Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Addressing the mental health issues; Replacing Drake too costly

Letters Updated: October 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

Addressing the real issues

On Sept. 16, there was another "mass shooting" at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Once again we witnessed constant media coverage in "real time" as the event unfolded. And, once again in the wake of the tragedy there are pundits advocating gun control. In the hysteria there were reports that an "assault weapon" was used, when in fact it was a shotgun legally purchased and a pistol taken from one of the victims. Aaron Alexis was not a terrorist - he was just one of thousands of sick people walking among us.

How does an individual like Alexis - a person with severe mental illness, arrested twice for gun-related incidents and known to the police to have "been hearing voices" get a security clearance and access to a military installation?

It's easy and convenient to blame "guns" rather than addressing the real issue - which is our obsession with excusing crazy people who demonstrate a pattern of bizarre behavior and antisocial conduct. The problem was created decades ago when our courts prohibited removing these crazies from our midst and opened the doors of mental institutions freeing them into our neighborhoods, workplaces and streets. This "social experiment" is maintained by medicating millions of sick people who may by definition be sick but not competent to be unsupervised.

This year, there have been five mass shootings. Since last December when 20 children and six adults were murdered in Newtown, Conn., there have been 24,580 people who have died from guns, most due to suicides, domestic homicides and careless accidents. These cumulative tragedies barely get public attention. I would wager the majority of those deaths involved someone no more mentally competent than Alexis.

In the coming weeks, we will witness another well-crafted debate on gun control and then it will subside. Meanwhile, as long as we continue to rationalize sick behavior there will be another Alexis who escaped accountability in the system and will decide to violently act out. Unless we change the debate to deal with the real problem the best we can hope for is that the next crazy decides to end their own life and not some innocent child or one of our family members.

Lorne Kramer, Colorado Springs

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It's obvious where this is going

Ken Toltz says "After the recall: What about gun violence?" (Sept. 25) What we really have to look at is would any of the gun laws the Democrats put in Colorado have stopped the Navy shipyard mass shooting. The shooter passed two background checks. One to get on a secured base and the other to buy the gun.

The gun held at most eight shells and had no detachable magazine. The gun was an 870 Remington pump action shotgun like people use for hunting birds. The shooter was able to kill 12 people and wound many others. Not one gun law Toltz wants to keep in place would have stopped this shooting. I think it is obvious where this is going, when all these gun laws fail to stop high profile shootings and that it is more about attacks on the citizens' Second Amendment.

Ron Coleman, Colorado Springs

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Many trails repaired

Kudos to both Colorado Springs Parks Department and El Paso County Parks on their work to restore many of the trails damaged by the recent flooding and heavy rains. I went out for a bike ride in Bear Creek and Red Rocks Canyon, expecting to be jumping gullies much of the time. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find many of the trails had been repaired and graded, with new gravel in many spots.

John Thayer, Colorado Springs

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Replacing Drake costly

Utilities is going to promote Colorado Springs to companies touting cheap utility rates. Building a new power plant, which will require endless environmental reviews and permits, will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Who will pay for this? We will. Say goodbye to those cheap rates. Remember how much water rates have increased? That was needed to bring in additional water for the city. Increasing rates to replace existing capacity just because it is ugly is not needed. This will skyrocket our rates into the stratosphere for nothing. Utilities made a good point about low rates attracting new business into town. Replacing Drake does the opposite. The simple fact is, replacing Drake (one of the cleanest coal burning power plants in the country) will drive up costs for ratepayers, and drive away business. All this at a time when our economy is still heading straight down the abyss. This is a no-brainer, keep Drake!

Chuck Erwin, Colorado Springs

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It's always about buying votes

Re: Barry Fagin's column, Sept. 26: Barry nailed the main problem! Rising expectations. Wonder if liberals can be intellectually honest enough to admit he is right. Now if we realize that the medical problem at the start really included 20 percent who had no way to pay for medical care. The government should take care of that 20 percent and butt out of medical care otherwise.

Cancel Obamacare and solve the original problem, but then less people would be beholden to vote Democratic. It was always about buying votes.

LaMar Craig, Colorado Springs

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