Look closer, D-12

I am alarmed at what has been reported about Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 and volunteers in the article about Joshua Carrier ("Underwhelming oversight," cover story, Aug. 25).

My husband and I are parents of a child who was in two different D-12 schools over a four-year period, and we both volunteered on a regular basis. Not once were we told we could not be alone with students. We were also never given any kind of forms to fill out, volunteer training, or informed of any policies. We were both alone with small groups of children on numerous occasions.

Our child is now at a District 11 school, where we have both undergone required volunteer training, filled out required forms and were told first and foremost that we could not be alone with a child or a group of children unless we underwent a thorough background check that we would have to pay for.

It seems to us that the problem lies with principals at the individual schools, regardless of district policy. Walt Cooper, superintendent of D-12, should be aware that despite his views or whatever the District 12 policies are, there are areas of vulnerability in his schools. Perhaps District 12 treats parents of students differently from other volunteers. They shouldn't.

— Naomi Bowman

Colorado Springs

Mikey vs. the military

It sure was cruel of our POWs to offend Mikey Weinstein by exercising his faith in only one religion during their ordeal. I hope Weinstein can get professional help for the trauma he's suffered.

That said, I couldn't help noticing a couple of huge assumptions in your article about Weinstein's continued crusade against Air Force Academy religion ("I'm done with him," News, Aug. 18):

• The assumption that because he's still complaining, his complaints are valid.

• The assumption that dealing with his complaints means AFA officials are obligated not to be annoyed at Weinstein or make disparaging remarks (that free-speech business runs both ways).

I find it amusing that in his quest to make sure no one is ever coerced, Weinstein has spent seven years now attempting to force his views on the Academy. Of course officials there are frustrated; the only thing that would really satisfy Weinstein would be to raze the AFA chapel and convert it into a parking lot.

— Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Attention, sheeple

Denying racism is something that this community is generally good at doing, so it's not surprising to read one more letter defending the horrific comments of Rep. Doug Lamborn. Still, it's sad to see the anger and vitriol that Chuck Baker and Helen Sabin bring to their task ("They're just jealous," Letters, Aug. 18). I feel sorry for them that they are so totally unable to comprehend how deeply offensive and, yes, racist, many in the community find the congressperson's comments to be.

Ascertaining where diverse elements of the community are coming from is an important skill to master in today's increasingly multi-cultural environment. One doesn't do that by denial and attack on African-American leaders, only by attempting to understand their perspective.

In a gerrymandered district where around 50 percent of the voters are Republicans, African-Americans and their allies probably don't have much of a chance to unseat Congressperson Lamborn, but does that mean we have to condone his words and actions? Unfortunately the "herd of sheeple" (i.e., registered Republicans) apparently feel they must do just that! I'm not aware of one prominent Republican leader who has spoken out against Lamborn's poor choice of words. Regardless of how one feels about his representation of the district in other matters, his followers should be able to criticize Rep. Lamborn when he is wrong, and in fact, they have a duty to speak out for what's right.

Because his supporters have not done that, we must assume that they, too, share Lamborn's racist ideologies against our accomplished and educated half-African-American president. Denying that Lamborn's comments are racist will not make this incident go away, heal the divide, or lead to greater understanding.

— Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

Try another word

Let's put the Lamborn "tar baby" reference to rest.

Yes, "tar baby" has a definition that is not racially derogatory. However, for those who prefer to defend U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, just go to the Bronx, South Central or the neighborhood where Cabrini-Green used to stand and use "tar baby" in context when referring to an African-American resident of those areas and see how they interpret "tar baby."

The defenders of Lamborn are safe, secure and secluded in the white city of Colorado Springs (78.6 percent white, 6.8 percent African-American, according to springsgov.com).

Likewise, the definition of "niggardly" is: 1. reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly; 2. meanly or ungenerously small or scanty: a niggardly tip to a waiter (dictionary.com). And it is etymologically unrelated to the racial slur. But try that one out; just ask David Howard.

If you're a politician, where every word matters, you have to be smarter than that. To say anything remotely negative is a dumb idea. If Obama said, "I hate tea parties" in reference to having to go to his daughter's actual tea parties, it could easily be misconstrued.

