Email letters, March 11, 2013

As gun dealer, Rezak shows bias in column

While reading Jeff Rezak’s column March 7 about gun laws, murder and other gun statistics, I was thinking he made some good points. That is until toward the end of the article when he tried to compare drunk drivers and cars with weapons.

When someone is injured or killed by an automobile, whether a drunk driver or a sober person is driving, 99.9 percent of the time it is by accident.

When someone with an assault rifle massacres numerous people, it is 100 percent of the time a conscious decision to kill and maim as many people as possible.

Then I realized why Jeff has this rationale. Jeff is a gun dealer.

AL AMIRAULT

Fruita

Story on firearms more complicated than Rezak painted


In a recent column in the Sentinel, Jeff Rezak wrote about the relation between rifles and homicide statics in this country. Basically, Rezak is correct. One has far, far less chance of being murdered by a rifle than say a handgun.

So following Rezak’s logic we should not be banning rifles (if that is the plan), but instead handguns. The story is, however, more complicated.

The FBI data quoted does show a decline in “murder and non-negligent manslaughter” over the last decade. For the same time period data from the CDC shows that all firearm-related deaths have continued to increase until they are almost equal to fatalities from vehicular accidents. The FBI relies on a voluntary program to obtain its data; the CDC gets its from the national death certificate database.

It would seem that the CDC is capturing more of the whole picture while the FBI is capturing data important to its mission, reducing major crime in the United States.

The divergence of these two data sets implies that a very large and growing number of firearm deaths are not crime-related. The only other firearm statistic that has been increasing is the number of firearms sold.

If there were a point to make,, I would try to connect the “dots,” but this is just an observation. Firearm deaths are related to firearm sales, all firearm sales, not just rifles with handguns being the major source of firearm related deaths.

As far as increasing firearms sales, surveys (that rely on honest answers from those in the survey) show that over the last few decades, the percentage of the population owing firearms has been decreasing.

If firearm sales are up, this may imply that people who already own firearms are buying more. I am not sure what this means, except firearms owners like firearms and may themselves be at higher risk of injury by firearms (connecting the “dot” from the first paragraph).

Finally, do gun laws have any effect? You decide. In the most recent compilation I could find, Arizona (weak gun laws) was number 5 in firearms deaths per 100,000 state population, Colorado was tied for 22, Illinois (which was labeled one of “the most dangerous places in the United States” by Rezak) was tied with Kansas and Utah at 31, and near the bottom at number 46 was New York State, a state that probably has the most strict and stringent gun laws in this country.

So, do restrictive firearm laws work? I would say, “Yes,” but they need to be enforced, they need to be strict and they need to be stringent. And it would be nice if there was an immediate go to jail, no passing through the courtroom, for violators.

That would be not unlike drinking and driving laws in most European countries. Those who drink and drive go directly to jail for a law-specified period of time.

Which, by the way, is what they do in New York City for gun violations, and maybe that is why gun violence is down significantly there.

Check it out. The mayor of Chicago and other cities with similar problems are doing just that.

MICKEY SHANABARGER
Fruita

Term ‘assault weapon’ made up by journalists


What is an “assault weapon”? Other than a made-up term by some journalists to pile into a category of that most any gun the uses of which they don’t understand.

That is the problem. We keep expanding definitions, and pretty soon all guns and our ability to defend ourselves from the government have disappeared. If you are so naive to believe otherwise, you have no knowledge of historical events and the evil that lies in the souls of men.

That’s a nice way of asking “Did you go to school?” and “What did they not teach you?”

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Contractors now taxed more when getting permits

I am very disappointed with the recent approval of the Transportation Capacity Payment tax increase that will be added to new business/contractors when paying for a permit.

It would honestly take me two full pages to explain all the things wrong with approving such a resolution right now. I can hardly comprehend why Laura Luke, Jim Doody, Bennett Boeschenstein and Mayor Bill Pitts would think that in this economy this a good time to raise taxes. This tax increase will directly impact any new business development coming into Grand Junction.

That is the reason why Diane Schwenke, president of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Greg Motz, Michael Burke and others were there at the City Council meeting March 6 to speak out against the tax increase.

In a council meeting last summer, it was decided to delay any decisions on what action would be taken on the TCP taxes and that a task force would be put together to discuss the matter. That was never done. Laura Luke said the reason she voted to increase the tax is because the local citizens were paying 75 percent of the impact.

