Gun laws target the good guys
Re: “Colorado Democrats prepare ban on assault weapon sales,” Jan. 23 news story
Once again, we have a state legislative session with complete control by the Democrats. For the past few years, they’ve brought us laws upon laws restricting firearms and rules for ownership.
Now, for “public safety,” they again attack the Second Amendment and law-abiding citizens’ rights. In 2013, 2019, and 2021, they proposed and passed magazine capacity limits, mandatory background checks, red-flag laws, and locked gun laws. Miraculously, none of these laws stopped any of the few tragic public mass shootings (Boulder grocery, Colorado Springs Club Q), despite the opportunity to use them.
Why do they continue to attack law-abiding citizens instead of criminals? Why do we not see more harsh punishments for these crimes themselves or laws aimed at these crimes?
Have these legislators proposed increasing punishment for public mass shootings, or more severe punishment for using certain firearms in criminal acts, or stiffer sentences for stealing guns? These misguided proposals (hopefully) attempt to deter criminals — who, by definition, break laws — from obtaining certain “evil” firearms. It appears all these representatives take aim at those of us willing to follow laws.
As I said, years of attacking citizens’ rights, to no avail; if you believe their own claims (and Colorado crime statistics), violent crime has risen since these laws started piling up in 2013. It appears these laws have not worked.
It has been said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
I think it is time to ask our representatives to take aim at crime and punishment instead of endlessly drafting laws that attack law-abiding citizens’ rights.
Lance Touve, Longmont
A life dedicated to documenting and championing the environment
Re: “My Life’s Work — John Fielder hopes to inspire conservation and environmentalism,” Jan. 22 commentary
I read the article describing John Fielder’s dedication of his collection of Colorado photographs to the public. This is most generous of John, and I applaud him for doing this and you for publishing the article.
As outdoors people exploring Colorado since 1969, my wife and I have traveled, hiked, and skied many of the wonderful places in our state that John Fielder photographed so well and so sensitively. We have several of his books and love comparing his photos to ours, so casually taken. Thank you again to you both.
Peter Jones, Evergreen
The debate on slaughtering horses for meat
Re: “Permitting horse sales for human consumption is the humane choice,” Jan. 22 commentary
Anyone who is an actual horse lover does not condone or support horse slaughter, which is the cruelest and most brutal way to end a horse’s life. Horses have always been companion animals in this country and partners, not livestock raised for consumption.
Building horse slaughter plants will not save horses from being neglected and abandoned. People who love and care for their horses do not sell them at auction where kill buyers purchase horses to send to slaughter. And the drugs used in horses for a variety of reasons and other reasons are toxic and make the meat unfit for human consumption.
Krista Kafer’s simplistic argument tells us that slaughter is the solution for all these “unwanted horses” and includes wild horses in this formula. Wild horses are not unwanted; neither are they feral. They are a precious, integral part of our public lands and western culture.
Carol Walker, Longmont
Re: “Market for equine meat is bad for horses and the eaters,” Jan. 22 commentary
I read the opposing stories on horse slaughter with interest and wholeheartedly side with Krista Kafer. I was raised on an eastern Colorado farm and, when I was very young, we had corrals full of horses that were bred, fattened and intended for slaughter. This was as much a part of our family income as the production of beef and pork.
I have eaten horse meat. I love horses and being around them in general. I loved my show steer and was fond of many of the gentle, and sometimes not-so-gentle cows I have milked in my life. However, I was not opposed to eating any of the bovines when their useful purpose ended, and I am not opposed to eating a horse.
It hurts me when someone says they had to “put down” a beloved horse, and then they hire a backhoe to bury it, or they send it to the rendering plant or have it cremated. My hurt goes two ways. I am sorry you lost your beloved buddy, and I am sorry you chose to waste it. Is “Putting it down” a better, gentler way of saying “slaughtered”?
Instead of outlawing horse consumption, we need to embrace it. Look at all of the overpopulation of horses and all of the hungry people we could feed if we supported USDA-regulated processing facilities.
I guess we would rather see the iconic horse roam the West and let the poor and hungry in our country starve.
