Blame game misses the point — it’s the guns
Re: “These mass shootings are a symptom of our moral failings,” May 29 commentary
In medicine there are conditions that are incurable. Nonetheless, medical professionals attempt to use the techniques available to them to reduce the patient’s suffering.
George Brauchler appears to take the opposite approach. The gist of his commentary is that because so many things contribute to mass shootings, there is nothing that can be done to meaningfully reduce these deaths. Except that there is.
The United States is the only country that allows easy and lightly regulated access to semi-automatic military-style weapons. These firearms, which some states have banned from use in hunting, exist only to kill other humans. And, as we see on an episodic basis, they do an excellent job of this.
Even if one accepts the aphorism that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” it is impossible to deny that semi-automatic military-style firearms simply give a person the ability to kill more quickly and effectively.
America may well be racked by the moral failings described by George Brauchler. But in mass shootings, moral failings don’t kill people; semi-automatic assault-style weapons with large-capacity magazines do.
Guy Wroble, Denver
George Brauchler argues that America’s frequent mass shootings are caused by our immorality, by our failure to teach our children there is a difference between good and evil and that all life matters, by our legislatures abolishing accountability for criminal conduct, by expelling God from our schools, and by failing to value nuclear families.
Sadly, the United States is the only developed country in the world that has such frequent mass shootings. I guess America is the only developed country with such moral failings, right?
George Brauchler, please tell us why that is.
Bob Steiert, Cherry Hills Village
George Brauchler wants to add complexity where none is required.
On Sept. 13, 2004, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired pursuant to a sunset provision and was never renewed. Thereafter, gun manufacturers ramped up production of semiautomatic weapons, including the AR-15, and sales increased. The AR-15 is a weapon of war designed to rapidly kill people in large numbers. AR-15-style weapons were used for that purpose at Pulse nightclub, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, the Tree of Life synagogue, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and many other sites of mass shootings, including Robb Elementary School.
A study from the Teachers College at Columbia University concluded that after the ban lapsed, there was a 183% increase in mass shootings and a 239% increase in deaths over the next 10 years.
Another study — published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 2019— showed that an assault weapons ban would have prevented 70% of the mass shooting deaths during the years when the ban was not in effect.
Brauchler is free to blame assisted suicide, abortion rights, social media, and the lack of prayer in schools for these tragic and unimaginable events, but he is wrong. It’s the guns.
The idea that abortion rights, which have been guaranteed since 1973, and prayer in school, which has been barred since 1962, are
now somehow a factor in mass shootings is belied by the data and simply a misdirection away from the real cause — semiautomatic weapons.
Kubs Lalchandani, Boulder
Flippant to suggest Memorial Day honor others
Re: “On Memorial Day, mourn these lost lives too,” May 29 commentary
Sue McMillin takes virtue-signaling to a new plateau, or more accurately, an abysmal new low. Dissatisfied that Memorial Day has as its singular focus honoring those who fell in battle defending the United States and the rest of the free world from boundless tyranny, McMillin huffs, “…frankly, we honor our war dead on many other days” as she lists the 4th of July (which actually celebrates the Declaration of Independence), Veterans Day (which actually is a tribute to those having served in the country’s armed forces) and Armed Forces Day (which actually honors those currently serving in the five branches of the country’s military).
Anchored in a serially erroneous and completely fabricated rationale, she then proceeds with a feeble, contrived offering to blur and hence dilute the significance of Memorial Day as a singularly solemn remembrance. Her proposal: add seven additional, disparate groups, the inclusion of which would instead yield a Memorial Tower of Babel Day, whether or not acknowledged as such.
McMillin’s plan smacks of the shifting sands on which rest other revisionist hip, trendy, woke grievances. It is neither insightful nor provident. Rather, it is ill-informed, flippant, and simply shameful.
