How precious life truly is

My name is Maureen Christopher and I recently was affected by the tragic mass shooting that occurred on May 1st. In particular, I lost a dear sweet friend and house cleaner, Joana Cruz. Joana was an angel! I have never met such a dear, kind, happy smiling person as she was. Joana was only in my life for about four years, but I have been deeply hurt by this senseless killing. It has taken me until now to be able to even write about it. In addition to myself, I had multiple friends also very touched by this since, I had turned them onto Joana and they had also become very close to her, especially the women that were at home. You just never think you will know someone killed in these shootings. It reminds us how precious life truly is and how we should all be kinder to one another since you just never know.

A gal named Judy wrote a letter to the editor about gun control and my feeling about that is this: First of all, she did not know Joana or any of the other precious people killed that night.

It appears she used this horrible situation to vent her feelings about guns. What I want to say to that is this all the bad guys have guns. This shooter got this gun illegally and so therefore all the gun laws you want don’t prevent the evil from obtaining guns. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws also has some of the highest numbers of deaths by guns every day. My wish would be that someone in that small house had a gun that tragic night and maybe could have prevented some of the people from being killed.

More importantly, I just wanted to leave the message to the community about what an angelic woman Joana Cruz was. She came here as a young girl from Salvadore and created an amazing life for herself. She worked extremely hard and owned a home, car and had four beautiful children, sadly her two sons died along with her that night. Joana is irreplaceable in every way. The loss is beyond words. But my parting comments to you all is this. There are Angels amongst us, I knew one along with my friends.

I suggest you pay attention and be kind and generous in this life to honor God and to be aware of being blessed by any of his angels here on earth.

Maureen Christopher

Colorado Springs

Stigmatizing mental illness issues

Unfortunately, Colorado has had more than its fair share of mass shootings. Every time one occurs, we hear the same misguided noise. Many politicians and pundits target mental illness as the cause of these tragedies. It is a veritable fact, however, that people who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are no more likely than the general population to commit violent acts. Almost 20% of US adults live with a mental illness.

Furthermore, the legal definition of a “mental defective,” as the Nation Instant Criminal Background Check System refers to it, is based upon arbitrary factors that have little or nothing to do with the current state of an individual’s mental health. This NICS record becomes a permanent revocation of a person’s second amendment rights — unless the individual successfully petitions the court that made the judgment to restore them.

This places the decision of whether or not to restore these constitutional rights not in the hands of a mental healthcare professional, but into those of a judge. Why should someone’s right to defend themselves be stripped due to them having sought treatment for a mental illness? This might discourage people from seeking treatment that may benefit them.

In Colorado, we believe fiercely in an individual’s right to defend themselves, as evidenced by our famous “castle doctrine” law. The stigmatized and outdated way of thinking of the NICS regarding people with mental illnesses leaves some of the most vulnerable people in our society even more vulnerable.

Isaac Furtney

Longmont

Better dementia care support

Caring for an individual with dementia is an emotional and difficult job. The healthcare maze does not make it any easier and as a former caregiver myself, I understand how complicated it is to navigate. My grandmother was fortunate enough to live in a memory care unit but, even then, there were constant miscommunications and flaws in her dementia care ? so much so that my mother and I had to take on caregiving roles that we were not prepared for.

Thankfully, the bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act (S.1125/H.R. 2517) would create a path to better dementia care and address shortcomings in the way dementia care is currently delivered. Better dementia care support would have allowed people like me to more seamlessly navigate the health care and social systems. Because comprehensive dementia care has been shown to reduce costs while providing better quality care, this legislation would also call on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test a payment structure for dementia care management.

It is estimated that nearly 13 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050, so it is critical that we find better ways to care for them. This legislation would do just that.

Helen Sweeney

Colorado Springs

Filibuster is an antiquated procedureI don’t want to name names, but there are a few Democratic senators in Congress who clearly care more about protecting the filibuster, an antiquated procedural norm that lets a minority of senators stop any bill, than making progress for the American people.

It’s hard to understand why, especially when this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass bold, sweeping legislation that could dramatically change American life for the better.

Without the filibuster, legislation like raising the minimum wage, comprehensive climate action, and voting rights actually has a chance of passing the Senate with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House.

I hope that they see this moment for what it is — a rare opportunity to make government work for the American people — and act before it’s too late.

What is power for if not to help people? I’m calling on the Senate to step up and get rid of the filibuster so lawmakers can do what they were elected to do: improve the lives of regular Americans.

Barbara McIntyre

Colorado Springs

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