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Safety first?

I was pretty disgusted to hear that the city of Colorado Springs is getting rid of the cameras used at intersections to catch people running red lights. Not that I'm a fan of Big Brother, but safety is always a concern.

Is our police department going to post officers at those intersections where the cameras were? Not too likely. Most of the city's cops are out running speed traps and writing tickets, often at places where there's no real danger, at least compared to the danger posed by those who run red lights.

I got radar-gunned and got a ticket at Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street a while back; there's not much going on there. When I asked the officer why a speed trap was needed at that location, he responded, "This is one of our most dangerous intersections." I've been through that intersection twice a day for 20 years, at various times of the day, and I can only remember one or two accidents there.

The cameras were about safety; for the most part, the speed traps seem to be about making money for the city. And they tend to target drivers, not where safety is a big concern, but where they're easiest to catch. I rarely see them in school zones or near major intersections.

The speed-trap cops are pretty much just fundraisers on wheels.

— Michael Stratton

Colorado Springs

Down on OWS

Jim Hightower ("Get off the couch! (or not)," cover package, Nov. 3) doesn't believe in the free market, i.e. capitalism, but socialism and its kissing cousins, communism, totalitarianism, facism and its entire entourage. He'd rather see bootleggers run the country, distributing the wealth that the private sector creates. You know, we fools that work in factories, restaurants, offices, retailers, hospitals, etc.

Can we manage without the innovators and their creations; the reason why we have jobs? Those monsters that get paid so much notwithstanding the time, worry, responsibilities they have?

Greed you say, that these lazy, spoiled clowns occupying Wall Street have as their reason for this anarchy? I say it's a combination of economic ignorance, stupidity and hypocrisy!

One cannot say, as Obama does, that they embrace the American dream, yet vilify those who attain it without realizing the duplicity and intellectual defect in that belief.

Mankind isn't perfect, and there will always be both the private sector and government who game the system. Read your history of the world. Socialism is destroying Europe; communism has murdered over 100 million people. And we worry about greed in America that kills no one. There is always a job. The OWS crowd is a bunch of unappreciative prigs.

— Joan Christensen


Popular populism

Both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street ("Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street," cover package, Nov. 3) are well-established strains of American populism.

The tea party is a replay of Andy Jackson populism. In the early 19th century, government, the banks and business interests entered into a corrupt alliance to use tax money to fund often unneeded "internal improvements" (that time's "stimulus") and created a national bank which facilitated government debt. The Jacksonian solution was to shut down the national bank and cut spending to not only balance the budget, but to pay off the national debt. Very Ron Paul.

Occupy Wall Street is yet more of the familiar progressive and socialist populism. When presented with the same corrupt alliance, the Occupiers want to expand government to take money from finance and business to spend on themselves. In short, where the tea party wants to empty the government pig trough, the Occupiers simply want their own seat and share of the slop.

It will be interesting to see which populism strikes a chord with the American people. I suspect that the 2010 elections gave us a strong hint.

— Bart DePalma

Woodland Park

A people in peril

What if there were a people at a precipice? What if the powerful and rich had gained enough control of the legislature, effectively misrepresented enough issues, and misled enough people that they were poised to strip the last protections afforded the last of the middle class?

What if a great many people had not only become poorer, but lost jobs, homes and livelihoods? What if they had even witnessed the systematic siphoning of the nation's wealth, and were still voting against their own interests despite the fact that their kids would never be able to take part in the American dream they grew up with? Back in the day, they could get a job, grow with a company, and, most importantly, provide for their families.

What if it had all been sucked dry and still, many voters were still parroting the same false explanations that had served so well to drain their kids' generation of those opportunities and dreams?

What if that precipice was found on Nov. 6, 2012?

— Max Lowe

Colorado Springs

Service Center 'scam'

With regard to Occupy America, after losing my job in 2009 and struggling to find employment, I was forced to work part-time at a retail store for just above minimum wage after being cut off unemployment.

I have been employed at said retailer for one year, I have received every accolade and promotion I have applied for, and am steadily climbing their corporate ladder. In the year I have been trying to get food stamps, I have qualified once for three months. Since then, although promoted at my job for the second time in less than a year, I had to send my son to live with a father who is never around but has funds to feed his children. I have become homeless and must rely on the kindness of family and friends for a place to sleep and shower.

I have been rejected and sent home three times at the so-called Citizens Service Center because they stopped taking applications halfway through the day! I was told I could not be guaranteed an appointment unless I arrived at 7:30 a.m.! I have a job that I have to be at, unless they'd like me to quit and get full assistance and sit my butt down there every day at 7:30!