That is simply not true, as Duncan McArthur explained at the City Council meeting. Increasing taxes on new business development here in Grand Junction has a trickle-down effect and certainly does not encourage business growth.

Laura Luke has continued to say many times that she is for business and she will listen and do what her constituencies want and that we are her boss.

Are not business owners a part of her constituencies? They were there at that meeting and Luke in fact DID NOT LISTEN. The right thing to do was to set up the task force, as she said she would, and then make a decision that was informed and with public comment.

Also noted is that at the beginning of the meeting a proclamation was made to make the week of March 3-9 “Women in Construction Week.” So, in appreciation of this proclamation, the four council members approved a tax increase on construction building permits. I thought that was rather inappropriate.

Overall, I am very disappointed on how this tax increase went down, and I would encourage those who are concerned to view the taped video that is on the City of Grand Junction website for the council meeting March 6.

ROBBIE KOOS

Grand Junction


Ground Air Force One rather than stopping White House tours

On the subject of canceling White House tours, we should all realize that for every week that Air Force One is grounded, we save enough money to reopen the tours - for ONE YEAR.

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Rezak, Sentinel deserve thanks for gun column

My thanks go to Jeff Rezak and to the Sentinel for Rezak’s column published March 7.

Folks, controlling guns is not about safety of anyone. It is about the government’s control of citizens. There is no shortage of statistics, not just from the U.S. but also around the world, of what happens when citizens can no longer defend themselves and their families from the crazies.

And when did gun ownership become a partisan issue? Surely there are just as many liberal-leaning folks that own guns as the rest of us.

When is the next pro-gun rally?

DAVID DASHNER

Grand Junction


City council candidates are an ‘interesting mix’

We have an interesting mix of folks wanting to become city council members and get their fingers into city power, budgets and apparently in the ongoing airport controversy.

Phylis Norris is the recently retired president of City Markets. Her continued support of the grocery chain must be questioned when it comes to any zoning or competitive chain issues or any additional optional spending in the city. In 2006 she allowed placement of support signs (contrary to Kroger policy) on City Market property for the unpopular $100 million and defeated-by-voters police/fire complex ballot issue.

Richard Brainard is the director of business development at West Star Aviation. It must be assumed he would be a natural lobbyist concerning anything even remotely affecting the airport and its involved financial operations with the city. Even if he recuses himself from votes, he would have influence in council meetings, workshops and elsewhere as a councilman.

Martin Chazen is recently from California. He has been a teacher in California and claims some impressive former employment. He serves on the current School District 51 Finance Committee - - how is that working?  I find it interesting, that after moving here from California, he almost instantly jumped into our local politically involved organizations (Club 20, etc.) and now wants directly into local politics.

Bonnie Beckstein resigned from the City Council three years ago under a cloud of suspicion regarding highly questionable activities by the accounting firm in which she was a supervisor. Until she comes out publicly and tells voters what happened and her involvement, she does not deserve any public office, let alone the same from which office she abruptly resigned.

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Pinocho’s name to reflect blame is being misused

In finally disclosing many of the administration’s “sequester deceptions,” the press and various fact checkers seem adamant in applying varying numbers of “Pinocchios” relative to the severity of the alleged lie. For example, the false claim of capitol janitors receiving a pay cut earned four Pinocchios.

In fairness to Pinocchio, I object strongly to this misuse of his name. He is actually the hero of a children’s novel, “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, and as an animated puppet, is punished for each lie that he tells by undergoing further growth of his nose;. He also, though, gains wisdom through a series of misadventures that lead him to becoming a real human as reward for his good deeds.

It is not only unfair, but also unjust and inappropriate to associate him with the blatant lies of the Obama administration. I wholeheartedly implore the media to cease this undue, disrespectful use of his name.

If members of the press need to assign a code name to an “untruth,” they should simply call like it is – an “Obama” not a “Pinocchio” and still assign numbers that represent the degree of misrepresentation such as two Obamas or three Obamas, etc.

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open marker is a nation that is afraid of its people.” John F. Kennedy

Let freedom ring and the truth ultimately prevail!

RICHARD DORAN
Parachute

Those wrongly convicted deserve reasonable compensation

In regard to your front-page story on March 8 regarding convicts cleared of crimes and their payout, I would like to address a large issue with which I feel MANY other residents will agree.

