Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table and Lawyer or Judge working with agreement in Courtroom, Justice and Law concept (copy) (copy)

Disrupting root causes of crime

State Sen. Pete Lee’s op-ed of Dec. 26 (“Getting it right on restorative justice”) was a welcome comment on the state of criminal justice reform. So often we focus on “getting even” with offenders, but by definition the criminal justice system doesn’t get involved until after an offense is committed. It’s the wrong place to fight crime. I know, some believe longer sentences deter more offenders, but that assumes way too much forethought on the part of the perpetrator. And, they have to believe they’ll get caught for deterrence to be effective.

A better solution is found in programs that look to disrupting the root causes of crime, like racism, poverty and other social disruptions. We also need to reassess whether incarceration, by often brutalizing those offenders who don’t deserve it, just makes things worse. Nearly every inmate eventually leaves prison, and if they’re angry, poor and unrehabilitated we all lose when they reoffend. These fixes, however, are not quick, nor are they headline-grabbing.

Restorative justice balances these concerns by reducing recidivism substantially for low level offenders. Preventing further victims, after all, is job one.

Phil Cherner

Denver

When ‘truth’ keeps changing

Vince Bdzek’s column (“The pandemic is taking a toll on journalists”) was interesting. He raised an issue without seeming to realize that he also identified its source.

When journalists say they have to “keep telling the story, even if it’s about the deniers,” they show themselves to be the believers. When they refer to misinformation, the implication is that anything that deviates from that of the believers is false. When they refer to their work as “truth”, rather than accuracy (see “Absence of Malice” for a great crash course on the difference), the reader begins to question the integrity of the source when the “truth” keeps changing.

If journalists accept what they’re told without asking questions that to many of us are obvious, without challenging the dominant theme, they become little more than PR for whoever they’re quoting. We assume objectivity and skepticism and investigation from journalists, but the fact is that everyone, knowingly or not, has a core belief system from which they report.

With so much information available from so many sources, the public is right to object to what starts to look more like dogma. We’ve been led down false paths before. Local news is to a large extent being tarred with the hostile brush so deservedly applied to network and mainstream sources.

Journalists are people. We are, too. We’re all angry and exhausted. The irrationality of public policy demands have led to this, and all of us are paying the price.

Donna Brosemer

Westminster

Weaknesses in Parker’s column

Regarding “Get the vaccine and try to understand those who won’t,” the Gazette, Dec. 28, Kathleen Parker, several questions come to the forefront as to the weakness of her premise.

When she writes, “This slide into servitude began with the vaccine and escalated with the various employment-based mandates that followed,” is she agreeing with that, or is she restating Tyler Fischer’s “spoof”?

Either way, of those who are “rabidly opposed to getting a shot,” she then writes, “I do understand the revulsion toward government mandates.” Revulsion? In what way? Parker continues that because “our warring spirit and a predilection to oppose authority precedes our arrival to these shores. We’re all rebels by virtue of most of us having crossed the pond, so to speak.” We’re “all rebels?” What a juvenile, inane argument to support a position that is causing people to become ill, and over 800,000 America to die.

What government oppression have they lived with all their lives, that being asked to wear a mask and get a shot has pushed them over the edge; to hit the streets, school board meetings, and so on?

The absurdity goes even further with, “voluntary vaccination seems to me the only avenue for reconciliation.” Obviously not, since it clearly hasn’t worked, by her own admission, after a year and a half of the pandemic.

Then Parker ends with “laughter at oneself, after all, is a sign of intelligence.” No, it’s not. What it is a sign of is, 90% of the time an acknowledgment that those making the jokes, and those laughing at the jokes, are admitting there is nothing else they can do about it.

Ken Valero

Littleton

The devil is in the details

Interesting how you continue to stress the importance of being vaxxed to stop the spread of the virus, when we all know if we are honest that it does nothing to stop the spread of the virus, according to the CDC itself and data around the world that indicates the nations with the highest vax rates have the highest incidence of new Covid. Furthermore, the paucity of data around the “80% unvaccinated” are responsible for the bulk of hospitalizations is misleading. The devil is in the details here, and the complete picture of the unvaxxed vs. vaxxed in preventing serious illness is incomplete. Most of the hospitalizations and deaths in the vaxxed and unvaxxed are in the same age groups it has always occurred in — the elderly, especially the over-70 crowd and those with co-morbidities. This has not been investigated thoroughly and I believe that if it were, the 80%-20% ratio would be decreased considerably or be erased.

Also, why is there no publicity on the availability of early treatment? Sadly, our politicians and public health officials have de-emphasized the importance of early treatment, especially with monoclonal antibodies and have preferred to emphasize the vax.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has rightly accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of killing thousands when he decrees that all must get vaxxed, but fails to publicize the benefits of early treatment. The de-emphasis of early treatment flies in the face of medical practice guidelines as early treatment has been the evidence-based threshold forever in medicine, especially with evidence of a vaccine that has been proven ineffective in stopping the viral spread and questionable in preventing serious illness in certain patient populations.

Finally, omicron is now seen to be incredibly less lethal, yet the vaccine is pushed harder than ever, and hospitalizations will never reach levels seen previously due to its lack of virulence This lack of virulence gets perhaps a phrase or two, (or maybe one whole sentence!) in articles.

Speaking of hospitalizations, most have occurred in non-COVID patients in Colorado; people are being hospitalized for other conditions; trauma, stroke, heart attacks, and other respiratory illnesses. I have not bothered to document anything, because it is all readily available online for those who choose to look.

Mary Meyers

Littleton

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