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City's addiction

The news that Fort Carson plans to expand troop levels to 30,000 in the next few years ("Carson gets another brigade," Noted, Dec. 20) should set off alarm bells, not shouts of glee. The military-industrial complex's grip on our city is going to get a lot worse if this trend is not reversed.

We are already faced with serious shortfalls in city and county budgets because of an overdependence on Pentagon dollars. Instead of facing the facts, we reach for more of what ails us, just like a drug addict.

The "powers that be" are trapped in a "group think" that keeps shoveling tax breaks to builders and business interests at the expense of the common good.

Our city and county are facing major water shortages, air pollution problems, sewage treatment problems, traffic congestion challenges, rising crime rates and mental-health crises, and all we can seem to do is throw gasoline on the fire that is creating them.

When is enough, enough?
Bill Sulzman
Colorado Springs

The grande gauntlet

At Starbucks, a grande peppermint white chocolate mocha contains 530 calories, 18 grams of fat (12 grams saturated) and 80 grams of carbohydrates, not to mention 150 milligrams of caffeine. Even the most nutritionally dense person on the planet could tell you this is bad for your health.

I demand they take it off the menu!

What? You are sorry, but you cannot take something off the menu because one person complains? Well, excuse me, but one of your mission statements is to "develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time," and I am not satisfied. Take that drink off the menu.

What? You are sorry, but you cannot take that off the menu because another one of your mission statements is to "embrace diversity as an essential component in the way [you] do business"?

I am confused. You want to please everyone, yet embrace diversity? You won't take peppermint mocha off the menu when I complain, yet you banned the Independent from your Pikes Peak region locations when one customer complained. What did they have that I don't have? I probably spend more money in your stores than they do. What gives?

It is obvious to me that I, and everyone I can possibly share this information with, will simply have to boycott Starbucks until your corporation can figure out what it really stands for, and how it cares to do business.

My advice: Put the Indy back on the stand, and when customers complain they don't like something, settle on the "embracing diversity" mission statement and let them think about that for a while.

If I can't pick up my Indy there next week, I guess I will just go on an e-mail campaign. Sigh. It'd be more fun to drink a skinny latte. But one of my mission statements is to embrace diversity, and I've stood by that for over 30 years ... can't see changing now.
Debra Sanders
Colorado Springs

God and guns

Oh dear! Rich Tosches' article ("Who fired that gun?" Ranger Rich, Dec. 20) will create a few letters. He asks, "When did God say it was OK to gun down someone?" I think it was after God said it was OK to invade a sovereign nation and murder innocent people and call that "collateral damage."

New Life Church and others will debate that shooting of a gunman for years. Sermons will be given covering every aspect. Scores of Bible verses will be used to bolster arguments both for and against. Rich won't hear the end of this for years.

By the way, I agree with his comments.
Don Smith
Queensland. Australia

New Life optimism

As a New Lifer, I cringe to pick up a newspaper or watch the news in fear of another embarrassing media blurb. I was pleasantly surprised with the Independent's response of kindness in print (Dec. 13, pp. 10-13).

The common trend is to seize the opportunity to bash Christians, and New Life has certainly had its share of attention. I've driven up to the New Life parking lot numerous times over the last 14 months expecting an empty lot, only to find a full church of vigorous, faithful believers propelled to press forth in service to each other and our community.
Shauna Hoey
Manitou Springs

Honesty punished

I am appalled that New Life Church would turn Larry Bourbonnais away one week after he was a victim of the shootings at New Life. Is it because he criticized one of your security guards? Is it because he was vocal with the newspapers and reporters? Or maybe he wasn't paying enough of a tithe to the church.

What kind of a Christian church are you? If the man is volatile, why don't you try to counsel him and help him through his traumatic experience? No, instead you decide to seek a restraining order and ban him from your property. In the Dec. 17 Gazette there was a comment attributed to Pastor Brady Boyd, that he told parishioners to be honest with their feelings. Why can't Larry Bourbonnais be honest with his feelings?

