Gymnasts' safety and sexual abuse
I write as a concerned former female gymnast, to inform the greater public on the important crime of sexual abuse that occurs in the sport of gymnastics, still to this day. Within the sport there are many relationships that are developed that are critical to a gymnast's success. Without the development of relationships within the sport it may be harder for a male or female gymnast to progress. Coaches, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, are all just a few of the resources gymnasts need to stay safe and secure within the sport.
The safety of gymnastics has been threatened and continues to be without real precautions to stopping it. The safety of a child is important inside the gym as well as outside.
There have already been many cases that were reported with sexual abuse taking place between doctors and gymnasts. Most of the cases reported had to do with female gymnasts who have been a part of the sport for many years since their younger years. Sexual abuse has occurred in places where the gymnast is supposed to be safe as well as places other places not a part of the gymnastics environment. These reports appeared to the public, not right away, but in many cases, several years after. There are threats and in fact there are many cover-ups as well of the abuse that occurs in the sport, and it needs to stop.
Great measures should be taken in the enforcement of safety within the sport of gymnastics with inside reports within the sport as well as reports on the communication that is done between gymnasts, coaches, parents, doctors, etc.
This is a serious issue, which has not been taken into great thought when it should be.
Change in voter attitudes
The votes have been tallied, and the people of Colorado Springs have decided. The stormwater ballot issue passed 54 percent-46 percent. New fees will be assessed on utility bills next year, and voters will be paying very close attention to ensure the new windfall will be well spent. They will also pay attention to the "freed-up" money that was promised to more police and fire personnel.
There is good news for the voters who opposed the fee. In 2015, Colorado Springs voted overwhelmingly for a tax increase to fix the potholes. That ballot issue, called 2C, passed by 65 percent to 35 percent. Looking at just raw vote totals, this means more than 11,000 more voters said "no" to giving money to the city between the 2015 and 2017 ballot issues. And given that Invest in COS, the organization formed to advocate for the passage of 2A outspent the other side by a 10-1 margin (approximately $400,000 to $40,000), that's quite a change in voter attitudes.
Improve gun safety regulations
I am tired of right-wing conservatives labeling all Democrats and liberals as "gun haters." In response to Scott Weiser's article commending armed citizens, I would like to point out that most Democrats support common-sense gun control and are not the fanatical gun haters he makes us out to be.
According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 22 percent of Democrats own guns. While a higher percentage of Republicans and Independents own guns (49 and 37 percent, respectively), we are hardly all gun haters.
However, statistical evidence shows that countries with fewer guns per capita have fewer gun-related deaths. For instance, Japan had six gun deaths in 2014 while we had 33,599. Six deaths in a country with just over one third of our population. It is outrageous to think that more guns will lead to safer communities. No, there will be more suicides, more crimes of passion, and more mass murders unless we work to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, limit assault weapons and devices like bump stocks, and limit numbers of guns and ammunition purchased by an individual (no one needs 47 guns).
I applaud the heroes who prevented further carnage in Texas and at New Life Church, but in general, I do not believe that more armed people will lead to safer communities.
We are bound by the Second Amendment to allow guns, but that does not mean we should not regulate them, and given the current state of our nation, it seems we need to improve gun safety regulations right now.
Community college is an open door
Community college is a place that provides not just an education, but a future. The value of community college is all about giving people a chance - maybe a second chance, a third chance, even a last chance - to have access to a financially stable life.
For communities that haven't always had a background in higher education, community college can offer skills for specific employment, but it can also open a window into a broader world of higher education. Community colleges are less financially costly and the atmosphere is less intimidating. Community colleges are incredibly valuable to maintain the foundation of this country which is the land of opportunity. They provide a truly equal opportunity for all students not just the typically labeled "college material students" but all students.
The value of community college is that it's an open door, everybody has an opportunity whether you're 18 or 70 years old, whether you are well prepared or underprepared, you have the opportunity to succeed if you put in the work.
Calling attention to systemic racism
Response to Christian Murray about disrespecting the flag (Nov. 9):
We choose to disagree that kneeling during the anthem is being disrespectful. Colin Kaepernick thought about the most respectful way he could call attention during the anthem to the fact that unarmed black men are being killed by police after the video evidence all last year.
The president chose to fire up people by painting it as disrespectful and unpatriotic, thus distracting us from the intent and again dividing us. A result is that Kaepernick and the NFL are paying the price from this backlash and I expect the NFL to change the players code-of-conduct rules to "must" instead of "should stand".
Players who kneel are trying to have a conversation about the systemic racism in this country and the racial profiling of blacks for decades with similar consequences.
Our fallen soldiers have indeed paid the price to defend our freedoms, and I believe they would say that those freedoms include freedom from abuse of power and freedom of speech.