Letters 1/27/22

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We need explanations

I was in Denver when the Marshall Fire destroyed my neighborhood of 22 years, Sagamore. But the firsthand accounts I am hearing from dear neighbors are harrowing and we truly need explanations. 

A Rocky Mountain Fire truck arrived as flames were encroaching from the north. My friends felt a moment of relief, only for it to turn into panic and terror seeing them not squirt one gallon of water, turn around and leave. No sirens, no horns blasting, no megaphone calling out, “Evacuate, evacuate.” All low tech, readily available actions that could’ve been taken. The account of another neighbor was seeing a sheriff’s cruiser coming through as flames were starting to engulf our blocks—again, no sirens, no horns, no megaphone, no time to knock on doors. And as my neighbors were fleeing in their vehicles with their lives, as they exited Sagamore during the last minutes it was standing, officers at 76th Street didn’t provide guidance—arm waving, direction pointing—as to how to egress safely! The terror of what to do, where to go, continued.

Lots was going on simultaneously that day—no question about it. There was a presence of these safety officials in Sagamore, yet what did they actually do? A drive-by seems all it was.

After paying significant taxes all these years, is this what 21st-century public safety in the face of wildfires looks like? 188 families, their homes, all they’ve worked for, just “poof” when they were there? We are exhausted from the speculation of what actually took place. We want to have full understanding, good and bad. Only by finding out all the truths can a better job be done next time, and we in Superior have some sense of security to even live here again.

Rochelle Rittmaster, Superior

‘Brute Force’ is ‘political theater’

Boulder Weekly’s Jan. 20 cover story, “Brute Force” displayed yet another act in Boulder’s political theater of the absurd. Will Brendza took one action by one officer, and may I add one side of the story, and used it to put the entire Boulder Police Department on notice for “police aggression.” For good measure he tried to implicate one of Boulder’s most progressive and accomplished Police Chiefs, an experienced social worker, FBI Academy graduate and former Chief of the Cincinnati Police Department, as being complicit in these actions rather than supportive of her staff. Perhaps we need to remind Brendza that the people he is accusing here have laid down their lives for the citizens of Boulder, most recently Officer Eric Talley, who was the first to respond to the shootings of our citizens at King Soopers. He left behind seven children as a result.

Before Boulder wants to follow the failed policies of other cities who defunded and defamed their police departments, we may all want to take a moment to see how that worked out in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Minneapolis, which had the most egregious act of police excessive force, didn’t last more than a year with their experiment in defunding their police department, and after experiencing record crime and murder rates, voted down the Defund the Police law by a vast majority of their citizens. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, once a champion of defunding the police and accusations of excessive force, has recently stated in press conferences that it’s time to repeal all these measures. Specifically she said that her police should be “less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city.” The recent exodus of citizens from New York and Los Angeles to Florida and Texas pretty much should speak for itself. Boulder should not follow their lead.

We all need to read beyond the headlines and look at the facts if we desire to live in a safe and healthy city. I have no doubt that Democrats and Republicans, Progressives and Conservatives all love their children. Before we have to put more flowers and notes on chain link fences in our community, let’s consider each individual action and not unfairly turn it into another false narrative.

Brett Kingstone, Boulder

Refuser protection law needed

In her Jan. 24 Washington Post article, “Ethics report alleges GOP Rep. Lamborn misused congressional resources,” Mariana Alfaro describes allegations from the Office of Congressional Ethics that Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado “misused” his staff and resources “by having aides run errands for his family” and also “solicited or accepted improper gifts from his subordinates.” The report quotes Rep. Lamborn’s wife, to whom much assistance was given, as having told one staff member, “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” A senior aide to the congressman was fired after he objected to what he perceived as Lamborn’s violation of ethical guidelines and rules.

Imagine if, throughout America, employees and contracted workers at all levels of government were protected from firing and other retributive punishment when they refused to carry out superiors’ unlawful orders. Legislation creating “refuser protection law” has been proposed to and endorsed by state lawmakers in Colorado. Sworn to Refuse, a Denver-area nonpartisan citizen group, has also promoted this complement to whistleblower protection law to members of Congress.  H.R. 846, Rep. Jackie Speier’s COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act, includes in its protected class employees who refuse illegal orders.  

Widespread enactment of refuser protection laws will help defend America’s rule of law.

Matt Nicodemus, Boulder

This is a defining moment For our Nation’s soul And we are failing miserably

As I watch the COVID vaccine debate, how it has evolved and continues to mature, I’m deeply saddened by our inability to hear one another. This has been a systemic problem in our country, and of course around the world, throughout all of human history. Now the stakes are high. Of course this cacophony has been exemplified by the climate debate, a slow moving crisis that will eventually envelope us all. But the debate about vaccines and how we treat new, emerging and existing infections is an immediate threat that if not dealt with well will manifest its effects more quickly. It has! Over five and a half million deaths around the world so far. There are not two sides to this discussion. There are many competing and intersecting aspects to the debate. No one or no government has all the answers. More importantly though is our inability to listen to anyone who doesn’t agree with us 100%. If you’re against vaccine mandates for COVID, then you’re automatically called an anti-vaxxer! If you agree with the lab leak theory, you’re a Trump-loving, MAGA-hat wearing conspiracy theorist. If you believe in “alternative” treatments for COVID, you’re uneducated. Maybe you’re asking yourself which one of these I agree or disagree with. I would suggest that you not do that. Have an open mind. Listen to others. Listen to everyone. No matter who they are. Then judge the information for yourself, with whatever filters you use in your intellectual pursuits. I’ve heard this many times: “I may not agree with you but I will defend to the death, your right to express yourself”

The final straw that led me to my keyboard was seeing the articles written about the March in Washington last Sunday regarding vaccine mandates. This march was spearheaded by doctors. Over 16,000 physicians from around the world who signed a document, concerned about the mandates. The headlines shouted out about how the anti-vaxxers had taken over the scientific community. Lies! Distortions! This silences debate, the hallmark of good science. It’s dangerously wrong! 

My perspective has been shaped, to a great extent, by my pursuit of healing modalities for chronic lyme disease and co-infections. I’ve had many successes in recent times. But it’s not been easy. The debate in the medical community is deeply flawed. It’s actually broken. So many without the resources suffer needlessly because of the failures to address tick borne diseases properly, for years! I hope and pray that we can do better, for all of us.

Peace, everyone.

David Segal, Boulder

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