Email letters, February 4, 2013

Be informed before deciding to be pro-gun or anti-gun

With all the press about guns it is only natural that a safety debate is under way. There appears, however, to be a lot of misconception about guns that are classified assault rifles and also about the Second Amendment of our United States Constitution.

I would suggest the following before joining either the anti-gun or pro-gun crowd. First, read the Second Amendment of the Constitution and learn why our Founding Fathers adopted it. You will learn that it has nothing to do with hunting but is strictly for defense. And, if you do your homework, you will learn against whom it was written to defend.

Second, study rifle nomenclature and see that the difference between a semi-automatic sporting fire arm and what the press calls assault rifles (except for the size of the magazine) is strictly cosmetic.

Third, if your fear of firearms is because you have never shot or handled a gun, it would be prudent to take a gun safety class or hunter education class from a certified instructor. Make yourself familiar with gun nomenclature, how guns operate and the safe way to handle them. Once you have done that, finish the class by shooting a firearm under the direction of the instructor.

Finally, consider that you are in far more danger driving on our streets and highways than you are from guns. If you check the statistics, you will learn that your children and you are many times more likely to die in an automobile accident than from a gunshot.

Of course, you don’t consider that when you get behind the wheel, because you have been taught how to drive and have practiced driving. Learning how and practicing shooting will take away your unreasoned fear of guns.

DON FOSTER

Hotchkiss

Middle East turmoil shows Clinton’s poor leadership

Gordon Olsen’s letter saying that Hillary Clinton should be given the Nobel Peace Prize and be our next president because of her wonderful efforts in the Middle East would be laughable if it weren’t so scary.

Clinton allowed an ambassador and four other Americans to be murdered in Benghazi with no repercussions to the people that carried out the attacks.

The Middle East is in turmoil from Egypt to Syria, Iran, and Libya under the “superb” leadership of Obama and Clinton. I pray to God that the people of America come to their senses before the next election.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

BLM deserves some credit for trying to strike balance

In Gary Harmon’s Feb. 1 “Trails and Tribulations,” there is mention of my interest that the BLM resource management plan’s final alternative includes more designations of lands with wilderness characteristics (LWCs). I should have pointed out that my comments on the RMP and Travel Management plan will also include comments about returning some of the roads to “All Modes of Travel” status that are listed as “closed” or “authorized and permittee Only” in the BLM preferred Alternative B maps. I believe the management of our public lands can be a balance of varied uses and conservation.

I should have also mentioned that there are economic benefits to keeping some BLM land wild. LWCs help boost the health, size and diversity of the wildlife populations in the area. Wildlife brings hunters, fishermen, birders, photographers and wildlife viewers into our area. Great wildlife diversity brings repeat visitors.

Those who enjoy viewing wildlife use a wide spectrum of transportation for their recreation on public lands. Seeing a group of eight deer bounding across a sage brush juniper meadow, as I did Wednesday, is equally exciting whether you hiked into an area, drove there, or rode your horse, mountain bike, ATV or motorcycle.

I believe BLM staff members are working hard to get the balance of recreation and conservation right, so that we can all continue to have those special encounters with nature’s beauty. It is my experience that they love the land and enjoy diverse recreation on public lands as much as the rest of us.

JANICE SHEPHERD
Member, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Grand Junction

BLM demonstrates capable stewardship of land

I found two things hard to believe Friday morning when I read the Sentinel, First, all you found to lead with was some guy complaining about the BLM information meeting, and, second, the guy you featured didn’t know squat about which he was talking. Where was the balance?

Why not a feature on what really occurred and facts thereof? On the first item, there are so many, many better news items to lead with that your choice caused me no end of wonder, shock and awe. I mean, it was bewilderingly inept, amateurish, and just flat-out bad.

As to the second part, the Harley-Davidson dude seemingly has been sniffing too many exhaust fumes at the Hog Pen. I doubt he went to the meeting, and, if he did, he wasn’t there seeking objective information.

I went to the meeting, carefully viewed the displays, discussed several of them at length with well informed BLM folks in attendance and came away very pleased with the BLM’s intelligent, professional, sensitive concern for the ecological, social, economic and -—yes — political issues surrounding its current stewardship of our area’s public lands.

I no longer am able to ride my dirt bike, and I no longer have an ATV, snowmobile or jeep or any other means of accessing the inaccessible so alluring to us who enjoy the paradise of our area, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight.

I’m as close, however, to a native old-timer here as you’re likely to run across, and I’ve left my footprints and tire tracks all over our deserts and mountains and canyons for more than 60 years. I have always supported both access to and preservation of our uncluttered lands.

I see nothing wrong with the BLM closing approximately 8 percent of dead end roads to conduct its necessary studies and evaluations. Dead end roads. 8 percent. Huge impact on our economy, right?

Wrong. I believe responsible users of the land will not be inconvenienced, nor will our economy suffer from the BLM’s going about the serious business for which we pay it so modestly.

