Letters: Outrage over guns, blame 

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Not funny

Santa in a gas mask. Really? How could you be so insensitive to print that as your Xmas cover (Dec. 19), after the most horrific shooting in United States history?

Perhaps it was a tongue-in-cheek gesture. Sorry, no room for that with my heart in my throat.

— Mary Seman

Colorado Springs

It was poor judgment

The events at Sandy Hook rest totally and solely with Nancy Lanza. In spite of the fact that she knew her son was unstable, she clearly made no effort to secure those weapons. The pity of it is that she didn't live to be charged with anything and everything the law would allow. She got off too easily and left everyone else to suffer and pay the price for her negligence and ignorance.

— Mimi Vacher

Colorado Springs

Misplaced blame

Dr. James Dobson, with his far right Christian extremism has finally hit the lowest of the low. This "man of God," as he calls himself, followed former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer for the American Family Association, laying the blame for the massacre in Newtown, Conn., squarely on the victims by proclaiming that the reason for the senseless killing was because of God being kicked out of schools.

Twenty-seven people, including 20 children, were killed needlessly because a young man who was mentally disturbed and, untreated, had access to guns and plenty of ammo.

But rather than put the blame where it belongs — on the crazed man who pulled the trigger — it is because we no longer force their version of God onto all children whether they are Christian or not. It wasn't because we neglect those with mental health problems in this country, but rather that we allow gays to live with their families.

It is not the fault of lax gun laws that allowed there to be multiple large-capacity magazines within easy reach, so the killer could put seven to 11 holes into each 6- and 7-year-old without stopping.

No, it is because we allow women to make a legal medical choice.

If the Christian God was like Dr. Dobson and his buddies espouse, he would be a very selfish and petty deity.

Perhaps Dobson and his ilk should stop telling us what God thinks, and start looking into their own prejudice and lack of empathy for the children and the parents who were left behind.

— Arval Becker

Colorado Springs

Tragedies happen

The school incident was a horrible thing. But to blame it on the National Rifle Association is a long shot.

I have met many members in my travels. (I do not belong.) NRA members lock up their guns, take lessons, and teach their children how to handle their guns. They explain to never point a gun at another person, thinking it is not loaded. Most are law-abiding people paying taxes, looking after the care of our country's parks and hunting areas. They believe in the Constitution and our right to bear arms.

Now for statistics: How many children are killed in a year by DUI incidents? Do we take all the booze away from everyone?

How many children are abused by parents in a year? Do we take all the children away from the parents?

The school shootings were a bad thing, but we live in a free country and tragedies will happen. We have to live with it and let the parents handle the results within their own lives.

The government can help in some ways, but the best way is to just let it get off the news. We had these problems long before the news traveled, and we handled it well within the community and family. But of course, we used to sit at the dinner table as a family and discuss the day's problems. Also in those days, one person could get a job and support the family so one of them could be home to keep an eye on their children.

Stop trying to look for special people to blame, and realize tragedy will happen.

— Rodney E. Hammond

Colorado Springs

Ending the affair

It's way past time for us to continue indulging in the fantasy that it's OK to have automatic weapons in general circulation. Our love affair with guns has to end. The ultimate goal must be to make all automatic weapons illegal.

We must not let those beautiful little children of Newtown, Conn., die in vain. To honor them and countless others who have been so cruelly massacred at the hands of armed and untreated mentally ill persons, we need to ban all assault weapons immediately. This is a necessary beginning for the healing of Americans and shocked people around the world who are speaking out, loud and clear. It has to happen now, regardless of political posturing. No gun-advocate argument suffices. If we are all locked and loaded, even more people will be killed.

We also need to address the mental health crisis in America as well as violent video games that the killer, Adam Lanza, watched excessively. If needed, I hope that President Obama will use his executive powers to their fullest extent.

— Sharlene White

Oceanside, Calif.

Broken trust

We lost lives. We lost property. And now we appear to also have lost the sense of security we wrongly thought we had, that we would be adequately protected in a disaster situation. Pam Zubeck's thorough report on the Waldo Canyon Fire ("Misfire," Cover Story, Dec. 12) exposed a huge flaw in our city's emergency preparedness.

I will never criticize the brave firefighters and other emergency responders who risked their lives trying to save the lives and property of others, but I am deeply concerned to know we apparently had no coordinated disaster response plan — and six months after the fire, we still do not have a plan to follow when the next fire occurs.

During my own City Council tenure more than a decade ago, I recall a presentation by then Fire Chief Manuel Navarro, who was fresh from the devastating wildland fires in Oakland, Calif. Chief Navarro advised Council that a situation like the Oakland fires was imminent in Colorado Springs; it was not a matter of "if" it would happen here, but "when."