I'm the kind of person this place is supposed to help, yet all I've gotten is BS and attitude! I could do three of these people's jobs at once, and then not even need food stamps!

They can't have it both ways. Help me or give me a job so I can help myself, but don't spend $22 million on a bigger place and close earlier. This place is a scam. The only people they are helping are the people who got the $22 million!

— Serendipity Gonzales

Colorado Springs

Check this out

I cannot speak for Occupy XYZ demonstrators, but if you want an example of the ways the finance industry runs our country (the 1 percent running roughshod over the 99 percent), check out the documentary film Inside Job.

Narrated by Matt Damon, it documents the revolving doors that allow government agencies to act as an extension of the finance industry. It explains how the short-term pursuit of individual reward put the whole country at risk, how the mortgage industry collapsed, and how stark examples of financial crimes remain unpunished.

If the economic collapse of the U.S. in late 2008 and 2009 is still a mystery to you, Inside Job will enlighten you.

— Michael Maddox

Colorado Springs

A chilling crime

A little girl was reportedly beaten and raped in our city while going to school! This is a horrible, disgusting crime, yet the worst crime is to let child abusers have lax punishment.

I want to make child abuse/neglect a federal felony. Treat this as a death sentence. If a child has died from abuse or neglect, then the villains will also die.

We have to protect our future! This is a crime against people who have no voices, with no way to protect themselves. I am a pacifist in my heart, but I am also a protector. I wouldn't mind finding this guy in a dark alley.

It's time to try and make a difference. It's time to stand up for helpless children. Let's start with stricter laws.

— Brenda Gray

Colorado Springs

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Different view

In response to comments ("The udder side," Letters, Nov. 3) by Judy Barbe, supportive of the Western Dairy Association, one can argue with reliable research that milk is far from the "healthy" food the dairy association insists that it is.

Most tragically, however, is the cows who suffer, as I recently discovered when visiting a "exemplary modern" dairy farm with 480 cows.

The pastoral image of cows grazing on delicious green meadows is largely a thing of the past. They now stand on packed dirt, their hair matted with their own excrement confined between the times they are milked.

Their tails are cut off, without anesthesia, as it is inconvenient in the milking process. Cows are bred to give 10 times the milk they did a hundred years ago (the natural amount necessary for feeding a calf), creating pelvis and leg pain and deformities from carrying such engorged bags.

In the agony to stand, teats are often torn, and Mastitis, a painful disease of the teat, infects more than 30 percent. The stressful, unnatural conditions demand antibiotics and medications that are passed down in the milk.

"Lagoons" hold the tons of waste, poisoning local water supplies, and the smell carries for miles. The average cow's life span is less than six years, far short of the 25 average a century ago. What is healthy about this?

— Donna Arnink

Colorado Springs

Who knew?

Amazing. I'm reading a New York Times article on Iran's nuclear capabilities and the fear expressed in the article is that the intelligence, the evidence that Iran is working on a weapon, may not be taken seriously because of the flawed intelligence on Iraq. Unintended consequences, Mr. Bush?

— Michael Augenstein

Colorado Springs

Morality check

I attended a special guest lecture at Colorado College on Islamophobia. It seems that all of the statistics point to a steady increase in the average U.S. citizen's fears related to American Muslims. Why? Our lecturer presented compelling, independent research indicating there is a coalition of forces and money promoting fear about Muslims, attempting to lump them in with political extremists.

As an example, FOX News has run a series of "news reports" on how Muslims are trying to implement Sharia law in the U.S. It would be impossible to implement any restrictions or punishments in our U.S. laws based on Sharia law. Why? Simple: The Constitution does not allow suppression of personal freedoms based on religious beliefs.

But FOX confuses legal rights with family law. The U.S. actually tolerates family courts based in any religion, which can voluntarily be sought after by any U.S. citizen. Catholics do it, Jews do it, and so can Muslims. Muslims just happen to call it Sharia law.

In the last month I was able to attend a class put on by Pikes Peak Justice and Peace, titled "Bridges to Islam." Over four weeks we visited with local Muslims, attended prayers at the mosque, and even broke bread. What I came to realize is how they all honor God and love this country. I can only say from my experience, I am not a Muslim but I am now proud to have several as newfound friends.

My advice is to stop watching FOX News, thinking it really is news, and go to the mosque one time for prayers. All are welcome. Try it, and you might just like who you meet.

— Merl Will-Wallace

Colorado Springs

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