Making hash of the governor

To the Editor:

Thanks to Cara DeGette for the article on the governor's pot plant (Public Eye, Aug. 16). You discovered [the plant], from what I have read. I am sure you recognized it from your high-school health book.

You are quite right; if it had been found on anybody else's property, it would have been no laughing matter. The only point I would make to you, which I think you made obliquely, is that when the mere possession of anything is made illegal, it makes it just too easy to incriminate an innocent person.

Yes, the governor is guilty of many things, but I don't think cultivating pot is one of them. He should use this incident as a demonstration of why drug prohibition is a danger to us all.

Keep up the good fight!

-- John K. Berntson
Colorado Springs

Politicians answer to drug lords of alcohol and tobacco

To the Editor:

Thank you for breaking the story by your investigative reporter, Cara DeGette, on the cannabis plant that was found at the Governor's mansion.

The lame denials by the Colorado State Patrol that "it's probably just some kind of weed" are ludicrous and don't even approach plausible deniability. The governor will not have his mansion and property seized by the state, as would happen to a regular person in such circumstances.

Important to remember is the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the governor and most other politicians in Colorado who have surrendered to the drug lords. No, not the drug lords who grow a medicinal plant that heals sick people and kills no one, but the drug lords who make deadly hard drugs, mood-altering, physically addicting drugs that kill thousands of Coloradans each year.

These drug pushers are the manufacturers of the two most deadly and dangerous of all drugs, the tobacco and alcohol drugs. Joel Hefley takes tobacco and alcohol drug money, as does Tom Tancredo. So does Bill Owens.

They (and most other politicians) tell us how bad "drugs" are and how we must put people in jail who grow or use cannabis. But cannabis does not kill anyone as tobacco and alcohol do. As a pharmacist, I find it amazing that many people are unaware that tobacco and alcohol are drugs, even though tobacco meets the definition of a schedule I controlled substance (like heroin) and alcohol meets the definition of a schedule II (like cocaine).

Most people also do not know that tobacco and alcohol are exempt by name from the Colorado Food and Drug Act (25-5-402(4) C.R.S.) and are also inexplicably omitted from the so-called Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1992 (18-18-203 & 204 C.R.S) list of schedule I and II controlled substances.

I have been unable to get any Colorado politician to explain to me why these deadly drugs are exempt from our state drug laws, or why any other drug less harmful than tobacco or alcohol should not also be exempt from these drug laws for the same reason(s) that tobacco and alcohol are exempt.

Perhaps the Colorado Springs Independent can succeed where I have failed by getting Owens, Hefley, Tancredo, etc. to explain why it is OK for them to take drug money from tobacco and alcohol drug pushers, but not from cannabis growers, why it is OK for the two most deadly drugs, tobacco and alcohol (over 400,000 drug deaths and over 80,000 drug deaths respectively each year in the United States), to be exempt from the drug laws, but it is not OK for the medicinal herb cannabis (0 drug deaths ever) to be exempt from these same laws.

When you ask the politicians to answer these questions, also ask them if the government has any studies to show any purported scientific or medical uses for these two hard drugs, or if they are simply recreational drugs.

Thanks again for the enlightening article.

-- Tom Barrus, American Federation for Legal Consistency
Golden, CO

Don't let them "redomesticate" the birds

To the Editor:

I represent the majority of the residents on the 800 block of East Cimarron and Costilla streets and the numerous others who are personally affected by the fate of the Hillside Parrots. These feral parrots (also known as Quaker or Monk Parakeets) have been colorful residents of this area since 1997. They have survived untold obstacles from blizzard conditions to a direct lightning strike. They have created no menace nor harm to any person or property in the area. Although they are a proven breeding pair their numbers have not multiplied.

These birds have an international following thanks to several sites on the World Wide Web and other media reports ("Hillside Parrots Becoming Stars of Bird World," July 19). It is with great disappointment and extreme outrage that we had to learn through the media of the plans to remove our parrots. Adding to our dismay is the fact that this media notification came after business hours on a Friday and that the removal was slated for the following Tuesday.

