Printed letters, April 20, 2011

Generally, people on the political left in our country oppose capital punishment, but support abortion, while people on the political right oppose abortion, but support capital punishment. Isn’t there an incongruity within each of these positions?

A more consistent argument can be made for a right or left political posture if it begins at the same place: Consider the value of a human life.

If the life of an individual human isn’t really too important, then abortion is acceptable, capital punishment is just recompense, euthanasia and assisted suicide — in the interest of dying with dignity — are viewed as quite satisfactory.

If one embraces the sanctity of human life, an argument can be made for respecting life from its beginning at conception through to its natural end. That means no capital punishment or assisted suicide. Rather than order execution of a defendant, juries could only impose imprisonment for life without parole. The horror of a conviction error could be reversed. (The constitutional powers of executive commutation and pardon would, of course, remain possible.)

Perhaps the only justifiable taking of a human life would be in defense of family or self.

Consider the rationality in this contentious and ongoing argument if political persuasions first define how they value human life, and then carry on a debate consistent with that value.

ALAN METCALFE

Delta

Old radios still needed for local law enforcement

Recent reports in The Daily Sentinel and other Grand Junction media outlets, regarding the acquisition of funding for new radios for several Grand Valley fire departments, contain misleading and inaccurate information.

Contrary to reported statements that “The Federal Communications Commission has mandated all agencies switch to (the 800 Megahertz) bandwidth by 2012,” there is no such mandate. The FCC is requiring agencies using the VHF and UHF frequency bands to re-configure both their operating licenses and equipment so that they can be used with less space between channels. This is known as “narrowbanding.”

Ironically, it is those rural fire districts that are benefiting from this latest funding that will also have the greatest need to maintain their existing VHF radios. In most wildland fire scenarios on or near public lands, VHF radio represents one of the most important communications links between local fire responders and the vast, specialized resources of the federal interagency fire system.

This federal government resource is not making the same wholesale transition that the local agencies are, and it is these “older” frequencies that will provide more interoperability in these situations.

Those administering Mesa County’s public safety radio system may be choosing to abandon these older frequencies in favor of the 800 Megahertz bandwidth, but a significant number of public safety agencies in Colorado that have made this same transition have also chosen to re-license their old VHF frequencies for narrowband use.

While the new system is certainly an improvement for day-to-day operations, reports in the media of the demise of these workhorse legacy systems have been highly exaggerated. Response agencies that remain versatile and prepared will reap the benefits when the most extreme circumstances present themselves, as will the citizens they serve.

JOHN L. LINKO Leetsdale, Pa.

Sales tax figures in story did not add up

The 1982 Mesa County Sales Tax Resolution requires sales tax to be distributed as follows: 50 percent to capital expenditures, 27.5 percent to municipalities and 22.5 percent to the county’s general fund.

The Daily Sentinel reported, “the county funnels half of it (the sales tax) into its general fund and a little less than one-fourth into its capital fund.”

Either Mike Wiggins got it wrong, or Mesa County is in violation of the Sales Tax Resolution. My hope is that the reporting is in error.

WILLIAM VOSS

Grand Junction



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