Printed Letters: October 13, 2017

Protesting is more than a right, it is a civic duty

Protesting is more than a right, it is a civic duty, and can even be an act of sacrificial love. To those who condemn protest, please consider that the right to protest was purchased with the blood and sacrifice of many.

Not only soldiers — but also the blood or sacrifice of civil rights martyrs like MLK, lynching victims, and yes, even a quarterback who had already made his fame and fortune in the NFL yet was willing to risk it all by taking a stand (ironically) by kneeling, in a selfless attempt to help others.

The ultimate protester of all time, Jesus Christ, was crucified shortly after, and largely because of, his protests against temple money changers, against empire on Palm Sunday, and against ethnic supremacists when he dared to compare their lack of compassion with the compassion of The Good Samaritan or in our day The Good Quarterback.

Some countries don’t have a “protest problem” ... North Korea, Nazi Germany, Putin’s Russia, and if some have their way, the future U.S.A. The peaceful protest of a compassionate citizen is a worthy bookend to the sacrifice of a soldier, and America at its best honors both. Now stand (or kneel) with me and sing the national anthem, but not if you have a hateful heart.


H.R. 3990 could cripple 
authority of Antiquities Act

I oppose H.R. 3990. On Wednesday Oct. 11, Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, held a full committee markup of his anti-conservation, anti-sportsmen, anti-science bill (H.R. 3990) that would potentially cripple the authority of the Antiquities Act.

The Antiquities Act is responsible for nearly 50 percent of all national parks giving rise to such designations as the Grand Canyon, Devil’s Tower and Muir Woods. This bill would drastically narrow the definition of what is deserving of protection to just fossils, skeletons, artifacts and buildings — ruling out science, geography (the Colorado National Monument for example), wildlife or other natural objects. It would prohibit national monuments to protect oceans, and give presidents the authority to erase vast portions of existing national monuments.


The statistics on guns are 
irrelevant to the argument

Sean Goodbody’s column of Oct. 11 deserves a response. All of his statistics are no doubt true, but they are irrelevant to the argument. The discussion needs to be about why we have what seems to be an increase in violence involving guns, and I use “seems to be” advisedly since there is reliable information that gun violence nationally is actually down (another irrelevant statistic).

The fact is that guns per se do not kill people. A gun is simply a tool, and like any tool can be used properly or dangerously depending on the skill of the user. In the case of guns they can be used for good as well as evil depending on the intent of the user.

What the conversation needs to be about is what has gone wrong with our culture that produces so many unbalanced individuals that they take a tool such as a gun, crowbar, tire iron, baseball bat, truck, homemade bomb, or whatever, and deliberately murder other people. The problem is the culture not the guns, and until the culture is corrected all the gun laws in the world will not make any difference in the mayhem.


City Council should rename 12th Street, not North Avenue

On Tuesday, as I drove up 12th Street, stopping at every pedestrian crosswalk between North Avenue and Orchard Avenue for our dear CMU students, it was clear to me that if the City Council wants to name a street, let them name 12th Street “University Boulevard.” The students already own it, and North Avenue already has a name.

Grand Junction

We must control how people get hands on drugs, not guns

I am writing this in response to a column by Mr. Goodbody. I did some brief checking of stats that he reported. I am not for gun control when it means taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. We have a higher death rate from drug use/abuse than from firearms. Don’t we have a war on drugs? Isn’t opioid use illegal unless prescribed? Statistics can be interpreted or mis-interpreted for anyone to use to try to make a point. My point? Hmm, you decide.

Remember that these deaths that you have reported are per 100,000 persons. What I found on the website Goodbody referenced: In 2016, there were 11,008 firearm homicides. During 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths, including 33,091 (63.1 percent) that involved an opioid.

I have heard the same old story; “We must control how people get their hands on guns.” What about “We must control how people get their hands on drugs?”

Grand Junction


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Mr. Menzies, so what? As long as we have a drug problem don’t worry about the gun problem? Nobody is trying to do away with guns. We’ll always have some nuts that can pass any controls for head and behavioral problems but the severity of their actions can be cut back by taking assault weapons away from the general public. They are specifically made for killing a lot of people, indiscriminatingly, and should only be used by the military and law enforcement. In other words, those continuously trained to kill when necessary.

