Email letters, February 20, 2013

Colorado senators urged to support Pentagon cuts

In the budget debate in Washington, advocates for rolling back the $1 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon budget have been some of the loudest voices. As a retired schoolteacher, I think that it is important for our senators, Bennet and Udall, to take a hard look at these arguments.

Even after these cuts and the conclusion of two wars, Pentagon spending would still be higher than it was during most of Vietnam and the Cold War. 

Meanwhile, I see that our communities need more investment in public education, roads, the environment, green energy and infrastructure—investments that will be harder to make if the Pentagon doesn’t pay its fair share of deficit reduction efforts.

I hope our senators will examine the facts and keep planned Pentagon budget cuts.


Soker deserves credit for many community contributions

Dave Soker loved rivers.

In working for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, he helped create fish habitat from abandoned gravel pits and riverbanks by constructing new wetlands and ponds to replace those that had been lost over the years.

Conservation easements were obtained; wetlands were re-established. Openings to the river allowed spring flooding to reach low-lying areas where fish could spawn and grow.

In serving on the Riverfront Commission, he was a strong advocate for more wildlife areas and interpretive signage, recognizing that the riverfront project is more than just a trail. It is a series of parks, wildlife sanctuaries, wetlands, ponds and natural floodplains.

As a resident of Palisade, he promoted the installation of interpretive signs in Riverbend Park, describing the history of this area that had included a civilian conservation corps camp during the depression of the 1930’s, a prisoner-of-war camp in World War II and an ill-conceived subdivision.

In broadening the perception of the Riverfront Project, he opened our eyes to the economic, environmental, cultural and historic importance of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers to the lives of our people.

Grand Junction

Gun-rights advocates urged to join rally on Saturday

I am becoming increasingly irritated with politicians who are way more interested in disarming law-abiding Americans than they are in protecting the lives of America’s children, as well as mothers, fathers and other loved ones.

Vice President Joe Biden was recently at the Grand Junction airport being protected by armed Americans. Since actions speak louder than words, the Obama administration apparently believes that protecting Biden is more important than protecting America’s children. Is Biden in more danger than America’s children?

There have been more attempts on the lives of America’s young people than on Joe Biden’s life. Would anyone care to venture a guess as to why? Yet Biden feels it is necessary to use guns to protect his own life even as he seeks to ensure that America’s threatened children are denied that right. Does anyone see the arrogance in that?

Colorado politicians have just passed four laws that have been proven repeatedly to NOT decrease crime at all, but instead increase crime and make criminal activity safer and more lucrative for criminals. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with foolish laws, such as the four mentioned above which unconstitutionally give criminals an advantage over the law-abiding and unconstitutionally interfere with my pursuit of happiness.

We must do everything we can to reverse these ill advised and poorly thought out affronts to common sense which were recently passed, as they unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of all law-abiding, formerly free Coloradans.

Supporting the Day of Resistance rally at noon this Saturday at 544 Rood Avenue would be a good start.


Grand Junction

Editorial took objective look at House gun measures

I appreciated the professional summary of the current assault on the Second Amendment in Tuesday’s editorial.

Your first paragraph outlined very concisely the aspects of the procedures being employed that I am most concerned about - - none seem obviously unconstitutional but all, taken together, seemed obviously counter to the intent of Our Constitution - - if we assume that intent was to advance and support freedom to individual citizens.

And the second paragraph briefly summed up the only real direction I have seen expressed toward alleviation of our real problem - - the morbid mental unbalance that results in a craving to be heard at any/all costs, including mass and personal homicides.

(I recently read in a periodical, numbers indicating our president had asked for something like one hundred times the funds to pursue an attack on the Second Amendment as he asked for, to investigate ways to identify possible shooters!  Priorities?)

A most egregious part of the proposal, HB 1229 in paragraph five, would saddle private citizens with unspecified costs and responsibilities for predicting future actions of others with no means or control over those ‘others’.  Open-ended responsibility without authority? 