A little sensitivity and street smarts go a long way.

— Jason Martin

Colorado Springs

Accuracy matters

I had to laugh at Scott D. Myers' snide comment about liberal readers' ignorance ("Pulling the 'race card,'" Letters, Aug. 25). If Scott were as erudite as we might infer from his disdain for ignorance, he'd certainly be aware of a key element of writing style.

The Chicago Manual of Style says this about quotations: "It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of meticulous accuracy in quoting from the works of others."

I always find it curious when writers simply omit what doesn't help their argument. They bet that no one will bother to go see what got left out. And besides, they would argue, what they did quote was absolutely accurate. Really?

Ironically, in resorting to this sloppy tactic, Scott, to use his own words, has lost "all credibility with those of us of other political persuasions." Thanks to the Indy for sharing the missing portion.

— Sheila Wallace

Colorado Springs

Council targets

I would like people to note who on the City Council most needs to be voted out. Note these details as reported Aug. 9 by the Gazette:

"Council members Angela Dougan and Brandy Williams opposed the collecting of unpaid stormwater fees. Dougan equated collecting unpaid stormwater fees to raising taxes."

Even if you don't think we should have had stormwater fees, no normal voter would oppose collecting fees that were billed in the past and were not paid by some people, even though most of us law-abiding citizens did pay them.

I would appreciate it if the Indy would focus on these two Council members and let everyone know what else they do. Also, if anyone is interested, we need to form a SuperPAC to rid the city government of such people by running ads at election time about their statements and actions.

— Marc Weber

Colorado Springs

Debate me!

Tim Rowan's letter ("Battle tactics," Aug. 25) highlights the hypocrisy and total pseudo-intellectual chicanery of the left and anti-religionists. He has the gall to talk about the "war of words" between Mr. Larimore Nicholl and myself, and bemoans this fact amid and among the other readers, and yet feels motivated to jump in the middle and create more verbal chaos. His accusations are intellectually dishonest at worst and deceptive at best!

Mr. Rowan, your "logic" is irrational. You build your own straw man and then tear it down, using my responses and twisting them to your point of view — like the liberal talk-show hosts on MSNBC. Mr. Nicholl was not just arguing against "dangerous, institutional, religious leaders and followers," he was arguing for the removal of all religions, with the natural, "logical" progression of implying the removal of believers. I was not "switching topics" but trying to get him, and people of your ilk, to be honest and clear in your words and intentions.

Words have meaning. Words contain concepts that create belief systems and worldviews. Your worldview appears skewered toward Christians, especially the "male-dominated, tell-us-what-to-do" churches. I've asked for over a decade for somebody on the left, any liberals, the Free Thinkers, atheists, to formally debate me so everyone can hear the issues being presented and detailed clearly and fairly. You, too, are invited since you seem so rambunctious.

Any reader and responder is given only so much room in a letter. You said I didn't present meaningful arguments for "powerful, religious institutions." How about the Salvation Army, rescue missions, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, YWCA, many food kitchens (sponsored by churches), Catholic charities and various church-related hospitals and the like. Countless Christian charities and ministries have helped after hurricanes and earthquakes. Anybody else want to be enlightened?

— Tom Pedigo

Colorado Springs

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Personal perspectives

As a former student of Professor Larimore Nicholl at the University of Southern Colorado in the 1970s, I feel the need to express the view that science and religion are not mutually exclusive disciplines ("From legend to logic," Letters, Aug. 11). There are many educated and scientific people who believe in the spirit world. As a student of Jungian psychology, I believe in "synchronicity" and the "collective unconscious" and that the conscious mind can communicate with the unconscious.

Synchronicity, "a casual" connecting link, transcends the normal spatial and temporal boundaries of classic physics. Although one cannot see the "collective unconscious," like radio waves, one can experience its effects.

The "Dougherty Gang" episode is such an example. Like everyone else, I was intrigued about their whereabouts after they began their crime spree in Florida and Georgia. No one had heard about them for almost a week until they were seen at the sporting goods store on Woodmen Road in Colorado Springs.

