I was rather disappointed in the Oct. 31 review of Michael Moore's documentary, Bowling for Columbine. While I do understand that a person like John Dicker could be annoyed at Michael Moore, I don't think a personal grudge should be the focal point of a movie review.

Among many biased statements, Dicker seems to think that the humor and celebrities in the documentary did nothing to further the argument that Moore was trying to make.

I suggest that he go watch the movie again, and try to get some sort of meaning out of it. It is obvious that the point Moore was trying to make by including Dick Clark and Charlton Heston was that upper-class white male society (corporations, the government, etc.) really doesn't care about what's going on in the majority of the United States and thus have the time to ignore gun violence and delusionally rant that not owning a gun is un-American.

Humor merely served the purpose of making sure no one left the movie hopelessly depressed, and that someone not familiar with Moore would relate to the message. I guess Dicker couldn't put two and two together, though.

Personally, I felt Bowling for Columbine was a damn good use of $5.50 and would urge anyone who was put off by Dicker's review to drive up to Denver, or Boulder, or wait until it hits the Springs and make their mind up for themselves. At least you'll get a view of gun violence in America, if nothing else.

-- Laura Reinsch


A delightful hodgepodge

I am all for historical preservation of buildings in Manitou Springs that actually have some history behind them ["Preservation or Coercion?," Oct. 3-9]. I also feel that new construction in the downtown area should reflect our history.

If Manitou Springs had nothing but old Victorian homes, then I would also say we should maintain their historical appearance. But, that is not the way it is. Manitou is composed of a wonderful, fun, eclectic mixture of all sorts of building styles. There are very old houses and some that are very recently new. I happen to like that "hodgepodge," as some call it. How can one maintain the "historical" integrity of a Southwest adobe-type house that is only a few years old?

Some folks are concerned about what the tourists think about our town. First of all, they don't include in their agenda going up, down, and around our steep and sometimes very narrow streets to look at our houses. They focus on our wonderful historic downtown district shopping in our stores, eating in our restaurants, visiting our galleries, picnicking in our parks, enjoying our festivals and visiting our attractions. They love Manitou Springs, warts and all.

Speaking of warts, I wonder if the eyesore called The Manitou Springs Spa were a "quaint Victorian," would it be restored by now? That building should be the top priority for the Manitou Springs Historical Preservation people.

In my opinion, it should be bulldozed and replaced by a building similar to the Victorian that was there prior to the blight that is there now.

Or, perhaps a beautiful park could take its place. If neither of those options will be implemented in the very near future, the least they can do is to move the Soda Springs outdoors where it belongs. That, in itself, will start the wheels in motion to take care of a situation that has been going on for way too long.

-- Sally Pearce

Manitou Springs

Firing for effect

I was not surprised to read the obligatory slap at the National Rifle Association by David Wallis in his story on the sniper school published in the Independent on Oct. 31 ("Killer Course," Oct. 31 Nov. 6). However, I was surprised that he chose the issue of "...[NRA] cows legislators into voting against common-sense gun control laws designed to keep children from accidentally shooting other children ..."

Obviously, Wallis is "firing for effect," to borrow a military term, since the facts show that a child is much more likely to drown than to die in a gun accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control's "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2000," the latest data available from CDC there were 808 deaths due to accidental discharge of firearms for all ages in 2000 and 3,343 deaths from accidental drowning. Among infants, there were no deaths due to accidental discharge of firearms while there were 77 deaths due to drowning.

In fact, the NRA is the world's leader in firearm safety education.

Just because the NRA stands up for the people's right to keep and bear arms, which is protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, does not mean that the NRA is not concerned about the misuse of firearms and the safety of our children. Quite the opposite, the NRA helped establish and supports "Project Exile," which seeks stiff sentences for criminals who use a firearm.

In Colorado alone, last year the NRA Foundation, the nonprofit, nonpolitical arm of the NRA, provided more than $60,000 in grants for youth firearm safety and shooting sports programs.

