Riley Whitelaw vigil, Walgreens (copy)

People lay flowers at the door of Walgreens last week in memory of Riley Whitelaw.

Honoring someone’s memory

Honor those who have died by taking what you loved about them and adding it to your daily life. Their legacy lives on through you.

Tuesday evening, a group of students, teachers, and parents gathered to celebrate the life of Riley Whitelaw, a bright, artistic, kind, confident and genuine young women who was killed recently.

Person after person shared how she had impacted their life. There were students from so many groups because she fit in so many groups. There were those who had just met her this year and some that had known her since elementary school.

Recurring comments about her smile, her artwork, how she had known nothing about color guard, but joined anyway and had been named a captain, how she loved music, how she helped a new student find her way around school, how she knew she could always do just a little bit better, how she remembered birthdays.

So how do we honor her? Daily choosing to live the parts of her life that inspired us. Learn classmates’ names. Maybe smile more as you are walking down the hall. Maybe learn about the band you see on someone’s shirt and ask them about it. Her teachers would appreciate students completing their assignments the way she did or offering to help others.

Nothing will change this tragic loss, yet if Air Academy High School, or any school, isn’t different this time next year, we will have missed a tremendous opportunity to grow and truly honor the way Riley lived.

Nicole Powell

Colorado Springs

Holding politicians accountable

I find it ironic that people are so vehemently upset about the Catholic bishops asking the Catholic politicians that supported the new Colorado abortion law (which now allows abortion up to the day of birth!) to abstain from Holy Communion.

Some have complained, loudly, that “religion has no place in government” and “elected officials are to represent the people that elected them!” I’d like to remind these folks that these same politicians loudly proclaim to anyone who will listen that they are proud Catholics during elections; inferring that they have the same ethics and beliefs as every other practicing Catholic when they obviously do not.

If these politicians wanted to keep religion out of government, they should not be proclaiming they are “good Catholics” on their websites and in political speeches. And, consequently, they should be representing the people who elected them, which includes the Catholic and Christian voters who thought these politicians shared their beliefs, especially about abortion.

So, good for the bishops for holding them accountable. And, unlike Iraq or Iran, these politicians can just quit the Catholic Church without repercussions, except perhaps with their personal conscience.

Michael Golden

Colorado Springs

Guidance of the bishops

Sadly, many of our fellow readers of The Gazette have fundamentally misunderstood the June 6 guidance from Catholic bishops to pro-abortion Colorado politicians. In this open letter, several bishops counseled self-acclaimed Catholics to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until complete with public repentance and sacramental absolution.

Critics of the letter claim undue influence from the bishops in an attempt to leverage Catholic politicians’ faith in the formation of policy, namely supporting unrestricted abortive services.

With allusions to separation of church and state, tax-exempt status and slippery slopes to a theocracy, they are simply missing the point: the bishops are providing guidance on how to live as a Catholic, not how to be a better politician.

Those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith might not understand that abortion is not only anathema to the faith, but also no faithful Catholic may support abortion. Those who claim to be Catholic and pro-choice/abortion are either A) ignorant of their faith tenets or B) consciously dissenting from the teaching.

The bishops’ letter (and offer of individual counsel to these legislators) is an attempt to address both. The bishops are fulfilling their vocational duty by shepherding these lost sheep back to the fullness of Catholic faith.

Roy Recker

Colorado Springs

Rewarding bad decisions

Thank you, Paul Scudo, for your informative article on homelessness. Coming from someone that lived the experience adds credibility as it provides insight and possible common sense solutions that seem absent from most that are publicized today.

It brings back the old position that if you provide incentives for certain behaviors, you will get more of those behaviors. Thus, if you provide free housing and other health and survival benefits, you will get more people transitioning into homelessness.

Going outside the homeless issue, if you forgive students for irresponsibly incurring excess debt, then you will get more students signing on for more debt. This applies to the seemingly unlimited number of “freebies” that the federal government provides to its citizens to reward their bad decisions and/or bad behavior.

The government says that if you are 18, you are the age of majority and thus legally responsible for your actions, be it incurring debt, joining the military, doing drugs, engaging in various behaviors that present a significant downside.

Responsible citizens should not have to foot the tab for the indiscretions (i.e.: stupid and/or selfish behavior), of irresponsible citizens.

Matt Grumann

Colorado Springs

Contact the writer: 476-1600.

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