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Handling panhandling

I would like to respond to Mr. John Hazlehurst's Sept. 19 article ("Let's look at ourselves," City Sage). It seems like he meant well by reminding all of us to be more compassionate to those who are in need. However, there are bigger issues not only when it comes to the downtown situation, but just panhandling in general.

Obviously Mr. Hazlehurst was trying to get a message to our City Council, which has been dealing with this issue and trying to do the "right thing." It is easy for Mr. Hazlehurst to pass judgment as an outsider looking in, rather than someone on the inside who has to make a living with the current situation.

It is a fact that people avoid areas that have panhandlers and homeless people, thus affecting businesses and property values. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable, for whatever reason. It is not really about not being compassionate because so many of us contribute to charitable organizations. It is more about disagreeing with the need to panhandle, since basic needs are met by resources such as the Marian House, Springs Rescue Mission, etc.

We all have been taught not to give money directly to the homeless or panhandlers because much of the time it enables them to continue an addiction. We do need to provide guidance to local resources that can assist people rather than perpetuate their condition. It is kind of a "tough love" situation.

We know "WWJ(ohn)D," but "WWJD" is try to teach us to fish.

— Chris Jones

Colorado Springs

Praying it away

I can agree with Mr. Robert Henderson ("The apostle," cover story, Sept. 26) that a lot of people were praying that the Waldo Canyon Fire would be contained, that weather would not make things worse, that property and lives would be spared, etc. I can accept that so much prayer might have a positive impact, and certainly couldn't hurt.

However, I would point out that the prayers in question came from many more people than those whose worldview is deemed acceptable by Mr. Henderson's religion. For example, as a Pagan, I directed my prayers toward several gods and goddesses who, according to my beliefs, deal with weather, protecting people or land, and strengthening people who are in danger.

I think it is reasonable to say that Pagans prayed, Muslims prayed, Hindus prayed, Buddhists prayed, Jews prayed, Christians prayed. Gays, straights, and bi people prayed. People of all races and genders prayed. People who prefer not to "pray" sent good energy, meditated, cast spells, or kept vigil.

I cannot accept the idea that differing religions, politics or sexual orientations cause lack of responsibility, natural disasters, or make these people enemies of one another.

— Alikina MacAndrew

Colorado Springs

Conquest vs. caring

On Robert Henderson, why is it that he and so many in the Christian industry make social conquest their priority? How can good health hear what they do as less than an effort to deny individual freedom?

Why won't evangelicals and churchists, by whatever labels or names they may choose for themselves, admit the true callings of honest human responsibility? Why do they build their organizations of bricks and mortar rather than devoting their conquest profits to the real needs and welfare of people? Are the challenges in these things just too difficult, messy or inconvenient to admit?

Is it true that facing the real problems of society with genuine caring doesn't turn enough of a profit? Why is it that turning stomachs is preferable?

Where is their commitment to the emotional, physical, intellectual and financial welfare of the family and society in general? Good health finds it very hard to sit idly silent when the free press renders such lopsided valuations impossible to ignore.

— Zach Tailor

Colorado Springs

Left unsaid

I have one question for Chet Hardin concerning his article on Robert Henderson and the New Apostolic Reformation.

Why isn't there a single sentence in the entire lengthy piece along these general lines: "Of course, everything these people believe is a total crock of bullshit that ought to have readers howling with laughter"?

It seems to me that the most minimal standards of objective journalism require that much.

— Richard Wood

Colorado Springs

'Like con men'

What a terrific article about the apostles! You go, guys! The ski slope operators will be thrilled to know you have some inside track with the Big Weatherman in the sky; and I do congratulate and thank you for stopping the Waldo Canyon Fire!

Ironically, I am reading a book called Almost a Psychopath by Ronald Schouten, Harvard Medical School. This book defines personality disorders and behavioral aberrations from psychopathy and antisocial personality disorders to psychosis and delusion, and many sub-categories and varying degrees of personality and behavior problems and their causes.

It also establishes criteria so that personality problems can be identified, as the signs may be apparent at an early age. The common thread is that people with personality disorders are egocentric, manipulative and lack empathy ... like con men. They do not care about the effects of their lies, scams and swindles.

When it comes to spewing about the supernatural, anything goes in this great land where anyone can be prophet and chief exorcist at his own Jesus store! Nobody can refute the power of magic underwear or a chit-chat with an angel. You either swallow the line or you don't. There are many more Christian-oriented cults than there are pages of the New Testament!

So, whether you find Jesus divine or merely fabulous, I recommend Almost a Psychopath because this is Colorado Springs, and you've got to be able to separate the macadamias from the cashews, the walnuts from the pecans.

As George Carlin said: "When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front-row seat!"

Don't be duped.

