Heroin happens

There is a crisis occurring in our city that seems to be receiving no attention. My son confessed to me that he has been using heroin for six months. My son is a normal, educated middle-class kid. His entire circle of friends, with very few exceptions, are using heroin.

When I was growing up heroin was reviled. We knew that if you tried it you would become an addict. Junkies were portrayed as hopeless misfits doomed to a life of crime and an early death. This message has largely disappeared. Heroin use seemed to fade into the background as drugs like cocaine and meth took the spotlight. The message ceased to be spread.

Heroin is back with a vengeance. My son thought if he smoked it on the weekends he could avoid addiction. Smoking on the weekend turned into every day and smoking turned into shooting. I nearly vomited as I destroyed used syringes still containing traces of my son's blood.

How could I have missed this? The weight loss, the apathy. He lost two jobs in six months. I missed it because heroin was off my radar. I grew up in the '60s and experimented like so many did. I missed it because of my busy schedule, my tolerance of his late-night lifestyle, and perhaps more than anything, my tolerance of his experimentation because, after all, I did.

So here we are in home detox. We will not let him out of our sight. Thank God for friends and family. Without them I don't know what may have happened. We seem to have turned the corner. He tells me this sunny Sunday morning that today he doesn't "feel like crap." My wife and I have made arrangements at work so that we can be with him for the next month. And when we have to go back to our normal work schedule, what then? The genie is out of the bottle and there is no putting it back in. He will always be an addict, forever fighting the temptation. I will always carry the guilt.

So to the parents of 20-somethings, please pay attention. Some new names for it are "black, tar, dirty, H." The Mexican Mafia is selling this stuff. They call cocaine "rim" and heroin "tires." My son's friends are clean-cut, polite, otherwise intelligent, and they are addicted to heroin. Spread the word.

— Name withheld

Colorado Springs

Noise pollution

Some in our community have suggested that we are free to leave if we object to the divine right of the military to fly over our heads, deafening us; because they were here first. Well, for my age group, military presence was a POW camp at Camp Carson, Pete Field, Ent Air Force Base and a "large" naval base on Prospect Lake. We "natives" endured the diesel-belching convoys moving through the mountains on two-lane roads at 30 mph; and the Hueys of the Vietnam era thumping overhead.

That was then; this is now.

Much has been made of the potential problems caused by Air Force and Army training flights disturbing the peace of local neighborhoods. We understand that flight training needs to be accomplished over friendly territory without the prospect of people shooting at them.

As there are 24.6 million acres of federal land in Colorado, or about 37 percent of the state, there should be virtually no need for flights over populated areas. I have seen published data showing that a fighter burns about $10,000 of fuel per hour. That's $100,000 for five planes per hour. I would welcome knowing what other aircraft cost to operate. Factor into that amount, spent at every change of command, graduation or whenever someone important visits, and we have a lot of money spent that we can ill afford.

Most rational people believe that loud noise is pollution. Aircraft generate loud noise, especially at treetop level over our heads. Lots of people pay to see the superb acrobatics at air shows, but that's only for a couple of hours and then it's over with.

The military folks can do training over federal land to their hearts' desire. They don't need to fly over our neighborhoods.

— David Johnson



Familiar names

I love reading the Indy letters, as they range from the cogent and wonderfully thought-through, to the usual over-the-top rants against Christians or conservative messages.

I have to ask: Who is Jane Madden? Is she married to the person who reviews and grants publication of the letters? The woman has a letter in there every other week, for Pete's sake. What does she do for a living ... part-time writer of letters to the Indy?

You have regular columnists to continually comment on the stupidity of Sarah Palin, whether Doug Bruce is truly sub-human, whether Focus on the Family is some dark empire that threatens "independent" thinkers, etc. You surely receive enough letters to preclude publication of Jane Madden's every week. I'll wager she even writes you two or three, for every one published. Anyhow, give Jane a little less print, and it wouldn't hurt to find some new targets. There are plenty out there!

Oh, and one more thing: Dear Rich Tosches, your column on the Gazette's election endorsements serves as a great counterpoint for the Indy endorsements, which were oh, so "independent."

