Email letters, March 5, 2013

Gun control further erodes freedom

One of the thoughts that went through my mind when I joined the Marine Corps in 1966 was “someone has to be willing to die for their country.” Freedom has a price, and throughout the history of our country a large number of our citizenry has been willing to pay that price. As we consider the issue of gun control, I think it is important to consider the thinking of the “freedom culture” within America.

I call it the freedom culture, because it is not a gun culture as the media sometimes refer to it. The most overriding theme in the writing of our Constitution was how to keep government from taking freedom from the people. The freedom culture looks at government as the biggest threat to freedom that there is, because historically it is overwhelmingly true.

Someone penned the saying, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I don’t think you would find many even among liberals who would disagree with that statement. Gun rights are a constitutional balance that equalizes power between the government and the governed. The more corrupt government becomes, the more government fears ownership of guns by the people. 

Rightly so in America, because our government was formed in response to tyranny, with the best system of checks and balances of power among nations and yet we still have trouble controlling our government.

As we see the erosion of our freedom, we become more alarmed at efforts to further reduce our power as the governed. After all, how much firepower would it take to protect yourself from the federal government?  Most reasonable people would say, “all you can get.” We are not trying to take all we can get. We just want to keep what we’ve got.

The charade of using gun control to protect lives is a pathetic excuse to those who want to protect our freedom. The greatest protection of life possible is a well-armed public that commands a healthy fear from criminals and government alike. Willingness to die for freedom is not a rare commodity in America. It runs in our genetics. 
   
JOHN COX
Palisade

Cover of Out & About showed dubious judgment

I am returning the cover from the Out & About from Friday’s paper. It sickened me to see it when I opened the paper. You should have it back.

Your decision to fill the cover of your news of “what’s happening to entertain folks in the Grand Valley” with a man and his automatic weapon struck me as the equivalent of an obscene gesture.  What a waste of your journalistic options.

What if you had reported more deeply on the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day in this country?  What do vets in Mesa County have to say?

What if you had followed up on what’s known and unknown about the high rate of suicide in “at risk” Mesa County?

What if you reported on the percentages of suicide by firearms, on average 60 percent?

What if you had placed on the cover of your supplement one of the posters from the CMU poster competition CO2 that opened Friday at the Art Center, and then interviewed those young citizens about their views of gun violence?

What if you were to make your own survey of your subscribers, or, better yet, of all Grand Valley residents, about their views of gun violence, automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition?

If your preconception about readers is that they would get a kick out of your cover, I beg to differ. I challenge you as journalists to find out.

RENA FRANCIS
Palisade

Government is working to disarm Americans

In 1992, during the “Rodney King” riots in south central LA, Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, was pulled from his truck, severely beaten and left permanently brain damaged.

Rescued and taken to the nearest hospital by four “non-rioting’” blacks, Denny survived.

Now, at the time, the police had withdrawn to safer territory and left those “non-rioters” to fend for themselves for protection of life and property.

The above information is history and can be easily researched. It is provided as a background for the following.

The government at varying levels is intentionally working to disarm the American people, regardless of skin color, as well as actively fomenting racial unrest and hatred among the population.

It does this under the pretense of public safety, but when a public safety issue arises, the police withdraw to safer areas where they are in no danger and the politicians disappear out of the area completely.

This leaves “non-rioters” defenseless against roving mobs of dangerous criminals with no restraints to rape, pillage, plunder, murder and burning the areas with complete impunity from danger.

Can somebody please give me one good reason why politicians should not be charged criminally for their part in the upcoming riots, lootings, rapes and murders?

DREW DICKEY

Clifton

Support fair land-use policy by voting “Yes” on Ref. A

Vendors, suppliers and service companies create most of the energy jobs in Western Colorado. These companies are also the backbone of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

We have joined the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, the Western Colorado Contractors Association and many other community groups in endorsing Referred Measure A in the upcoming Grand Junction City election.

We believe respecting business rights, enhancing trails and recreation and treating the valley’s job creators with fairness are important goals that will be achieved when voters say “Yes” to Measure A.

If you value the Grand Valley’s Riverfront Trail system, then join us in endorsing Measure A. If you believe businesses should be treated fairly and with respect, then join us in endorsing Measure A.

If you believe, as we do, that a fair and predicable land-use policy is critical in supporting community investment and job creation, then join us in endorsing Measure A.

DAVID LUDLAM, Executive Director
West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association
Grand Junction

Thanks owed to Rep. Wright for his principled stand

Last Thursday, the Colorado legislature rejected HB1045, Jared Wright’s essential legislation nullifying the president’s practiced authority of detaining U.S. citizens without due process, council or habeas corpus.

This means the majority of our Legislature believes that the federal government is at war here in Colorado. In pursuit of the war, the majority believes that our own military should ignore the Constitution and apply the Law of War to our citizenry.

