Printed letters, July 26, 2013

I applaud The Daily Sentinel’s July 18 editorial, framing our ongoing debate over what would best serve economic development for the Grand Valley.

Whether conservative or liberal, I believe we all want what we feel is best for our community. Of course, we want to attract more jobs and business because the lack thereof has been reflected in our historically poor report card for domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and a host of other social ills symptomatic of a scarcity of jobs that pay a decent wage.

But we also scored low in a recent report on Mesa County’s rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, in many cases reflective of unhealthy lifestyles.

To be an economically strong community, we also must be a vibrant community. That means the people who reside here have adequate recreation, transportation and cultural opportunities, not to mention sound education for our children.

After all, the people who live here are our human capital, and to the degree that we invest in the underpinnings of their well-being and personal growth, we will thrive, because those are the kinds of communities that attract all that is good.


Grand Junction

Beetle-killed trees 
are adding to risk of fires

Beverly Kelly’s letter on July 19 basically stated that because logging has been limited and habitat for some animals protected for a few years, our forests have become clogged, resulting in the monster forest fires we’ve witnessed recently.

Based on that premise, logging and a lack of habitat protection are the sole delimiters to healthy forests and healthy animals. What about all the thousands upon thousands of years when there wasn’t any logging and habitat protection, because there weren’t any loggers — or people for that matter?

Shouldn’t all the forests all over the world have burned down in a raging inferno because logging hadn’t been invented and habitat protection defined?

Seriously, forest management is barely 100 years old and ever-evolving. Forests are clogged now because for decades foresters wouldn’t allow fires to burn, as they have in nature for hundreds of centuries, naturally clearing out fuels.

Oh, yeah, and because of millions of beetle-killed trees. I learned all this when I was in the Forest Service.


Grand Junction


Zimmerman case was about 
‘old-fashioned self-defense’

Bill Grant asked the question, “How many Trayvon Martins must die before ‘make my day’ laws are repealed?” The fact in this case is the defense to the killing of Trayvon Martin was not “make my day.” It was old-fashioned self-defense. Why make it about “make my day”?

I do agree that this case should give everyone pause before they use deadly force. You never want to get caught up in the system if you can avoid it. “Make my day” provides protection from intruders by protecting us from having to explain to authorities why we didn’t feel we could flee our own homes.

In the hood, in inner cities, the ability to defend oneself is limited to gang membership and illegal guns. The most dangerous cities are in the North and have liberal mayors and gun control.

I feel bad for all the kids left to deal with life in the hood. Liberals seem unable to give them the protection they deserve.

It is not 1964. In the summer of 1964 I rode a bus from the Northeast to Florida to visit with family. I have to tell you, the race situation was scary. We have come a long way since then. Both the attorney general and president are black.

The problem today is black-on-black crime. The facts cannot be denied, only obfuscated. Forget about changing the subject and let’s work together to help kids in the hood.




Western Coloradans ought
to be aware of Utah mine

The first tar sands mine in the United States is being prepped fewer than 50 miles from Grand Junction. Tar sands are the most odious, expensive, low-grade, water-wasting petroleum product on the planet. The mining and processing of it is one of the most labor-intensive and destructive in the industry.

Once again, American resources have been leased on the cheap by a foreign country (Canada). Many of the jobs will be filled by out-of-area workers. The mine is just across the border in Utah. It’s pretty isolated.

Why get involved? Because we may not be downwind, but we are all neighbors. You can clearly see the lights of Mack from the site. However, Moab and Green River are not as close as us. Filthy and inefficient operations such as these can be stopped, but they take people.

It’s so far tucked away in the Bookcliffs that most Utahns can’t readily make it for onsite rallies and demonstrations. This project will take Coloradans to be successful. Local groups should not be silly and say they can’t get involved because it’s out of state. It’s our backyard and ecosystem. It’s worthy of our efforts.

For more information call 245-3720. Now, let’s get busy.


Grand Junction


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As usual, familiar Daily Sentinel letter-writer Dave Kearsley is wrong again – this time, about the role Florida’s “stand your ground” law played in the killing of Trayvon Martin (“Zimmerman case was about ‘old-fashioned self defense’”).

Contrary to Kearsley’s contention, Florida’s misguided statute indisputably determined the outcome of the case.

While Zimmerman didn’t formally invoke the peculiar protections of Florida’s “stand your ground” statute (but lied about his familiarity with it), the Florida legislature – along with enacting its “stand your ground” law – also adopted revised jury instructions that abrogated the traditional limitations of “old-fashioned self-defense”.

Under the “old-fashioned” common law of self-defense, a defendant claiming to have acted in self-defense had a “duty to retreat” if reasonably possible and could not have provoked the incident that gave rise to the prosecution.  Florida’s new mandatory jury instruction expressly provides that a defendant claiming “self defense” has “no duty to retreat”, and need only have been in “reasonable” subjective fear of his/her life and/or of grievous bodily injury – even if he/she had provoked the incident in the first place.

Contrary to Kearsley’s rendition, jurors in the Zimmerman trial who have spoken to the press have confirmed that this revised jury instruction necessitated a “not guilty” verdict – and thereby allowed Zimmerman to “get away with murder” (or at least, manslaughter).

Thus, Kearsley’s reference to “black on black” crime is a “red-herring”.  In fact, “stand your ground” has already made it more difficult to prosecute participants in gang shoot-outs – and logically affords a ready-made defense even in cases of dueling or lynching.

Even “natural law” proponents should appreciate that the “old-fashioned” common law of self-defense – which evolved over centuries of judicial decisions in individual cases –
reflected accumulated common sense, which has now been adulterated at the insistence of the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Counsel.

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