Bud Markos, Grand Junction
While I fully support remembering all those who have died through gun violence, I do not support that inclusion into the single day of national remembrance for those who lost their lives in military service. There has been significant deterioration of that moral obligation to our military heroes over the years; it is a singularly important day of remembrance. That must not be diminished. Rather let’s establish another special day of remembrance for the victims of national gun violence, separate and distinct from our military remembrance day. Both are of special significance and should be treated as such.
Douglas M Monsoor, Spring Hill, Fla.
Before attacking TABOR consider national debt
Re: “TABOR whiplash is coming once fed dollars run out,” May 29 commentary
Scott Wasserman and progressive messengers across the board continue to portray government as a victim of taxpayer bullying. They say those with wealth don’t pay their fair share. And Coloradans are told that our “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR) was wrong putting people, the voter, in charge of approving increases in revenue over state politicians. But given where our economy is headed, casting government as an injured party is an impossible sale.
The federal government has irresponsibly spent far in excess of what it takes in for decades. This debt must be paid back by expansion of tax revenue or by inflation reducing the value of the dollar to zero, making the real-world cost of our debt substantially less.
Our current reality is interest payments forced by government malfeasance will reduce funding for future public investment. Going forward our Treasury Department must increase the yield for investors on newly printed Treasury Securities. This response, in turn, will reduce the amount of tax revenue available to pay all government obligations nationally, then locally.
It is clear the reality that state and local leaders want to continue conveying is that we must have faith that our government knows what it is doing. But it is this illusion that has perpetuated the continuation and increase in national deficit spending. Once that can of worms was fully opened decades ago it created powerful special interests here and abroad demanding its continuance under all conditions. Is our economy today the future you want for our nation, Coloradans and your children?
Forrest Monroe, Aurora
The government does not control gas prices
Re: “Republicans, don’t blow this election,” May 29 commentary
I am an independent voter. I decide on the best candidate for the job and read articles from both parties.
I am appalled that The Denver Post printed the commentary by Krista Kafer. I quit reading when I got to the part about the price of gasoline. It is another example of Republicans holding the Democratic Party and Joe Biden accountable for the price of gas.
Gasoline prices are controlled by the oil companies, not the government. This newspaper owes its readers facts, not some writer’s misinformed opinions. She may have made valid points, but when I see something so blatantly wrong, I can’t help but wonder what else is wrong in the article, and I choose to move on.
Arthur Floyd, Littleton
Any “win” for Russia would be a loss for the world
Re: “End Putin’s war crimes by negotiating peace,” May 29 commentary
I agreed with much of what Ved Nanda said. However, I believe it is not possible or even desirable to negotiate an end to this war as it currently stands. That would reward Russia with war prizes that it has “won” through barbarity and the blood of the brave and determined Ukrainians. To prolong this war is at the cost of many lives, and that is a terrible shame. As President Joe Biden stated, Russia must be weakened to the extent that it can no longer exercise power like these over weaker states.
Ukraine has many friends, but it is sorely lacking in full-fledged allies — other countries that will send troops and kick the Russian bear back into its den.
We must not become war-weary with the constant barrage of depressing news about this war. Ukraine, with assistance from the western world, will certainly prevail. The sanctions must be kept in place until the Russian nation is strangled. It appears the Russian people support Putin, but I believe that will change as factual news finally reaches everyone and the full effect of sanctions is felt.
Europe has taken a strong stance and much to Putin’s chagrin, previously neutral states have decided to take sides against Russia. China, North Korea, Iran, etc., may well think twice before they get adventurous.
Richard Kuberski, Arvada
Let’s engage on gun safety and not point fingers, call names
Re: “Gun safety must be everything that Republicans fear,” May 30 commentary
Charles Blow’s piece uses the term “gun safety” six times before claiming, “We have to stop all the lies,” and using the term again. Baseless, false, political claims, such as Republicans fear “gun safety,” and impliedly support the murder of children, are why the country is so bitterly divided and destroying itself from within.