Through the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Sections 1021 and 1022, the president has exercised this assumed authority and has held a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla, for more than two years without counsel, charges or trial.

Eventually he was afforded due process, charged and dually convicted in a court of law. What necessity was there for the president to defy the law he is sworn to uphold and pretend there is an active war here in the U.S.? Are we at war here in Colorado and in Mesa County? Last I checked, we were fairly tranquil.

Contravening the Constitution and violating the right of due process and habeas corpus is a serious offense to the people. The situation becomes even more nauseating when numerous other state legislatures have recognized this threat and have passed the same law our Legislature rejected.

Colorado believes, albeit narrowly, that destroying due process is acceptable. The danger of this situation is apparent when we recognize that a memorandum has been issued by the Executive identifying persons afraid for the destruction of the Constitution as potential terrorists. This issue will not go away. I thank Rep. Wright for attempting to address it.

We owe our thanks to Wright for a principled, reasonable stand against the destruction of the 5th and 6th Amendment and expansion of the complete state. He did his best; unfortunately, those who believe in complete, blind subservience to the state were too numerous.

Those of us here in Mesa County who believe in Constitutional government and rule of law support Wright and are proud to have him as our representative.

He should keep up the good fight, and as long as strong people are willing to stand up and fight, the truth will prevail.

DAVID L COX
Palisade

Colorado now has a government of Democratic puppets

It is abundantly clear that the voters of Colorado no longer have a voice in their state government. The control of our state now lies firmly in the office of the Democrat National Committee.

One look at the recent gun rights fight in the State House of Representatives shows us that at least 3 Democrats reversed votes on the controversial bills after receiving personal phone calls from the Vice President of the United States. What was the reason for switching their vote? Pressure from the Vice President to not vote their beliefs, but instead vote with their caucus.

Just today, Democrats imported national Gun Control poster boy Mark Kelly, who hails from Arizona, to testify in the Colorado Senate on bills infringing on Coloradans rights to defend themselves.

Pressure from the Obama administration will make sure these bills make the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper, and he has shown every intention of signing them in spite of the fact that not one life will be saved. Does anyone think that criminals will follow these laws? They won’t because they are criminals.

Colorado has become President Obama’s private experiment state. Need someone to lead the fight on same-sex marriage, tug on the puppet strings of Hickenlooper. Need someone to lead the fight against the Second Amendment, yank those strings again. Need stricter energy rules? Yank on the Hickenlooper puppet.

Colorado has been left with not a shadow government, but a government of Democratic puppets, controlled by the Democratic National Committee and working not for the good of Colorado, but for the good of the Obama administration. When Obama pulls the strings, the Hickenlooper doll dances to his tune, much to the detriment of Coloradans.

KEVIN MCCARNEY
Clifton

In fairness to Brady, vote “Yes’ on Ref. A

Brady Trucking has and continues to be a good corporate citizen of Grand Junction. It has played by the rules in every respect in developing its property.

Brady Trucking granted a significant part of its property for the riverfront trail to continue through its property and to screen its business. And the City Council, with that in mind, approved the zoning.

Now the “not in my backyarders” are asking you to say no to Brady Trucking without giving Brady anything in return. Just as with our federal government woes, it takes compromise to reach a fair outcome.

In this instance, Brady Trucking has gone more than halfway with its 50-foot grant, but its detractors are unwilling to give even an inch.

Let’s be fair to Brady and vote “Yes” to allow it to use its property as approved by the Grand Junction City Council five years ago.

MICHAEL J. RUSSELL
Grand Junction

Real estate professionals earn halos for service

We are impressed with the Realtors who serve the Grand Valley. As sellers of our home, we contacted the Realtor who sold us our home some 15 years ago about marketing our property. We were told exactly what we needed to do prior to the listing date.

Once the house went on the market, we were briefed on how the process works. It worked exactly as we were told. Real Estate agents from a variety of different companies made appointments through our listing company. We had timely notice from the staff; every agent brought qualified clients during the period of the appointment and provided client and agent feedback to our agent, who kept us informed.

An acceptable offer was received within 30 days from a prequalified buyer. Various after-sale actions were explained and performed in a timely manner, enabling us to make firm commitments with a continuous care facility on our end of the transaction.

So, “halos” go to all of the agents and real estate companies involved in our transaction. It was a true demonstration of a culture of excellence.

KEN and SHIRLEY DEAL

Grand Junction

BLM land use plan is outrageous, expensive

In recent years, hundreds of miles of roads have been closed on U.S. Forest and BLM lands in Western Colorado. Now the BLM seems to be on a mission to close most of the remaining unimproved roads. The local BLM office has spent four years and millions of dollars developing its new Resource Management Plan.

To this point, BLM environmentalists have developed the plan without public participation or input. The BLM’s preferred alternative would close motorized access to two-thirds (2,100 miles) of the remaining roads. The plan does not identify any problem that needs to be solved or give any good reason or justification for the proposed closures.

