Letters | Cops hassle homeless


Clarification: A July 11 story, ‘Groups: City wants feeding homeless out of sight,’ reported that City of Boulder spokesperson Sarah Huntley said citizens have spoken out against downtown homeless feeding operations during city council comment periods and in letters. Huntley told BW this week that she was referring to complaints about the criminal element on the municipal campus and it becoming an uninviting place, not the feeding operations themselves. (Homeless advocates say city officials have told them complaints had been received about the feeding operations specifically.)

Cops hassle homeless

(Re: “Groups: City wants feeding homeless out of sight,” cover story, July 11.) I disagree with Chief [Mark] Beckner and the demeanor of some of his officers, who indeed knock homeless people about their social economical situations, to get an undesirable response from homeless people, to have an opportunity to write tickets, including bag checks. Young officers, especially, are prone to get sassy with homeless to get such reactions. Sure, some people will have bad behavior during “camping sweeps” and vice versa. I have seen numerous times when officers put down homeless people, I being one of the many in 2011 and early 2012.

Homeless people are an easy target and always will be an easy target.

Being told to move out of Boulder now or face criminal charges for trespassing in the city of Boulder, being called “bumsickles” during winter months or, the best comment of all, “Homeless people have no fucking rights.” Since when do police officers have the right to dictate who has rights? Let’s talk about “selective policing.” It’s OK for the taxpaying resident in the city of Boulder to walk their dogs off leash, but it’s a ticket for the homeless person in the same situation.

Do you know who trashes this city? Tourists, college students, high schoolers and few homeless. Do you know who picks up more trash than any group? The homeless community does. Who let Occupy run loose in Boulder 2011 into 2012? Why didn’t the city council do anything up front to curb the Occupy movement, especially “camping in front of 1777 Broadway,” defecating and urinating on the building for six-plus weeks? Chief, you paint a good picture, but it’s hard to believe that your officers are angels when in fact they’re the devils inside.

I, like the many hungry, low-income and homeless people, take full advantage of the Saturday lunch with Food Not Bombs, FEED [Friends Encouraging Eating Daily] and church groups that offer good food for everyone. I’m relying on it for my special diet. I suffer from chronic DVT and pulmonary embolism, so I can’t make the trek to the out-of-sight places to eat. Benny [Nowell]’s dinner is by far the best of all meals served here in Boulder, and of all the time I have been going to Saturday lunch in the park, which is two years, I haven’t seen the kind of criminal activity, chief, as you describe in the article.

I see nothing but harassment, between the city officials and the police aiming their sights on the homeless community every chance they get. When you read between the lines, it’s all about harassment.

You can’t sweep the homeless under the rug and hope they all just go away. What about the 14.2 percent homeless nationwide, which is 20.1 million homeless as of July 1?

Ron Chase/Boulder

Missing parts

(Re: Savage Love, June 27.) Hey Dan and Leah, if his/her 80-year-old mother can’t find her clit — very likely she was genitally mutilated by surgery as a child. A little history lesson.

Ruby Rain/via Internet

The rights of the unborn

A couple of recent events present stark illustrations of where the pro-choice mindset has escorted our society. “Reproductive Freedom” sounds wonderful, but when we see what it really means, some of the shine fades, to say the least.

First we go to Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial. Gosnell is the Philadelphia abortionist who is being charged with four counts of murder, including a 41-year-old woman, and three infants who survived his late-term abortion procedure. Gosnell’s former clinic worker testified that the babies were killed by being stabbed by scissors in the back of their necks.

Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old Bhutanese refugee, died when she was administered an overdose of sedatives. There were other gruesome aspects of this practice, but suffice it to say, these were the most horrific.

And in March, during a hearing in the Florida House of Representatives on a bill that would require doctors to care for a child that survived an abortion, Alisa LaPolt Snow, representing Planned Parenthood, stunned the committee, and the world. Repeatedly the legislators asked her, essentially, “If a baby is born alive, as a result of an abortion, and is breathing on a table, what should happen to that baby?” Her only reply was to repeat the pro-choice mantra that “any decision should be between the woman, her family, and the physician.”

I think it’s time we realize that ideas have consequences. The idea that “it’s a matter between the woman and her doctor” is ludicrous. If we think, as the court has ruled, that the unborn have no rights, then this is what comes of such thinking. For many years, our laws have paved the way for this exact situation. Any suggestion that the pro-choice crowd finds these events surprising or objectionable is irrational, or phony, or both.

Charlie Danaher/Boulder

Remove mountaintop removal

As a concerned citizen, and more importantly a mother, I would like to bring to your attention the dangers of mountaintop removal mining and the urgent steps we need to take to protect our nation’s Appalachian Mountains and people. Mountaintop removal not only destroys and pollutes waterways and eliminates wildlife, but it also affects families’ and communities’ access to clean water and uncontaminated air, and seriously threatens their health. There are two things our nation’s leaders must do right now.

First, the president and the Environmental Protection Agency need to follow the robust science and set a strong, binding clean water rule that will prevent the pollution and destruction of waterways by mountaintop removal mining waste.

Second, Congress must pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act, which will thoroughly analyze the impacts of mountaintop removal on the health of people who live near it, including the higher rates of birth defects, cancer and early death that have occurred in communities near these mines.

I believe we have an obligation to preserve our national heritage for future generations, including our mountains and vital waterways, and to ensure that Appalachian communities are not bearing the brunt of our nation’s unsustainable energy decisions.

Jodi Zimmerman/Lyons

Death penalty bad

I am against the death penalty. The death penalty does not deter crime. We cannot realistically assume that someone is sitting around a kitchen table in the 18 states that have banned the death penalty, contemplating that if they commit murder they will “only” have to serve a life sentence without parole. As if that would be the tipping point making them think that it is therefore OK to commit this crime. Of course not.

Also, do we really want to stoop to the level of the person who has committed this crime? To me, this is where people confuse justice with revenge. If the person is incarcerated for the rest of their life, is this not justice? Why do we have to assume an eye for an eye (which of course would make the whole world blind) is the only form of justice? Do the people in the 18 states free of the death penalty receive any less closure? In my opinion, no, mainly because there will never be closure for the families of the victim/s. Regardless of the penalty, their close friend or family members will never, unfortunately, be brought back, and it is something that they will undoubtedly struggle with for the rest of their lives. Once again, regardless of the penalty levied by the courts.

There is also the issue of cost. According to Amnesty International, a legislative audit in Kansas found that the estimated cost of a death penalty case was 70 percent more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. In Tennessee, death penalty trials cost an average of 48 percent more than the average cost of trials in which prosecutors seek life imprisonment. In Maryland, death penalty cases cost three times more than non-death penalty cases, or $3 million for a single case. In California the current system costs $137 million per year; it would cost $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty. And so it goes.

There have also been numerous findings of people who were executed only later to be found innocent of any wrongdoing. Numerous studies have also found that minorities are four times more likely to be sentenced to death over white people who have committed the same crime. Only China, North Korea, Iran and Yemen execute more people than the U.S.A. Let’s try to do better.

Brian Litwin/Longmont