Regarding last week's cover story about soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ("Mind game"): Big brass ignoring the plight of their soldiers is nothing new in our military. It happened in Vietnam, probably Gulf War I, and now with our returning veterans from Iraq. The fact that it becomes a political issue is also nothing new. But for those in charge who always say they "support" our troops the facts in this case belie their empty claims.
They have not supported our troops, and have ignored their responsibility to care for them after battle. It seems that the Republican Party's support for our troops is limited to their useas cannon fodder for our nation's misadventures, orforphoto ops while running forelection.But if these so-called leaderstruly supported our troops and the families they are part of they would not downplay this issue, and would make sure all our soldiers have the best care possible.
As I recall, Mayor Lionel Rivera also tried to minimize this issue and turn it into a political game. I'm sure he did just as the generals at Fort Carson wanted. After the Washington Post recently reported the high number of soldiers affected by stress coming back from Iraq, I sent the mayor a noteasking if he had changed his mind about this issue. His response? Nothing, just like the man he wants to replace in Congress.
A really small march
Please allow me to respond to several statements published in the April 6 Public Eye column ("Top gun") that were made by Bernie Herpin, the councilman who bested 28 other applicants for the open seat left by Richard Skorman.
Mr. Herpin states that homosexuals are "accidents of conception." Wow! I could barely believe my eyes when I read that one. What a scary man Bernie Herpin is; the truest sort of bigot and hate-monger. How old was Mr. Herpin when he realized he was attracted to the opposite sex? Did he have a conscious choice in what gender he was attracted to? I surely did not. There was no choice in the matter.
Mr. Herpin wants to know why the GLBT community makes such a fuss out of pride marches. We march with pride every year because in June 1969, a brave group of people finally had enough of police brutality and harassment in New York City. This is our way to honor those people and remember our "history."
Mr. Herpin may not be aware that the current national divorce rate among straight/opposite-sex couples is 50 percent. Locally, the current divorce rate among straight/opposite-sex couples isa whopping 70 percent.
Wow! The evangelical capital of the world boasts a divorce rate 20 percent higher than the national average. Mr. Herpin, maybe you and your wife of 40 years need to walk down a street in pride for your relationship. Trouble is, it may be a really small march.
Just who were the individuals responsible for the appointment of Bernie Herpin? They must be slightly above night-crawler status to have pulled that one off. God pray for the city of Colorado Springs. We are governed by a vocal group of malevolent, hate-mongering idiots who hide behind the Bible, calling themselves Christians, who can't even keep their own marriages in order.
Now I know the real reason they all want to forbid people of GLBT backgrounds the right to marry: They are afraid we will do it better.
Migration is history
As usual, I read John Hazlehurst's column in the April 6 issue ("Tear down the walls," Outsider) with interest, and, as usual, I had some thoughts regarding the topic.
First, if we pass draconian measures to limit, or perhaps eliminate, illegal immigration, we will likely need to build an impregnable barrier, probably a wall of some sort, to enforce it. History has proven this approach to be completely cost-ineffective. Think of the Great Wall of China, which failed, repeatedly, to keep out both incursions and invasions.
Second, a country that is difficult to get into becomes, potentially, a country that is difficult to get out of. Most Americans dismiss this notion as alarmist, or just downright silly. But immigrants like me have lived in places that are difficult to leave, and do not take this liberty lightly.
Do we want those people, as well as the sufferers of other as-yet-unknown challenges, to be forced to produce papers to prove it is OK for them to leave? To be questioned harshly about their intentions on the other side of the border? To be put on trial, as my parents were, for not returning to the country on time? These seem nightmarish, impossible scenarios. Think again. We may be closer than you think.
Migration is history. Humans have always moved around, since, literally, before they were humans as we know them. I recently listened to a friend grouse about people coming to this country illegally, and it occurred to me that there were probably ancient Romans grousing about the pesky Goths benefiting from Roman bread and circuses.
Attempting to stop a migration of human beings from a place of fewer resources to a place that abounds in them is about as effective as trying to stop an Albuquerque low from producing snow in the Springs.
I don't know what the solution is. But I do know that building walls, whether of concrete and wire, or ruthless laws, is not one.
Backbone of greed
The immigration debate has been mislabeled; it's an invasion debate. The fact that protesters were flying Mexican flags two weeks ago and are flying U.S. flags today is evidence of a direct and malignant co-option of the United States' values, way of life and, most grievous, our sovereignty.
The misconceived, entitlement-minded and ultimately subversive claim that illegals should become United States citizens is counter to all that is decent and true about U.S. immigration policy. While many sit patiently in line, people from south of our border have invaded our country, and in the face of those who live here legally, have demanded their citizenship.