I understand that they DO deserve some kind of compensation for their time away from society and family. However, unless a college degree is in the file stating that such an individual may make $70,000 a year, to be quite honest, the regular working people of this country without diplomas or college degrees only make minimum wage at best.

Why are these people being paid double if not triple what we make when they are getting out of jail? We are sympathetic to the circumstances, but yet justice still needs to be equal on both sides.

Overpaying is only going to cause more people to question their imprisonment and want more from us taxpayers. The county or state (let’s be realistic) is not paying for this; we, as taxpayers, are.

Even here as I speak and being currently disabled, when I was working in management, I still only made 31,000 a year. How is this right to give so much money? Please address this issue in your next newscast or paper.

KRISTINA M. THOMAS-BESSIRE

Grand Junction

Colorado should follow lead of Wyoming in school safety

Mass killings are caused by mental illness, not by the lack of gun control.

Most people don’t get it. This is not a gun problem. It’s a people problem.

Only the naive think they can keep a gun out of the hands of a person that
wants one. Pass all the laws you want.

The mentally ill present the most difficult dilemma. Most of them are nonviolent and harmless. Doctors may surface some of the dangerous ones, but only a few will be reported. The limitations here are patient privacy and the possibility of medical malpractice lawsuits. As a result, some doctors will not participate.

The best source of information to determine a patient’s mental stability is from family members. The problem is that this information usually surfaces after the shooting, which is too late to save lives.

I think we can conclude that keeping guns away from people that want them and screening the mental ill is a hit-and-miss proposition.

The only real option is armed security in Colorado schools, improving perimeter protections and installing metal detectors.

For God’s sake, don’t allow teachers or school officials to carry handguns!

Colorado should follow the lead of Wyoming. It has appropriated funds to hire police officers and other trained security personal to create a task force to develop school safety and security plans. The new hires will be present in schools and will participate in drug programs and safety training.

WILLIAM F. MCKNIGHT

Grand Junction

Elected officials should read Rezak’s wonderful column

We want to applaud the well-researched and well-written column by Jeff Rezak (Homicide statistics don’t support push to limit rifles) in the March 7 edition of The Daily Sentinel. This great column should be read, emailed. digested and believed by every citizen, especially our elected officials.

Columns containing opinions “from the trenches” have much more credibility than many others. This column has heart, care and concern in every line, mixed with a great deal of research and statistics and opinion to be respected.

Thanks you for running such a wonderful column.  Would that we had more from this man!  Put him in as a regular columnist. We plan to send it out to all our congressmen and women and to our freedom-loving friends.

Our thanks to Rezak for taking the time to put his thoughts in such a great, articulate way. His attitude is reflected in the feelings of many, many Americans.

E. M. and JILL VANDENBERG

Hotchkiss

Hats off to Rezak for reflecting voice of silent majority

Kudos to Jeff Rezak for his careful, factual and convincing statistical analysis that shows rifles do not have the effect on annual death statistics that government reporting attributes to them. His analysis does show, however, that the government should move swiftly to require licensing and registration of “hands, fists, feet, etc.”


Rezak uses our federal government’s own statistics to demonstrate that we cannot trust that same federal government’s reporting, using those self-same statistics. Nor trust our state government’s reliance upon that reporting in it’s ‘me-too’ rush for approval and reelection.


And all this from just an ordinary guy!  It demonstrates, as well, that not all wisdom resides in the liberal talking heads that often grace these pages or with ranting academics or lapdog government analysts.


My sincere congratulations to Rezak – a resounding credit to the silent majority.

RICHARD RININGER

Grand Junction

Lawmakers in Denver show knee-jerk reaction

As a law-abiding gun owner, I detest the mass killings that have taken place in this country just like every other sensible person.

I resent, however, our lawmakers in Denver pushing through new bills that anyone can see will have little to no effect on these mass killers. This is just another case of political posturing. Once again our representatives are taking a knee-jerk reaction to this problem and going for the easy way to quiet the public.

Some of the bills are not in themselves bad ideas, even if they would do nothing to stop mass killings. But then you have ones such as HB 1228, making gun buyers pay for their own background check. How in the world would this stop a mass murderer?  The two worst killers in recent history both came from families that could afford the $50 fee or whatever it is these days. Who proposed that bill—a gun shop owner who is tired of paying the fee himself? 

