Email letters, January 23, 2013

Apprise Sen. Udall of support of Land and Water Conservation Fund

I welcome President Obama to his second term in office with the hope that he will stand behind the commitment he made to clean energy and a healthy environment in his inauguration speech:  “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”

Fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, established nearly 50 years ago to protect our natural spaces and outdoor recreation activities, would establish that commitment. With the exception of one year, Congress has reallocated most of this money (derived from offshore drilling royalties, NOT our tax dollars) to other sources.

This lack of protection is threatening to destroy our national parks, whose service, like clean water and clean air, we all benefit from. Our natural heritage is threatened by development that will not only lower the quality of our lands, but also destroy the outdoor recreation for which Colorado is so famous.

Active outdoor recreation contributes more than $10 billion annually to Colorado’s economy, supports 107,000 jobs across the state, generates nearly $500 million in annual state tax revenue and produces $7.6 billion annually in retail sales and services across Colorado (Outdoor Industry Association). Each year more than 2.2 million people participate in hunting, fishing and wildlife watching in Colorado, contributing $3 billion to the state economy (U.S. Census Bureau).

Tell Sen. Udall you support his fight for the LWCF.

KRISTINA SOLHEIM
Boulder

America refuses to teach rational basis for morality

In his Jan. 22 column Jim Spehar looks for some officials to find answers to “important questions.” One problem is that the people in this country have turned our responsibility over to some elite who have offered the wrong answers to things that are not so. If Spehar wonders why he is regulated in the number of shells in his waterfowl, sporting gun and yet, in another firearm for another function, he is not, then please, have a seat, sir.

Like Spehar, many are asking questions. A couple I did not hear, however, were: Why is America perhaps the first major civilization that refuses to teach a rational basis for morality (or even morality itself) to its youth? Do you think there might be consequences?

Did the people who were murdered during any of the shootings have any real worth? Certainly the ones grieving tell us so. Even Spehar must think so as he is looking for answers concerning these folks and must also think that his musings (therefore himself) have meaning. What is the question here? Why do people have real worth and meaning? Or do they? If they do not, then there is no problem.

Are not the answers to these questions slightly more important than how much ammunition I can accumulate and discharge? They will certainly go a long way in informing one what not to shoot at and why.

TERRY BRIDGMAN
Grand Junction

Improve listings in Scoreboard sectio
n

In your Scoreboard section you are confusing people by listing a history of the NFC and AFC champions.

First of all, the NFC teams you have listed from 1933 to 1967 were not NFC champions; they were actually NFL champions. The NFC and AFC were not even created until 1970.

Also, the teams you have listed for the AFC champions from 1960 to 1969 were not AFC champions; they were AFL champions. However, the AFL champions from 1960 to 1967 are not considered by the NFL office in New York as being counted toward any NFL titles. So, it is confusing to list them.

But, the 1968 Jets and the 1969 Chiefs are retroactively given NFL titles by the NFL office for those years because they won the Super Bowl even though they were still AFL teams.

To avoid any future confusion, it would be best just to list the NFL champions and not separate them out into NFC and AFC champions. In fact, according to the NFL office, official NFL champions go all the way back to the 1920 season, when the Akron Pros were declared the champs.

So, there is no need to list any of the AFL teams prior to the 1967 season, as their championships are not recognized as NFL titles. Also, the 1968 Colts and 1969 Vikings should not be listed as NFL champions except to report their losing score in their Super Bowl games.

Below is a link from the NFL.com website that better explains things. Hope that helps your understanding.

http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/image/history/pdfs/History/Past_Standings_2011.pdf

JIM CIHA
Grand Junction

Gun control movement sees opportunity in crisis

This whole gun control issue to me seems really irrational and blown way out of perspective. Way more people die every year from baseball bats, hammers and fists, but we aren’t rushing to restrict them. There is risk to life. Bad people exist and bad things happen.

If we could magically remove all of the weapons from the world, than we might be able to restrict their access. The problem is that there already are lots of these weapons here, and we essentially have an open-door policy across the Mexican border.

New ones could be brought through, and since their sale is restricted, they would command a huge black market price, further incentivizing the black market sale and trafficking. Drugs are illegal, yet we can get them easily. If there are fewer guns then violence could be bombs, poisonings or simply driving a pickup truck through the playground, running over kids at recess.

The shooter in Aurora had enough homemade explosives in his apartment to kill way more people than he shot. The point is, if someone wants to harm others he or she will.

