Email letters, September 20,  2013

Feds missed warning signs shown by Navy Yard gunman
. Leave it up to Bill Grant to blame it on guns than to blame the people who failed to see that a person was a danger to himself and others through his confessions of hearing voices and noises.

I’ve known Grant was a left wing liberal for a long time, but I was unaware that he was also an anti-gun, anti Second Amendment foe along with Bloomberg, Feinstein, Bob Beckle and Durbin. Bill must have started writing his column before the last shell left the shooter’s gun at the Navy Yards in D.C. because his facts are not facts at all.

The shooter was carrying a shotgun that he evidently purchased legally after a background check at a gun store in Virginia. His record was clean enough that the feds failed to find reason to bar the sale. According to reports, he had no pistols or assault rifles with him, only the shotgun (which Vice President Biden said people should own instead of a rifle or pistol).

He also had special clearance to enter the yards as well as being an ex-reservist. The feds should have stopped him long before the shootings because of his behavior of hearing
voices and believing someone was after him, but to again blame the gun as Grant does is strictly political and the two senators would still be out even if the shootings had
happened before the recall.

Grant would rather blame the GOP for everything than state facts and may well be surprised if Gov. John Hickenlooper (who I really thought would be a great governor ) is also ousted because of his stand on guns and a mass murderer at that restaurant. Grant really showed his stripes this time.

JOHN A. HOTCHKISS

Hotchkiss

Parrish’s career in education makes him strong board candidate

I am writing in support of the candidacy of Tom Parrish for the Board of Education of Mesa County Valley School District. Tom progressed from teacher to school principal and then district administrator over the course of his
30-plus-year career.

I have known Parrish since 2000, when I began working as a program evaluator and Parrish was my supervisor as the executive director of school effectiveness. He always looks for ways to make organizational improvements. His leadership in the years I worked with him included:

• sponsoring a study of the effectiveness of the reading instructional assistant program;
• conceptualizing a way to measure instruction by integrating test scores of student performance and growth;
• supporting the participation of three district schools in the quality improvement process of Colorado Performance Excellence where they received state-wide recognition;
• facilitating district-wide curriculum decisions in reading programs; and
• implementing an extensive leadership-training program for principals.

As a member of the Board of Education, Parrish would, I expect, play an active role in developing ways to assess the effectiveness of existing education programs, ways of supporting staff through ongoing development and ways of tailoring education to the unique needs and interests of students.

I would expect Parrish to be a strong and influential member of the board because of his personal qualities of:

1. acting with integrity on what needs to be done, not what is popular;
2. focusing on people by supporting students, teachers, principals and parents;
3. being guided by principles derived from years of experience as an educator; and
4. enacting leadership through example that is respectful, humble and empowering of others.

Without a doubt the schools and students of Mesa County would be better served by Tom Parrish on the Board of Education than anyone else I can imagine.

WILLIAM LIGGETT, PH.D.

Boulder

Navy Yard violence exemplifies lapses in nation’s security measures

Bill Grant is so out of touch as to be ludicrous. Getting rid of those two arrogant, power-hungry state senators was not only about gun control, but about freedom. Grant spews out his unsubstantiated opinions as if they are facts, such as “the American people want more gun control.” The recent election sort of disproves that.

Grant should focus on the real problem in all the recent horrible mass shootings, which is mental illness. With the record being reported by the press, how was the Navy shooter able to obtain firearms?  We already have laws covering these sorts of things. Someone or some agency is NOT doing the job of enforcing existing laws.

That’s the trouble with liberals — they want more government control and more loss of Constitutional freedom, without enforcement of existing law. They use every excuse to burden law-abiding citizens with more onerous regulation without addressing the real problem, which is mental illness.

The Navy shooter should have never been allowed to walk freely among normal, law-abiding citizens, let alone been approved to buy weapons and (outrageously) obtain a security clearance. Who’s asleep here?

NEWT BURKHALTER

Grand Junction

BLM should take terms ‘quiet’and ‘conservation’ seriously

I would like to speak to two points regarding the BLM’s travel management plan alternatives for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area.

I’ve been a resident of the Western Slope for more than 10 years and have had the pleasure of visiting DENCA on at least three different occasions. As a hiker, biker, trail bike rider and more, I fully support a multiple-use
travel management plan for this area. I believe all segments of our population need and deserve the opportunity to experience the valuable resources an NCA offers on a personal level, whatever they may be.

My point in writing, however, is that I’m more convinced than ever that a National Conservation Area needs to have quiet trails and locations that affirm the value and integrity of the concepts, “quiet” and “conservation.”

Anything motorized is inherently not quiet, and if we wish to pay more than just lip service to that value, then there ought to be a network of non-motorized trails to honor this important use. In my experience, motorized trail riders don’t mind the hiking public as much as the other way around.

I am pleased that the BLM’s preferred alternative largely accommodates and affirms this important value and use in the NCA.

My second point is while there seems to be general agreement on allowing both non-motorized and motorized use, there is a large amount of subjectivity as to how much or little of each of these should be accommodated in an area focused on “conservation” when there are also other values to protect such as native animal and plant communities.

It makes sense that DENCA planners would want to ensure the long-term health and viability of the area’s fauna and flora for us humans to enjoy. The appropriate and science-based use of seasonal closures would go a long way
to protecting these natural assets.

In reviewing the different plan alternatives provided by the BLM, I believe the preferred alternative provides the most reasonable balance in protecting these resources.

REIN VAN WEST
Ridgway

Loss of early flight to DIA creates major inconvenience

As a frequent flyer out of Grand Junction for the past five years, I thought it was always nice to jump on a 6 a.m. flight, get to DIA by 7 a.m. and then be off to my destination on a 7:30 flight. I could generally get to the east coast by 1 p.m. or 2 p.m.

