Appreciation for law enforcement
What a beautiful observation The Gazette editorial board committed to print with their "Give thanks for our fallen law enforcers" viewpoint. There are many citizens of Colorado who appreciate our police and sheriff's deputies, but the silence on our lips is not a confession of disapproval, but rather a constraint of opportunity.
I was made aware of a 'Thin Blue Line' American flag, called a 'police flag', with a blue stripe in the center, by a friend, and went to a local Colorado Springs store and purchased two, along with similarly designed stickers, that I will place on my vehicle's bumper.
I hope our law enforcement men and women, across America, realize that they are valued. And if anyone behind my vehicle sees the stickers, I hope they will comprehend what they represent, and feel a similar sense of pride, regarding the courage and sacrifice all these brave American men and women make, on our behalf, every day. God bless you all.
Squatting is a criminal activity
Colorado homeowners need legal protection against squatters, but SB 18-015 should be amended before it becomes law. Homeowners should not be required to indemnify law enforcement agencies against lawsuits when it comes to evicting squatters.
Do we require car owners to indemnify police when they recover stolen cars or arrest car thieves? Do we require parents to indemnify police when they report a missing child? Do we require sexual assault victims to indemnify police when they report a crime? If it makes sense to apprehend criminals in these cases, why should it be different when it comes to squatters illegally seizing someone's home?
If SB 18-015 passes as it is written, homeowners who need police assistance to remove squatters will be liable to lawsuits for personal injury if excessive force is used, or for nebulous civil rights infringements if the ACLU concocts a novel theory to justify litigation on behalf of transients. Squatting should be treated as a criminal activity, and like all other crimes, the victims should not be required to insulate police from subsequent lawsuits initiated by the criminals.
John B. Roberts II
Impact of easily accessible drugs
I have always been a strong advocate of freedom of the individual. With the same fervor that I support individual freedom, I abhor a paternalistic government. Thomas Jefferson once stated "the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government".
The first clause of this quote is somewhat contentious in the 21st century. The people of this country, at least more and more, are supporting the right to use marijuana legally. I will speculate that the use of marijuana leads to increased happiness for those supporting this position. I believe that marijuana, as with alcohol, can be used responsibly by those who chose to do so. However, all one has to do is walk around Old Colorado City, downtown Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, as well as the various shelters, missions, and soup kitchens to observe the care of many of these human lives is in significant conflict with the freedom and happiness associated with the state's legalization of marijuana.
I believe that the state has marginalized the care of these human lives by easily accessible drugs to aid in altering their perception of happiness, at least for a short time. I do not judge these marginalized people, as I think they are often doing the best they can given their circumstances. I do object, however, to making it easier to numb one's reality and interfere with the motivation to get needed psychiatric treatment and medication, find productive work, and hopefully benefit from those that want to help and support them to have a semblance of success.
As I have become older, I have reframed my meaning of individual freedom to be in alignment with those that benefit my community. Though I still do not condone paternalism, I do support good judgment regarding the best interests of the citizens of this state and our country. Legalized marijuana may be good for some individuals; however, as many have observed it to negatively impact our community, it also may be ruinous for our society.
Public land, energy independence
Sen. Michael Bennett and Rep. Jared Polis recently introduced a bill that would preserve 96,445 acres of wildlife in Colorado. Our public lands are being threatened by the administration, and this bill will help secure those lands and the promise they provide.
About a year ago, the Trump administration withdrew about 2 million acres of protected land in Utah so that coal-mining could take place. He followed up by authorizing offshore oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge- a risky practice in a sensitive environment at a time when oil production is high. The rationale for both changes were the same - energy production. He's enacted these changes while putting a tariff on solar panels to damage the renewable energy market and limit energy growth from solar.
The Trump administration is focusing too heavily on developing nonrenewable forms of energy instead of cultivating renewable options which would provide long-term energy security to our country and communities. While it has historically cost more to extract energy from solar than it has by investing in coal, natural gas, and other nonrenewable options, as of 2016, solar power has become a more financially efficient option than oil or coal.
The simple fact of the matter is that we are able to achieve energy security and reduce the cost of energy for consumers while improving our efforts to conserve our natural spaces in Colorado and throughout the country. Protecting our public lands and creating a sustainable and secure energy future are incredibly important challenges and a challenge we should all advocate to advance.