Throughout this piece I felt I saw a degree of objectivity generally missing from all too many public (read “media”) discussion of socio/political situations these days.  For example, objective ‘sizing’ of this situation might start with dividing the number of kids shot in school by number attending school - - compare to number of kids injured in contact sports divided by number participating in such sports - - number of pedestrian street accidents vs. total pedestrians - - etc, etc.  A little objectivity, maybe?  Might even save a little dab of freedom! 

A small booklet published by The Cato Institute in Washington D. C, is about five by three by 1/4 inches.  It contains the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States with 27 Amendments.  This little booklet contains our forefathers’ valiant attempt to provide us with a foundation for freedom! 

In our libraries we can find truckloads of law books of laws supposedly based on the content of the little booklet plus, towering law office buildings in our cities full of lawyers explaining all those laws’ meanings.  All these laws should remind us, always, that every law costs us some amount of freedom - -‘when we wonder where our freedoms went!! 

Grand Junction

‘Feel-good’ laws will only obscure real cause of violence

Regarding Eileen O’Toole’s gun control letter of February 19, she suggested reading Clayton Cramer. I did.

His testimony of Nov. 27, 1998, to the Santa Rosa City Council in opposition to a gun control ordinance is enlightening and cuts to the heart of this matter. He states, “ …there is a great danger that the focus on gun control laws will prevent us from looking at the cultural problems that cause much of the violence with guns. Georgia banned the sale of concealable handguns in 1837. The Georgia Supreme Court struck down the law in 1846 for violating the Second Amendment. Other Southern states passed concealed weapon laws at the same time… These laws failed to solve the problem. Gun control laws then were an attempt to fix serious cultural problems on the cheap—and there is no reason to believe that they will work any better now.”

In an editorial the Daily Sentinel also doubts that the legislation will solve the problem. I believe it is “feel good legislation” which merely diverts effort and attention from the real problem, behavior, while punishing the responsible law abiding firearms owners.

A quick review, as she suggested, of   the history of our country’s founding produced many quotes on the subject. A few follow.

John Adams: “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion … in private self-defense.” Samuel Adams: “…the said Constitution never be construed … to prevent the people of the United States … from keeping their own arms.” Thomas Jefferson: “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” James Madison said that he had “deliberately proposed amendments (to the Constitution) … among them a right for the citizenry to be armed.” George Washington in a speech delivered to Congress January 7, 1790:“A free people …  ought … to be armed.” 

Grand Junction

Expand area of monument to truly claim park status

I have read with interest the recent articles and letters concerning changing the name of Colorado National Monument to “Colorado National Park.” While this is a noble cause we need to look at the big picture. As is admitted by supporters the reason is simply to improve “marketing”.

Having recently retired from the National Park Service as a parkranger for 35 years, in 13 NPS areas-in 7 states, having traveled five continents visiting Parks and being a lifetime “student” of national parks history, I assure you that you’re correct. People know a national park is the best of the best and will travel far out of their way to visit.

We need, however, to look beyond a simple “name change” if we want to truly change the image. By management standards national parks represent those areas of substantial size and character with more than one “big quality” i.e. Yellowstone-geysers, wildlife, waterfalls and more.

CNM is a monument in name because it’s simply there for the incredible red rock formations, nothing more. If it becomes a national park, it would be the fourth smallest national park. I question its worthiness to be lumped with Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon.

To get support of the American people and do what’s right by the intent of the law, we need to seriously consider expanding the monument, perhaps including the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, other adjoining BLM lands and even Westwater Canyon to make it a truly grand national park.

Not only would this make it worthy of being called a national park, it would create a true destination area for visitors from around the world to visit that would rival Moab, southern Utah, northern Arizona and similar areas. It would then boost tourism and economies.

Simply changing the name without changing the integrity, the character, the size and the recreational opportunities will perhaps boost tourism a little, but most people will know that nothing has really changed.


