A roundup of recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers.
Going backward on homelessness
At the Community Forum on Homelessness on Feb. 21, Mayor John Suthers gave an opening statement that he disagreed with a Gazette article stating that we, as a city, are back at square one on homelessness since the Springs Rescue Mission quickly filled up to capacity shortly after its expansion in 2016.
I agree that we aren't back at square one; instead, I think we've taken two steps backward to minus one. The homeless numbers have been rising for five years straight, and I expect the continued trend to reveal an even higher number soon in the 2018 point-in-time count.
And yes, some of that is due to the rise in housing costs, and I applaud the organizations for working on affordable housing. It's not easy - most of it relies on federal and state grants. In the meantime, we forgot about solutions for the community that are left dealing with the fires, auto-pedestrian collisions, trash and needles, etc.
I do agree with the mayor when he said that despite sometimes working toward mutual goals with some of the organizations, the city must also handle its own interests, which includes protecting our creeks. An ordinance proposal will soon be discussed to stipulate that any camps must be a certain distance from the creek in order to mitigate contamination spreading such as E. coli. I also hope that the city will really enforce the camping ban ordinance, meanwhile, when the shelters are not full.
Since the Salvation Army opened on Weber Street, I'm told that they have only recently been at full capacity a couple of times. But when there is vacancy, I hope the city enforcement steps up and remembers the rest of the nearby businesses and homeowners.
There must be some other way
Yesterday, I was driving behind a vehicle that had an American flag decal in its window. This American flag decal was in the shape of a rifle. The message is clear: " America equals weapons," and this message has some facts to verify it.
A U.S. News & World Report article asserts that the USA is a leader in selling weapons to the world. This article cites a report from the Congressional Research Service, written in December 2016 by Catherine Theohary. According to the magazine, citing the Congressional Research Service's nonpartisan report by Theohary, the USA in 2015 accounted for more than half of all arms transfer agreements and ranked first in international arms deliveries worldwide.
The USA is now accounting for more than 50 percent of the global arms market (Russia and France are second and third, respectively).
Thus, the USA is the leading "gun shop" for the world. We are essentially saying to other countries, "Hey, you wanna kill some people? We got what you need." Is this what we want our legacy to be? Are we making the world safer by selling weapons to developing nations?
There must be some other way that our country can help spread freedom and democracy.
Where change needs to come from
I read the Viewpoint section of the Op/Ed column and find the submissions to always be well-balanced on most subjects. It is becoming quite the boring task to see the gun control rant flare up every time something bad happens. As an American citizen by birth and a lifetime NRA member, ex-military man, dad and husband, I find it exhausting to read demands by people who want so badly to control something or a group of people they have no hope of ever controlling.
In all of the school shootings other than Sandy Hook, all of the shooters had one thing in common that nobody wants to address or even suggest as needing to be until now. I would like to thank Marcella Gaumer for having the strength to bring it to bear. The one common thread among all of these school shootings is the fact that the shooters themselves were victims. Victims of bullying, endless ridicule and non-acceptance by their peers.
I see all these children rising on this occasion to cry the rant of their parents for gun control, when in fact those same parents and their children are at fault for the events that have taken place. Gun control is not going to stop gun violence in schools. Proactive parenting and putting a stop to bullying would go all the way to ending the need for some poor child to take retaliatory action against their tormentors. That is where the change needs to come from. It is not the guns they use, but the impetus that drove them to pick one up, that must be eliminated from our society.
Adults need to start parenting their children and get them back in school and acting like civilized people to each other. Then, and only then, the violence may go away.
Teachers as primary targets
There has been lots of discussion about arming our school teachers. I have lots of questions about such a plan.
One of my concerns is, if teachers are to carry guns, would that not make them the primary targets? If a student smuggles a loaded firearm into school with the intent of killing others, I think that student would shoot the armed teacher(s) first? Then the student could continue with his or her plan.
If I was a teacher, I would not want to carry a gun into the school. I'm not sure that teachers carrying guns will deter a would-be shooter, and if shot first, likely could not defend other students.