Defending guns
Spencer Johnston ("G is for gun," Letters, Feb. 28) writes that he is "... perplexed and amused by the Gazette being against gun-free zones."

Perhaps I can shed a little light. I own a handgun. Its purpose is defense of my home, my family and myself. Taking away my constitutional right to carry that gun leaves me defenseless.

So, let's substitute "defenseless zone" for "gun-free zone." If one of those people in your household that your father thought might be "short a full deck of cards" decided to go on a rampage, do you think he or she might choose a defenseless zone, or one where someone might shoot back? Does that help make the Gazette's stance a little less perplexing and amusing?
Mike Koehler
Colorado Springs

Keep it fluid
The presumption of need to develop the Southern Delivery System ("Deep reading," News, Feb. 21) is based upon projections of population growth. In turn, population projections are dependent upon the local comprehensive planning process, which defines how a locale will develop in the future. Thus the planning process of a region or city (in our case, El Paso County and Colorado Springs) directly affects growth forecasts and the need for additional infrastructure such as SDS.

Most American communities, including Colorado Springs, base their planning on a historic relationship between economic development and population growth. You can't have one without the other, or so goes the assumption. This conventional process is flawed because it never explores alternatives that promote economic prosperity while limiting population growth.

Many communities in Europe have viable economies with little or no population growth. Examples of European cities of like size to Colorado Springs include Bologna, Italy; Nice, France; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Our citizens should expect their leaders will explore all options for economic development. As population pressures continue to erode our quality of life, we must look at all alternatives in a truly "comprehensive" planning process.

If such planning had already taken place here, Colorado Springs might have eliminated or, at least, delayed the need for an expensive public works project such as SDS. No such planning has occurred. Until it does, the need for SDS and its environmental impact statement has not been demonstrated and is premature.
Lawrence M. Reisinger
Colorado Springs

Unreachable rep
I can echo Bill Sustrich's complaint ("Lamborn's failure," Letters, Feb. 28) that Rep. Doug Lamborn ignores letters written to him from constituents. In my case, the letters concern a provision of the IRS Code of 1986 which mandates an increasing percentage withdrawal from the original version of the IRA (not from the Roth version, however) each year after age 71.

No member of Congress has the guts to tell people why Congress should manage their retirement savings, and Lamborn is no exception, The only response you can get from him is an automated reply to an e-mail written from his Web site.
George Braun

Meat emergency
"Forced" is a strong word, but the harsh reality. I love meat. However, I love my country more and am outraged. So much so, that my frustration is to the point of wanting to slap sternly, across the jaw, the men placed on administrative leave involved in and surrounding the nation's largest meat recall in history ("Watch what you eat," Between the Lines, p. 15).

Research it, folks! This story is becoming more scary as it unfolds, because it is now a congressional matter. It's bad enough that our food supply was grossly mishandled, processed and distributed; but someone, somehow has jeopardized our way of life.

Holy cow! Deeply within my soul, I hope Congress finds these actions to be acts of gross mishandling as opposed to acts of terror. It is a critical time to now actually consider imminent and present danger to America's food supply as being a threat that is not foreign, but domestic.
Carlene Kremer
Colorado Springs

We, as students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Boulder, feel it necessary to once again express our discouragement in the regents' decision to approve Bruce Benson as the next president to lead the University of Colorado system, despite overwhelming faculty and student protest.

The reasons so many stand against his appointment have been made obvious through dialogue between students, faculty and community, and direct correspondence with regents. While we are disappointed with the decision to overlook Benson's inexperience in academia and the perpetuation of social norms in positions of power, we are now most troubled by the board's disregard for the opinion of students and faculty throughout the CU system.

Still believing the most effective way to "foster an environment that allows our university to thrive is through democracy," we will listen to the regents' request to work together as constituents to make the president successful.

Our request is for a more considerate president. Our hope is for the future character of our university to be defined by inclusion of diversity and innovation for present and future generations.
Michelle Mullenax, Brandon James, Crystal Rizzo, Emily Tamayo, Joe Lavorini, Beryle Frank, Patrick McDavid, Jessica Hudson, Alisha Pagan, Kevin Gilford, Cahalen Morrison, Simone Cook, Christopher Akumfi, Antonio Chavez, Cherish Pagues, Brittany Carrigan
Concerned UCCS students

Satire falls short
Clearly, Rich Tosches must have slept through the unit on satire in journalism school (or maybe wherever it was you got the title "ranger" you don't seem remotely qualified for either the Texas or airborne type mebbe the park type on a really bad day).