Furthermore, it has been stated that the birds will go to a commercial pet store for "redomestication." These birds are not banded and it cannot be proven that they ever were domesticated. It cannot be ignored that the ownership of a proven breeding pair could be profitable for someone. It cannot be guaranteed that no harm will come to these birds in the attempt to capture them.

It cannot be overstated what an important role these birds play in the everyday lives of the residents here. Their very presence has provided many visitors to our locale including numerous school children and out-of-towners. This alone has been added incentive to the neighbors to take extra care with the appearance of their property. The rare individuals who object to the parrots are those who are in open violation of property codes and don't want the extra attention.

We have worked hard to rehabilitate this neighborhood and deserve the simple pleasure that these birds bring. Isn't it wondrous that they have chosen this location to make their home?

-- Mic Robertson, CPT(USAR)Ret
Colorado Springs

Boycott Disney's Bubble Boy

To the Editor:

I am writing on behalf of the Immune Deficiency Foundation and the tens of thousands of patients with primary immune deficiencies nationwide, including myself, to voice our dissatisfaction with the upcoming Disney movie Bubble Boy and to lodge our protest against its imminent release.

With the release of Bubble Boy scheduled August 24, Walt Disney Productions sinks to an all-time low, inviting its target audience of teenagers to join in a feature-length joke about individuals without immunities, in particular, people born with primary immune deficiency diseases. And, despite the disclaimer stating that any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental, there has been only one boy who ever really lived in a bubble: That would be David Vetter, one of the most heroic of people with primary immune deficiency diseases (PIDS).

David's body lacked all defenses for even the simplest bacteria or virus. He was born into a germ-free plastic bubble, which is where he spent his entire life. When he was 12, David underwent an experimental bone-marrow transplant. The transplant introduced a virus to his defenseless system. David soon became ill, slipped into a coma, and died shortly thereafter. This valiant young boy was a far cry from the cartoonish figure that the Disney film portrays.

The notion of making a comedy about a life-threatening disease is, in and of itself, a travesty. It dishonors not only the memory of David, but is an insult to our family and to all people who are born with his disease and who have died from it. Unless diagnosed early and treated immediately with a risky bone marrow transplant, this disease is universally fatal. Even under ideal conditions of recognition and treatment, which rarely happen, more than 25 percent of children with this disorder still die.

Altogether, primary immune deficiency diseases affect an estimated 50,000 people in the United States. These brave patients and their families face serious difficulties in getting accurate diagnosis, blood products shortages interrupting their treatments with intravenous immune globulin (IGIV), constant threat of infections, and a myriad of insurance issues surrounding costly medical therapies.

I am hard-pressed to think of another serious disease that has been taken so lightly on film. On behalf of my family, the Immune Deficiency Foundation, and primary immune deficient patients across the country, I urge families to get the facts on primary immune deficiency diseases and to boycott Disney's Bubble Boy!

--Joanie Sargent
Broomfield, CO

Elephant treatment no joke

To the Editor:

Many circus-goers are unknowingly putting themselves and their families in danger. Since 1990, elephants trying to escape circus life have killed at least 18 people and injured many more. The constant life of traveling, performing unnatural acts and the enduring painful consequences if they don't, is a sad example of these wild animals' lives and our quest for a "good time."

Animals used in circuses live dismal lives of domination, confinement and malnutrition. Trainers let these animals know who's boss by the usual practice of beating, shocking and whipping them to perform ridiculous and humiliating tricks they cannot even comprehend. Elephants often suffer crippling injures from being chained and performing physically difficult tricks like standing on their hind legs.

As a result of such conditions, these animals may strike out injuring themselves as well as others. Tyke, an elephant from a circus in Honolulu, was gunned down by close to 100 bullets, after she killed her trainer, stomped on a groomer, and injured several spectators in 1994. Afterward police officer Blayne Doyle said, "I think these elephants are trying to tell us that zoos and circuses are not what God created them for. But we have not been listening."

You can help our animal friends, and possibly avoid a dangerous encounter with a mad, sick animal. Let your kids know that protecting animals is what is fun, if they ask to go to an animal circus. Go to circuses that feature only human performers. They have all the fun but none of the sad animals.

-- Ted Andrews
Colorado Springs


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