Come on, Sentinel! The front page is for informative, important matters, not a forum for nonsense.

T.C. STREFF
Grand Junction

Writer only meant to offer perspective on early school start dates

As a response to Jackie Ross’ letter, I wasn’t insinuating that because other schools use that schedule that is WHY the school district should, I was simply saying before everyone starts up in a panic about how awful it will be, perhaps they should do a little research and find out the pros and cons.

Not everyone has to like it, but, as I say with most things in life, do your research.

I certainly did not write my letter to start some war about which schedule is better. I was simply voicing my opinion as a community member who actually has experience with one of the proposed schedules and why I think it’s beneficial.

I highly doubt that School District 51 is going to base its choice on my letter, but I thought it might be nice for parents to have that point of view.

I do not need Ross’ pity about my daughter losing knowledge. It is actually quite common that children lose knowledge over the summer, especially when they’re out of school for one-fourth of the year and then spend another one-fourth of it reviewing what they learned the prior spring. There have been many studies about this. My daughter is actually a straight A student and gets bored when out of school.

And as far as running an opposing viewpoint before yours, that is quite common in the Sentinel. Crazy idea, presenting two sides to an issue and all right next to each other.

Also, for future reference Ross should please note that my last name has no T in it. The newspaper had it right there, in print.

Also, to be clear, I never said charter school or private school students were any higher caliber than public school students. I’m truly sorry Ross derived as much from my letter.

Caprock IS a coveted school. That’s why there is a waiting list to get in there. There are also schools in the district, mainly New Emerson, that are also coveted and have lengthy waiting lists and will continue to do so no matter which school calendar gets put in place.

My letter had absolutely NOTHING to do with the merits of charter vs. private vs. public. It simply was offering up the perspective of someone who knows what starting school in early August is like.

JENNIFER SCHMALZ
Grand Junction

Give public access to Maverick Center

Now that the Grand Junction City Council has decided to give millions of dollars in city tax revenue to Colorado Mesa University over the next few years, perhaps there are some opportunities for CMU to return the kindness.

Opening up the Maverick Center with its huge natatorium and recreational facilities to city residents on weekends, breaks in the university calendar and during the summer months would be an appropriate gesture.

Unlike Fruita, Montrose and Delta, Grand Junction does not have a rec center. But then again those cities do not have a university centrally located within their environs. What better way for CMU to show that it is truly a part of the community than by opening up some of its top-notch facilities for use by the underserved Grand Junction taxpayers?

TIM GASPERINI
Grand Junction

Trouble spots around globe demonstrate Clinton’s poor record

Anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton has done a good job as secretary of state and deserves to be president needs to get their head out of the sand.  Let’s look at her record. 

South America: Dictator Chavez now controls Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Ecuador, as well as Venezuela and is providing a base for Iran to move in this hemisphere. Their terrorists will have access to the U.S. through Mexico and the undefended border.

Russia: It has become more repressive and aggressive, subjecting its democracy advocates to arrest and torture. We’ve gotten nothing for the appeasement of removing the anti-missile protection for our eastern European Allies, while they openly support Iran and the Syrian regimes. Iran is much closer to having the nuclear bomb and openly threatens to use it against Israel.

Egypt: We have lost Egypt to the Islamist Brotherhood and Islamist power is sweeping the Arab world.

North Korea: It has become more brazen since it became a nuclear power and threatens us.

China: It weakens our currency, making our products too expensive. It is making trade unfair and launches cyber attacks against our government and business institutions with total impunity.

Africa: The Islamist offensive in sub-Sahara Africa is gaining momentum daily.

Afghanistan: It still has one of the most corrupt governments in the world and is no closer to putting down the Taliban; it is, in fact, negotiating with them. Our military servicemen continue to be killed by those we are training or protecting.

Pakistan: There is more evidence of their collaborating with the Al Qaeda terrorists.

Benghazi: Clinton was in charge of the cover-up and is responsible for our people getting killed there due to her incompetence. Then she, along with the rest of the administration and Obama, lied to everyone to cover up the issue to help get Obama re-elected. And they still haven’t told the people the truth about it, as well as hiding the truth about the gun running issue to the Mexican cartels.

Instead of blindly supporting Clinton and Obama, maybe you should ask for them to tell us the truth and get someone competent in these positions before they destroy the United States.

JIM STAFFORD
Grand Junction

Regional forester correct in pursuing water rights

Your editorial suggests that Regional forester Daniel Jiron is being paternalistic in the process of gaining control of ski area water rights.  Evidently you don’t think private ski property owners would foolishly sell off water rights. 

But let’s ask another question.  In the event a ski area was to encounter financial hardships, is it possible that owners/investors/directors might decide to sell water rights to save themselves?  I believe they would. 

For this reason, I believe Jiron should be trying to acquire the water rights mentioned in order to assure a viable and sustainable ski area for the present and future generations. 