Anyway, Thomas Nast was so effective in satirizing Boss Tweed that the Boss tried to bribe him off with a handsome sum. Judging from your "column" ("Focusing on evolution," Ranger Rich, Feb. 21), it's a good thing the Indy is free, or they couldn't afford to print your waste of trees. If the people of the Springs took up a collection, could they bribe you to leave?

It's like this, Ranger Rich: An essential element of satire is humor you can't cut it with just third-grade smart-mouth. If the Springs is really lucky, perhaps you will "pick up your ball and go home."
Rock Chasko
La Mesilla, N.M.

Hard time for vets

"Hire a vet! Your best bet yet!"

I remember my father telling me about that slogan from when he left the Navy in 1972. It seems nostalgic to think about when our country honored veterans rather than simply "supporting the troops," which these days seems to consist of slapping a yellow ribbon magnet on the SUV and watching Bill O'Reilly.

Was it so long ago? Must be, because 18 percent of veterans discharged since 1990 have found themselves unemployed within one to three years of leaving the service, according to a report by Abt Associates for the Veterans Affairs Department as referenced by a Feb. 8 Associated Press article.

The report partly blamed inadequate job networks and lack of mentors. The study said employers often had misplaced stereotypes about veterans' fitness for employment, such as concerns they did not have adequate technological skills, or were too rigid, lacked education or were at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

It urged the federal government to help promote war veterans as capable employees, as well as to re-examine education and training such as the GI Bill.

"The issue of mental health has turned into a double-edged sword for returning veterans. More publicity has generated more public awareness and federal funding ... However, the publicity especially stories that perpetuate the "Wacko Vet' myth has made some employers more cautious to hire a veteran," said Joe Davis, spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I feel rage at the utter ingratitude toward people who've sacrificed so much for their country. To discriminate against them because of some ignorant stereotype is inexcusable.

Reservists are having problems: A recent report showed complaints remained high, citing concerns about denied jobs or benefits after they tried to return to their old jobs after extended tours in Iraq.

When we talk about disrespecting veterans, let us remember some businesses, not anti-war protesters, were the most egregious offenders in the Iraq war.
Capt. Rick Duncan, USMC (Ret.)
Colorado Veterans Alliance

Editor's note: Click here for updated information on Rick Duncan.

Clinton's edge
Am I the only one who can see the value of Hillary Clinton's experience, having shared a life with Bill? Do any of us not believe they have shared with each other their most personal thoughts, ideas, advice, etc.? Aren't we all the same in this sharing of our most intimate thoughts every day with our significant other?

Her having shared living quarters and day-to-day life with one of the most popular leaders ever in this country should matter! Yes, he made some bad decisions (only human), but overall he was a great man and president even proving this true more so now that he is out of office. Who during those eight years would know more about his actual decisions and why they were made, along with the daily job responsibilities of president, than his wife?

This personal, firsthand experience is possibly worth more than her time as a senator in what we all know is a broken system. No doubt Obama is a great guy for consideration, but do we really want to count on someone starting a new job at this point where he may spend most of his first term learning how to do what needs to be done?

Isn't it time for a female to be the leader of the free world? Is it not true women would be more likely to use discussion and diplomacy to resolve world problems and not be so quick to use violence?
John Adrian
Colorado Springs

Nation's hope
We know that all presidential candidates cannot deliver on their promises. History has shown that not one new president has fulfilled his promises, because it is physically impossible.

America needs a blue-collar worker to run America, but Congress passed laws to where poor taxpayer candidates cannot afford to run for any legislative office. Example: collecting thousands of signatures, which is not in the Constitution.

In reality, Democrats and Republicans both are responsible for America's problems, yet they are in control and know that we voters cannot do anything against them.

America needs a revolution, and Barack Obama might just be the person to make this happen. I hope so.
Ken Kretzschmar
Colorado Springs

In our Feb. 28 issue, "Rewriting the rules" referred to President George W. Bush freezing a new rule after taking office in 2001. According to the Forest Service's Web site, after a delay to allow for Bush's review, the Idaho Federal District Court issued an order prohibiting the government from implementing the rule. The order was appealed, implemented briefly, struck down by another court and later replaced.
The Independent regrets the error.


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