It is with great sadness that I read about the death of Dr. George Tiller. Pro-life groups have universally condemned this action. Many pro-choice groups have blamed the pro-life community.

I make a distinction between pro-life and anti-abortion. If you are pro-life, you support human life and see the dignity of all persons, including those who commit abortion. If you are anti-abortion, you see an abortionist as the personification of evil, someone who must be eliminated. We have people against abortion who support killing to stop abortion.

John Paul II coined the phrase "the culture of death," and many in the abortion debate have that mentality. Web sites show wanted posters of abortion doctors, who have had many death threats. All of this is wrong.

We just completed a postcard campaign to stop the most pro-abortion legislation ever. It was on top of President Obama's list to do. After receiving more than 33 million postcards, Congress has put the legislation on hold, a great victory for human life. Naturally, none of this was reported by media.

Dr. Tiller put a grieve room in his clinic. His conscience was being pricked. After abortions, he allowed mothers to hold their babies. This had to cause great angst among workers and patients in the clinic. I believe this would eventually have led to his conversion. He was only one of three nationally who performed late-term abortions. I can picture the day when abortion will remain legal and yet there will be no doctor willing to perform abortion. Tiller was 67 and would have retired soon. Now he has become a martyr, and a doctor from Nebraska will take his place.

We have made great strides in the pro-life movement. A recent Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans are pro-life. We must continue to promote a culture of life in the abortion debate.

If we do not respect life outside the womb, how will we ever respect life in the womb?

— Fr. Bill Carmody

Colorado Springs

Share the air

In response to Ethan Cabral's article ("Smoking: Whose choice is it?" Your Turn, May 21), laws regarding smoking in public are there to protect the health of others around you when you smoke. American freedom does not allow you to do whatever you want, regardless of consequences to others. With our freedom comes a responsibility to make sure that our personal activities don't violate the rights of others, or pose a danger to the public at large.

An analogy would be having the legal right and freedom to consume as much alcohol as we wish. When intoxicated persons become violent and combative, or decide to get behind the wheel and drive, they pose a danger to others.

The same applies to smoking in public. You have the right to smoke as much as you wish as long as I don't have to breathe it. I have emphysema and asthma, a condition called COPD. It's painful and dangerous to my health to breathe even a small amount of cigarette smoke. An asthma attack can put me in bed for days. For years it's been difficult for me to go out to bars, nightclubs, restaurants and even shopping malls.

I have as much right to be out in public as you do. Your right to smoke stops at my right to breathe smoke-free air. Because we can no longer count on common courtesy or compassion, we have had to adopt laws to address your impact on my health. Many people can be severely affected by cigarette smoke, as well as people who just don't want to breathe it. I would like to thank smokers who understand the nature and intent of smoke-free ordinances, and do what they can to keep from exposing others.

— John Douglas

Colorado Springs

Detox progress

As a person who is very interested in, and cares very deeply about, the problem of substance abuse in our city, county, and surrounding area, I want to let the citizens of this region know that there is much progress being made on our community detox center.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is working hard to open a temporary detox at the downtown Metro Jail facility, which will be in place until the real community detox center can be opened out at the Criminal Justice Center in early to mid-October of this year.

Support of and interest in bringing about a replacement for our area's one and only detox (after the Lighthouse closed at the end of January 2009) has been overwhelming and, simply put, great! Much credit and praise goes to Sheriff Terry Maketa and also to his fine staff, Chief Paula Presley, Cmdr. Mitch Lincoln and the many other people who have worked tirelessly and devotedly to make this community detox center a reality.

This area's treatment community is coming together to bring assessments, treatment and counseling to the detox. Also, sober-living providers are working to ensure safe, sober housing once people leave the detox center.

It's a real community accomplishment — many people working together to solve a big problem. And it's great to see and be a part of the effort. Thank you, one and all.

— Addy M. Hansen

Colorado Springs

'See the rot'

In response to Lisa Czelatdko ("City's dream," Letters, May 28), who says she thinks that people who criticize the current status quo in Colorado Springs are "ignorant, misguided, and have a general lack of knowledge": At least she assumes that people who criticize her and her milieu can read.

My criticism of the city leaders stems from direct experience. It is you who can't see past the preservation of your current social status. You see in terms of preserving everything in its present order, even when that order suppresses others and denies the basic necessities to those who have been fighting to change it.

