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Thursday, June 10,2010

Letters | You should be proud


You should be proud

(Re: “Victory! Boulder Weekly investigation ends the practice of shackling inmates in labor,” cover story, June 3.) Thank you for your efforts to outlaw the shackling of female prisoners during labor and delivery. It sounds as though, with only one vote against the measure, this was something that conservatives and liberals alike agreed upon. With the current ideological hostility and poor quality of discourse in this country, it is encouraging to see us all come together to fight for what’s right. Give me more of this and less bickering and complaining any day! What you have accomplished should be celebrated. My wife is an obstetrician, and was very pleased to hear that shackling delivering patients has been outlawed. Her job is difficult and dangerous enough as it is, and literally putting a lock between her and the ability to perform certain emergency maneuvers is dangerous for the mother and her child. Thanks to your efforts, this will not be a problem in Colorado anymore.

With all that we provide prisoners, it is wonderful to finally be able to provide them both safety and dignity during childbirth. If rehabilitation is one of the aims of confinement, it seems a poor practice to remind a woman of her troubled status in one of the most incredibly human of all moments.

No more! Thank you for advancing the cause of mercy in the world.

An increasingly loyal reader, Justin Freeman/Boulder

Stop, you morons!

(Re: “Climbing Colorado’s couloirs,” Elevation, June 3.) Good lord. Would you morons stop with your “Elevation” series before you get someone killed? As if “Doing the Dog” (Elevation, May 6) wasn’t bad enough, you go and publish the aforementioned article. First off, if someone doesn’t even know what a couloir is, then they sure as hell don’t have any business attempting to climb one. Couloir routes almost always require route-finding, and so before someone progresses to that aspect of mountaineering, they should be fairly experienced in at least hiking the high peaks and route-finding, which entails being able to actually name geographic features.

To suggest that a person can just read a short article about mountaineering and go jump in is asinine. Yes, the article does mention seeking some additional training but, at least in my opinion, the overall tone of this article (as it was with “Doing the Dog”) is that any jackass can go buy some gear and become an overnight mountaineer or backcountry skier. Again, if you don’t even know what skins or ski crampons are, then you have a long ways to go in your BC training before you are ready for couloir descents.

In the future, you might want to verify the current status of a referenced site before you mention them in an article. The Colorado Avalanch Information Center (CAIC) stopped reporting for the season three days before your article ran. Furthermore, as great as the CAIC’s services are if you haven’t taken an avy course or completed the equivalent self study, then the information provided on their website is minimally useful, at best, and potentially dangerous, at worst. Misunderstanding the information presented or not appreciating the scale of the info can easily lull someone into a false sense of security. Also, the CAIC switches to a truncated statewide forecast/report during the prime couloir climbing season, and even the more detailed reports the CAIC provides in the winter cannot compensate for micro terrain management skills.

Were you even aware of the cornicetriggered avalanche accident near Aspen that occurred only days before your article came out? Or how about the two avalanche-related deaths in Alaska that occurred on Memorial Day?

Suggesting Skywalker as a good intermediate choice is ridiculous. I would love to see a guidebook that lists 60-degree snow as intermediate.

Jay Monnahan/via Internet

At least the pot is local

Suppose that half, or even more than half, of the people who purchase medical marijuana don’t really need it for medical reasons. That means that they are not buying their marijuana from drug dealers who get their marijuana via the Mexican drug cartels.

And it also means that they are not buying their marijuana from drug dealers who also sell other, much more dangerous drugs, like meth, heroin and cocaine. Drug dealers often offer their marijuana customers free samples of the much more dangerous drugs.

Most marijuana consumers would prefer to buy locally grown marijuana of known quality, known purity and known potency. But if they can’t, they buy black market marijuana.

Kirk Muse/Mesa, Ariz.

Ashamed of you

I had to assume that the thought behind publishing “The mind of a murderer” cover and inside story (May 27) was to illuminate the psychosis of someone in distress and offer support. I did not find that to be the driving force in the article. It seemed more like a “clever” opposing angle, and a way for Boulder Weekly to sensationalize this crime.

I could think of 400 other ways to get your point across. I just think it was in bad taste, and I am kind of ashamed of your publication.