If this plan goes into effect, access to hunting, fishing, camping and other recreational uses will be severely limited. Local businesses related to these activities will also be adversely impacted.

Millions more tax dollars will be needed for signs, gates, locks and barricades required to close the roads. How many more rangers will BLM need to hire to patrol and enforce all of the road closures?

Now is our only chance to stop this outrageous plan. The deadline for public comment on BLM’s Resource Management Plan is April 25.

DON NEWTON

Grand Junction

Irresponsible legislators exploit fear to curtail fundamental rights

Democratic Sens. Ted Harvey and Evie Hudak highlight the problem I have with the enemy to our fundamental rights. Harvey told a young woman “... we’re trying to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable.” He said their fear and the Democratic Party’s right to exploit fear for political gain trump the God-given right to self-defense.

Quite opposite to the Americans who adopted the Second Amendment. Americans who recognized that there were some “religiously scrupulous against bearing arms.” Unlike the despots today, our Legislature once defended the right to self-defense.

Unlike the Mississippi Black Code (1865) brought back by the Democrats today, once upon a time in America the right to self-defense was recognized.

Now the Jacks and Jennies defend fear and ignorance. And, the stats Evie cites are “not on her side.” They only show that most people who own guns are reluctant to use them even in their own defense, even to their own harm.

Why carry unless you are willing to use it in self-defense? Irresponsible legislators make me want to puke.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER

Fruita

Tipton ought to support president’s call for additional revenues

On March 3, Congressman Scott Tipton issued an “update” on “sequestration” – wherein he regurgitated familiar Republican talking points and understated the actual magnitude of sequestered funds as a percentage of the discretionary budget, but clearly exposed the false premises upon which Republicans disingenuously rely.


Tipton claims to “believe that spending is the problem” – based on three purported “givens”:  “most families are taking home less income,” “most families are . . . paying more taxes” and “the federal government is bringing in more tax revenue than ever.”

The first “given” conveniently avoids the fact that Republicans’ failed economic policies caused reduced family incomes and begs the question of why Republicans reneged on their allegedly exclusive initial focus on “job creation” to instead obsess over long-term debt reduction, when (as President Obama and most economists concur) economic growth – and thus the debt-carrying capacity of our economy – depends on the former.

The second and third “givens” are both false. The average family tax burden is at its lowest since 1955 (and the corporate tax burden is the lowest since 1947). While, in absolute terms, federal tax revenues are at an all-time high (due to population growth, inflation and modest economic recovery), properly measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”), federal tax revenues are at their lowest since 2000.

After 2000, the Bush tax cuts deprived the federal government of at least $1.6 trillion in revenue, the unfunded Iraq War added at least $3.2 trillion to the national debt, and the under-funded Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit added hundreds of billions more.

Therefore, applying his own logic but basing his “belief” on facts rather than falsehoods, Tipton should be vigorously supporting Obama’s call for $600+ billion in added revenues—available by “closing tax loopholes” and/or re-imposing the financial transaction tax on Wall Street.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Progress seen in fight against dental disease

A year ago public health leaders across the state pledged to improve the oral health of Coloradans.

Recognizing dental disease directly impacts the economic health of our state – costing nearly $1 billion annually – and is nearly 100 percent preventable, Gov. John Hickenlooper named oral health one of the state’s winnable battles.

At the same time, Delta Dental of Colorado joined the battle with a new fund offering two years of free dental insurance for the state’s at-risk populations.

We’ve seen progress worth celebrating.

According to the 2011-12 Children’s Oral Health Basic Screening Survey, approximately 48 percent fewer kindergarteners, and 46 percent fewer third-graders, have untreated decay compared to 2004.

The state also saw a 29 percent increase in the number of third-graders with dental sealants. That constitutes about 6,400 children with less risk of tooth decay. 

Despite these promising signs, significant challenges remain.

More than 2 million Coloradans lacked dental insurance in 2011, a 17 percent increase from three years ago, according to the Colorado Trust. This is significant because those with dental insurance are twice as likely to regularly see a dentist.

Response to the Delta Dental of Colorado Fund is a testament to the challenge we face. The fund reached capacity within months and has covered more than $2 million in dental care. In the Grand Junction area, nearly 300 fund claims were submitted during its first year.

Not surprisingly, restorative treatments – including fillings and tooth extractions – comprise the largest category of care. These services alleviate debilitating pain and put patients on a path to preventive treatment.

Colorado is committed to fighting dental disease by strengthening public infrastructure, educating the public, improving access to care and fostering communities that create conditions to make the right choice the easy choice.

Working together, we can win the battle of oral health.

DR. CHRIS URBINA
Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer
Colorado Department of Public Health

KATE PAUL
President and Chief Executive Officer
Delta Dental of Colorado



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