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Promise of America

Kudos to Cate Terwilliger on her article "Almost Like They Massacred Them Again" (June 26). I was truly mortified to learn about the desecration of the Ludlow Memorial.

I am the proud granddaughter of one of the striking miners at Ludlow during that time. As such, the memorial holds a place near and dear to my heart. I think Cate did a great job of presenting the story of the "coalfield war" in southern Colorado in 1913-14. The Ludlow Massacre has always been a controversial part of Colorado history, but one that had a significant impact on labor relations to come.

This article provided valuable information about this tragic event and (hopefully) will help bring to light a population often overlooked in the establishment of this wonderful state -- the immigrant laborer.

I have chosen to become well read on the subject of Ludlow, obviously for personal reasons -- to try and learn more about a grandfather whom I never knew. This proud Croatian immigrant was a 26-year-old once-widowed bachelor trying to make a living in the southern Colorado coal fields. He survived Ludlow and went on to work the mines throughout New Mexico and Utah before returning to Colorado, where he met and married my grandmother. "Grandpa Sam" was but one of many immigrants who truly believed in the promise of America, and in their eyes the unions were a part of that.

May the Las Animas County authorities have much success in finding the culprits who vandalized this tribute to these often-overlooked contributors to Colorado's history.

-- Joyce Reid

Via the Internet

Chicken lover

Re: last week's Personal Space, "Chicken hawks":

Since chicken-flying contests involve no talent, skill or creativity on the part of anyone, it may be asked why the Guffey organizers put one on year after year. Is it because being a bully is fun (for some) and a neat thing to pass on to children? Is it to encourage kids to want to drop a chicken and perhaps a dog or a cat from an even greater height to see what will happen and meanwhile cultivate the joy of picking on the defenseless?

For three years in the 1990s, I and some other people protested at the Bob Evans Farms chicken flying contest in Ohio, so I got to watch chickens being pulled out of crates and cages on the ground and thrust up into the sunlight, bewildered and half blind from the sudden change in the light. I watched them be prodded off the platform with a toilet plunger and fall, sometimes backward, to the ground and be chased, emitting cries of confusion and fear. In 1994, Bob Evans Farms canceled his unworthy "contest " from its annual fall festival due, according to the company's letter, "to declining interest and participation over the past few years." (Oct. 24, 1994)

I hope that the Guffey Fourth of July organizers will decide enough's enough, and develop contests in which all of the participants are there by choice, not by force. There's nothing more moronic than a bunch of bullies just like all the other bullies hiding behind chickens and a flag, droning about their "liberation."

--Karen Davis, President

United Poultry Concerns

Machipongo, VA

Uranium is dangerous

In his response to Mark Lewis' recent letter, Tom Neven wrote in a letter to the editor last week: "Just today we read about an Iraqi nuclear scientists who had buried under his backyard rosebush, under Saddam's orders, plans and parts for uranium enrichment equipment, which has only one purpose -- to build nuclear weapons."

What Mr. Neven so conveniently neglects to state is that these "plans" were buried there before the 1991 war! They have been rotting there ever since and no effort was ever made to retrieve them. Shall we also now invade Germany and Japan because of plans they had for WMD in WWII?

Regarding chemical weapons Mr. Neven states: "Saddam did use these weapons repeatedly against Iran during its eight-year war and against the Kurdish people in the north." Yet he fails to mention that Saddam had Donald Rumsfield's (and the U.S. government's) full support and backing in committing these atrocities.

He further states: "it's called depleted uranium for a reason; it's been depleted of its radioactive properties."

Is Mr. Neven ignorant, or intentionally attempting to deceive your readers?

Although depleted uranium is 60 percent less radioactive than natural uranium, it is still very dangerous as an internal hazard. Even our own Army warns: "spent penetrators or parts of penetrators emit up to 300 mrem/hour and thus can not be touched or picked up without protection."

Once inside the lungs or kidneys, uranium particles tend to stay, causing illnesses such as lung cancer and kidney disease that may take decades to show up. According to Dr. J. W. Gofman, a leading expert and critic of low-level radiation risks, particles of uranium smaller than five micron in diameter can become permanently trapped in the lungs. By one estimate, a trapped, single uranium oxide particle of this size could expose the adjacent lung tissue to approximately 1,360 rem per year -- about 8,000 times the annual radiation dosage considered safe by federal regulations for whole body exposure.

So, Mr. Neven, do you still contend that our dumping an estimated 2,000 tons of depleted uranium on millions of innocent Iraqi civilians was anything less than a war crime?

--Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Empty threats

O.K. Now I get it, DOH!

Your Consumer Correspondent's nom de plume Kenneth Cleaver is in reality none other than Mario Valdez. I compared the signatures from the last batch of nonsense, and behold ... a match. Now it makes sense. This is really a publicity ploy by KRCC to get free placement in your newspaper. All this post-modern irony, I'm about to hurl. Well I shouldn't bitch; I've done it before myself ... or am I doing it now?

I'll get on board and urge publisher John Weiss to kill the Consumer Correspondent column or The Muse will die.

Please note no record locator number.

-- Atomic Elroy

CHAOS Studios

Colorado Springs

The Editor (not Publisher) responds:

Mr. Valdes (not Valdez) in no way resembles Kenneth Cleaver.

The newspaper does not use its editorial product to promote free outside publicity stunts.

Patriotism: not an adhesive flag

An open letter to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens,

It is statements like this that make me furious:

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

-- President George W. Bush

This is arrogant, unintelligent and insensitive to those of us who have loved ones in Iraq. To provoke the enemy at this point in time is about as bad a decision as anyone could make. There are more soldiers dying now then when we were involved in "major combat." For President Bush to parade around making cowboy statements from the sidelines is irresponsible and it's a slap in the face to the soldiers and their families. Until he is patriotic enough to serve his own country in a battle he so recklessly started, then he has no business inviting attacks. He risks his career while we risk our lives and our futures.

Now of course you will never read this or even consider reading it because I know that you, like most politicians, do anything but consider public opinion. However, if you by chance happen to see this please return my wife, Specialist Elizabeth Patricia Wisdorf, home safely. When she returns safely we will recount all of the horrible things that she has seen and all of the atrocious activities of the U.S. military in Iraq for whomever in the media is interested in listening. We will let everyone know why the world uses the term "Ugly Americans." Patriotism is not a flag on an SUV, and it's not the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. Patriotism is being able to be proud of the actions and history of one's country. Until we can act respectfully as a nation, then I can think of no reason to be patriotic.

--Ryan Spradlin

Colorado Springs

Swearing out loud

I read a recent Army Times article that had me swearing out loud. The gist of the thing said the Bush administration refused to double the $6,000 death gratuity to families of soldiers killed in battle, wants to cut monthly imminent danger pay from $225 to $150, and cut monthly family separation pay from $225 to $150.

Now, pumping this through the fish and monster gurgle interpretation machine, it translates to this: The administration that sent your sons and daughters off to war doesn't think that being away from their families and getting shot at is worth an extra five bucks per day. The death gratuity, even at $12,000, is so insulting as not to warrant further comment.

So, to all you flag-waving Support the Troops folks, it's time to pony up and do it. Send Hefley, Allard and Campbell your thoughts on the matter. Remember, you're either with us or for the terrorists.

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

A little credit

We are an unusual society. We may pour all the French wine down the sewer, eat Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast to our heart's content, but let's give the French a little credit!

They had sense enough to get out of Vietnam before spending billions of dollars and the slaughtering of 50 [thousand] or 60 thousand troops.

That's more than can be said for us, thanks to every administration from Eisenhower to Nixon!

-- Frank Camp



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