— Ryan Davis

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: First, Jane Madden is not related to anyone on the Independent staff. Second, though she did have two letters published during October, those were her first contributions to this space since March. Prior to that, she sent us about one letter a year.

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31 flavors

I really don't understand the intolerance to religious freedoms that has been escalating lately. I'm very sure the Christian right would not like to have their kids reciting the Koran or Wiccan invocations. Similarly, I don't want my child reciting yours! And if you want the Ten Commandments in public places, better have something similar from all other religions as well!

That's why I wrote this little ditty:

31 flavors (or more!)

I am Hindu, Native American, Muslim, Jew

I practice Shinto, Wicca, even Voo Doo

Where are my sacred words on our civic walls?

Why does Baskin-Robbins offer flavors 31? Because we have tastes individual, not a mentality of one!

We are free to worship at Synagogue, Church, Mosque and Meeting Hall. Perhaps you've misconstrued "freedom for all."

Rethink Auschwitz, the Inquisition, Martin Luther again. You might want to try rereading the great Thomas Paine.

Our forefathers fought a revolution for this freedom; we've no man on a throne!

The first of such mankind had ever known. So in our civic places, only the Constitution should be shown.

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Each to his own pleasure.

Another's dogma? Not yours to measure!

Follow your own true heart, I cry.

You are free! But so am I!

— Nancy Lieber-Lazzaro

Colorado Springs

Reading habits

Colorado Springs is known as a city of contradictory ideologies: military training juxtaposed with Christian churches and headquarters. Love thine enemies vs. bombs away!

So it was inevitable I would run into someone like Harley, sitting in a crowd waiting to renew our drivers' licenses. He was reading a newspaper.

"Damned government," he muttered. "Wait all day here, they're not even open every day, short-staffed, bad service. Pay taxes for nothing."

"Maybe we're getting nothing since the vote for no tax increases," I offered.

"That's crap. They're punishing us. They got plenty of money, but they throw it away. This has nothing to do with taxes. Reagan was right, government is the problem, not the solution. Only private enterprise solves things."

"Well, the Lord works his wonders in mysterious ways," I said, noting the cross on a chain on his neck.

He muttered some more. "Damned Afghanistan war. Oughta stay forever, if that's what it takes. Kill more of 'em."

"So it's, 'Thou Shalt Not Kill, except in war?'"

"Yeah, and self-defense," he said, patting a bulge on his hip. "And capital punishment."

"I thought the Bible says, 'Love thine enemies.'"

He shot a glare at me and said, "It don't say that in the Bible."

"I worry about kids getting killed by our drones and bombs."

"Cost of doing business," he said, nonchalantly. "Gotta stop the terrorists from coming here and blowing us up."

"Maybe they're trying to blow our stuff up in revenge for us blowing their stuff up in Iraq and Afghanistan since at least 1990."

"That's crap!" he said. "Where you getting your information?"

He glowered, and turned to the Gazette editorial page.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Localized war

Our local governments now take in about $50,000 in sales tax per month from the extensive network of medical marijuana distributors. Law enforcement wants to use this windfall to better regulate this already much-regulated and seemingly robust industry ("Green meets blue," Cannabiz, Oct. 28).

I think this money would be much better spent on the small things that the shortsighted leadership has taken as easy pickings from the families and friends of our area. Porta-Johns and trash cans in the parks, more water for the thirsty bluegrass, and how about bringing back the Memorial Park Fourth of July fireworks?

— Karl Knapstein



There is an error in the 2010 Give! Guide inserted in this week's Independent. The correct information should be: The Freda Hambrick Fund of El Pomar Foundation awarded a 25 percent match on the first $4,000 raised ($1,000 each match) to every Give! nonprofit in our Animal category. El Pomar directly awarded a 25 percent match on the first $6,000 raised ($1,500 each maximum) for the following six Give! nonprofits: Bear Creek & Fountain Creek Nature Centers, Cheyenne Village, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Habitat for Humanity, Harbor House Collaborative and Kids on Bikes.

The Independent regrets the error.

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