(Re: “War of words,” cover story, Jan. 13.) I think you guys used really poor judgment by putting this monster’s face on the cover this week. Christina Green, the 9-year-old victim, would have been a much better choice. Anything would have been better than giving this psycho any more attention — which is exactly what he wanted. I simply cannot believe you would choose to put this guy’s face all over our city for the next week.
Very disappointing. Thanks for listening.
I applaud your conclusion, but I am afraid your use of examples along the way only gives readers too much to identify with their own beliefs, one way or another, exactly what is demonstrably inappropriate about this public circus. This was a post I made to my Facebook friends yesterday:
“Politicians: left, right & center, media: executives, talking heads & personalities: liberal or conservative, gun control advocates & opponents, anyone who has anything to say about the tragedy in Tucson that hints at any agenda or feeling other than pure sorrow should be ashamed. Speculation and rhetoric are absurd wastes of time and denigrate the dignity of those who were lost. Just my opinion.”
The underlying issue that has been bothering me for some time, but that has been raised to a much higher level by public responses to the event in Tucson, is the blurring of metaphor and rhetoric with reality and reason. Emotion runs high on untested beliefs, fear based on what might have been implied by innuendo and allegation. Reasonable opinions, decisions and actions should never be taken based on rhetoric and metaphor, but this is the format of public address that is such common fodder today.
Children in our public schools are continuously bombarded by claims that the planet (and their future) is doomed due to the greedy, ignorant behavior of their parents. And you wonder why antisocial behavior is prevalent among youth?
Many Boulder adults are so sensitive that they need to see a psychiatrist every week, but they think it is fine to tell their children that their life is hopeless. Sarah Palin isn’t the problem. Boulder liberals are the problem.
Tony Heller/Fort Collins
Psychos and guns
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Obviously, the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard, in which trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.
The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes. There is absolutely no need for any U.S. civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key.
Furthermore, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons (i.e., a Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol with an extended magazine), several innocent victims would not have died or been harmed during this tragedy, as well as those in shopping malls and on college campuses. The shooter is obviously disturbed by mental illness, and those defending the right to own sophisticated weapons exhibit the same qualities by showing a callous disregard for the safety and protection of their fellow citizens.
Mental illness and guns are as bad a combination as alcohol and driving. Evidently we have the money to fight two wars overseas, but not the political will to treat the mentally ill who are not only a danger to themselves but to everyone else, as well.
Joe Bialek/Cleveland, Ohio
State legislatures are faced with huge budget deficits that will have to be dealt with. Because of the massive federal cuts in state aid, states have had to cut state services. If voters have not already discovered this, there is also the reverberating negative effect that cuts in state aid have on municipalities or local governments. Given the GOP’s sole focus on spending cuts and total opposition to any tax increases, its “scorched earth” spending-cut policies will cause irreparable damage to vital state services that residents have come to expect and demand.
Already local governments are faced with the prospect of raising taxes merely to keep functioning. The end result will be continued increases in taxes, whether federal, state or local — or a combination of all three! The task before state legislators is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if taxes are not raised. In my view, tax increases have become an imperative — it’s only a question of who will pay for those increases.
I would add that an increase in sales taxes is not the answer; it is one of the most regressive taxes, affecting primarily those in the lower to mid-range income brackets the most. It’s income taxes that must be raised (progressive taxation according to ability to pay).
I’d also suggest four things that would go a long way towards reducing our deficits: the federal government should increase the marginal tax rate for those with multi-million-dollar incomes, increase the tax rate on unearned income from 15 percent to 25 percent, retain the estate tax on those with multi-milliondollar inheritances and scrutinize wasteful spending in the Defense Department budget.
Over the past decade, the wealthiest of Americans have already had substantial tax cuts. It’s time they pay their fair share.
Paul G. Jaehnert/Vadnais Heights, Minn.
Help save lives, trees
One third of humanity is dependent on ever-diminishing supplies of firewood for cooking. Quality family time is lost to the long hours spent looking for this firewood. This also leads to deforestation, which in turn fuels global warming and reduces the oxygen that we breathe.
Most of these people also do not have safe drinking water.
These problems can all be solved inexpensively ($25 per family) and sustainably by the use of solar cookers. Their power comes from the sun, instead of from wood, and they can pasteurize contaminated water.
They are provided by an organization called Solar Cookers International. Their address is 1919 21st St., Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95814.
A.M. Sokolow/Santa Monica, Calif.
Eating themselves to death
If one were to walk into any fastfood restaurant in Denver they would find the dining area packed. Fast food consumers are lazy! Their excuse: It is too expensive and takes too long to prepare a home-cooked meal. In truth, it is lack of motivation and know-how keeping the hordes habitually coming back for their super-sized Big Mac.
It is true that healthy food can be expensive and time-consuming to prepare. However, healthy food is the better alternative for both your wallet and your body. There are deals available if consumers take the time to look. Fresh fruits and vegetables can frequently be found at low prices. On my last trip to the market I found: quality, bagged salads for $2.50, a 10-pound bag of potatoes for $2.89, organic bananas for 69 cents a pound, whole chickens for 89 cents a pound, a dozen eggs for 99 cents, and that was simply the beginning. I work two jobs and attend school full time, yet I manage to find the time and money to feed my family of two on less than $200 a month. That is less than $25 a week for each of us (breakfast, lunch and dinner). That same $25 wouldn’t last more than a couple days at any given fast food chain.
University of Washington researcher Adam Drewnowski said, “When you suggest that people buy rice, pasta and beans, you presuppose that they have resources for capital investment for future meals, a kitchen, pots, pans, utensils, gas, electricity, a refrigerator, a home with rent paid, the time to cook. Those healthy rice and beans can take hours; another class bias is that poor people’s time is worthless.”
For the most part this is true. But personal experience has shown me that a homeless mother can provide delicious, healthy, hand-prepared meals for her four dependent children, for more than a month, using nothing more than a fire pit dug in the sand. Housing and transportation are grave issues that demand attention and, for the average individual, these would prove to be too large a challenge to overcome. For this reason, “assuming a kitchen, a stove, running water, etc., cooking is not that time-consuming — it can be done while performing other household chores, or for that matter by using a slow cooker, which takes almost no time at all, since it’s almost entirely unattended.” Cookware can be expensive. Nonetheless, there are these wonderful places commonly referred to as “thrift stores” where $10 can go a long way towards stocking the kitchen with needed supplies. For the financially challenged, $10 can be difficult to spare and yet, when one considers the long-term benefits of eating healthy, $10 is a trifle compared to the savings.
It is the fast-food connoisseur’s inability to recognize and defeat their laziness that has doomed them to eat themselves to death. Some of the detrimental side effects of the fast food diet are malnutrition, high cholesterol and weight issues that lead to obesity, diabetes and blindness. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI): “When you count the costs of a healthier diet, don’t forget to tally the costs of being overweight ... ‘Cholesterol drugs can cost you $100 a month, and being admitted to a hospital can cost you hundreds per day. So is it really worth it to eat fast food?’ Healthier diets could save Americans more than $200 billion a year in medical costs, lost productivity and expenses caused by death.”
The argument is familiar: It is cheaper and easier to super-size a heart attack in a bag than to prepare a healthy, delicious meal of lean meats and vegetables. And yet, one by one the burger junkie’s excuses, for their slothful form of existence, fall before logic and reason. Until they are left with a choice: take the initiative to better their lifestyle or continue down the path of self-destruction.
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