Still burning

I have just read the update on the Hayman fire ("Still scorched," cover story, June 7) and I have learned it will take several lifetimes to restore this once-pristine forest to its original condition.

I also know it will take my lifetime to fully forgive this act of arson. I lost my business, which heavily relied on summer tourism that vanished during and after the the fire. I never conceived such a scenario. I thought I'd first see Pikes Peak turn volcanic before that happened, but happen it did.

That windy, hot day, I saw my dreams turn into nightmares when Terry Barton, a U.S. Forest Service worker, openly set fire to some paper (love letters, I'm told). Hey, Terry, ever heard of a shredder or a quick flush of a toilet to get out your frustrations?

We all know what happened next. Beautiful areas of forest turned into wasteland, firefighters killed, animal and plant life gone and many people's lives (including mine) changed forever. I could forgive a lightning strike, but not an arson. And in my opinion, her sentence was not long enough.

Even if it was an accident, as Barton claims, she, as a forest worker, fully knew how dry the vegetation was. She's fortunate in one aspect that she didn't get charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of those brave firefighters.

Mitch Siff

Colorado Springs

Identity check

Why do reporters continue to refer to illegal immigrants as "undocumented people" or "undocumented immigrants"?

What is your reticence to identify them (illegal immigrants) accurately? Why are illegal immigrants not correctly called criminals in your article? Is a thief who steals with good intentions an undocumented shopper?

The text from your article to which I refer ("Raid to nowhere," News, May 31) is below for your reference: "One congregant stood before the group and prayed for the community that had been "rent asunder' by the incursion. Earlier in the week, federal immigration police had apprehended at least 18 undocumented people from their homes."

Jonathan Veteto

Manitou Springs

Blessings and crises

In response to the May 24 Indy feature titled "Mom's the word," I think we should be making a deep examination to determine how our culture devolved to the point that children could be "unwanted" at all. How could abortion be one of the most common surgical procedures today? When did we stop seeing children as blessings and start seeing them as crises?

Today we treat them like parasites, embarrassments, economic drains, robbers of freedom and time, and "problems" to be prevented or even eliminated if they manage to defeat our gauntlet of chemicals and condoms.

The feature even spoke of abortion in terms of "relief." How can terminating a child be a relief?

We use the most tragic (and rare) circumstances of true crisis to justify the routine elimination of these "crisis" pregnancies, thus tolerating the termination of a quarter of all pregnancies! Can't we see that decades of such elimination have not solved the "unwantedness" problem? In fact, after several generations of widespread contraception use and abortion, "unwantedness" seems more prevalent than ever.

We have a profound cultural ill that allows us to see one quarter of our next generation as some sort of enemy needing to be prevented and eliminated, much to our shame. We mask that shame by highlighting our right to the procedure, but the legal right to do an act does not make that act right.

My hope is that some day we end the semantics we use to soothe our social conscience in an attempt to hide the fact that at stake in every abortion is a human life in that developing body. I also hope that we can rediscover the blessing that is each and every one of these lives.

Joe Oppelt

Colorado Springs

The hearts of women

Thank you for your May 24 coverage of the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center. I am not responding as a representative of the center, but as a volunteer counselor at the CSPC who has been seeing women on a weekly basis for seven years.

I'm very pleased that the Pregnancy Center has been featured as a safe haven for women: a place where they and their unborn babies are valued and cared about, and where they may come to get honest information in order to make an educated decision that may affect the remainder of their lives.

Had Naomi Zeveloff, the author of the article, come into the Pregnancy Center and asked to speak with any of the counselors, she would have been welcomed. Zeveloff didn't speak with any of the volunteer staff, nor learn what the Center is truly about: caring deeply for the health and emotional welfare for each woman who walks in the door.

Most of the dedicated and trained volunteers are there because they have been grievously affected by abortion. Some have experienced the procedure firsthand; others have had friends or family members go through it. Though "studies" declare abortion risk-free, those of us dealing with the hearts of women every day know that those studies are worth less than the ink used to print them.

Zeveloff hasn't had the experience of listening to countless women sob as they recall the details of their own abortions and the effect it has had on them emotionally and spiritually. She hasn't cried with them because they made a decision they couldn't take back. She hasn't experienced the awe of seeing a woman view her baby for the first time on the ultrasound screen (thank you, Focus on the Family).

If the writer would like to see and hear more about what the Pregnancy Center really has to offer, I would be more than happy to give her the tour.

Karen Kaiser

Colorado Springs

Saying no to Mike Jones

Last month, Poor Richard's Bookstore was approached by Seven Stories Press, the publisher of I Had To Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall, by Mike Jones, asking us to host a book signing to promote their recently published title.

At the Poor Richard's complex, we strongly believe in our citizens' First Amendment freedoms to read any book of their choosing, including I Had To Say Something. We also stand for fairness and protecting the civil rights of all in our community, in particular our gay, lesbian and transgendered neighbors, co-workers and friends.

However, we are selective about the new books we carry and the authors we promote. After reading I Had To Say Something, we found the book invasive, exploitive and not well-written. We won't be carrying the book, recommending it or promoting its author.

Richard Skorman,

owner, Poor Richard's

Colorado Springs

Airport access

Name a city that has a municipal bus system and a municipal airport, but where the buses don't go to the airport. If you guessed Colorado Springs, you're right!

How much money did the taxi companies pay to city officials to insure this state of affairs? And more importantly, which city officials accepted the money? Inquiring minds want to know!

Martin L. Pebler

Manitou Springs

Sad anniversary

June 11 marked the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It marked 40 years of oppression to the Palestinian Arabs.

The following is a brief lesson to Americans who know nothing of this history and blindly follow what the U.S. government tells them regarding our allegiance to Israel.

Days prior to June 5, 1967, Egypt, Jordan and Syria began a buildup of military forces along the Israeli border. This buildup certainly gave Israel a credible concern over being attacked and it decided to respond with a pre-emptive attack on those countries. The war was over in six days with a decisive victory for Israel and has been labeled as the Six-Day War.

On June 11, Israel had in its possession the Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank and Gaza Strip. In days following and upon urging from the United Nations, Israel gave back the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria. Israel has kept the Gaza Strip and West Bank, which had belonged to the Palestinian Arabs.

For 40 years, Israel has ignored United Nations resolutions, and the United States has done nothing to move Israel into compliance. While the Palestinian Arabs have lived under occupation, oppression and as veritable prisoners in their own land, apathetic Americans have done nothing. Yet, these same apathetic Americans rejoice in their abundance and wonder why the Arab world hates them so much.

America, it is time to wake up, stop the blind support of Israeli occupation, show the Arab world you see the oppressive hold Israel has on the Palestinian Arabs, show the Arab world you care about them. Then and only then will we see a movement toward peace in this world.

Michael McMahon

Colorado Springs


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