time" (Letters, Sept. 9-15), I couldn't help myself. The quote that caught my eye was "Protesting will not work and has yet to show that it has ever really changed the course of history in our country."

For someone who uses WWII to prove his point, you'd think he would be a little bit more informed about our history.

Here's an easy example, Zach. Do you think the women's suffrage movement had any effect on the course of history in our country, because you'd think women being able to vote for the first time would do that sort of thing? How about Martin Luther King Jr.? Last time I checked, his peaceful protests had a pretty big impact on our history. That's just off the top of my head at 2:30 in the morning.

Zach did get one thing right though: "President Bush will not change his mind with the protesters' opinions by backing out of the war." Despite the largest organized protests in the history of humanity, the shrub continued to blunder into his little war. I doubt any of us protesting now will do much to change his opinion. Scary thought.

P.S. Making thing up, like "Peace protests here in America usually turn out to be small riots and fights," doesn't count as proof, no matter how good it sounds.

-- Max Laetz

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Something constructive

Although it is a shame that new loft owners in the downtown area of Colorado Springs who wrote in on Aug. 26 to complain have to deal with the "disheartening and ... disgusting" daily incidences of meeting up with our homeless population in the downtown park, there are greater concerns involved.

It is fortunate and a blessing that the letter's authors, Robert and Laurie Adams, are able to raise their family in the inner city of this fine town. But not all have been equally blessed. There are many who are severely mentally ill and often narcotic addicted to soothe the edges of their illnesses who must suffer the indignities of lacking disability payments.

Since it is your community and my community and the homeless folks', why don't we attempt to seek out community solutions instead of degrading those that have faced a less blessed life and its dilemmas?

What would be your suggestion? Remove these human beings out of your neighborhood by jailing them? Eliminating them by somehow making them invisible? Or might you suggest something constructive like challenging local and global business owners to provide decent salaried opportunities for those less advantaged, giving them training and an avenue of hope? Or would you suggest that we be more willing as overburdened taxpayers to ensure the safety and well being of those less fortunate than ourselves?

I personally am so sorry for the inconvenience to your dog and your teenage child to have to witness the deprivation that arrives on certain persons' lives seemingly at random. Or could you as a parent and pet owner, as well as a community member, strive to advocate for the less fortunate instead of assigning them blame for their existence in your world while simultaneously appearing to be inviting some thug to come and remove them out of your sight for your middle- or upper-class convenience?

-- Valerie L. Etter

Cascade

He did nothing

Stephen Handelman brings up a very good point in his Sept. 2 guest op-ed, "Presidents and Warriors."

In my opinion, the debate about military records has been used to question the integrity and character of both candidates. Glorified mud slinging.

If we focus our attention on events in the last, let's say, three years, we have seen George W. in action or inaction. His party touts him as being decisive in action.

Yet, undeniably, in the seven minutes after he learned about the 9/11 attacks, he did nothing. Okay, so reading stories to children is not nothing. It is a very important activity in the educational development of our little ones.

However, it is entirely inappropriate for our commander in chief to be doing this while our nation is under attack. Now, in reality, probably those seven minutes didn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. But how is that being an effective leader, ignoring our country in its very time of need?

-- Nicole Johnson

Via the Internet

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