Printed letters, May 3, 2012

The recent discussions in The Daily Sentinel on radiation exposure in western Colorado, while somewhat informative, do a great disservice to the average citizen by dismissing the true risk and consequence of radiation exposure. The quotes from Teresa Coons, unfortunately, do little to educate and arm the sensible public in their right to a safe and healthy life here in Mesa County.

For myself, the hidden message could not be clearer. Let’s not commit to any activity that increases our already elevated exposure. Conclusion: we are already four times more likely than the average American to suffer the negative health impacts of radiation. To seek comfort in the notion of hormesis, apparently advocated by Coons, stating that low levels of radiation may be beneficial to our biology, is akin to noting that some smokers live to be 90 and therefore smoking is healthy.

First, it is important to understand that the science of radiation exposure and subsequent health and mortality is still in its infancy. Much of what we know is based on epidemiological studies of large regional populations. It is also important to understand that the science becomes more conclusive with larger doses and subsequent immediate effects in animal and human studies.

The preponderance of evidence shows that radiation is harmful. The EPA and National Academy of Sciences (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation/BEIR report) both support the “Linear No-threshold Model” of radiation risk. Simply stated, there is no safety threshold and the sum of all small doses equals the effect of one large dose. Their conclusion is that “every exposure to radiation produces a corresponding increase in cancer risk.”

It is important to keep this in mind as our region turns perilously toward increased activity in uranium mining, milling and, potentially, nuclear power.


Grand Junction

Family thankful for kindness shown during Kemp trial

Even though the jury trial for Trooper Lawyer did not end in the way we had hoped, we did enjoy the city of Grand Junction while there. Everyone we ran into, whether grabbing a bite to eat at the City Market during breaks in the proceedings or enjoying the shops and artwork in the downtown area, were pleasant and helpful. 

We also appreciated the kind words and support, prayers and hearing their concerns regarding law enforcement in Colorado. The time and energy the 12 members of the jury put in listening to the testimony and deliberating on the case is much appreciated. We thought it was hard sitting in court, but none of us would have wanted to be them.

We may not have gotten the results we had hoped for, but Trooper Lawyer has to live with his decisions of that night, as we have to learn to live without our nephew and cousin.

And as Keith Kemp, Jason’s father, said, “You just keep plugging away.” We will eventually see Justice for Jason.


the aunts, uncles and nephews of Jason Kemp

Kewaunee, Wis.


Bible also supports slavery and stoning pagans

Sen. Renfro was quoted as saying: “Our founding fathers were very clear in what they said about morality and religion ... How would you define marriage differently except being between a man and a woman like our Constitution talks about?”

Let’s be very clear about the errors in this statement. The Constitution does not define marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” but DOMA is not the Constitution.

The founding fathers had divergent opinions on anything and everything, including what the document they had created meant. They are not clear, collectively or individually, about morality and religion.

After all these years of studying the founding era of the United States, I should cease to be surprised that politicians call on our American past to try to justify their positions. However, it will continue to bother me since, as the politicians do this very thing, they get the history wrong.

It shouldn’t surprise me since it matches the selective way politicians call on the Bible to justify their positions. I have also read the Bible.

Politicians say that they cannot support civil unions because they are Christian. These politicians go back to Old Testament passages that may (or may not) condemn homosexuality. Those same books in the Old Testament also support slavery, concubinage and stoning pagans to death (one translation reads “with stones” which seems redundant). In choosing just to oppose civil unions, these senators use a very select reading to support their lack of acceptance of rights for gay and lesbian people. By using a very select reading, they are saying, “I am a Christian in this way when it suits my purpose. I am not a Christian in this other way because it does not suit my purpose.”

Can we now say slavery is wrong, and that the clothing and diet restrictions are no longer necessary? Can we disapprove of stoning to death people who practice other faiths and plural marriages for the Old Testament patriarchs? Or are all those other things that also appear in those same pages exceptions, but the lack of support for civil unions the rule?


Grand Junction


Why can’t political ads offer anything positive?

I am so discouraged watching the anti-president ads on TV, to know our country has come to this sort of ugly dialogue.

Above all, people placing these ads should be honest in their messages. Can’t they offer anything positive? If so, let’s hear about it.


Grand Junction


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