Liberty and SUVs for all

To the Editor:

Let me make sure I have this right. Cars are less safe than SUVs, so what we want to do is make everyone use the less safe cars? ("Sporting Chance," July 6)

If you really want safety, why isn't the emphasis on getting everyone into the most safe vehicle? If we are concerned "for the children," the mandate would be that every child must be transported in a Suburban until the age of 5 or some such.

It is pretty obvious that safety is not really the issue here. The issue is the absolute fury of the tofu and sandals crowd that some Americans came up with a way to get out of the environmentally correct little boxes that were legislated for everyone.

Look at all the hard work they went through in generating hysteria over "vanishing" oil supplies, browbeating Congress to mandate MPG standards that guaranteed cars made of the equivalent of rubber bands and cheese, making sure that provision of adequate roads was always sacrificed on the altar of public transportation, and cranking up the price of gas through environmental mandates and tax increases. And still Americans insist on driving what they want, when they want, where they want. It must be so discouraging that those who know what is best for everyone can't get the rest of the country to go along.

Shame and guilt have been hollow weapons, so safety and lawsuits are the next step. How long before we hear of an SUV safety surcharge? Special SUV liability? A class-action lawsuit on behalf of trees? Just a matter of time. Ask a smoker.

In the interim I will drive the biggest SUV as fast as I am able. I only hope it makes some guy in a ponytail angry.

-- Bryan Mullinax


Front Range waste goes unrecycled

To the Editor:

Recently I migrated from the Washington, D.C. area (Arlington, VA) to Colorado Springs. It was a smart move for an urban planner, and I am enjoying living in the historic Cascade Park apartments very much. Overall, I marvel at the beauty of Pikes Peak, which I can see from my window, and I enjoy the progressive nature of the downtown activity. However, I am baffled as to why the city does not have a recycling program.

Each week Arlington County provided me with a yellow plastic container in which I would put my newspapers, cans, and glass, and each week they picked up the container with my regular trash, sorted, and recycled it. This was basically true throughout suburban Washington, and I was so surprised to realize that all recycling programs in Springs are private.

I attempted to convince my apartment complex that they should organize a program, but they declined. For the past couple months, I have loaded my newspapers into my trunk and delivered them to Waste Management for recycling. Last week I drove them to the Gazette's recycling bin on Pikes Peak. I was horrified to open the bin and watch hundreds of papers fall on the ground and blow away, as the bin hadn't been emptied for some time.

There appears to be a significant recycling need, but there is also tremendous hassle and inefficiency in having to organize one's own recycling. From now on, I will recycle my magazines by giving them to the Penrose Library, and sadly discard my newspapers.

Surely, a city as progressive and beautiful as Colorado Springs could institute a public recycling program including newspapers, cans, and glass, where everyone recycles as part of their weekly trash pickup. Why don't we have it?

-- Sandra Chesrown

Colorado Springs

Gun showdown

To the Editor:

The statement from your Public Eye story (July 6) is inaccurate and part of the problem with the liberal-sided gun-control fanatics. Almost all sales at gun shows are conducted through a federally licensed gun dealer (FFL). They are required by law to conduct background checks on all buyers. They will lose their business and livelihood of they didn't [sic] do this.

The few remaining private parties that sell at a gun show do not need background checks, as other private sales do not as well -- ads in the sales section of a newspaper, or at a garage sale, or if you wanted to give your child a gun. None of these require a background check. Federal law prohibits such checks.

Now the SAFE initiative comes along, showing that all four guns a Columbine were purchased at gun shows and they want to have all gun-show sales conduct a background check. They didn't consider the fact that even if all sales required background checks, these four guns would still have been legally purchased. Less then 5 percent of all gun-show sales are through private parties, and the FBI's own statistics show that in all crimes involving a firearm, less then 1 percent of those firearms originated at gun shows. So I will ask you to please get your facts correct before publishing an article.

One other question. What is your perceived difference in the phrase "the right of the people" or "the people" in the Second Amendment, and the same phrases in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth, or "any person" in the Fifth? Why is it the media, and for the most part, the liberals, ignore this little phrase in the Second Amendment, but ardently support and defend it in the other amendments?

-- Dr. Ronald Brace, M.D.

Rye, CO

The challenge of affordable housing

To the Editor:

"Gimme shelter," which appeared in the most recent Backtracks (June 6) stated: "Minutes from the June 27 Council meeting reflect that, after the Justice and Peace and Housing Advocacy Coalition activists' presentations, none of the elected officails made comment on the issue, choosing instead to continue with their regular agenda."

I was in attendance at this Council meeting and, in fact, sympathetic comments were made by Council members Eastburn, Null and Skorman. Furthermore, it appeared the mayor and other five Coucil members were also sympathetic, but in the interest of time did not echo the comments of their colleagues.

Providing affordable housing in any market, especially a rapidly growing one, is an intractable challenge. However, to conclude that our governmental leaders are not sensitive to the subject is unfair, and in my opinion, untrue. The more fundamental question is how do we, as a community, help our brothers and sisters who are in need.

-- Les Gruen

Colorado Springs

Religious fireworks

To the Editor:

I recently took my family to the Fourth of July program at the United States Air Force Academy and was faced with a very painful realization. We left for the Academy long before dark as we have for several years in order to get a good spot on the lawn, etc. We have attended the fireworks display year after year at the Academy due to the following reasons: pride in our Air Force Academy; our admiration for the youth who attend; the secure, family-oriented environment on the 4th; and proximity to our home in Sun Hills.

Soon after arriving at the Academy I realized that there were some concessions at the west end of the field and a live band. I also noticed that there seemed to be a larger crowd than usual in attendance.

When I walked down to the area with the concessions and listened to the live band I realized that there was an evangelical Christian theme to the music and this was an organized Christian music concert promoted by a Christian radio station and not just a Christian rock band playing one Christian song.

I was shocked and very disappointed to see this since I always have felt strongly about the Academy being an exemplary institution that always reflected the diversity of our nation and respected all Americans, no matter what their religious affiliation, by maintaining a secular campus while allowing for cadets personal religious needs.

By allowing this concert, I feel that the Academy has sponsored an event that was intended as entertainment for those who are exclusively Christian and at the same time creating an evangelical missionary opportunity. Since the above-mentioned Christian movement has a large following in our town and has access to their own facilities, I have to assume that their desire to put this concert at this venue on the 4th must have been decided on their part for the probability of many of the people attending not being affiliated with their movement. This would be a great promotional opportunity for them.

I am sure that the cost for sponsorship was relatively small for a demographic of this size. I question the motive on the part of the person in charge of this event for the Air Force Academy. If a cash sponsorship is all the needed criteria for an event at the Academy, does this not open the door for any organization with the money who wants to associate the name of the Air Force Academy to their ideology?

I would think that our Air Force Academy with a global identity that should be beyond reproach should not succumb to this type of missionary marketing. I hope that this note may open the eyes of the person or persons who allowed this to take place. The Fourth of July is a holiday for American patriots not just Christians or people wanting to become Christians.

-- E. Shvartzman

Colorado Springs


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