Mikey Weinstein is not the bully

The optional removal of "So help me God" from the Air Force Academy's pledge elicited three letters in last week's paper, one of which was especially offensive as it portrayed Mikey Weinstein (the lawyer who is himself an Air Force Academy graduate and has threatened a lawsuit if the above mentioned phrase will continue to be mandatory) as a bully.

Contrary to the letter writer's opinion, Weinstein is not the bully in this equation but watches out for those who are of different faiths or none at all and are forced to recite religious pledges they do not agree with. How would people react if the pledge ended in "So help me Allah or Zeus" or any other deity we humans have ever come up with throughout the ages.

This is the 21st century, and quite a number of folks have decided they can no longer believe in supernatural beings, and they shouldn't be forced to pretend that they do.

Another letter writer felt the removal of the phrase would give cadets license to commit criminal activities. If the pledge's "So help me God" is the only reason cadets refrain from those activities, we seriously need to examine how we raise and teach our children. Human beings should refrain from criminal or immoral behavior because it's the right thing to do and not because a supernatural being has decreed so.

Religion is an intensely private matter; that's why the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it should not be forced on people, especially not in our tax-supported institutions.

Beate White, Colorado Springs


Shocked anyone would complain

This morning I read in The Gazette about the AFA receiving complaints about the airplane noise over Briargate. Well, I live in Briargate and I'm shocked that anyone would complain about the sound the planes from the Academy make. If these complainers lived near Luke AFB with the constant roar of jets, then they would have something to whine about. When I hear the planes from the Academy (if I even notice), I think about the young men who are training to protect this country and I am grateful. If that small annoyance causes someone grief, all I can say is "get a life."

Dick Stapp, Colorado Springs


That's not airplane noise, people

All of those people complaining about the Air Force Academy flights over the north end of town should be ashamed of themselves. If they are really worried about their quality of life, imagine their quality of life without the armed forces protecting their freedom to complain. This same group was raising a ruckus until 9/11, then they shut up for awhile. That's not airplane noise, people . that's the sound of freedom. As a vet, I can tell you folks that there are far higher costs of freedom than putting up with noise. Grow up!

Jerome Parent, Woodland Park


Recap of what happened in Manitou

In case you couldn't make it to the Manitou Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 (or you needed to leave before midnight), here is a brief recap of what happened. There were 50 speakers. The overwhelming public majority said no to retail marijuana in Manitou Springs, or at the very least asked council to please slow down this crazy process and extend the moratorium, giving us a chance to vote on one simple, clear question: "Do we want retail marijuana stores in Manitou Springs - Yes or No?". (By the way, - Councilwoman Coreen Toll thought that "only 2 or 3 stores" is going slow.)

However, council's opinion was to continue going forward with legalization. Despite hearing from their constituents speaking with facts and research as the basis for their comments, despite hearing from the representative of Pikes Peak Area Attractions, despite hearing from two people with medical degrees, our esteemed Rev. Dave Hunting, the amazing Dr. Ed Longfield (District 14 superintendent), educators and school administrators, business owners, the police chief and fire chief, a few former mayors and even a former self-described pothead, despite being asked not to be swayed by nonresidents posing as "agents of change" but who are really chasing the almighty dollar . despite all of this, our elected officials (with the wonderful exception of Councilman Gary Smith - he thinks we should table the marijuana issue, let people vote and concentrate instead on little things like flood mitigation - and the somewhat begrudging exception of Councilman Matt Carpenter) gave the okay for full steam ahead to allow retail marijuana sales in our sweet little town.

Kari Kilroy, Manitou


Recognizing the colors

I felt alone at the Veterans Day parade. The colors (U.S. flag with the gold fringe) passed by and very few observers, to include those in uniform, gave the honors due. What a change from years past. Please don't tell me there were too many colors, worse, you were embarrassed because you stood out. The further we get from World War II, the less we know of U.S. traditions. There is time to change and inform younger generations. Grandparents, let's educate the young before another value disappears. Salute the colors.

James Long CSM (retired), Colorado Springs


Public safety must take priority

I just want to say I support Mayor Steve Bach's budget as it relates to police funding, and I would oppose any shifting of funds to pay for watering the parks.

It has been well noted that our Police Department is underfunded, understaffed and underpaid. We suffer from very poor response times and have seen an escalation of crime. Both parks and public safety are quality of life issues; however, public safety must take priority.

Jeff Bassett, Colorado Springs