Blow refuses to engage in principled debate or the hard work required to reach practical and effective solutions. Instead, they childishly call their political opponents names and claim moral superiority. As a Republican, a veteran, and a legal gun owner, I support and practice gun safety. I also live across the street from an elementary school and would not wait over an hour to act if I heard gunshots. Blow and The New York Times should be ashamed of themselves.
Steve McKenna, Greenwood Village
Substitute teaching is enriching for students and teachers
Re: “Here’s what is really going on in Colorado’s public schools,” June 2 commentary
Like Hank Lamport, I heard the call to substitute in schools and answered it. After working in education for almost 50 years, I felt I should support student learning and teachers’ need for time off. I was right. I could contribute, and like Lamport, found students engaged and curious and teachers, staff members and administrators appreciative of coverage of classrooms.
Yes, everyone is reeling from world, national and local events as well as the pandemic, but I find that people in schools are rising to be their best selves for our children. I hope many more people join the ranks of substitutes in the fall, when our schools reopen. They’ll find it’s a lively, enriching way to spend a day.
Ellen Miller-Brown, Denver
Update building codes to increase energy efficiency
Re: “New buildings will pollute less,” May 25 news story
There are reasons to be hopeful as the legislature successfully passed bills this season that will better regulate toxic air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings. These bills will have a positive impact on the health of children living in our state by improving their indoor and outdoor air quality in addition to addressing the root causes of climate change.
As a pediatrician practicing in Denver, I’ve seen first-hand how the changes in our climate and specifically worsening air quality, have led to increased rates of asthma and other poor health outcomes. It has never been more evident how the health of our environment effects the health of our children.
Fortunately, our representatives have recognized this emerging crisis and were able to pass legislation to make meaningful changes; yet there are valid concerns that these policies do not go far enough to protect our children.
I agree with Deb Noller, who was quoted in The Post saying, “The most disappointing thing to me about this legislation is that it’s nowhere ambitious enough.” We should applaud our leaders for taking steps toward making Colorado a healthier state for our children and at the same time continue to hold them accountable for advocating for ongoing climate-smart policies.
Clare A. Burchenal, Denver
Breastfeeding is not an automatic solution for many
The U.S. is facing a formula shortage, and many families are struggling to feed their babies. In these trying times, I’ve heard some people offer unsolicited advice such as, “just breastfeed. It’s free.”
Breastfeeding is not free. As a pediatrician who works to care for Colorado’s children, I believe that we need to do more to support breastfeeding. But switching to breastfeeding is not a solution to the formula shortage for many of my patients’ families.
Breastfeeding is not free in money, time or energy. Breastfeeding pumps and freezer milk bags are not free — they are hundreds of dollars. The average exclusively breastfeeding individual spends 1,800 hours per year feeding or pumping — just shy of a 40-hour work week, often on top of an additional full-time job. And in those jobs, they often feel discriminated against in time spent away from their jobs to pump or don’t have a safe space for breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is exhausting and wonderful. As a pediatrician, I support anyone who chooses to breastfeed; however, encouraging breastfeeding will not solve the formula shortage crisis. During this shortage, we need formula to feed our children, and we need to do more to make breastfeeding a little less challenging.
Sheridan Schulte, Denver
Saddened as we cling to guns
Through every mass shooting at schools, nightclubs, concerts, etc., affected families grieved. Those becoming wealthy through the marketing of guns brought out their crocodile tears.
And the majority of U.S. society displayed the required outrage before settling back in the comfort of the status quo.
To the extent that we still believe we are a moral, righteous nation — that we still believe we are Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” a beacon for the rest of the world — perhaps we should by now at least be honest: Caring about other people is just not as important to our culture as is maintaining the mythology of the frontier American, of not having to accommodate, acknowledge or answer to anyone else because, with our unrestricted access to guns, we can individually blast our way through any hindrance.
But that saddens me, for the abasement of our professed religious beliefs and for every valiant American soldier who died in defense of something more valorous in their country.
