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The couples featured in this week's cover story (starting on page 16) just want to be left alone. Sure, they've chosen not to have kids, and yes, that might fly in the face of the whole "populating the world" notion. But since there are too many people around anyway try 11 billion by 2035 why not let live?

It's a question I've come back to, in one form or another, over the course of my year as a reporter at the Independent.

The need to be left alone and the need to promote a certain worldview often crash together. And Colorado Springs, as libertarian as it may be, is crisscrossed by thousands of examples. Immigrants versus the people who say they shouldn't be here. Women who have abortions versus those who say that practice shouldn't exist. Ex-cons versus public-safety promoters.

These interactions are always muddier than they appear.

And they make for fascinating reporting.

This week's Independent is my last. I'll be heading to Denver for a fellowship at Westword, another alternative newsweekly in a city zigzagged by different barriers.

Thank you to Colorado Springs for weaving its snarled web. And thank you, a big thank you, to my colleagues at the paper for helping me unravel parts of it.

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