It's too bad the Independent didn't run a story about the youth firearm safety classes held last year in Colorado Springs. There are a lot of stories about our youth safely participating in the shooting sports; but I guess "good news" doesn't sell newspapers.

-- Bernie Herpin

Vice President, Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition

Colorado Springs

The real crime

The district attorney does not make the punishment fit the crime.

It seems if you're not out there killing people or raping people's wives and daughters or pulling armed robberies, then you are in for some real trouble. It is a proven fact here in Colorado Springs a drug case will get you more time then any other crime you could think of.

I have proven that fact. I was just given 24 years for a residue case. City Councilman Charles Wingate better look out; the 17 years they are trying to give him, they are not joking. When you think about it, we would both get less time for murder and in my case I have not had any kind of rehab and at no time was I ever offered any.

The only real crime I can see that me or Charles Wingate committed was being born black and living in Colorado Springs.

A lot of the drug cases that have the system clogged up have not had any rehab either, but the system just does not see it that way. No, they just see dollar signs -- that seems to be the only thing the so-called justice system is all about anymore.

If you want some justice, you better pass that courthouse because there is none there. The only justice there is written on a roll of toilet paper, and it is just for the district attorney's use.

No, the DA does not make the punishment fit the crime. Justice as I knew it was not written that way.

-- Mike Cooper

Colorado Springs

Whither the Democrats

Thinking, concerned Democrats, and many others, are seriously disappointed in Sen. Tom Daschle and other Democrats in Congress for not standing up against President Bush's compulsion to attack Iraq.

He certainly hasn't made any logical case for it. Maybe those in Washington are too close to the issues to get any perspective, but to many of us, it is tragically obvious that Bush's primary motivation in everything he has done over the past two years is to promote the American oil industry.

He is working against everything that we hold of value, including a clean environment, preservation of wild areas, development of renewable energy, freedom of belief, public education, freedom of speech, and a dozen other issues.

He certainly can't hold that attacking Iraq will aid the "war" on terrorism; it will manifestly increase hatred against the U.S. in many parts of the world, and especially in Muslim areas. We expect to see a deadly escalation in terrorist attacks against the U.S. and American interests abroad if our forces start wholesale bombing or a ground invasion of Iraq.

Bush's arrogance in thinking the U.S. can take this sort of action without strong international support is inexcusable. Even less excusable is his insistence that anyone who disagrees with him is "unpatriotic."

In fact, it is the patriotic duty of every citizen who sees his actions as a threat to our country's wellbeing to speak out and make their disapproval public.

-- Doris and Bob Drisgill

Colorado Springs

Looking for loopholes

At a recent meeting of the Board of Education, Manitou Springs District 14 State Rep. Keith King (R) announced that the language of Amendment 23 does not protect anything but the base student allotment of approximately $4,200 per student.

The amendment, he said, does not protect the inflation plus one percent provision and he virtually guaranteed that we will see rescission of the amendment.

It looks like, because of the effects of 9/11 and legislation which has plunged the state of Colorado from surplus into economic crisis, certain legislators have been feverishly picking at the amendment for new "interpretations" and loopholes.

-- C.S. Odlin

Manitou Springs

Hello from Washington

I am a fifth-grader at Conway School in Washington state. I am studying Colorado as my state. I picked Colorado for its beauty, and because I love to ski. It would be an honor to receive some of the following from some Coloradans if you would be kind enough to print my letter in your newspaper.

Some of the materials I would appreciate receiving would maybe be postcards, pamphlets, newspapers, brochures, license plates, posters, pictures, maps, or anything else you can think of. I'm not asking for a lot (though I wouldn't say "no" to a big package), just enough to learn more about Colorado.

-- Amelia Furlong

Conway School

Mrs. Kelly's class

Conway School District

19710 State Route 534

Mount Vernon, WA 98274


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