Where you see "clean, safe, friendly, diverse," etc., the exploited people see overburdening, ulterior motives, corrupt judges and employers, a government that legislates away the well-being of many families to insurance companies and better-financed sectors, bias in the courtrooms, denial of a voice in how things are structured, and death from preventable causes. You look at a hospital or doctor's office and see health care. The sick and uninsured people see denial, accusation, unwelcome, bankruptcy and unabated illness.

If you have never seen those things, you are far too underexposed to speak knowledgeably on what the criticism is all about. The view from the top is rosier than from the bottom. It is you who needs to open your eyes and see the rot that is the current standard of dealing with people who are, as yet, less privileged. The posies and pretties you describe are only for those who already have prosperity. Apparently that group is not willing to open, even a centimeter, to those who are rising, and those who are trying to rise, out of poverty and other underdog statuses.

You are thinking in biases and absolutes when you say that those who criticize are looking for someone else to make changes. The very purpose of criticism is to bring about change.

— Lisa Smith

Colorado Springs

Consider the Maldives

World Environment Day, on June 5 each year, was established in 1972 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. Its purpose is to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and to encourage political action. The U.N. has a long history of environmental activism as the forum for more than 1,000 international environmental treaties. Subjects addressed have included trade in endangered species, depletion of the ozone layer, hazardous waste management, biological diversity, sustainable development and many others.

The successes have been marred by one conspicuous failure, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which sought to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. The United States has dragged its feet, complaining the treaty imposes restraints on industrialized countries but does not apply to developing nations. There is an element of hypocrisy to this objection, since including developing nations would preclude them from achieving prosperity as we did, by burning prodigious quantities of fossil fuels without concern for consequences.

But now Mother Nature is making the argument for us, because the effects of global warming are becoming too obvious to ignore. Consider the Maldives, a collection of islands in the Indian Ocean whose very existence is threatened by rising sea levels. That nation's president is looking into the possibility of purchasing new land in another country to relocate the entire population of 300,000.

Many nations will meet next December in Copenhagen to negotiate the successor to the Kyoto treaty. Everyone must understand that our present course is unsustainable. A fixed, finite supply of fossil fuels cannot last forever. The only question is whether we make the transition to renewables in time to avoid catastrophic damage to our environment. This should not be a partisan issue. Both sides have kids and grandkids to whom they would like to bequeath a clean and healthful environment.

— James J. Amato

Pikes Peak Chapter, United Nations Association of the USA

Woodland Park

Who's in charge?

While driving home I was stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Denver. Every car going in either direction was forced to stop and answer a question as to whether the driver had been drinking.

If this is now allowed by our legal system, our slow descent into totalitarianism has ratcheted down one more notch. In a free society, a man should be free from governmental force of any kind until he has done something that indicates he either has used force or is about to use force against another. But in our no-longer-free society, in the name of the public's right to be safe, a citizen can be forced to do just about anything.

If making sure others are safe on the road is the only justification for police stopping you and asking questions, then you can be stopped at any time for any reason because there would never be a time when you might not be planning on doing something that might harm another person. In short, the justification being used by the police in this instance is no justification at all.

— Russell W. Shurts



Defending Rayburn

I read J. Adrian Stanley's article about Bentley Rayburn ("Classroom politics," News, May 28). I thought it was unnecessarily mean-spirited. And I thought it was lousy journalism.

I've become pretty well acquainted with Bentley over the past four years and I think he's an outstanding man. He has been enormously successful at everything he's ever attempted (except politics), and I think he would be the man to get District 49's schools out of the doldrums. He is a conscientious leader with not only a good IQ but good judgment. They are two different talents.

In your criticism of Bentley, you neglected to mention his accomplishments in education. He was assigned to be commandant (superintendent) of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and did such a good job of it that he later served as commandant (superintendent) of the prestigious Air War College.

As an old journalist myself, I can tell you that you should have interviewed Bentley and found out more about him if you were going to write a full-page article about him. But that would be if you wanted to write an informative article. If you just wanted to write a nasty piece because Bentley is a Republican, and all the Independent can do is run down Republicans and glorify the lefties, then you accomplished your objective.

I don't know Bentley's competition for the District 49 spot. They may be good people. But I do know Bentley and I know he is a hell of a lot better man than you communicated in your hit piece.

District 49 has an opportunity to solve its superintendent problem. I know Bentley and I know he can do it.

— Earl Asbury

Colorado Springs


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