Rich Linnebur, Westminster
Time to decide “what sort of nation” we want to be
Re: “How the U.S. amassed $31 trillion in debt,” Jan. 22 news story
The reason that the US has a $31 trillion national debt is that both sides maintain their own magical thinking, which guarantees that the debt will grow. Democrats believe that additional social programs can be created without raising taxes to pay for them. Republicans think that tax cuts will “pay for themselves” so that taxes can be reduced while maintaining the governmental services that people want. Each side persists in the fantasy that if they can only cut the programs that the other side likes, the budget/debt problem will go away.
In effect, both the democrats and the republicans subscribe to the childish notion that the US can have both low taxes and extensive government services.
Low tax and low service systems exist in most developing countries. Most developed nations combine high taxes with high services. So, America, it’s time to decide what sort of nation we want to be and then pay for it accordingly.
Guy Wroble, Denver
Regarding our debt, tax cuts on people are a good thing by allowing people to keep more of their money. Spending is the problem on both sides of the aisle. But the problem is that no one wants to cut spending because it’s not popular and requires sacrifice.
We can’t continue down this path; it’s unsustainable. The interest alone on the debt is $1 billion a day.
Larry Fries, Aurora
I keep hoping that Democrats are contacting as many non-MAGA Republicans as they can to convince them to vote with the Dems to raise the debt ceiling.
The 14th Amendment, according to a number of legal scholars, provides in Section 4 that “the validity of the public debt of the United States… shall not be questioned.” This means that there is no need for a vote on increasing the debt. Until 1917, there was no such thing as a “debt ceiling.”
If the Republicans revolt, saying that this is illegal, they could appeal to the Supreme Court. The Court majority, as we know, is made up of mostly originalists who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was intended when it was written. Would the Court uphold President Joe Biden’s decision, based on an amendment that was ratified in 1868, or would they order the U.S. to default on its debt and plunge the world’s financial markets into chaos?
Susan Permut, Monument
The Democrats missed a huge opportunity when they opted to let Kevin McCarthy twist in the wind for 15 House majority votes on the speakership. While they no doubt obtained a significant amount of joy, the only thing they actually accomplished was raising the clout of a small group of Republicans, whose views (if they actually have any) could not be further from those of the Democrats or the American population in general.
It would be far better for the country if Speaker McCarthy was beholden to the Democrats for his position. The Democrats will get another chance with the negotiations for raising the debt limit. They can continue to sit back and thumb their noses, letting the likes of Reps. Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert dictate the terms. Or they can get behind the majority leader (who would have been a Republican no matter what they did) and have a significant say in the results.
With such small margins between Democratic and Republican candidates, both parties should keep in mind that they rarely elect anyone by themselves. It is the independent voters who put country before party that decide most elections.
Karl Reinig, Denver
In taking extraordinary measures to keep the U.S. from defaulting on our debt, I suggest Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stop the payroll for the House of Representatives. They were very unproductive in 2022, and they wasted thousands of dollars of time just trying to elect a speaker in 2023.
Even lawyers have to put in hours of productive work to get paid. Why not representatives? At least they should not get pay or benefits before the thousands of other federal programs that we citizens/taxpayers count on.
The House has not shown us that we can count on them.
Lynn Buschhoff, Denver
Keep Dreamers in the workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic and “The Great Resignation” have resulted in lingering nationwide labor shortages, including in the food service and hospitality, transportation, health care and social assistance industries, resulting in unprecedented pressure on millions of workers.
Thankfully, there is a solution in front of us that is becoming widely recognized: immigration reform. Recently, lawmakers from across Colorado gathered at the state Capitol to discuss immigration reform avenues, particularly as they relate to workforce shortages.
There are already many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, often referred to as Dreamers, contributing to our state who can provide a tangible solution to this unsustainable issue. DACA enables immigrants who came to America with their families at a young age to contribute to society by deferring deportation and offering work authorization, but unfortunately, their protections are fleeting.
DACA-eligible populations report high rates of employment in Colorado. In 2015, over 95% of the DACA-eligible population was employed. Along with participating in the labor force, 99% of DACA recipients have graduated from high school and about half have received some college education.
This solution to the workforce issue is also being discussed on a higher level — Labor Secretary Martin Walsh recently advocated for reform during a panel on the future of jobs. Congress must do right by these members of the labor force and establish pathways to citizenship for Dreamers.
Carl Ecklund, Frisco
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