The whole gun control movement seems typical of the idealistic, but often-shortsighted thought process prevalent today. It’s always someone or something else’s fault, and the government needs to fix it for us. The fix usually involves more government or taking away/restricting our liberties in some form.

I think the idea of “Never let a good crisis go to waste” is really what is going on here, and hopefully the American people are smart enough not to buy into it.

AARON J. BEBEE
Grand Junction

Jim Spehar raises cogent questions on gun violence

I read with great interest Jim Spehar’s column in Tuesday’s Sentinel, “Wrestling with complex questions,” concerning gun violence and gun policies in Colorado and the United States.  I believe Spehar, is by far the most thoughtful, intelligent, articulate local columnist the Sentinel publishes.

His latest column summarized the recent history of gun violence and the gun communities’ responses to that violence.  More significantly, he succinctly and thoroughly poses, as he put it, ”questions I’ve wondered about as a citizen, a husband, a parent, a former elected official and a life long gun owner while absorbing the senseless killings we’ve seen and also following the resulting debates.” 

His column articulated and got to the heart of the major issues and questions surrounding guns and needed sane gun control laws.  I, like Spehar, have been a hunter my whole adult life, and I presently own pistols, rifles and shotguns.  Yet, I have absolutely no problem registering my guns (what do I have to hide?) if that is what it would take to bring sanity to the issue. 

The most cogent of Spehar’s questions is, “Why is it OK for wildlife regulations to limit the ammunition in my rifles and shotguns while hunting but supposedly unconstitutional to limit the capacity of clips for AR-15s and other similar weapons?”  Is protecting animals more significant than protecting human life?

HARMON LISNOW

Loma

Spehar’s questions raise questions of him in return

Hunting is a privilege granted and controlled by the state. The right to bear arms is an unalienable right protected by the Second Amendment and arises from a power higher than government.

If armed citizens had responded in Aurora, it’s possible the shooter could have been neutralized in the 90 seconds it took police to respond. In any event, expecting anything less than pandemonium in those circumstances is fanciful.

How many school security officers would Spehar be willing to fund, and from what sources? If none, does he trade that decision for later silence if the unspeakable occurs?

Columbine had a single assigned officer who, in a random and astoundingly tragic turn of fate, elected to eat lunch that day in his patrol car and observe students in the school parking lot. Normally he ate in the student cafeteria, where much of the carnage took place.

Virginia Tech is a 2,600-acre campus with 125 buildings, 33,000 students and 1,900 faculty members. The campus police department comprises 52 sworn officers, complemented by secondary security and campus watch personnel. The U.S. national average is approximately two officers per 1,000 citizens, or on a comparable basis a force of 70 officers at Virginia Tech, before giving effect to its secondary support personnel.

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, arguably the world’s leader in defensive firearm training for private citizens, has offered to train – free of charge – up to three school staff members from each school, college or university who are designated as “school safety monitors” by the schools’ chief administrators.

BUD MARKOS
Grand Junction

Teachers also informally use Zinn’s slanted history book

I wonder if Bill Grant and Steve Phillips are aware of how often U.S. history teachers “informally” use Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, with its anti-American slant? 

I’m sure they will also be adding Oliver Stone’s new Untold History of the United States to their list.

MARCIA NEAL
Colorado State Board of Education
3rd Congressional district
Grand Junction

 
Founding Fathers deeply invested in faith in God

There is great debate as to whether or not creation or evolution (both of which are theories) or other vogue topics should be taught in school; however, that is not my aim. I have my sights on the preposterous idea that somehow this country was founded by men who were simply “guided by Enlightenment principles” and that belief in God had no bearing on their moral compasses.

Bill Grant is a historical revisionist, much like the tag he slapped on the “’historians’ of a different sort” he derided in his column.

The Founding Fathers, whether you like it or not, were deeply invested in their faith in God. Benjamin Franklin, who the likes of Bill Grant would most likely call a deist (the belief that God is not involved in our daily affairs) and who was notably one of the least religious of the Founding Fathers, while attending the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787, said this while addressing President George Washington: “I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs the affairs of men.” (James Madison recorded the entire speech.).

This is not a “primary source” that I am using to “bolster” my “preconceptions.” In fact (a word that is used far too flippantly), a plethora of speeches, sermons and writings of the Founding Fathers proves their undying conviction that God was intimately involved in the founding of this country.

So, if Grant wishes to mold the future of education into an amalgamation of secular thoughts and theories, that is his prerogative; however, it is not his prerogative to change the founding of this country to fit his irreligious secular dogma that his erudition demands of him.

CODY DAVIS
Fruita

 



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