Heidelberg
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A Romanesque open amphitheater near Heidelberg, Germany.

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Looking inside ourselves on violence

Dr. Elizabeth Kubla Ross studied Holocaust survivors after World War II. She wrote and published numerous books on the subject of death and dying, and her formulation on the stages of loss (grief) are still held as a standard. She was asked a question how the Holocaust happened at a symposium I attended with her years ago.

Her answer was plan, direct and simple. Here’s what I heard her say: We all have the capacity to do harmful things. Some have a greater capacity than others, but it is everyone’s responsibility to monitor and control these impulses. There, you have the answer. It comes down to personal responsibility. We have to be responsible for what we say, feel and how we behave.

What is happening in the United States is frightening and concerning. We are certainly not near anything like prewar Europe, but the winds carry whiffs of the past that are dangerous to our freedom and republic.

Vilification and scapegoating groups of people based on where they live, country of origin, religion, or color identifies and separates them. Judgment follows that they are different from “us.” Lines are drawn, further judgments are made and differences turn into good vs. bad. Dehumanization comes: What kinds of people come from s...hole countries? What people would live in rat-infested cities? Well, one does not have to go too far when our elected officials wink and nod and give permission to vilify and degrade by innuendo. The innuendo fades quickly and is replaced by overt chants of anger, cruelty, and oppression. Then, it’s OK now, for that is the new norm. This is what happened in 1930s Germany.

Across the Altenbrucke (Old Bridge) in the beautiful town of Heidelberg, Germany, there’s a mountain. And on that mountain is a trail translating to “The Philosopher’s Way”. On top of the mountain are ruins of a ninth-century monastery. Thirty yards from the monastery, on the side of the mountain (circa 1933) is a Romanesque open amphitheater where other rallies were held with the same messages we hear now at political rallies around the country. Go there someday and listen to the shouts of the ghost of hate.

I don’t know where our country is going or how we as a nation will look in several years, but I know we would be better off taking Dr. Ross’s advice and looking inside ourselves and ask if this is the legacy we want for our children.

William Zautke

Colorado Springs

We need common-sense gun laws

I don’t want your guns. Or at least, I don’t want your hunting rifles or handguns. Your assault weapons should never have been considered guns, and I want them banned. I do want every gun owner to register their guns, take a safety course, store them unloaded in locked cabinets. I want gun owners to go through background checks, and anyone with a history of domestic violence or a felony should not own a gun.

And yes, of course, we should be putting more money into treating mental health in this country. But that isn’t enough. And yes, we need massive education on the effects of violent games and programming, and parents to intervene. And yes, we need a president who doesn’t espouse hatred and laugh at jokes about shooting immigrants. But that isn’t enough. We also need common-sense gun laws.

If you love the Second Amendment, then you’d better come up with something that works. Because us leftist, pinko, communist snowflakes (and whatever other insults you choose to call me) have had enough!

Peter Westcott

Carbondale

Freedoms are not without limitations

During the late 1700s when our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment, the musket was the weapon of choice. With a capacity of one round that took about 20 seconds to reload, there is no comparison to today’s rapid-fire weapons that hold 30-100 round magazines. Our Founding Fathers had no idea we would have weapons like the AR-15 and the AK-47. I think they are looking down at us, shaking their heads, saying, “If only we had known — we would have worded that one a little differently.”

Our freedoms are not without limitations. Freedom of speech does not mean one can say anything at anytime; freedom of assembly has plenty of restrictions. I am tired of the old arguments conservatives make about gun control. Liberals do not want to take away your guns. We want common-sense gun laws and we want them now. When will enough be enough?

Military assault weapons should be in the hands of the military, not the public. High capacity magazines should be outlawed. There should be a licensing process for the purchase of a gun, and we should have laws that allow authorities to remove guns from the mentally ill.

No law will stop mass killings, which are fueled by hatred and mental illness. But reasonable gun laws will help. Each of the lives lost in mass shootings matters. Each of the victims was cared for and loved by family and friends. If reasonable gun laws can save some lives because a future shooter isn’t able to work as quickly, it matters. We have to try.

Beatrice Dalloway

Colorado Springs

Protect the future of our city

Recently, a concerned citizen wrote a guest opinion to The Gazette related to the nonprofit community being part of the homeless and drug problem in our community. I agree, as a caring community, we are creating our problem. We are allowing our community to become another U.S. city where we tolerate public urination and defecation on our streets and the homeless flourish making upward of $100 tax free per day panhandling and/or committing petty crimes. Many Colorado citizens believe they are helping but in reality, the handouts to the street people don’t help. Often they use the money to purchase illegal drugs, cigarettes and booze. Many alleged homeless travel hundreds of miles to Colorado Springs. Why you might ask — the reason is there are so many 501©(3) nonprofits, “do-good organizations”, that encourage and protect them.

Recently, one of my neighbors told me he witnessed an ostensibly homeless young woman, pull up her dress, and urinate in one of the downtown flower pots. Do we want our city become another Los Angles, with over 50,000 homeless, here public defecation, and more are common? I think not. Now is the time to put in place local public officials and policies that will prevent that occurrence. We as a caring community offer far too many “freebies,” and we are contributing to our demise as America’s Olympic city. We must protect the future of our city. “Hand up, not hand out.”

Willie H. Breazell Sr.

Colorado Springs

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