Printed letters, March 15, 2013

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 House Bill 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 fee. Who proposed that legislation? 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 an 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, he 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

Police should support training 
in gun proficiency for citizens

As an avid shooter and a long-time gun-rights activist, I want to say that the Sentinel was right on the mark with its editorial on March 13.

People who carry guns at schools ought to have a lot more than a little card issued by some government agency. People who carry guns ought to be proficient.

I don’t know any Mesa County law enforcement officers, other than socially, so when I say that my experience is that “most” law enforcement officers are “proficient,”  it means that a little better than half meet that standard.

I mention this because lots of people think that the fancy uniform and the badge mean proficiency. That’s not the case.

The law enforcement leadership in Mesa County ought to encourage and facilitate training and tactical practice for all people in the county who carry guns — not just law enforcement officers, but also the small army of concealed-carry permit holders.

A new law-enforcement-only training facility is not in the community’s broader interest. Instead of mere tolerance, law enforcement organizations ought to become engaged with and encouraging to citizens. This is not an “us versus them” issue. We are all in it together.

GENE H. DREHER

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 who 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 discover some of the dangerous ones, but only a few will be reported. The limitations are patient privacy and the possibility of 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, this information usually surfaces after a shooting, too late to save lives.

Keeping guns away from people who want them and screening the mental ill is a hit-and-miss proposition.

The only real options are armed security in our schools, improving perimeter protection and using 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

 

Second Amendment rights 
at least equal to gay rights

On the front page of Tuesday’s paper is a quote by Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, regarding civil unions. “I’m just really trying to understand, when it’s 2013 and we can say with a straight face, ‘It’s OK to deny someone their rights.’”

Really? How about my constitutional right under the Second Amendment to have firearms? This really shows the priorities of our elected representatives.

ROBIN JENKINS

Grand Junction

 

Fewer folks are likely 
to admit to gun ownership

I am sometimes amazed at articles that say something, yet leave out the most important part. An example was in The Daily Sentinel March 11, with the article about how fewer households in the U.S. now have guns than before.

This was based on a survey taken, and fewer folks said they had guns in their homes. The obvious thing to me is what the survey actually said. In today’s political climate, who in his or her right mind would admit to having a gun at home? That would put such people on a list for removal of guns when the government decides to round them up.

What the article should have said is, “Fewer people admit to owning or having a gun or keeping one in their home.” I suspect the truth is a great many more people now have guns in their homes.

Thank you, President Obama, for encouraging people to protect their own now that they can no longer depend on the Obama government for protection.

DAVID SHRUM

Grand Junction

 

 

Those wrongly convicted 
due reasonable compensation

Regarding the March 8 article about payouts to convicts cleared of crimes, I want to address a large issue with which I feel many other residents will agree.

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

Why are these people being paid double or triple what we make when they are getting out of jail? We are sympathetic but justice must be equal.

Overpaying will cause more people to question their imprisonment and want more from us taxpayers. Government is not paying for this. We taxpayers are.

Although I am currently disabled, even when I was working in management, I still only made $31,000 a year. How is it right to give so much money?

KRISTINA M. THOMAS-BESSIRE

Grand Junction

 

Community priorities 
are dangerous and wrong

We all live in a wonderful, progressive small city. That said, we once again are entering the ungodly long three-month burning — or pollution — season.

We all endure unhealthy air in the name of convenience and tradition. Laws against smoking pale compared to our smoke -particulate-saturated valley. It is immoral to do things that openly and knowingly hurt people.

Many of us wonder if our air quality officials actively lobby for pollution-free air. It seems protectors are scare.

If we need to continue to burn, how about two weeks rather than 25 percent of the year, so those of us medically affected can leave during this period.

Human health first; convenience and tradition second. Our priorities are presently dangereous and wrong.

I wonder what our visitors think.

TOM KELLEY

Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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OMG - There is NO amount of money in the world that could pay these people back for spending time in prison for a crime they did not commit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for buring our fields: Our rural community grows hay for feed. We burn them to allow the water to flow freely. We need to feed our cows & horses. Why do people move here and then want to change things. We live in the country not in the big city where it’s all cement and asphalt. People buy a new home here and ehat do they do but build a 6 foot high fence blocking their beautiful views, I don’t understand that one, except thats what they were used to before they moved here. Lets change the monument to a Nat’l park and bring with it lots more cars and pollution. The people who want that are business owners who hope to make more money.

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