Draconian gun restrictions only increase rate of crime

Some things fit the statement; “The more things change, the more they are the same.”  In following this so-called debate on gun control, I find some things echo and re-echo from years past.

The facts don’t change; they have been studied and verified repeatedly. From the government’s own Congressional Budget Office, to several contracted studies done by universities, the results have always been the same.

The more guns are in the hands of citizens, the less criminals plague our society. Everywhere concealed carry laws were approved by the states, all forms of violent crime decreased, sometime very dramatically. Once whole countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, passed draconian gun restriction laws on their citizens, crime skyrocketed.

So, what is the problem?  Our society in general has been cut loose from its ethical/moral bounds. The corruption of good character and the loss of absolute values (meaning doing what’s right in our own eyes) without considering our past or our unchanging standards of right and wrong, good and evil have left this nation adrift. So, what now?

Attorney General Eric Holder publicly charged the media to “brainwash” Americans to hate guns.  Have you noticed the nonstop gun “news” flooding the media? 

No matter the studies, the data, the facts, just get good old American Joe to hate guns. What we are seeing is an axiom a friend shared with me recently, “Rigidly holding to a view despite valid evidence to the contrary is known as the Fallacy of Invincible Ignorance.” We are witnesses of this fallacy as it works in the halls of so-called representative bodies at state and federal levels. Invincible ignorance! 

All legislators who support these false and stupid laws must never inhabit the hall of governance again. They need to know immediately that they will not be re-elected. So, let us tell them – now.



Registered gun owners must uphold responsibilities

Some thoughts on guns: Anyone passing a background check and registering a gun can have as many guns of any type as he or she pleases.

A registered gun owner has the legal responsibility for how that gun is used. A registered gun owner has the responsibility to see that a background check is done and passed and the gun is re-registered to a new owner if the gun is either sold or given to someone else.

The registered owner has the legal responsibility for the security of the gun. If the gun is stolen, a police report must be filed immediately substantiating that it was, in fact, stolen.

Nevertheless, a registered gun is the total responsibility of the registered owner until the registration has been re-registered to the new qualified owner as described above. Serious prosecution of the registered owner should result from the gun being legally misused regardless of the person in possession of and misusing the gun.

A reasonable time period should allow persons to register all unregistered guns in their possession. Any person after a certain date in possession of an unregistered gun should be severely prosecuted. As is the case currently, a crime committed with a gun, particularly an unregistered gun, should require serious penalties. 
We have a gun culture in this country. Presumably registered owners of guns are very responsible. The above makes it a matter of law that a registered owner is solely responsible for the use of that gun until the re-registration has taken place.

The horse is out of the barn as far as the number of unregistered guns currently existing. Anybody possessing such a gun can register it as long as he or she qualifies; otherwise the gun must be confiscated. All of the above should be a federal system.

Grand Junction

Gun laws, executive orders violate Second Amendment

The people of this nation need to decide if the Constitution is the law of the land or not.

All of this talk to pass laws to ban guns or executive orders to restrict ownership is in direct violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Article 5 says that the only way you can change an amendment is for two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to pass a bill to change the Constitution. That bill then has to be accepted by three-fourths of the States.

If this takes place, it may then be accepted as an amendment to the Constitution. In 1919 Amendment 18 was put in place; after 14 years it was decided that it was a bad law. In 1933 Amendment 21 was passed to repeal 18. That is the only legal way to repeal or change an Amendment.

The president, Congress and the Colorado legislature are in direct violation of the Constitution by passing laws and instituting executive orders that don’t follow this procedure. Each one of these “servants of the people” took an oath to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America. They are in direct violation of the oath they swore to uphold.

It would seem to me that they should be open to impeachment proceedings for these violations. If they want to change the law, do it in the way the law says to do it.

There is only one reason for a government to want to disarm its citizens. If you study history, I think the reason will become obvious. The founders of this nation knew this and so instituted the Second Amendment. It’s time for all Americans to come to grips and realize how far this nation has digressed from where it started. 





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