We should all vote for that

I must preface this by saying that I am a gun owner, I am not a Republican, I did not vote for our new Colorado State Sen. Bernie Herpin, and I cannot imagine why anyone would think it appropriate to vote against background checks that might keep mentally ill people from buying a gun. But on TV yesterday, I heard Bernie Herpin say that one of the first things he will try to do in office is to push legislation that would set a mandatory sentence for a convicted child molester at 25 years. Such legislation would go a long, long way toward keeping them off the streets. Now I would vote for that . a thousand times over, we should all vote for that.

Yeah, it will cost more to keep them all incarcerated, but so what? Are our children worth so little that we can't begin to take this issue seriously enough to spend whatever it takes to keep them safe from these repeat offenders?

Maggie Mae Sharp, Black Forest


Setting expectations based on race

I took offense at Pat Foltz letter, "What a wasted opportunity!" First let me say that I have never voted for Barack Obama and that I disagree with many of his policies. However, unlike Foltz, I'm not interested in judging his performance or setting expectations for him based on his race. The writer disagrees with President Obama's policies; therefore, he's failed to live up to his potential as a black man or as the first black president. The writer has established two standards, one for white presidents and one for black presidents.

I have no doubt that similar Op/Ed pieces were written about President John F. Kennedy - that he was doing well for a Catholic or that he failed to live up to his full potential as a Catholic. There will be those who write similar letters when the first female president is in office. I will judge President Obama and other presidents by the job they're doing and not by their race, religion or gender.

Todd Scott, Colorado Springs


This is hate speech based on fear

Loren Kramer had his shot at free speech. Now I want mine. People who have struggles due to a psychiatric disability do not wake up one day and make a conscious decision to experience the unspeakable sadness of depression or constantly hear voices that no one else can hear or stay up all night for days at a time, unable to quiet their minds and sleep because their thoughts are racing 90 miles an hour. Such symptoms are at times unbearable, and yet many of us 'crazies' manage to live very productive, normal lives.

In the piece in The Gazette published on Sept. 27, the former Colorado Springs chief of police shares his thoughts about the gun control debate in light of the mass shooting at the Naval Shipyard in Washington, D.C., and what he sees as the real issue between random, multiple victim homicides. Kramer concludes that these incidents take place because of 'our obsession with excusing crazy people who demonstrate a pattern of bizarre behavior and anti-social 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 is hate speech based on fear, ignorance and bigotry toward those who live with a mental health condition. I personally do not believe anyone, whether they have a mental health label, should get a free pass if they commit a crime. They should be given a fair trial and then be incarcerated if they are convicted. But to just arbitrarily suspect someone of being a potentially violent offender based on recent or past psychiatric treatment and then lock them up for evaluation and forced treatment, is unjust and tramples on the Bill of Rights.

How many gun owners are possible, suspected terrorists plotting the overthrow of the government? Very, very few. How many persons who need mental health services and have utilized them are even remotely thinking about ways to carry out the next Columbine or Aurora mass murders? Very, very few. Oh, and for the record, in Colorado we have a large and expensive place where nonviolent offenders with mental health problems are 'removed from our midst'. It's called the Department of Corrections.

In the final sentence of his letter Kramer writes; "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." What an obscene and insensitive thing to write given the large number of grieving families in Colorado whose loved one died by their own hand. I am one of those who grieve. My mother, Joyce Bell, quietly took her life, when she was 40 years old in 1976.

Steve Bell, Colorado Springs


How stupid do they think voters are?

This is how I see it. The Republicans created the shutdown and claim that the Democrats will not negotiate. They claim that the Democrats will not compromise on proposals to change the Affordable Care Act. My question is where have these proposals been the past three years? For three years, the Republicans refused to negotiate or even propose changes to make the act better. All they did was vote time and time again to repeal. Now they expect the voters to believe that the Democrats are to blame.

How stupid do they think the voters are? No wait, the voters did reelect Doug Lamborn so I guess he knows how stupid they are.

Ronald Johnson, Colorado Springs