Do you see any similarities here between what you did to Larry Bourbonnais and what happened to Matthew Murray? Matthew was also turned away by so-called Christians. Glad I can see your true colors now.
Marian Harris
Colorado Springs

Local censorship?

I have lived here for seven years because my husband's family has been in Colorado for over 100 years. As he was born and raised here, he wanted to come home. That being said, I cannot believe the censorship by the local paper, the Gazette.

I left a comment about a year ago about weak women in their comments section, and lo and behold, I am banned from their site! If you even question their stance (New Life, Focus on the Family, etc.) you are considered nonexistent.

Since we had a paper called the Coast Weekly where I am from, I hope I can answer them here.

A. The only heroes in the New Life shootings are the victims.

B. Pikes Peak Park is not only a great place to live, we have more H.O.G. members than any other neighborhood. So the "rider" that keeps putting the area down in the Gazette better not show his face at Yukon's any time soon.

C. We are a multi-racial city. Deal with it. I, for one, like spice in my chili.
Jennifer McKenzie
Colorado Springs

Post-'Nam poem

After reading the poems of those soldiers ("Mightier than the Sword," cover story, Dec. 20), I would like to share a poem by my brother who served two years (1966-68) in the Marines, with one tour of duty in Vietnam.

The Wall is Black

Doesn't it seem odd
That the wall is black
That identifies those
Who never came back.
Does it mean a damn thing
That the wall is low
Amid all those others
That tower and glow.
Often I have thought
That perhaps I should see
Those names of those
Who died instead of me.
It has got to be hard
For those that care
To come, to endure and
To feel and stare.
All that they gave
And the price that was paid
Will forever be unknown
To those that stayed.
For those that struggled
And clawed and bled
Can never be likened
To those that fled.
I do not judge those
Who refused to fight
Perhaps they now live
Maybe wrong, maybe right.
I think I can say
For those that fought
It wasn't a great wall
Of marble they sought.
All that was ever wanted
Was that damn war to be
A cause that was worthy
For you and for me.
Then welcome back home
Those who managed to live
By pointing a righteous finger
At things that they did.
I don't think that I
Need ever go see
All the sad memories
Reflecting back at me.
Perhaps maybe much later
When our babies have grown tall
Will there ever again be a need
Of such a black wall.
Written in memory of all
Those warriors, BOTH
American and Vietnamese.

M.C. Leonard
January 1988

I think my brother felt some of the same sentiments from Vietnam that soldiers serving in Iraq feel today. We lost Michael C. Leonard in September to suicide. He, too, could not "reveal" some of his "dark secrets" to his family.
Roxi Graham
Colorado Springs

School Spirit

Lance Green's letter ("Precious mettle," Dec. 6) prompts me to write. I recently read a fantastic book that he might like to read with his 10-year-old son.

In fact, it might be in the library at the School in the Woods. It should be.

Wapiti Spirit is written by local author Michael Houston and is all about a young boy's experience in the wilderness, lessons about human nature and being in nature.

I am getting a couple of extra copies to give as gifts to children and adults.
Janice Black
Colorado Springs

Digging a hole

One of Jim Hightower's columns has prompted me to write the second editorial letter of my 60 years.

An issue he hasn't addressed is the real root of the Chinese import problem: If you want to see who is really at fault here, just look in the mirror.

If Americans truly want full employment and decent wages, then they need to buy American products. They also need to be prepared to pay more to support American workers.

I remember when "Chinese junk" meant a boat.
Jeff Hitchcock
Colorado Springs

Correction
The ceramic leaf pictured in our last-minute gift guide (Dec. 20) is not at Commonwheel Artists Co-op, but is currently on display at WeUsOur Artist's Market in Manitou Springs. The artist is WeUsOur co-owner Maggie Quinn. The Independent regrets the error.

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