It is one thing to be contrary, but quite another to be dark.

I do hope in the future you will reconsider this kind of angle in your publication.

Jodi Feinhor-Dennis/Boulder

Correcting Danish, again

(Re: “What hath BP found?” Danish Plan, June 3.) Once more I need to correct Paul Danish on a simple matter of physics.

Paul is under the impression that the Macondo gusher may point to a very large oil field. But the speed and volume of flow at the broken wellhead has nothing to do with the size of the reservoir.

It’s a function of pressure, which is a function of depth.

A local oil geologist tells me that at the 18,000-foot depth of the Macondo bore, oil pressure is roughly 8,000 pounds per square inch. It may be a large reservoir (BP thinks it is, or it wouldn’t have spent the money to drill there) or it may be small — but that doesn’t make it a gusher. Depth does.

Seth Masia/Boulder

Paul missed two darker possibilities if BP struck a really huge find.

First, nobody knows how big and how pressurized the find is. What if the relief wells also blow out because it’s the highest-pressure find ever? “Oillicanes” and toxic rain — reported in central Texas and Florida — could devastate large portions of the country.

Second, if it drives down the cost of gas in the U.S., then people will drive like crazy, driving climate change even faster. Right after Drill, Baby, Drill comes Burn, Baby, Burn.

I doubt a huge find would end the oil wars, though. Many have observed it’s not so much that we want extra oil in Iraq and Afghanistan as the power over it to control China, India, etc.

Evan Ravitz/via Internet

Israel and the flotilla

The deadly confrontation between the Israeli military and activists off of Gaza’s coast should not be turned into another stale debate between “pro-” and “anti-” Israel activists. Rather, we should use this moment to ask what can be done to improve the situation.

At the root of this disaster is the effort to restrict the flow of people and goods to Gaza. This effort was initiated by Israel (and supported by the Bush administration) after Hamas came to power. This policy failed to improve Israeli security. Nor did it weaken Hamas. It is time for the Obama administration to show leadership on this issue.

It should work with the international community — including Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority — to create a new security regime for Gaza. Mechanisms that guarantee Israel’s security needs — like crossing points monitored to prevent arms smuggling by international forces — are possible. What is needed is the political courage to admit failure and to try a new path.

Lorraine Kirk/Nederland

Once again Israel is being condemned for defending itself against Islamists who wish Israel harm. The people on board the ships from Turkey to Israel were prepared for martyrdom when they left Turkey. There are reports that they were singing martyrdom songs. Israel does and should have the right to make sure there were no weapons headed for Hamas. The people on board these ships were well-armed and were prepared to attack a boarding party. When, if ever, will nations of the world, especially of the West, accept Israel’s right to self defense as a nation and as a people. The convoy of “aid ships” were sent by “the Muslim brotherhood” in disguise. Israel allows one hundred semi trucks/trailers every day into Gaza loaded with food, clothing, building materials etc. Israel supplies the people of Gaza electricity and fuel. Gaza’s market places are filled with fresh foods and fruits and other foodstuffs. The people of Gaza are not going hungry as some would have the world believe. The convoy was an act of war not an act of peace or charity.

Fred Nadel/Westminster

Meat, dairy bad

As global population surges toward 9.1 billion people by 2050, Western diets rich in meat and dairy products will become unsustainable, according to a United Nations Environment Program’s report released recently.

The report was prepared by the International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management, drawing on dozens of smaller studies. It notes that agricultural production accounts for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The panel concludes that, just as fossil fuels will be gradually replaced by renewable, pollution-free energy sources like wind and solar power, meat and dairy products in the world’s diet will need to be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains. Both shifts are absolutely necessary to reduce production of greenhouse gases and consumption of natural resources and to ensure planetary survival into the foreseeable future.

As Americans, we have a special obligation to lead the rest of the world in a healthful diet of vegetables, fruits and grains — a diet designed to prevent global starvation, while protecting our natural environment and safeguarding personal health.

Stanley Silver/Boulder

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Jay: Many of us learned to climb and ski couloirs by going out and doing it. A newspaper article or two would have been helpful. We had "Climbing Ice," and "Freedom of the Hills," but otherwise had to figure it out as we went along.