JOSE U. LUCERO
Grand Junction

Assign soldiers duties based on merit, not gender

The only thing that’s been made apparent by those opposing women in combat is that none of them understand today’s military. We will never again fight on a linear battlefield with our soldiers sitting in foxholes on the front lines.

Our military today is an elite, professional fighting force, and women already serve in combat roles. I served as an attack helicopter company commander in the 82d Airborne Division and flew Kiowa Warriors equipped with machine guns, rockets and Hellfire Missiles. I fired all of them in direct combat situations in my two deployments to Iraq.

I lived in a tent with my soldiers for both of my deployments, and I worked directly with infantry and Special Forces units in fighting the insurgency in Fallujah.

I was shot down by an SA-16 heat-seeking missile with my male copilot, and we were forced to evade the enemy until we were rescued. We were back flying missions three days later. It’s insulting to our soldiers to assume that men and women can’t serve side by side on the battlefield and still maintain professional relationships.

Opening combat roles to women actually changes very little. It allows women to compete to serve in ground combat jobs as 11B infantry soldiers, which they currently are unable to do. However, those all-male units have women serving alongside them as military intelligence experts, military police escorts and combat medics.

Fighting a war in a Muslim country meant that every all-male unit had to have a female soldier with them to help deal with females that required pat downs and questioning. Every single soldier who deploys with the exception of the chaplain, already carries a weapon and is trained to use it and kill.

To assume that somehow it would be worse for women to be captured than men is beyond my understanding. Being a POW would be a horrible experience for anyone. Just read the bios of Jessica Lynch, Rhonda Cornum or Louis Zampirini—all U.S. soldiers that were captured and held as POWs.

Women have already proven that they can move quickly through the ranks and get promoted if they work hard and get the job done. There does, however, remain a glass ceiling as the jobs open to women are few and far between once they reach senior leadership levels.

This change means that those women who work hard for 15 years proudly serving their country will have the opportunity to continue their careers and continue to be promoted based on merit, not on gender. This results overall in a better, smarter fighting force protecting the American way of life, which I. for one, am all for.

ROBIN BROWN
Grand Junction

ATV drivers stand to lose big in BLM’s ‘Plan B’

After attending the BLM information-only meeting last week, it was apparent that there will be only one loser in this process. It will be those of us who enjoy driving trucks or riding ATVs, or who enjoy target shooting and hunting.

Hunting will be seriously curtailed for many of us. Not very many people can walk five or more miles into a roadless area, shoot an animal, dress it out and make several trips packing it out before the meat wastes, especially in the earlier seasons or in years of unusually warm weather. We need to be able to access the animal quickly and get it out quickly.

BLM says, “We have to consider ALL groups.” The wilderness crowd and environmentalists will get more land locked down, which makes them happy. The cattle ranchers and outfitters lose very little in the BLM’s “Preferred Plan B,” plus they will still have access to the BLM’s administrative routes, so they’re happy.

Only people who would like to be able to drive in a vehicle or ATV will lose and lose big. In some areas, 100 percent of access will be closed to ATV’s and vehicles. Anyone who wants to be able to target-practice or hunt on BLM land will also lose. 

People need to get involved in this, and we have a very short time to make our comments; interesting, though, the government got four years and spent millions of our dollars plotting this land grab. It is imperative that everyone who enjoys taking a ride, whether in a truck or on an ATV, or who wants to hunt or shoot on what used to be public land contact the BLM and voice an opinion, because it is the mechanized crowd they want to shut down.

If we say nothing, they will eventually close all of our land down, and we won’t be able to go anywhere except up and down the street. It will do no good to complain after the fact. Speak up now by contacting the BLM, calling the county commissioners to enlist their help, writing letters and making phone calls to every elected politician you can find.

KAREN GREEN

Grand Junction

Government should protect rights, rather than infringing upon them

So abortion equates to gun rights. If a woman chooses an abortion, if only affects her. If she is hell bound, she is going by herself. If a person decides to use an assault weapon with a multiple-round clip to avenge a wrong, if affects others.

According to the right wing, they are entitled to be free from government unless they want government to enforce their beliefs. I want government to protect my rights, not intrude on the rights of others. Government’s main job should be to protect us all, left or right.

DANIEL HARRIS

Fruita

Respect nation’s founders but don’t idolize them

A member of the District 51 School Board wants to use a text that supposedly asks the question, “What would our founders think?”

Outside of the fact that the title itself is pretentious (as it is impossible to know what another thinks), it is an attempt to go back to what some believe they thought.

I do not know what they would have thought, but, their being truly educated people, I suspect I know what they would have said, “We did the best we knew at the time and in the circumstances in which we found ourselves. Are you doing the same or are you just trying to mimic us?
If you are, you are failing in your own obligations.”

Some, in fact many, have sought to idolize and deify our founders. That is foolish, as they were just men, the same as you and I.

While we can appreciate what they did, or attempted to do, any attempt to go back to their time is foolhardy. It represents little else than a feeble excuse for not facing up to our own obligations and responsibilities.

ROBERT I. LAITRES
Delta

 



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