Mr. Gesick, yes, there is a question about our cultural problems but read my comment to Mr. Menzies. We don’t have to have assault weapons and unlimited ammo in the hands of the general public. That’s just adding to the problem.

Both Jim Gesick (“The statistics on guns are irrelevant to the argument”) and Christopher Menzies (“We must control how people get hands on drugs, not guns”) offer interesting – even if somewhat contradictory – perspectives on the issue of gun safety/control laws.

Gesick first argues that gun casualty statistics are “irrelevant” – except as they might help explain the causes of the statistically significant “increase in violence involving guns” (particularly, those involving semi-automatic assault weapons), but then reverts to the tired NRA mantra that “guns don’t kill people, people do” (when, typically, neither guns nor people actually kill people “per se” – bullets do).

Jim then raises the classic “chicken or egg” question of which comes first – a change in culture leading to a change in laws, or enactment of laws which operate to change the underlying culture?  Given the examples from the Old Testament (in which enactment of the Ten Commandments changed Hebrew culture) and from Australia (where an assault weapons ban enacted in 1996 has dramatically reduced the incidence of mass shootings), Gesick’s insistence that “the problem is the culture not the guns” is just another dodge.

Rather, every successive mass shooting incident proves just how wrong the NRA’s and Gesick’s “laws won’t make any difference” position is by providing further anecdotal evidence that sensible gun laws – universal background checks, closing the “gun show loophole”, re-enacting the assault weapons ban, and limiting high-capacity magazines and fully-automatic conversion kits—can indeed make a “difference in the mayhem”.

By contrast, Menzies raises the “walk and chew gum” trope, arguing that gun violence statistics are not “irrelevant” but rather suggest we should be focusing on opioids rather than on guns (as if we can’t do both).  Revealingly, the NRA vigorously opposes any effort to treat gun violence as a public health issue akin to the opioid crisis – because doing so would inexorably lead to the enactment of sensible preventive measures to protect public health without “taking way the rights of law abiding citizens”.

When reading opinions such as Mr. Menzies’ some of us wonder if such individuals can handle more than one thing at a time, or are they so obsessed with one, that they pay no attention to anything else.

When such as Mr. Menzies are driving down the road, are they satisfied that only one wheel is turning, or all four?  If the former, then he will end up doing nothing more than the other three.  I doubt if he, or anyone else would do that.

Now, if they don’t do that in the case of mechanical things, why do they attempt to do it when addressing anything else, social conditions and or problems, as the reasoning exhibited by such as Mr. Menzies is the very same, faulty.

Could it perhaps be that such as Mr. Menzies, and simply because is not mechanical or physical (something true of all too many) cannot appreciate anything that is not physical in nature.

Mr. Gesick addresses the issue of culture, yet makes not effort to tell us what is wrong with what he calls “American” culture, and what it currently consists of that needs correction.  One need not go to the issue of “guns” in order to determine what is wrong.  All one need do is look at how people drive, what they consider most important.  Perhaps Mr. Gesick (as well as many others) should do some careful research and thinking on the matter instead of merely throwing out the word “culture”.

This culture does have many problems, but the most basic of them is superficial thinking, Mr. Gesick is a classic example.  The other is to look at what has been apparent for quite sometime.  It is that this country, and actually most citizens, are afflicted with the three faults of selfishness, materialism and greed which has replaced any type of humanism.  In fact, for all too many, humanism does not exist as they cannot see others as fellow human beings, but as almost anything else.

The next time Mr. Gesick meets someone, he probably should ask himself if he first sees them as a fellow human being, or if he only sees him/her as something/anything else?  If he is careful and attentive, he will note that it is almost always the latter.

“..his protests against temple money changers, against empire on Palm Sunday, and against ethnic supremacists”

It was really none of those specifics that was important to those who wanted “Jesus” dead”, nor was it the Romans.  Those who wanted “Jesus” dead were some Jewish religious figures who saw in him a threat to their hold over the minds of others.  That is what the entire story is all about.  Neither, I would submit, has that changed overly much in the millennia since.  In fact, even as we write and speak of current events, mind control is being practiced in this country, and by some of our very “noble” but actually superficial “Christians”.

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