Email letters, August 1, 2012
TABOR essential in helping Coloradans control government spending
Alert! The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is under renewed attack.
The Bill of Rights of the Colorado Constitution states that all political power is vested in and derived from the people! The people have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves.
TABOR was on the ballot Nov. 3, 1992. The bill requires statewide voter approval of tax increases that exceed an index created by combining inflation and population increases.
Citizens’ rights under the Constitution are the fundamental principle of government. Government rights are those rights granted to it by the people. Not the other way around.
Thanks to TABOR, Colorado has so far managed to evade the bankruptcies of other states caused by uncontrolled government spending.
At a time of high unemployment and great uncertainty, with federal government spending out of control to the tune of nearly $16 trillion, Colorado citizens should rise up en masse to defend their Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Returning fire in Aurora theater could have caused more casualties
Everyone’s a hero in his or her own mind. What makes anyone think there wasn’t a person in that theater with a gun? Maybe experience tells another tale.
Some years ago I was out for a walk with my dog, houses all around within a quarter mile. A bullet whizzed in front of my eyes, and in that second my eyes watched the bullet travel between the heads of two horses and hit the tree they were standing under. I heard the report of the rifle just as the bullet smacked the tree.
Another second and I realized the bullet came from a thicket to my right. I let out a stream of loud expletives. Terror and anger well up inside in the seconds after such an experience is overwhelming -— “fight or flight” emerge together at once. If a gun had been on me, I probably would’ve emptied it without a single thought to where I was pointing it except in the direction of that thicket. Any return fire in a panicked theater would’ve likely killed more.
No one emerged from the thicket to apologize or take responsibility after my experience. I walked home on rubber legs. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to call the police when I got home. What really became clear was if that bullet had pierced right behind my eyes, I’d have died before hearing the report of the gun.
Indeed, it is always the person not the weapon, whatever the weapon. But the NRA claims there should be no restrictions to guns as if a drunk with a gun is better than a drunk with a car. Maybe there should be a report about how many the NRA trains and if that training includes live fire defense.
Dismissive attitudes toward homeless reveal societal ugliness
A lot of the news has been about the homeless and whether or not we have any responsibility to them. Editorials have said there are some who choose to be homeless. Given the nature of being homeless, it seems that choice is not the proper word and that these people are suffering from mental health issues if it seems that there are choosing it.
There is also the false impression that people have it made because of programs that feed them. That is also false. I recently was forced to use the services of the workforce center and soup kitchen. The other people there are doing what I am doing – looking for work.
I have only been able to find temporary work in the past two years. I lost a permanent job because of lack of business – not because of any character flaw on my part. People who have been in my situation longer are often beat down and can become homeless.
At the soup kitchen people eat while filling out job applications. The longer people have been looking without success, the more downtrodden they appear. It takes a toll. Many of these people have no money for medical care.
The You Said It column has had some downright unkind comments, suggesting that we let people die if they have no money for healthcare and that our only responsibility is to children. Voters, however, recently voted against helping the schools, so maybe children and their needs are not immune to this indifference. We have one of the worst and most punitive welfare systems in the industrialized world, and it is based on the English Poor Laws. For an accurate history of our system and how it developed I would suggest reading the book regulating the poor.
Our society cannot function unless we interact well with others. Our society also has to be based on some degree of trust. We trust that when the light blinks “walk” that cars will not turn into us as we cross. Our world is also based on sharing as we all take turns being here. It seems the natural function of society would be sharing but also caring.
While I agree that we need to be responsible for our own actions, there are those among us that need some assistance while others need some assistance in order to regain independence. A recent study on homeless people showed that the recently homeless showed no signs of mental illness yet those homeless for a longer period of time did. This would lead one to believe that being homeless causes some of the issues. Also, two thirds of the homeless do not fit the stereotype, and those who do are suffering from a mental health problem.
I did graduate level research on homeless populations. I have come to the conclusion that many people are angry with the homeless out of fear. Most people, including myself, are only a paycheck or two away from being homeless.
We should care about others. We cannot function as a society unless we do care. There are groups that are very concerned with every child being born but do now want to help those in need after they are born or later in life.
There are those who are homeless, and there are those who are on the verge of being homeless and struggle while being labeled the working poor.
One man who was in that category is now a statistic. The man died recently. His name was Mike, and he had a disability. I knew him for about twelve years.
Our paths crossed and my memory of him was a friendship although not a close one. I do have some warm memories of him that make me smile and I will miss him. He contributed despite his disability, and his disability was through no fault of his own. Mike was on assistance and was taken off. I am assuming he had no medical insurance after being dropped. He still went to college, learned to play the guitar and interacted with the world around him.
He was able to work after being cut off but it would appear that he could not get the medical care he needed because he died at age 52. At the time he was only a step ahead of becoming homeless. Like many, he deserved more than what he was dealt and what does it say about our society if we do not care? Mike tried the best he could. His problems were not of his own making.
My parents used to feed people they referred as hobos. My parents used to donate to different charities. They told me “there but for fortune” and instilled in me that we ought to care about others. We are not in this world alone. What kind of people are we if we do not care what happens to others?
As far as people choosing what they have, I do not think the one-third of homeless people who suffer from mental health issues choose the disease process that drags them down into the depths of addiction or some other mental health problem any more than people would choose ALS or some other affliction.
I do not think a little kid says to himself, “When I grow up, I want to be a drug addict and die in a camp along the river.” I think that intervention and caring along the way can stop and reverse the trends, therefore leading dependent people to autonomy. Dismissing people as bums and leaving them to die only reveal an ugly side of our society that should not be.