Printed Letters: July 31, 2014

Sentinel mischaracterized extremist as an advocate
I would like to address Duffy Hayes’ article in the July 19 Sentinel about the “public-lands advocate” David Justice. Justice is not a public-lands advocate or hero.

Justice, and people like him, are no different than those who go out and randomly shoot up signs, take firewood and moss rock without a permit, tear up muddy roads in the spring just for the enjoyment of it while the rest of us taxpayers pay to repair them, or illegally graze on public lands.

I am sure that if this had been an environmental person or group, and considering the way this newspaper leans, Hayes would not have characterized them as advocates. More than likely, Hayes would have used words such as “radical environmentalists,” “militants,” etc.

A more appropriate headline should have been “Radical right-wing extremists indicted.”


Letter offensive to community, Catholics and St. Mary’s
The Sentinel published a letter last week from Scott Mercier, self-defined as a former board chair of Community Hospital.

It is unfortunate that Mercier opted to try to fan the flames of discord between two of our leading hospitals rather than offering curative thoughts as to how differences can be resolved and how the current outstanding level of hospital care in our community can be maintained.

People in the Grand Valley are not looking for disputes. We all want quality health care at an affordable price. In light of great uncertainty amid massive government regulation and intervention, this is a very difficult task for all medical-care providers.

Lest there be a question in anyone’s mind, despite Mercier’s assertion to the contrary, St. Mary’s is guided by its own governing board – made up of local people. Mercier’s canard that health-care decisions for St. Mary’s patients are made elsewhere is just not true, and he knows that.

Mercier ends his plaint with an ugly and offensive dig at St. Mary’s because St. Mary’s is a Catholic institution. My prior take was that so-called organizational leaders in our community were above such unkind and unnecessary ugliness — got me on that one. How absurd to bring religiosity into the context of local/regional health care — those that it serves are incredibly fortunate to have St. Mary’s Hospital available to respond at a very high level. When people need a hospital, do they really care about anything other than getting well?

I am not Catholic, but I am a proud member of the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation Board. I found Mercier’s letter appalling and very telling in both tenor and tone. Mercier owes the people of our community a mea culpa — yes, Mercier, that is Latin — the sacramental language of the Vatican for “I really screwed up.”

Grand Junction

Rev. Grimm’s call to dismantle Jewish state is just a fairy tale
With apologies to German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, the comments by Denver Presbyterian pastor, Rev. Larry Grimm, calling for the dismantling of the Jewish nation are the ultimate  “Grimm’s fairy tales.”

His rant falls in boot-step with the recent narrow vote (310-303) of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to divest from companies named as contributing to Israeli occupation of Palestine.  Perhaps Presbyterian progressives, heeding Jesus’ injunction to “cast the beam out of your own eye,” should protest our nation’s occupying territories of Native Americans, many still languishing in poverty and despair on our nicely labeled “reservations.”

Jeff Goldberg asks, “What if, years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had chosen to build the nucleus of a state rather than develop subterranean rocket factories?” Instead, the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, which refuses the right of Israel to exist, was voted to power. 

Our visit to the region two summers ago revealed Israel as a veritable island of prosperity and sanity surrounded by a raging sea of societies whose own civil wars and self-hatreds currently leave little time to direct their wrath at Israel, except Hamas.  Were Israel to cease existing tomorrow (a likely outcome if Hamas had Israel’s military capability), the notion that a peaceful Palestinian state would emerge is merely another Rev. Grimm’s fairy tale. 

Presbyterian pastor, retired

Mentally challenged in Oregon at least weren’t on their own
Regarding the unclaimed ashes of the mentally challenged in Oregon, I don’t fault the state. I fault the families who failed to claim them.

But, on a similar note, our liberal society determined a few years ago that it was more humane to give the mentally challenged a piece of cardboard and a grease pencil and kick them out on the street to fend for themselves. At least in this case, they were being cared for instead of living in the hobo jungle trying to survive.

Grand Junction


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