Kirk Sarell, Northglenn
No guns for this teacher, please
Re: “We must respond to Uvalde,” May 26 letter to the editor
Regarding one letter writer’s rallying cry to “arm the teachers!”:
I am a veteran public school teacher of 34 years. I spent many years earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees (as well as countless additional hours of classes) in elementary education to become a teacher, not a police officer or military personnel.
This teacher does not want to be armed.
Susan Elsenbast, Littleton
DPS should invest in paraprofessionals
Re: “Paraprofessionals rally for higher pay at DPS,” May 17 commentary
As an advocate for early learning, I was heartened to see The Denver Post cover the vitally important issue of paraprofessional pay in Denver Public Schools.
For 11 years, I worked alongside a paraprofessional to teach students with disabilities. Together, we helped students succeed in daily living and conquer academic and significant behavioral challenges. I could not have achieved this without the skill, experience and support of the
paraprofessional working alongside me.
Paraprofessionals are valuable, yet their wages do not reflect this. As your article reports, across Denver Public Schools, paraprofessionals are making close to minimum wage.
More broadly, in early education, low wages have contributed to a workforce crisis.
Child care and early childhood centers, for example, can experience astonishing turnover rates annually, as high as 30%.
Consistent, quality instruction is the backbone of quality early education. Staff turnover puts that quality at risk.
If DPS wants to recruit and retain paraprofessionals, it must pay living wages.
Paraprofessionals stand alongside teachers, day in and day out, providing students with consistent support and instruction that enriches student education.
Living wages can increase recruitment and retention and thereby help DPS offer quality education to students.
Investing in paraprofessional pay is not only the right thing to do, it is also a wise investment.
Kiki McGough, Arvada
U.S. needs to catch up in mining for rare elements
Re: “Dutch startup eyeing Denver, ” May 20 news story and “Proposed mine has sizable deposit of rare elements,” May 21 news story
In two recent articles about mining, both point out that the United States does not possess the precious materials needed to sustain our economic and technological leadership in the future.
China and Russia do.
What needed elements we do have (e.g., lithium) are buried deep underground, require massive, long-term investments, and come with severe environmental hazards.
If we continue with our free enterprise business model for mining, we will acquire these precious resources only when it is profitable to do so, thus risking the strategic nature of our country’s interest.
As one article states, “China and the Democratic Republic of Congo control 86% of the world’s cobalt supply.”
The uncomfortable truth is that if we want to maintain technological leadership in the world, the federal government needs to take the lead in the mining business, making the
strategic and funding decisions required.
Curt Anderson, Broomfield
A test for our legislators
Immigrants when they want to become citizens take a test to demonstrate their knowledge of how our nations works.
It would be interesting to apply this test to a random sample of natural-born citizens to see how much these two groups really know about our nation.
My gut call is that the immigrants have a much greater knowledge and appreciation of government. (After all, immigrants came to our shores as huddled masses seeking opportunities and a better life that this nation offers.)
We even see in the news, when our elected representatives speak, how little they know about our government and even about what their duties are under the Constitution.
Would this be at least a call for our elected representatives to take this test? Would this be a call to teach each high school student to learn how to pass this test in order to graduate?
John Tobin, Evergreen
Let’s keep it clean, folks
Re: “It’s time to start packing out poop,” May 21 news story
I read with interest your article on human waste in Colorado parks and open spaces. As an avid hiker and backpacker for more than 30 years, I have noticed an increase in both human waste and garbage on public lands in recent years.
I have also noticed a lot more dog waste directly on trails or in bags alone the trail that a “responsible” dog owner decided to leave on the trail. If people do not care enough to carry out dog poop, how can we expect them to follow guidelines to pick up their own waste? Another enforcement issue for our underfunded public land staff to deal with.