— Bernadette Young

Colorado Springs

Selective inaccuracy

The recent minor brouhaha over the unfortunate young lady filmed at Safeway working to sign up voters (in a selective manner: Republicans preferred) brings up an interesting look at how El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams defines what is inaccurate.

Channel 9 News in Denver interviewed Williams, who stated he had asked the lady who filmed the video to remove it, as it contained inaccurate information." Fortunately, we have an alert, deep-digging press in the form of the Independent, led by Ralph Routon, who was on to a story of "inaccurate information" a year ago, the minute it happened during the heated term-limit issue.

Last year, Williams presented information to the public that it would cost $500,000 to place the term-limit measure on the 2011 ballot.

The "Term Limit Trio" seized on that right away. Commissioners Sallie Clark, Dennis Hisey and Amy Lathen embraced the cost factor, saying the county couldn't afford paying $300,000 or more. Never mind the idea of doing what's right.

As it turns out, the total cost to the taxpayer would have been between $139,000 and $148,000. A far distance from the half-million dollars quoted by Williams, who also would benefit from the extended terms.

The information presented by Williams was, to use his word, "inaccurate." This falls under the category of "Selective Inaccuracy Syndrome," and also under that category of: "Watch Elected Officials Carefully."

With the election just weeks away, re-reading the article ("Term-limit excuse vanishes," Between the Lines, Sept. 8, 2011) might be helpful. Trust in elected officials may be the most important issue facing voters.

— Rick Wehner

Colorado Springs

Much better here

I have never lived anyplace that had lower electric bills than Colorado Springs. Last year I made a ghastly mistake by moving to Texas, to a little town where I had lived before, but which now seems to be just a suburb of Houston. The first thing I encountered was at least six different electric companies from which I had to choose.

No, competition did not mean lower rates. Each one solicited contracts with costly penalties if you decided to change. Knowing nothing about any of them, I asked friends, who all had horror stories. I chose to not sign a contract and thus paid higher rates ... very much more than here.

I've never had any particles of ash on my car here when I park on the street. It seems we must do a very good job with the coal-firing. I go way back to St. Louis when they used soft coal, and building façades had to be cleaned because of the soot. Hard coal eliminated all that

— Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

George W. Bush league

A leader sees a problem and seeks a solution, no matter who caused the problem. If Plan A does not work, he implements Plan B. If there is opposition, a leader seeks cooperation, compromise and coalition, to get his plan to work.

A lawyer sees a problem and by schooling and practice seeks someone to blame. Obama is still blaming the prior administration and George W. Bush for his, Obama's, inability to govern. This guy Bush must be the single most powerful person in this country if, after nearly four years out of office, he is still responsible for so much of this government. If not, then Obama is the single weakest person ever to hold this office.

Obama's continuous blame of Bush makes Obama a failure, not a leader.

— Roger Weed

Colorado Springs

Caught by the Geek

While I enjoy Tom Tomorrow's cartoons, and while I am anything but a Romney supporter, I do believe the man is intelligent and educated and would not use the word "lay" when the correct word is "lie." Call me the Grammar Geek.

— Sally Alberts


The price of war

What are the effects of the nearly constant state of war our nation has been involved in for the past 70 years? What are the effects on our soldiers, on the psyche of our nation, on so many who struggle on workers' wages, on our national debt, on the way in which much of the world views the U.S.?

— Brien Whisman

Colorado Springs


Hunting hero

As the sights and smells of fall portend another hunting season, it's heartening to know that more Americans are heading outdoors to hunt and fish these days, reversing a two-decade-long decline. Eleven percent more Americans (ages 16 and older) fished and 9 percent more hunted in 2011 than in 2006, according to a new five-year survey from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On the other hand, more hunters and anglers today are increasingly pressed for time, and some seek shortcuts to their outdoors experiences — like hunting over bait, or paying for guaranteed-results hunts using high-fenced/canned "hunting" operations. But David Petersen is not one of them. David is an accomplished Durango-based author, renowned elk hunter, effective advocate for America's public lands and wild places, and one of Colorado's most dedicated wildlife conservationists.

David worked tirelessly for five years as public lands director for Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project, served on Colorado's Roadless Areas Review Task Force, and founded Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Every year David spends a month in the wilderness near his mountain home, hunting elk with a homemade longbow. A currently in-process hunting documentary (The Good Hunt) will follow this master huntsman at close quarters as he discusses a lifetime dedicated to traditional bowhunting, wildlife and public lands conservation, the study of wild nature, and an uncompromising way of life.

As David's writing and philosophical mentor Edward Abbey once phrased it, "Hunting is one of the hardest things even to think about." But as more hunters with less free time on their hands take to the woods this fall, the ethics of hunting is something we must think about. To find out more, visit indiegogo.com/thegoodhunt.

— David Lien

Colorado Springs

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