It seems that now, the earliest I can get to DIA is about 9 a.m. since United dropped its 6 a.m. flight. Any connection to the East Coast would not arrive until late afternoon. If that flight is full, the next Denver arrival from Grand Junction is 10:02 through Salt Lake City!

Does anyone else see this as a BIG issue for western Colorado? While Charter Alliance flights to Denver are available, they do not go into DIA so that is not an option for most people with connections.

I see this as a major inconvenience for many Western Slope travelers, and I can see it having a negative impact on some businesses that might want to locate to Grand Junction.

RON HARRISON
Grand Junction

Aspen liberals play divide and conquer game

Just wanted my Grand Junction brothers and sisters to get a laugh at the “Do as I Say”/Divide and Conquer game the elites and limousine liberals at the Aspen Institute play.

Here is an excerpt from today’s e-mail from one of the Aspen Institute’s vice presidents:

“While it’s unclear that the gun legislation that failed to pass last April would have prevented the latest mass shooting which killed 12 at Washington’s Navy Yard on Monday, the tragedy does renew the debate about gun laws. How was Congress able to act against 90 percent of the American public and get away with it? The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg sat down with Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, at Aspen Ideas. Among the many complex issues related to gun control, the two discussed background checks, assault weapons, the role of mental illness in procuring weapons, and the hard line the NRA takes on gun ownership.

“We are going to win when the American public looks at this issue not from the perspective of being a gun owner or non-gun owner or a Democrat or a Republican or a blue stater or a red stater, but as decent human beings who are concerned with our collective health and safety as a nation,” says
Gross.

Now wait just a second. We Westerners take our gun ownership with great pride. We’ve grown up hunting and fishing.

More importantly, the Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights as a package. You can’t have the first without the second.

LEE MULCAHY
Aspen

Cruz assails Obamacare to bolster his ambitions for presidency

 
Buried within the rubbish of Josh Penry’s latest offering – “Conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz are right to take a stand on budget” – are revealing gems.

First, just who were these “Washington wise men” who Penry claims are responsible for engendering the current confrontation?  The answer is implied by his conclusion.

Thus, after “conservative” Republican President Reagan’s “VooDoo Economics” tripled the national debt from 1980 to 1992, Democratic President Clinton nearly balanced the federal budget by 2000 (and arguably bequeathed a surplus, ignoring borrowing from Social Security).

Then, as Penry accurately reports, the debt ceiling was raised to $8 trillion in November 2004 and to $14 trillion in February 2010. What happened in between 2000 and 2010?

Penry conveniently “forgets” that — beginning in 2001 —“compassionate conservative” Republican President George Bush reinstated Reagan’s previously discredited “VooDoo Economics” by enacting gratuitously excessive tax cuts, initiating two unfunded wars and enacting the likewise unfunded Medicare Part D. President Obama inherited that mess – and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Consequently, the debt ceiling was necessarily raised to $16 trillion in August 2011.

In 2012, Republican tax-avoider Mitt Romney “doubled-down” on failed “conservative” economic policies, but Americans soundly rejected him.

So, as Penry aptly notes, “Unfortunately for the country, this is the line that [conservative Republican] ‘wise men’ have been spouting for a very, very long time. It is precisely this thinking that has pushed our nation to the fiscal brink.”

Second, what is dangerously different about Cruz is not just his rhetorical reiteration of the familiar “conservative” canards which “pushed our nation to the fiscal brink” – and now threaten “a diminished American tomorrow” today -— but rather his deliberate and cynically disingenuous Hitler-like resort to multiple falsehoods about ObamaCare to advance his own selfish presidential ambitions at the nation’s expense.

BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction



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Contrary to Rick Wagner’s column (“Anti-gun crowd uses incorrect news to push extreme gun-control agenda”) and John Hotchkiss’s on-line letter (“Feds missed warning signs shown by Navy Yard gunman”), Bill Grant’s “take” on the Navy Yard shootings was essentially accurate.

Reportedly, the Naval Yard shooter attempted to purchase (or at least test-fired) an AR-15 at the same gun shop where he purchased the shotgun actually used in the slaughter.

Also reportedly, Alexis was unable to purchase the AR-15 because a Virginia statute limits sales of assault weapons to in-state residents.  If true, then Virginia’s common sense law – a limited “assault weapons ban” – may have prevented even more carnage.

Moreover, if any “assault weapons ban” were unconstitutional – as extreme gun rights advocates insist – then Virginia’s law would also be unconstitutional under both the Second Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities Clause in Article IV, Section 2 (which prohibits a state’s denial of equal rights to U.S. citizens residing in another state).

Recalling that both Republicans and the NRA once supported the 1994 assault weapons ban (until such weapons became big money-makers for gun manufacturers and the NRA), the incident actually supports the proposition that a nationwide assault weapons ban – coupled with closing the “gun show loophole” and limiting magazine capacity—could indeed prevent mentally unstable purchasers from legally purchasing such weapons.

Likewise, contrary to Kathleen Parker’s column (“Mental illness, not gun access, biggest problem in shooting sprees”) and Newt Burkhalter’s on-line letter (“Navy Yard violence exemplifies lapses in nation’s security measures”), mental illness is not the only or “real” contributor to mass shootings, and addressing that component is complicated by medical privacy laws.  Rather, the element common to all incidents of gun violence is a gun – whether or not “mental illness” is also involved – and guns can be legally regulated.

However, those writers are correct in pointing to inadequate background checks as another contributing factor – which is the direct result of Republican-backed out-sourcing of traditional personnel security functions to private entities paid on completion rates rather than thoroughness.

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