Breaking the law with impunity
Any type of firework that leaves the ground is illegal in Colorado.
On July Fourth, Colorado Springs exemplified exactly what is wrong with the United States: people of privilege breaking the law with impunity. Our neighborhoods exploded in a virtual war zone with the booms and blasts of illegal mortars bursting overhead. No one from police or fire departments could be reached since all phone circuits were busy. People were setting off mortars until 3 a.m. Others have been for weeks prior to the Fourth.
Community members as well as the Colorado Springs Fired Department have been reminding us of the dangers that fireworks present — why they are illegal — within our city and surrounding environments.
There are no longer firework stands scattered throughout El Paso County. The states surrounding Colorado have vehemently expressed their mistrust of our drivers because we all must carry marijuana on us nowadays. However, it is not only acceptable for these states to sell illegal items to Colorado residents but also for that product to be smuggled across state lines, used in celebrations by countless citizens of Colorado Springs. Furthermore, the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars spent in a single purchase of these fireworks went to out-of-state interests. Once again, others are capitalizing on the risks presented to us in Colorado. We are the ones paying for the wildfires.
The last thing we need is another Waldo Canyon fire.
Fireworks were once a tradition, being safer in less arid areas. Irregardless of any fond memories, we cannot let our attachments to inessentials get in the way of others having more in their pursuits of safe lives. It is not our prerogative to pick and choose which laws we obey and which ones we ignore. Either we are all safe or none of us are.
The Rev. Ryan K. Nelson
Fireworks a marvelous idea
Observing “safer at home” has its benefits, of course, so trying to get excited on Independence Day was a challenge. Having my morning coffee and reading The Gazette, I decided this was going to be like every other day over the past four months, nothing special.
I finally hung my flag out front, joined by other neighbors. I have felt the turmoil in our country very deeply and wondered, as never before, if I really felt proud of where are country is going.
But then, what a wonderful surprise to end the sameness of the day, were the marvelous, happy, beautiful, “yahoo” yelling inspired fireworks at Patty Jewett I could easily see from my back porch! I put my hand over my heart and mouthed the words to our national anthem. I felt some hope that others like me might get some of their proudness back, their love of country and hope for our future by seeing the fireworks all over our city. What a marvelous idea, and I wish we could do that in the future.
The potential of online learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted aspects of everyone’s lives. But that doesn’t mean that students’ education has to be impacted.
For the past 20 years, I’ve been a teacher. In this role, it is my responsibility to lead the next generation to success, no matter the circumstances. This requires adaptability to any situation. For the past nine years, I’ve taught in an online classroom. As the pandemic continues, I believe that this can be a solution for students to continue their education.
I’m a high school math teacher at Destinations Career Academy of Colorado. In this role, I have the privilege of seeing how online learning can work. Teaching math online allows me to work with students in smaller groups. Hosting breakout groups or even one-on-one sessions with my students allows them to fully understand the material and get the extra help they need.
Online school lets me get to know each of my students on a personal level, which is one of the things I enjoy most about teaching. Students also work together to solve problems, play games, and create a community within my classroom.
With uncertainty about what the next school year will look like, I urge parents to consider the potential of online learning. It provides many in our state with an option to continue learning without disruption. This consistency will provide a sense of normalcy in a world where everything is constantly changing.
That’s the American dream
OK, let’s talk about bias and prejudice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of only nine women out of 552 students in her Harvard Law School class of 1959. Can it be true that, tied for first in her class at Columbia Law School (to which she transferred in her final year, to be with her husband in New York City), she couldn’t find a job after graduation? When she began her teaching career in 1963, were there really only 18 female tenured law professors in the country? Believe it, people.
Did she paint the streets in protest, knock down statues of white men lawyers in our country, throw rocks, burn down buildings to make the point of her unfair treatment? I think not. She persevered, worked years on promoting and protecting women’s rights and, as we know, now sits on the Supreme Court.
The moral of this story: Stop feeling sorry for yourself and blaming this country for every unfairness you perceive. Stay in school, stay out of trouble, get the best training or education you need to succeed, achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams. That’s the American dream. It was true in the 1950s, and it’s still true today.
Concerns about the mumbo jumbo
The Op/Ed on fees in Sunday’s Gazette brought some questions to my mind. Are the fees charged applied for costs engendered by the service rendered or is the revenue generated given to fund some other purpose? If the latter is so then is not the fee in reality a tax despite the legal mumbo jumbo used to justify it?
Why shouldn’t the voters decide how fees should be appropriated as they do now with taxes under TABOR? Will our government servants stand up and answer these concerns?