Printed letters, Feb. 19, 2010

Most military gays

serve honorably

Letter writer Clark Wingate says, “Those who want to drop ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ have probably never served.” Well, from someone who is gay and has served her country honorably, I have to comment on Mr. Wingate’s ridiculous statements.

First, there are already homosexuals serving honorably in our military forces. They will not suddenly lose all sense of decorum and start “making love” in front of other people.

Mr. Wingate does point out a common problem in the military — higher-ranking individuals having relationships with lower-ranking individuals in the same chain of command. I agree that this is a concern, but it is already addressed by a military regulation against what is called “fraternization” — which is illegal regardless of the genders of the people involved. It happens a lot between heterosexual couples already, by the way.

And as for fearing that a homosexual might “come on to you” — please don’t flatter yourself.

When I was in the Navy, I was not open about my sexuality due to fears of being fired for something totally unrelated to my job. The people I worked with, for the most part, knew of my orientation and responded 100 percent of the time with a “so what’s the big deal” attitude. I predict that attitude will be shared by 99.9 percent of military personnel and also that 99.9 percent of homosexuals will still keep their private lives private for other reasons.

Repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” because it’s simply the right thing to do. I served my country honorably, as many other homosexuals have done and continue to do. My private life had no impact on my service and no impact on my co-workers.

HEATHER SMITH

U.S. Navy 1989-1995

Fruita

Both sides must be heard on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

I was glad to see Lt. Col. Wingate’s letter to the editor recently. Finally, we are allowed to hear a little on the other side of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” mess.

We seem to have several sacrosanct subjects in our society today that we must always speak of positively. Any comment with the slightest possibility of negative interpretation may elicit immediate condemnation of a person as a “bigot.” Obviously, this inhibits real objectivity.

I think it well that we all might remember that any worthwhile society will and must, require structure, as established and maintained by laws, customs and mores. These laws will always discomfort and inconvenience someone, but they remain essential to an overall, stabilizing structure

I believe that today most folks, especially military officer corps members, are very carful about stating publicly anything negative they know and feel about the effects of homosexuals in the military or any possible effect military effectiveness. The kneejerk condemning reaction will be immediate. Therefore, major public participation in uncomfortable questions such as this will, infallibly, be heard from only from one side, as, I believe, is the case in this instance.

When I was 18, looking 15, during my Navy tour, I was assigned aboard a destroyer that routinely stayed weeks at sea, rarely even seeing land. At about 120 pounds, I turned away sexual advances several times. On two very memorable occasions, I did so by drawing a belt knife

Finally, I’d ask, if we condone open homosexuality among the troops, how and why do we insist on separate bathing facilities for the female members?

RAY LASHLEY

U.S. Navy, 1941-1947

Grand Junction

Letter writer’s views are terribly out of date

Lt. Col. Clark Wingate’s letter regarding “open homosexuality will lead to divisions with a unit ...” was interesting. But to paraphrase Col. Wingate’s comments, suppose the sergeant and one of her men are in love, or perhaps the (male) lieutenant takes a shine to a (female) sergeant. What does this do to morale of those who are looking for unbiased evaluations, assignments and promotions?

Col. Wingate and I are members of the local chapter of the Military Officers Association.

I know Clark, and I thought that he was approaching the 21st century. It sounds like he served during the Civil War.

LT. COL. RON BECKMAN

Grand Junction

State justices should be voted off the bench

Seems like only yesterday we watched the value of our largest investment (our homes) increase year after year. Our county assessor kept raising their estimate of value right along with the county treasurer raising the property taxes. That was before the end of 2008.

Then we watched the value of our homes fall at least 20 percent or more. But because the Legislature froze the school mill levy when the taxes were at their highest, we are forced to pay a very high penalty.

And guess what? Our dearly beloved Colorado Supreme Court upheld that higher tax. Four of those judges are up for retention this fall. Let’s boot them out by saying “No.”  Their names are:  Justices Malarky, Rice, Martinez and Bender.

JO ANNE EBERHART

Grand Junction

New sales taxes will harm state agriculture

The new sales taxes on fertilizer and chemicals for the agriculture community are very disturbing. Farmers and ranchers create new wealth every year, while providing food and fiber for the state.

We have never paid sales tax on fertilizer and the sales tax on chemicals was removed 10-15 years ago. Do any of the Democrats in Denver have a clue of what farming and ranching is about?

The ag community has always been a low-margin business and we have no way of increasing the price of our products because of higher taxes.

These same people have never been able to pass a rainy-day fund and always seem to be able spend more than the state can take in. Taxing businesses more will not help the unemployment rate or balance the budget.

How many state employees does every farmer and rancher have working in Denver supposedly “helping” or regulating us?

JOHN JUSTMAN

Fruita

School mascot names honor American Indians

I have been meaning to write for some time about the protest to native Indian mascots not being suitable for a school’s motif. I think it is great and should be kept. After all, they are the only true originals this nation has, the rest of us all came later.

RUTH PHILLIPS

Grand Junction



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