Response to tragedy was wonderful
I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for the support given to my brother Roman Hammes and his family during the tragic ordeal surrounding the death of my niece Rose Hammes. The assistance in searching during and after the storm; the shared memories at the service at Rocky Mountain Calvary Church; the numerous friends who provided care, food and emotional support; the financial donations given (and still being accepted) through the Rose Hammes Memorial Fund at Ent Federal Credit Union; and most of all the constant prayers for the precious young woman and her family, have been overwhelming.
As an out-of-state visitor, I have left with an incredible impression of the empathy and compassion of Colorado Springs, and know that I leave my brother and his family in the care of a wonderful community.
Elmore Hammes, Anderson, Ind.
Using pencil and paper
In response to a recently published article pertaining to student performance in math, might I make an observation. For many years now, teachers have encouraged the use of calculators in the classroom. Some school districts have even placed calculators on the list of "back to school supplies." Mathematics is a sequential discipline. Learning one skill enables students to progress to the next skill and accompanying degree of difficulty, using skills learned. I believe the use of calculators to check for correctness might be appropriate however, unless a student can manipulate numbers using pencil and paper to gain a complete understanding of how to solve a particular problem, I do not hold much hope in seeing improving test scores.
Tom Conlon, Colorado Springs
Great emergency crews
Recently, I had the need to make a 911 call. (Probably only the third or fourth time in my 70 years of life). A friend had fallen and broken her hip. The call was made and within minutes fire truck No. 6 was in front of our house.
The crew jumped out, assessed the situation, and immediately went to work. They did their job and did it very well, even to the detail of making sure there was a way for us to get the pillow they were taking back to us. During the entire time they were professional, courteous, polite, and extremely kind not only to our friend but to the other 10 of us standing around.
The purpose of this note is to express our gratitude and thankfulness for these crews - not only when there are big things like the Waldo Canyon fire or the Black Forest fire; but for the 24/7 that they are ready and willing to take care of people like our friend.
John D. Kerr, Colorado Springs
The adult is always responsible
As program manager at Safe Passage, the Children's Advocacy Center for the Pikes Peak Region, I felt compelled to write this letter in response to some of the comments left on local news websites in response to reports posted on two child abuse cases that happened in El Paso County.
In recent weeks there have two cases of child sexual assault reported in the local news, one in which the perpetrator was a male. I use the word perpetrator because according to the news report he was being sentenced and that means it had gone through a court process and he either was found guilty or pled guilty. The second case was one in which the alleged perpetrator was a female. I used "alleged" because the news reports indicate an arrest has been made but no court process has found her guilty.
It was very disheartening to me to see the polar responses of this community. In the case with the male perpetrator, people were leaving comments very supportive of the victims. In the case with the female suspect, people were accusing the victim of lying or making comments about how lucky he was as a young boy if he had sex with an older "reasonably" good-looking female.
I would start by pointing out that there is a natural power differential between adults and children. No matter what happens between an adult and a child, the adult is always responsible. There are female sex offenders in our community. They do not always get identified as such because society has a difficult time believing that the maternal gender would ever do anything that would be harmful to a child. They are often dismissed when they are identified or treated differently than male offenders by the "system". Their abuse is no less harmful to their victims and in some instances can be more traumatic for their victims because society sees their abuse as some kind of right of passage.
A child who discloses abuse is, in my estimation, no less courageous than the young men and women we send to war to defend our country. These children have everything to lose by making a report. These children many times earn the anger of their family, friends, and siblings. I spend many hours in court rooms every month supporting these young victims as they testify in open court in front of the person they are accusing and anyone else who chooses to be in attendance. It always breaks my heart to recognize there are many people in the court room who support the offenders and usually only me and the advocate from the District Attorney's Office there in support of the child victim. Why is this?
Why do we as adults always protect other adults by choosing to believe the child is lying? Why would a child choose to be ridiculed by both people they know and those they do not know by coming forward to hold their abuser accountable?
We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable citizens of our society. Will you be the one who will stand up on behalf of an abused child? Learn the signs of abuse. Contact Safe Passage at www.safepassagecac.org or follow us on Facebook.
Tammi Pitzen, Safe Passage, Colorado Springs