Printed letters, February 12, 2014

I woke up last Wednesday to a beautiful morning, sunshine, new snow and altogether a day to enjoy. I made a cup of coffee and opened up my copy of The Daily Sentinel to read about the goings-on of our gorgeous area.

Everything was fine until I reached Bill Grant’s assessment of the gun situation we are confronting in our daily lives. Wild West shootouts, 30 ounces of chromed steel tucked legally under belts at Wal-Mart, paranoia, toxic politics, evil people with evil intent, armed and dangerous population.

I read the bit twice to make sure I was fully aware of the dangers I was facing and went back to bed, depressed and frightened. After sleeping a couple of hours, I got out of bed and had a shot of whiskey to brace me for the coming travails of the day. It’s now 4 p.m. and my family is still safe. Whew!

After reflecting on Grant’s column, I wondered if I should ever go outside again. I am 70 years old and have been to Wal-Mart several times. So far I have never seen a shootout. I have seen a few races to get a more favorable position in the checkout line, but no guns were pulled. I have not been threatened or felt the least bit concerned a Wild West shootout would occur.

Grant also cautioned about “embodied cognition,” which suggests the simple act of holding a gun turns otherwise well-intentioned folks into crazed murderers.

I suggest Grant read, “On Killing,” an excellent book by Dave Grossman that goes into the history of the difficulty of training young men to kill other young men in combat. Most are reluctant to kill even to protect themselves. The Defense Department has spent millions of dollars researching ways to overcome this fact.

GARY MONTGOMERY

Grand Junction

‘Only’ 495 oil, gas spills hurt Colorado’s environment

It is hardly disputable that oil and gas spills, regardless of their frequency, are incredibly damaging to Colorado’s natural environment.

It sounds as if Mike Foster wants me to be reassured that we “only” saw 495 spills last year, instead of 1,000 or 10,000. However, 495 spills is still more than one per day.

In other words, statistics and numbers distort the bottom line, which is that — whether common or not — the possibility of spills occurring is still a hazard. It is important that there be an end goal of preventing such disasters entirely.

If we want our energy without the potential for spilling and environmental damage at all, solar energy serves as an alternate solution for resource development in Colorado. It has great potential as an energy source without the potential for damage that accompanies oil and gas drilling.

For the in-state activist groups and individual citizens alike who are overlooked by Foster’s plan, don’t let renewable energy also be overlooked, for it is truly the key to preserving our beautiful state of Colorado.

RYAN McHUGH

Boulder

 

Blame wood-burning stoves, 
not drilling, for our bad air

Regarding concerns over air pollution in the valley, I agree the air is dirty. If you go outdoors on certain evenings, all you can smell is wood-burning smoke.

The clean air is at the drill sites and the coal mines at Paonia. We had the Cameo power plant and, if you wanted clean air, it was there also.

In the 1950s through the 1970s, Colorado had an auto inspection requirement every six months. It was nothing but a racket to bleed the public. In today’s cost, for our computerized cars to be inspected it would probably cost at least $125 for the inspection only. For sure, they would always find something to replace for a total of $500 every time.

Also, I don’t see the coal trains blowing coal dust off the cars. I see dust blowing from the Bookcliffs when the wind blows; the dirt has been loosened up all over out there.

RAFAEL A. SALAZ

Grand Junction

 

Hollywood actor Bull was 
helpful to Mesa students

I just wanted to say a few words about the late Richard Bull, former star of “Little House on the Prairie,” who died Feb. 3 in Los Angeles.

I had the extreme pleasure of working with Bull in 1984 when Mesa College (now CMU) did a production of “The Lark,” directed by Maggie Robb.

In the ‘80s, the Mesa College Theatre Department was host to many a famous guest artist, and I thank William S. Robinson and his staff for having the connections and the drive to bring them to Grand Junction so students could have real-life learning opportunities. Grand Junction has been host to many a star.

I was the sound operator for the production and found Bull to be a consummate professional and a welcome addition to the show. He was ready to help the students in every way possible. He was always available and always kind.

It was a wonderful learning experience that I have never forgotten. Rest in peace, sir; rest in peace. You are fondly remembered by many.

LAURA WACHLER

Mesa College Theatre

Class of ‘87

Grand Junction



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Eileen O’Toole’s on-line letter (“Constitution’s raison d’etre was to take power from states”) and Gary Montgomery’s reaction (“Grant’s gun tirade ruined a good day”) to Bill Grant’s column remind readers that the on-going debate over “Gun Rights” and the meaning of the Second Amendment is eerily reminiscent of the 1850s’ Slavery debate. 

Indeed, the most strident proponents of absolutist Gun Rights have much in common – both ideologically and geographically—with the equally ardent defenders of Slavery.

Now, as then, extremists (e.g., Rush Limbaugh’s “ditto heads” and the NRA’s gullible lemmings) are not-so-subtly suggesting violence against those who disagree with them.

Now, as then (in its Dred Scott decision), our Supreme Court has perpetuated confusion as to what “the law is” and/or should be.

Hopefully, litigation instigated by Colorado’s County Sheriffs will eventually resolve that uncertainty.  Meanwhile, the text of the Second Amendment offers “food for thought”:

If the Second Amendment’s drafters had actually anticipated both the proliferation and lethality of modern personal weaponry, would they have used exactly the same language?

Because the premise that a “well regulated Militia [is] necessary to the security of a free State” necessarily implies the conclusion that “government” (whether State or federal) has some role to play in “regulating” the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms”, what is that role and when does its scope “infringe” on the peoples’ legitimate “right”?

Is there any rational basis for fearing that our “government” seeks to confiscate anyone’s “Arms” – except those of felons, the mentally deranged, or spouse abusers?

Would it ever by practically possible for any “government” to even attempt to confiscate 300,000,000 personal weapons – even if it encountered no resistance?

If a fully-armed population were deemed a “Militia”, how “well” could it be “regulated” without “impinging” on someone’s illegitimately self-proclaimed “right”?

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