Anne Lamman, Cañon City
New COVID case; new treatment options
Re: “Pandemic-weary Americans plan for summer despite surge,” May 25 news story
I am one of the new COVID cases mentioned in this story, having caught it by babysitting my grandson before he was (apparently) completely recovered from his bout.
I am vaccinated and boosted but figured that due to my age (70+), it would be wise to get all the help possible fighting the disease. It was Sunday, so a call to my doctor was probably going to be frustrating. I searched online for how to get a prescription and saw references to “test to treat.” Following links, I found one for a virtual visit! No going feverish to a clinic or pharmacy, in the snow!
This involved providing information on a sign-up form, choosing an appointment time, and showing up then via Zoom with my in-home test. A very nice nurse practitioner took a brief health history and medications info, and then observed as I administered the test.
When the result was positive, she sent a prescription to a convenient pharmacy that carried the drug. Medicare covered the visit (otherwise $45) and drug fully. I am hoping to share this information with your readers. P.S. I am getting better rapidly.
Judy Bingenheimer, Denver
Respond to the Uvalde shooting
There is something we can all do.
1) Divest from investments in gun manufacturers and the retailers that sell semi-automatic rifles and ammo for them. A recent article in Fortune Magazine outlines how to divest. You can use a tool like As You Sow’s Gun Free Funds tool or Weapons Free Funds tool to see which companies your funds are invested in or ask your 401k plan administrator.
2) Do not shop or buy anything from stores that sell ARs or ammo for ARs to the general public. Check sporting goods stores, gun stores or large box store before you shop or buy. Responsible gun owners should do this: Hunters, police and security officers, sport shooting clubs should only purchase guns and ammo from sellers who do not sell ARs.
3) Write the board of directors for manufacturers of ARs. Tell them what you are doing. This is a long shot but these manufacturers do not have to wait for our do nothing Congress to stop selling these weapons. They can lobby for background checks prior to purchase of their firearms.
4) Demand that our local governments fund buy back programs to purchase back ARs and AR ammo from the public. No questions asked.
Be loud. Stop the violence!
M. Franklin, Denver
Reality check: It’s time that we put our pleas for gun control aside and instead turn to protecting our school children. We need metal detectors, armed guards, a state of war, because our children are sitting ducks for any kook with a gun to walk in and start shooting.
We need the same for all of our public spaces. We need to face facts: The Republicans are not going to pass any kind of meaningful gun control and instead we must go into heightened alert about the danger that really surrounds us every day in a country with so many guns and so little control.
Nora Kelly, Denver
When abortion is a crime
Re: “Criminalized abortion will mean search warrants and arrests,” May 20 commentary
Morgan Carroll’s opinion piece about search warrants issued for the bodies of women illustrates what is fundamentally wrong with today’s abortion dialogue.
I have also worked for six Colorado district attorneys — three Democrats and three Republicans. I can assure you that none of these prosecutors and none of the judges to whom such warrants would necessarily be submitted for approval would ever allow these hypothetical search warrants. And, of course, Colorado would not be impacted by a reversal of Roe, since Colorado law already protects abortion up to the moment of birth.
Many of us who both support women’s rights and regard fetuses as babies when they are at or near viability believe that we must craft policy more rationally and with more understanding, rather than with the inflammatory rhetoric and political opportunism demonstrated by Carroll. Is there no one in public life with the courage and vision needed to bring us together for that discussion?
Carl A. Blesch, Thornton
Morgan Carroll’s commentary on the potential effects of criminalized abortion chilled me to the point of goose bumps. This article gave non-lawyer citizens a glimpse into the extreme invasion of privacy that being accused of a crime can bring. The cringe worthy vision of women being forced to have their cervix and uterus examined as a potential crime scene is beyond comprehension. Imagine your loved one being questioned and physically examined for evidence if someone in the community believes she was pregnant and no longer is. This commentary should be mandatory reading for all citizens of voting age. My goose bumps just keep coming. Wave after wave after wave.
Denise Morris, Arvada