I secretly wondered where they were headed next. Later that evening on a whim, I went on the Internet to view pictures of my childhood home in Rye, Colo., on state Highway 165. The next day an off-duty officer spotted them in a camping area on Highway 165, and the chase began.

Skeptics may say it was just a coincidence and nothing more, but I am convinced that there is a connection between subjective thoughts and objective reality.

— Joe Wood

Colorado Springs

Next headlines

There will be more earthquakes. There will be powerful storms and tornadoes and hurricanes and other such events. Rivers will flood their banks and lakes will go dry. Insects will swarm. There will be war and disease and rumors of war and disease.

We're all going to die. Bad things will happen in the future. Lindsay Lohan will be in the news, Republicans and Democrats will rise up to besmirch each other, and Sarah Palin will change her mind about something.

These things will come to pass. I can see the future!

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs


Follow-up question

Following the discussion in letters between Mr. Larimore Nicholl, Rev. Tom Pedigo and comments from other contributors, it occurs to me that an element is missing:

I was once a cabinetmaker. I bought lumber and cut it into pieces, which I then assembled in such a manner that the result was a cabinet. I did not create cabinets. Before there was lumber, there was a tree. Before that, there was a seed. I did not make the seed or the tree the seed came from. I merely manipulated the produce from the tree.

My challenge to Mr. Nicholl: Name one thing, just one, that "science" or a scientist has created.

My challenge to Rev. Pedigo: Why do you find it so necessary that Mr. Nicholl admit that "science" has never created anything?

— Wes O'Dell

Colorado Springs

Photons and phenomena

Dave Shahan ("Change the subject," Letters, Aug. 18) has an interesting take on the atheism vs. religious belief debate, but alas, though intriguing, it doesn't get us very far — nor make an adequate case for changing the subject.

First, the inherent flaw in all religious belief is its untestability, so we are asked to invest credence into claims that possess neither empirical nor quantitative ballast. Second, "true scientists" pursuing open inquiry, driven by asking ever more relevant questions, is not the same as "having faith in the unknown." The reason is, in the end, we know, as physicist John Wheeler put it: "No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon."

As for "thought" — the late physicist David Bohm eminently (and quantitatively) explicated its quantum basis in his superb monograph, Quantum Theory (p. 169).

As for Shahan's claim that "some objects exist only when observed," er, no. He's confusing rubbish with physicist Paul Dirac's superposition principle that an observation affects the outcome for an experiment "at the sub-atomic or quantum level." (Or, to paraphrase physicist N. David Mermin in his Physics Today essay some years ago: The moon is really there when nobody looks!)

The bit about objects "existing two places at once" is also mistaken. Shahan's actually referencing the (Alain Aspect) nonlocality experiment of 1983, showing two widely displaced photons can display the same polarizations, hence display nonseparability. Bohm also explains the basis for this in his book (op. cit.).

Lastly, naturalist "conservatism" isn't the same as preserving any scientific status quo. (Would Christians accept that Jesus ascended via a spaceship without proof?)

If Shahan (or anyone else) has actual evidence for a supernatural entity, please submit it for inspection — and we'll see if it meets the most basic criteria for a real phenomenon!

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Shrewd loyalty

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) turned the House Oversight Committee into a bank lobbying firm with the power to subpoena and pressure government regulators. His friend, Goldman Sachs vice president Peter Simonyl, changed his name to Peter Haller so that he could quietly work for Issa to coordinate an effort to thwart regulations that affect Goldman Sachs' bottom line. Issa hired Peter Haller as a staffer to work for him on the Oversight Committee.

No joke! Goldman Sachs spent millions this year trying to slow down implementation of the new rules, and Issa's demand to regulators is exactly what banks want. In a very short time, Haller, formerly Simonyl, went from being in charge of dealing with regulators for Goldman Sachs to working for Congress in a position where he made official demands from regulators overseeing his old firm. This is not simply a conflict of interest; it is corruption that affects our economy and our lives. Congressman Issa needs to resign.

— Sharlene White

Oceanside, Calif.

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