Letters: Obama's ideas, gun violence and fracking 

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Inaugural ideas

I just heard someone call President Obama's inaugural speech "unabashedly liberal." The ideas that women should receive equal pay, that gay men and women should be allowed the same protections by law as heterosexuals, and that renewable energy is the only way forward on a warming planet shouldn't be considered liberal or conservative ideas. They are the right ideas. Politics be damned.

— Thomas Nelson

Colorado Springs

Ballot-box rule

I have a real concern about the abundance of weapons in our society, especially military-style assault rifles and weapons with high ammunition capacity. These guns are neither meant for hunting nor for self-defense, their only purpose is to kill many people in a short amount of time.

No matter how responsible the gun owner, what does anybody want to do with so dangerous an instrument? It does not make a suitable trophy, souvenir or status symbol, and I doubt that it would be welcome at the new local shooting range. The owner has to constantly keep it under lock and key, so that no family member, friend or burglar can get to it and use it in a deranged moment to commit a massacre.

I do understand the meaning of the Second Amendment and the history which spawned it. However, for almost two and a half centuries, the people of the United States have chosen their leaders through the ballot box. If the election does not turn out to one's liking, there is always a chance to reverse it in two or four years. I shudder at the thought of a Syria-style uprising for which some owners might envision these weapons. This is not the way of the United States of America and it is contrary to its Constitution.

— Gertrud Nuhn

Colorado Springs

A gun education

This reply is to Christy Le Lait and her "Bad shots" letter (Jan. 23) in the Indy. With all due respect to this lady whose son serves proudly in the military, she needs to get educated.

First: She should read More Guns, Less Crime, third edition, by John Lott. He has analyzed data from every U.S. county to show that when there are more guns, there is less violent crime. Violent crime is down in this country! The FBI statistics on violent crime also support this point. Cars and sharpened Phillips-head screwdrivers kill more in this country each year than guns, but over 2 million Americans were protected by the use of guns for self-defense!

Second: She is wrong on public polling. The majority supports the Second Amendment and the right to have and bear arms.

Third: She is wrong on safety: Ownership rates can't be equated with violence, and for her ease of mind, we are not the most dangerous country in the world. Honduras has only 6.2 guns per 100 people, but has the most homicides per gun. In that small Central American republic there are 68.43 killings by gun per 100,000 people, compared to just 2.98 per 100,000 in the U.S.

Fourth: Concealed-handgun permit owners have gone through extensive background checks by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation!

Fifth: She doesn't know what an assault weapon is. This is a "scare" term by the Brady group. No legal definition exists as to what this is.

Sixth: High-capacity magazines — we need them to fight off the two, three and four who home-invade or attack. Criminals don't follow the laws, and a ban on them will only endanger Americans who follow the law!

If she wants to really educate herself, I am here to train her about guns and their proper usage!

— Helen Sabin

Executive director of training, Academy Firearms Instruction

Colorado Springs

Taking advantage

Regarding Christy Le Lait's "Bad shot" letter (Jan. 23): That is what would be expected of progressives, mainstream media and politicians who take advantage of mass killings to get a sound bite to advance their careers, while picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution they want to follow. But these same people/sources will not report the thousands of lives that are saved each year by people who had a gun and were able to protect themselves, their families or someone else.

So you know where I'm coming from: I have not shot a gun or been hunting in over 30 years. I do not have a concealed carry permit and have no plans to apply for one. There is a lot of violence in movies and video games that I do not like, but I will support the First Amendment right of the producers of those movies and games.

Guns have a long history in our country and are the reason that we gained freedom from a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment wasn't about hunting. It was written so we could protect ourselves from another tyrannical government.

Look at states and cities with strict gun controls and you will find high crime rates. A Dec. 27 story in The Sacramento Bee reported that gun sales in California had increased for several years, but gun-related crimes and injuries had decreased. There have been similar nationwide FBI reports.

The gun sales that scare Ms. Le Lait are to law-abiding citizens who are having background checks and are exercising their constitutional right to be able to protect themselves and their families. Law-abiding citizens are the only ones who will suffer from gun restrictions and will pay a high price in robberies, deaths, etc., against them.

— Bill Moss

Colorado Springs

Divisive language

America welcomes the spirit and patriotism of Dennis Specht ("Defending to the death," Letters, Jan. 16), and his vow to defend family and guns is heart-wrenching. But the way he explains his Americanism demeans and offends those who hold dissenting opinions about guns.

For one who would "defend to the death," I find his lack of faith in America incongruous, dour and wrong. I find his calling those who disagree with him "sheep" to be appalling. I find the main vein of his discourse typifies the wrongheaded and needless defense of the Second Amendment and, sadly, the kind of remarks that divide our nation.

I remind those who care that gun quarrels are a slice of our culture, a big slice. It's the John Wayne in us, or more up-to-date, Clint Eastwood's big, big-gun endearment.

Mr. Specht tells us not to forget our history. I agree, and my memory just can't come up with any Hitlers, Stalins or any other monsters that he fears are heading our way. Just saying.

— Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Don't rezone the Ranch

Banning Lewis Ranch is zoned for residential development in accordance with a Master Plan thoughtfully developed by our past city administrators and community. Ultra Petroleum bought 18,000 acres (28 square miles) of BLR knowing this, and is currently suing our city to have it rezoned as agricultural so they can drill and frack for oil.

Scientists have documented evidence that fracking pollutes our soil, water, and air.

Let's keep this land zoned residential and together, as a community, follow and improve upon the Master Plan by developing a sustainable community. Our city's environmental sustainability department and planning committee could oversee the implementation of this vision. We could build green homes, community gardens, urban landscapes, hiking trails, dog parks, and bike paths for ourselves and our Olympic Training Center athletes to ride on.

Economically we will benefit by employing homebuilders, solar manufacturers, farmers, urban gardeners, and all of our small businesses. Our city will collect tax revenues. Our homeless community could help out, too. Our tourism industry would boom as people fly in from all over the world to see a model sustainable community. Our hotels would be full. Water from the Southern Delivery System will be used as it was meant to be — for residential development. And we could put it to good use creating streams, creeks, nature preserves, lakes, fishing ponds, golf courses, and water parks on this land for the public to enjoy.

I would like to have, and respectfully request, a dialogue with the Colorado Springs City Council members about this matter in the form of a public meeting. What's their vision? What do other people think about this matter?

— Scott Olson

Colorado Springs

Our green military?

I have been stumped for years by the ease with which the military has been able to dupe mainstream environmental groups into accepting them as responsible partners in the movement. A recent visit to Fort Carson's active construction project at Wilderness Road brought the issue into sharp focus for me.

A large suburb of the main base is growing by leaps and bounds several miles from the main post. Lots of the roads and buildings already exist to house an existing population. Much more expansion is under way to accommodate the Combat Aviation Brigade.

All the new buildings are capped by solar panels. Lots of asphalt and concrete and what little landscape there is, is xeriscaped. So it's all "green," right?

Not so fast. The Army will soon be sending in 600 ground vehicles for the new brigade along with 10 dozen fuel-guzzling helicopters and eventually a fleet of killer drone aircraft. Suddenly the carbon footprint deepens. Then there will be the hundreds, if not thousands, of private vehicles that will commute a greater distance because of the development's remote location. They will also have to travel farther for off-post activities.

In the short run the carbon footprint is getting a big boost from the huge fleet of earth-moving equipment that is skinning off and leveling the land for new buildings and a runway extension.

If all that doesn't give an environmentalist pause, what about what happens when the military switches from practice to active mode? Suddenly there will be death and destruction visited upon some foreign land. I would argue that that is anything but green.

The original slogan of the green movement was "Think Globally, Act Locally." We need to do both in the current situation.

— Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

No offense

To the person offended by a columnist being called "Ranger Rich" ("A real Ranger objects," Letters, Jan. 16), three words:

You're kidding, right?

And, if you really want to get all huffy, you might also tell the National Wildlife Federation to change the name of the little raccoon symbol for their Big Backyard publication.

— Becki Davis

(who once had a dog named Ranger)

Colorado Springs


Bad advice

Dear Ms. Alkon: I just finished reading your reply to "Confused" in your "Advice Goddess" column subtitled, "New kid on the bloc" (Jan. 16).

I found your descriptors of the Eastern European population extremely offensive. Examples being: "Hop a 16-hour transatlantic flight ... transfer to a local mule cart ... turn left at the second group of goats in the road."

If this is supposed to be humor, it is at the expense of a culture that you appear to know very little about. In 2012 I traveled a month throughout the countries of Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. True, due to Communist rule, wars, horrible dictators (e.g., Nicolae Ceausescu), etc. these countries are not as developed as the United States and Western European countries. But their outstanding literature, music, art, architecture and most of all, their fortitude put many countries to shame.

I take offense to how you negatively generalized about a very proud culture which has made amazing progress since "escaping" from communism. I would hope my Eastern European acquaintances and folks of Eastern European heritage will not have to read the spiteful comments which you have written.

Also, I sympathize for the disrespect you showed to "Confused," who has dedicated three years of her life working in Eastern Europe as a Peace Corps volunteer. You showed zero consideration for what effect this would have on one's personality and perception of relationships.

I noted that you are the author of a book titled I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society. I assume from this title, after reflecting on your words in "New kid on the bloc," that you would regret being "the rude one."

— Joy Miller


Give! thanks

A big thank-you to the Colorado Springs Independent staff for their support of our organization's participation in the recently concluded Give! campaign.

From the very start, the Indy staff and the other partner agencies were enthusiastic, most encouraging, very informative, caring, supportive and generous with their time and resources. It was a joy and a blessing to become a part of the Indy family.

It was also a blessing to meet and to get to know all of the nonprofit organizations who also participated in the two-month-long event. The Pikes Peak region as a whole will benefit from this fundraising adventure.

From the Native Americans we serve, I say: A ho, Ah Yehi, Yakoke, Pelomiya, Wopila Tanka. Thank you to the staff members, foundations and donors involved with the Give! campaign.

— Urban Turzi (Three Eagles)

Executive Director

One Nation Walking Together

Colorado Springs

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