Printed Letters: Aug. 3, 2014
Sheriff candidates need
to address militarization
I have supported most Republican candidates over many decades and have served in a number of capacities including a term as a county chairman in Colorado. But that should not be deemed automatic support, particularly as it comes to sheriff.
An issue for whomever runs the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department is the troubling and increasing militarization of our police forces across the country. Citizens who wish to preserve their Fourth Amendment rights (unreasonable searches and seizures) and who support “the Castle Doctrine” (“my home is my castle”) must demand accountability and pushback. It should come from our elected sheriff.
I perused the sheriff’s website and came up with the following:
1) The SWAT team was using the BLM range on Monday July 1 for training. The accompanying picture shows camouflage-dressed men who looked like they were ready for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
2) According to the web page, “In the last two years the SWAT Team has averaged 30 calls a year.” The department breaks these into “planned” and “unplanned.” To further quote the website, “‘planned’ SWAT events involve supporting or executing a search warrant.”
3) There is the “Unmanned Aerial System Team.” Again citing the website, “To date our program has flown more than 55 missions with a combined 225 (plus) flight hours. We are beginning to implement UAS into day to day operations.”
In a free society, we have always drawn sharp lines between the military and police officers. The use of force in executing search warrants by highly armed and non-uniformed cops is a bad thing. Multiply across the country the 30 or so SWAT incidents per year by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and we are looking at an estimated 60,000-80,000 “deployments” per year, according to investigative journalist and author Radley Balko.
In sum, what started with about 300 SWAT team uses in the entire country in the 1970s has grown to where the use of SWAT teams is now the default option. SWAT was initially an acronym for “Special Weapons and Tactics.” The PR has changed, but the missions have involved far too many assaults.
All of our sheriff’s candidates need to clarify their views on these issues.
STEPHEN M. DAVIS
Hobby Lobby case shows we’re in a fight for religious freedom
I am wondering why the media and others think that it is everyone’s business how a corporation runs its own company. Hobby Lobby is a responsible, community-friendly business. Employees have benefits, which, I am sure, were explained at the time of hiring.
I respect Hobby Lobby owners’ values and ideals of honoring their Sabbath. As far as I know, they don’t require their employees to join their church. They’re not brainwashing anybody. Since when is it wrong for companies or individuals to keep their integrity intact by adhering to their moral values?
I don’t believe that the government/court system should be involved in personal or moral issues. Birth control is a personal issue for responsible adults to work out and pay for on their own time and with their own money. This may be hard to believe, but in the very recent past, many of us actually took responsibility for our actions and ourselves. Why do so many people want the government’s hand in even very private matters?
We are once again in a fight for freedom of religion.
Kids Voting welcomes new executive director
It is Kids Voting Mesa County’s pleasure to introduce our new executive director, Karen Houlihan.
Houlihan has several years experience in events coordination, marketing and bookkeeping. She also graduated from CMU this spring with a second degree in business management and was selected Senior of the Year by the business faculty.
As many of you know, Kids Voting Mesa County had a difficult 2013. But thanks to the generous support of the community, Kids Voting Mesa County will continue. While we aren’t completely out of the woods yet, we are stronger than before and ready to continue our mission of encouraging young people to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens.
Thank you again to our supportive community and to Martha Graf, previous executive director, for keeping Kids Voting Mesa County alive. We wish Graf luck as she moves on to new adventures in the nonprofit world and we look forward to many more years of service to Mesa County.
President, Board of Directors
Kids Voting Mesa County