This action is a far cry from the honorable in-processing of Ellis Island, and most definitely cannot be considered as patriotic or American. It should be considered illegal. Pity for a group of people who cannot receive the desired protection and opportunity in one country should not dictate U.S. policy.
Hispanic immigrant workers' rights groups like La Raza historically have one overarching goal in mind: the re-occupation of land that was considered stolen by the United States. Politicians want either votes or to please their big-business representatives who benefit from the plethora of cheap labor. Caught in the middle is a large population of U.S. citizens who want one thing: to have the freedoms and protection they now enjoy, earned and not freely given away.
You do not earn this right by being the "backbone" of a greedy economy. You do not earn this right by just showing up. You earn it by, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, "Becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here."
In short, you must abide by the laws and act as the forefathers and mothers of immigration acted over 100 years ago; with a deep and true reverence to what being "American" means, not a fake allegiance that panders to the TV crowd.
I applauded our state Legislature for passing a law to protect both the funerary rights of the living and the funerary rites of the dead.
Yet the efforts of our military men and women have been cast into the mud so that a group of hooligans may be protected under the First Amendment by calling themselves "protesters."
The amendment protects the right of Americans to "peaceably assemble." Since there is nothing peaceful about these demonstrations, free speech does not apply. However, the "fighting words" statute will apply when a group of mourners tires of them.
I hope this practice of allowing a bunch of religious nuts to both disturb the living and dishonor the dead ends soon.
After the progress over the past four years in water conservation, it was disappointing for City Council to abandon both water restrictions and landscape guidelines for the 2006 season.
While the mountain snowpack and our reservoirs show healthy levels, we still live on the arid plains; the winter has been dry, the fire danger is soaring, and our "big-precipitation months" of March and April have provided nary a drop of moisture. We are poised for another hot summer of drought. Yet, we can water to our hearts' content.
I congratulate City Council for adopting the tiered water structure, but it is not enough, especially with the explosive growth that the city is expecting and encouraging. Growth without water restrictions leads us on a collision course it is irresponsible to allow new landscapes that cannot survive future droughts.
The past years of drought have taught many useful lessons that we should not forget. Most importantly: A well-planned and -maintained landscape cannot only survive, but will thrive on less water if the soil is amended properly.
Colorado Springs needs to adopt and promote water conservation as a community ethic. That means permanent water restrictions and landscape guidelines. If City Council wants to reward us for our great conservation efforts, relax the restrictions, but don't remove them.
A conservation ethic would allow Colorado Springs to grow while protecting the natural resources that we all enjoy: our mountain streams, fish and wildlife, recreation, mountain scenery and farmland that depend on water, also.
Ties that bind
I like to do things for my community. There is something that bonds us all together when we work for the common good. Problem is, people stereotype what a "team player" is. Right down to how they look.
Every four months, our workplace has a blood drive, and religiously, I sign up. In October, I invested in another tattoo. I did a bit of research on the time frame for giving blood. I was told the hospital wouldn't accept blood if I had received a tattoo within six months of the blood drive.
Today was that day, and I was so excited. To my surprise, I was promptly told I couldn't give blood, because the waiting period now is 12 months. What I find ironic is people who have their ears pierced in a dirty mall can give blood whenever they wish, with no waiting period.
I am so tired of society automatically assuming I am some lowlife because I decided to dress my body with art. I have had my ink done in reputable businesses that take pride in their cleanliness and sterile facilities.
I decided I will not give blood again until this ridiculous policy changes, or just offer my blood to my family members.
By the way, I have a rare blood type that could have saved a life. Now, I will keep it for myself.
I was reading the April 6 issue of the Indy and had a few points I'd like to make in response to several letters to the editor.
Regarding "Mass hysteria": I was a resident of Florida for 15 years, where they have successfully banned smoking in restaurants and bars. I completely agree with Thomas McCullock, who wrote, "Your right to swing your fist stops at my face. Your right to smoke stops at my lungs." It's not just about smoking in public, either. How many children will we let die from secondhand smoke?
Regarding "Amnesty rehashed": When I watch the news about the demonstrations on immigrants legal or illegal I see one thing over and over again. Being an immigrant to the United States for the American Dream is OK, just as long as you came from Europe first. I don't see anyone complaining about Germans moving here for the American Dream and stealing our jobs.
In response to "Standing by": I don't see why everyone is so surprised that the government wants to sell off "our" land to finance its wars. Isn't that what European governments did to finance their conquests of this and other nations? They (or should I say, "We"?) stole and re-sold this land from the Native Americans. So, surprise! Here we go again.