Taking action on lessons learned
It was encouraging to see that some Black Forest residents have pulled demolition permits to begin the remediation and rebuilding process. For us in Mountain Shadows, things happened much, much more slowly. It was a week before we were even allowed back into our neighborhoods to assess or verify damage. No demo permits were allowed to be issued for weeks, until dumps that could take the debris were identified, and all the furor about federal intervention, FEMA authorities and the fear of toxic waste from the burned houses was all sorted out.
To our neighbors in Black Forest, my heart goes out. This is too much again, too soon. I hope that all the lessons learned from Waldo Canyon will make your recovery process at least a little easier. To all our neighbors in other urban/wildlife interfaces, like Cheyenne Mountain, Rockrimmon, Peregrine, Cascade, and all the others - I sure hope you're paying attention and taking actions on the lessons learned regarding mitigation, evacuation planning and fire prevention!
Richard George, Colorado Springs
Just one more example of poor planning
If readers want to see where our precious water is being wasted, take a drive up Voyager, past New Life Church all the way to Northgate. Observe all the green grass in the medians and beside the street. Last Sunday it was being watered at 11:30 in the morning. This is just one example of poor planning by our city fathers and developers. There are probably many examples of our water being wasted by the city and businesses while homeowners are paying the price for trying to keep what lawns we have left green.
What with water restrictions, wasted water, high payoffs to city workers, high salaries for heads in city government, and a mayor that wants to move our baseball team downtown so there can be more bars, Colorado Springs is rapidly becoming "A City Designed For Leaving"!
Donald G. Worley, Colorado Springs
That's just what liberals do
Found during an ordinary Sunday hike off the road to 11 Mile Reservoir: Abandoned campsites with still-warm fire pit embers, at the height of a red alert fire ban and in the middle of the Black Forest fire tragedy; one with a lawn leaf-sized plastic bag, once filled to the brim with garbage, left to be torn apart by bears that scattered its beer cans, paper plates and plastic forks far and wide; bullet-shattered beer bottles and used paper targets.
Surrounding the campsites were spent shells, by the hundreds, left behind as a clue to what type of campers had trashed the serene beauty of the hillside. Along the way, every taxpayer-funded directional or warning sign was riddled with bullet holes, including the signs that said, "No shooting here."
These are the people who worry about losing their Second Amendment rights. Apparently, they care little about everyone else's rights, like the right to share pristine wilderness areas. The gun manufacturers' and sellers' lobby, the NRA, says we do not need to control guns. Maybe, but we apparently need to control some of their owners. Is there a background check that detects drunken fools?
By the way, my wife and I cleaned up the campsite, hauled all of their trash back down to the Springs and put it in our garbage cans and recycling bins. Not looking for thanks; that's just what liberals do.
Tim Rowan, Colorado Springs
Ploy to pencil whip the problem
I'm writing about a recent "leader-oriented" sexual assault prevention and response training class I had to take last week as a part of the Air Force's response to the growing problem of sexual assault. As a retired lieutenant colonel with 23 years service (and a further 14 as a contractor and civil servant), I've been through all the social actions training the Air Force has had since 1973.
I expected this training to give an overview of the problem from a middle manager's perspective, tools available to identify the sexual climate in the office, receive reports of assault, and manage the workplace climate, resources the manager can direct the victim to, and responsibilities of the middle manager in his/her organization.
So what did I get? None of that. After a strong introduction noting there were 26,000 reported sexual assaults (14,000 of them against men) this past year, we spent the next 30 minutes watching three videos and having the absolute minimum of class discussion, we were released and told our training would be entered into our training records. Box checked after 45 minutes.
What I heard were the same statements about how sexual assault prevention is everyone's problem, that we leave no airman (what about civilians!?) behind, and that there are all sorts of resources available to the military member. Not one word about what the first sergeant or GS-12 or major should do when confronted with a sexual assault situation. No role-playing to foster some understanding of the victim's sensibilities to her manager's/leadership's response. No open discussion. Nothing new.
If you read some outrage into this, you are correct. Given the current congressional and media focus on sexual assault in the military and how poor a job we do, I expected much better training. We aren't going to fix the sexual assault problem until we're willing to spend real time and resources training and providing tools. I frankly saw my training as part of a ploy to pencil whip the problem. I fully expect to hear media reports about how the Air Force trained its entire force on sexual assault prevention. And I will have to shake my head. Sorry, but the Air Force flunked.
Timothy K. Roberts, DAFC, Colorado Springs