What our representatives should have done or be doing is sitting down and trying to think about the problem and come up with one or maybe two bills that might really have a effect on stopping mass killings. I don’t know the answer either, but something besides what is being proposed needs to be done.

On a recent trip out of the country I met a fellow sportsman from Russia, and he told me in his country when one wants to buy a gun one has to be tested by a psychiatrist. Some might find that extreme, but, when you consider that most of these mass killers are mentally unbalanced, maybe it is not such a bad idea, after all.

RICHARD GERHARDT

Fruitvale

Proposed gun laws nothing more than smoke, mirrors

After reading the article on gun control and the House bills put forth by our lackluster liberals, one can only conclude, they are clueless.

To obtain a firearm one undergoes a background check with CBI, and classes are conducted about Colorado laws and proper use and handling of firearms prior to getting a CCW. Domestic violence is grounds to refuse weapons purchase.

Limiting mags to 15 rounds does nothing to preclude an evil person from an evil act. To pay for the cost of a background check definitely does not put a stop to any violence.

These are all smoke and mirrors to make our government feel as if it did something worthwhile and a good way to get its foot in the door for future controls and bans.

GEORGE KLENK III
Fruita

Teach children that firearms are not toys

This is in regard to the front-page article on the number of homes with guns declining over the years. I, for one, would find that hard to believe, or is it that every time you turn around, someone on emails, Facebook or other surveys is asking if one has a gun in one’s home.

In today’s administration one is very foolish to answer that question because one has no idea who is really asking it. What better way to help the government get information on gun owners all over the country?
How many speeches have we heard over the last year that they do not want our guns but more safety—and then have them do just the opposite?


Your best answer anymore is to ignore it or tell them no you hate the things. You may be a happy camper come later when they start looking for all the guns and start with those that responded “Yes” to a survey.
Teach your children, just as our parents taught us, that a gun is not a toy and they cannot touch it unless allowed to. This concept is hard, because today most kids are not corrected on what is right or wrong or because everyone else will cry child abuse or that their rights are being taken away.


Again, guns do not kill it. Is the person pulling the trigger who creates the problem for the rest of us.

ARTHUR EDWARDS

Grand Junction

Effects of TABOR override understated by Jim Doody

It is comical to hear Jim Doody defend City of Grand Junction’s Measure B by stating the TABOR override is temporary.

Doody stated on TV the other night that it will be five or six years before any construction actually occurs. He and other council members have stated there will be a need for a bond issue to raise enough money to do the 29 Road extension and the I-70 interchange. Bond issues generally take 30 years to pay back.

Using this logic, I have concluded that the TABOR override will last until around 2048.

Experts who predict how long folks will live say I will be dead by 2048. I hope to prove these experts wrong, but it is likely that, for me, Measure B is forever.

How old will you be in 2048?

STEVE SLAUGHTER

Grand Junction

GOP shows leftward drift

Every day more “rank and file” Republicans are noticing the increasing trend towards liberalism in Washington politics. Current Republicans, once thought conservative, have shown the same reluctance, or inability, to deal with Democrats as their predecessors.

In other words, they work only enough to maintain the status quo, while keeping ineffective leadership installed at the top, i.e. Speaker Boehner. With both major parties becoming mirror images, it’s discouraging to feel we no longer have a choice or a voice.

Three reasons for this appear obvious, PERKS, PRESTIGE and PENSIONS. Are these the real reasons why the old bulls keep seeking reelection? I think it must be, because they seem to have lost sight of the reasons they were elected in the first place. I know it’s only a notion, but…

Out-front spokesmen such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham only strengthen that notion when they openly condemn the newbies who speak and act the way we expected the old guard guys to speak and act.

In “Federalist 51” James Madison wrote about checks and balances and the need to guard against single divisions of government becoming too powerful.

Rand Paul’s filibuster showed his willingness to confront that threat head on and in a constitutional way. His actions bode well for the new party movement and not so well for the “old guard” bulls, especially strategist gurus such as Karl Rove.

Declaring open war on members of their own party and backing “business as usual,” RINO incumbents won’t bolster Rove’s already shrinking popularity.

In fact, some of us are so disgusted with the party’s leftward drift that we’re ready to give the new guys the nod. After all, they haven’t been around Congress long enough to get comfortable and complacent as the old guys apparently have. They certainly can’t do a worse job.

AL CARLEY

Grand Junction



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