City administration, the mayor and Council can pat themselves on the back for a job well done with the way Waldo was handled. We put on a very convincing show for the rest of the country that we were indeed prepared. Based on the Indy's account, there is ample room for improvement.

Citizens, especially those residing in the hillside and west side neighborhoods of Council Districts 1, 3 and 5, should ask Council candidates at every forum between now and the city elections in April about their plans to push for a third-party review and how they will appreciably improve our city's emergency preparedness.

Actually, these are questions that should be asked of city leaders right now. The public has a right to know.

— Bill Guman

Colorado Springs

Full transparency

I find it extremely interesting that Mayor Bach consistently pushes Colorado Springs Utilities on every issue, wanting more and more so-called transparency about all that the utility does, yet he himself brushes aside requests by different groups for transparency when it comes to the city's response to the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Is there something about the way the city responded that he doesn't want the public to know about?

Quid pro quo, Mr. Mayor.

— Nancy Thomas


Improvement needed

Thank you, and kudos to Pam Zubeck for a very thorough and detailed article. The fire was an incredible experience to have gone through. While my family and I live in the southeast part of town, our minds and hearts were very much focused on those fighting the fire and those residents being directly affected.

I hope that those in decision-making capacities read it closely and examine the parts that they contributed directly to, so that improvements can be implemented before the next "fire event," which like most residents I believe is a matter of "when" rather than "if."

Keep up the good reporting! Thanks again for the efforts!

— Christian Jensen

Colorado Springs

Crisis management

Wow! Comprehensive, professional, exemplary body of work! The narrative of the initial "Misfire" article was all about who, what, where, when and why. The question that jumps off the page and needs to be asked: What might have changed if the city had relegated control to the feds? Another question that will never be answered: How much influence did Cedar Heights have over Mountain Shadows?

But the real piece of work was the article "Men in the 'box'" — that account was more revealing, outlining that even with three days of warning, the city failed to make critical contingency plans for a worst-case scenario, and further, how close it was that the fire went from touching the curb alongside Centennial to going all the way to I-25.

This kind of connects with some of the insights in the new Plutocrats book, which states that when dynamic or crisis situations happen, most management types merely work faster instead of seeing that the situation has totally changed and radical new models must be employed. [Battalion Chief Jim] Schanel seemed to come to the fore on that. As for Bach and Co. ... they remind me of the legend of Nero and the Great Rome Fire, holding a press conference more than an hour after the fire had breached Queens Canyon. The only thing missing was the lyre and costume.

As global climate change grows, we will need to look at what was learned in this episode and apply it to future events, regardless of the political considerations. It seems that Bach and Co. are reminding the community of another fable about ostriches and sand while displaying their plumage.

— Bob Nemanich

Colorado Springs

Whack, hack, frack

Call me crazy (get in line!), but as a poet, I am concerned about and opposed to fracking, simply because of the sound of the word. Frack: Hear it roar!

Onomatopoetically (poetic license), it is really bad news. Consider thwack, smack, wrack, whack, hack, attack, true rhymes, and some off-rhymes like wreck, deck, slap, crap, break, lock, lack, reek, and another four-letter one I'll not mention.

Of course, counter-examples abound. I am aware of that. But this should help my case somewhat: dailywritingtips.com/100-beautiful-and-ugly-words.

I am, incidentally and non-incidentally, concerned about the environment: the astounding beauty that surrounds us here in Colorado, and which perhaps no combination of words could ever quite capture.

— Julianza Shavin

Colorado Springs


Unconscious driver

To the woman in the SUV taking her child to daycare this morning:

I saw you while I was walking the dog this morning. I saw your child right next to you. I'm not sure how, but I think it involved standing on the center console. I clearly saw your eyes focused firmly on your rear-view mirror, which was appropriate as you were putting on lipstick and I assume you wanted to make sure you were coloring inside the lines.

You didn't see me or my dog that was straining against the leash, wanting to chase the deer that you also didn't see. Luckily for all involved, the deer decided to bound off up the hill instead of across the street. Based on my experience, it was about a 50/50 chance the deer would go in either direction.

I'm not one of those safety freaks, and I really don't care what you do with your car as long as it never comes in contact with me or my car. But I do have one piece of advice: When you drive — drive! Don't put on lipstick, answer your cell phone, text your best friend, eat your breakfast, shave your legs, or do whatever other cockamamie things people dream up to occupy their time while piloting 4,000 pounds of steel down public roads. All of these things can either be done before leaving or after arriving (assuming you do arrive) at your destination.

Just my two cents' worth ...

— Niel Powers

Colorado Springs

The roaches will survive

I knew the world wouldn't come to an end if we legalized marijuana.

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Great baby name?

The name least or most likely given to a 2013 New Year's baby — Cliff.

— Dave Ruetschilling

Colorado Springs

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