Letters: 3/8/18

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‘Gun Safety’ is an oxymoron

The only safe gun is an empty gun. I encourage an immediate ban on ammunition in the contiguous states of North America. “United” no longer applies.

I have held that opinion since 1969 when I returned from Vietnam, where I witnessed the ravages of big boy games with guns for nearly two years. I concluded the killing machines have no place in civil society.

As a civilian employee of the U.S. State Department, I was not obliged to carry a gun while serving in the Far East, but most civilian men with whom I worked did carry. It terrified me then, and it terrifies me today.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, I participated in the Fort Collins High School student rally honoring the murdered students in Parkland, Florida. I experienced the first real glimmer of hope that I have felt in decades. Perhaps there will be rational leadership in the future. My generation has failed miserably.

I was inspired by the authenticity of the young people with whom I spoke at the rally. They get it! They acknowledge the gun issue is simple: If there are no guns and no bullets, students will not die at the hands of disturbed killers. Why is that concept so difficult for alleged adults to grasp?

My first choice is to ban the manufacture and distribution of all weapons and ammunition in North America. Clearly that is not feasible. The low-to-no-value leaders of the country are too dependent on the financial contributions of weapons manufacturers. So I support restricting the manufacture and distribution of ammunition. Legislators of the future need to be thinking about creating laws that make it so difficult to obtain ammunition that gun violence among non-military personnel will be eliminated. That’s how civilized countries function.

Lynda Blake/Fort Collins

To Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos,

Speaking as a former Fort Collins City Council person, current member of the Nederland Board of Trustees and a longtime Colorado resident, I understand your interest in potentially opening a facility in beautiful, sunny, mile-high Colorado, home to many outstanding communities. For various good reasons, 90,000 good people relocate to Colorado every year. Nevertheless, fiscal and social prudence would have you also consider:

• Many new-to-Colorado residents will locate and send their children to school in very close proximity to toxic industrial sites as fracking escalates. The traditional zoning laws that separate toxic industrial sites from homes and schools have been set aside in Colorado by legislative and executive branches of government heavily influenced by oil and gas money.

• Out-of-control growth has created gridlock on our highways. Our state wants to create more lanes rather than focus on mass transit and innovative solutions.

• Colorado is mediocre in its support of el/hi public education. We rank near the bottom in per capita spending on students, in spite of voters’ attempts to correct this under investment. Class sizes continue to increase.

• Our state is choking on growth. 

• There is no affordable housing along the Front Range as housing prices and rents have soared. Water, already a scarce resource, is becoming even scarcer as our population increases and the essential snowpack, our only water source, is decreasing as a result of global warming. Massive dams that will choke our rivers are being planned. Too many vehicles and methane emissions from fracking make it risky to exercise outside most summer afternoons because of ozone pollution. Inadequate environmental regulations are not protecting public health and safety.

You have a reputation as a caring and responsible person. I urge you to turn down all tax incentives and seek a location where your business would be a boon, rather than a burden, to the people of the state.

Alan Apt/Nederland

Marching to his own parade

There was a time when Conservatives disparaged all things “French,” even to the point of embracing the term “freedom fries.” Now, after watching a military parade celebrating Bastille Day in Paris last year, our adolescent male president wants one for himself. This chest-thumping, militant nationalism echoes that of Hitler, the Soviet Union and Kim Jong Il. In today’s state of existential anxiety, stirring the ever-present tendency to violence and war in the human psyche is near insanity. Peace, be it individual, societal or international, is elusive enough without pandering to our baser instincts. France’s military glory ended with Napoleon who, after all his pomp and self-aggrandizing, did not fare so very well in the end.

Robert Porath/Boulder