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The business of saving lives

I am frustrated that positive change occurs too slowly. Before the next mass shooting occurs, I would like the state of Colorado to clarify or modify state requirements protecting our youths from violence. I want to know in the commitment laws, what defines immanence? If left to evaluators, why can they not define the term? Is the only way to separate violent individuals from their guns or other lethal weapons the sometimes enforced universal background checks that will only list a prior M1 commitment for lethality or criminal charges?

Why do evaluations performed for violent threats, behaviors consistent with planned future violence such as stockpiling, and family/ provider reports of grave concern not have either an immediate action step nor a record kept? Why do mental health programs exist without a complete system of care for conditions associated with lethal risks that demonstrate fidelity to evidence based models of care, a continuum of treatment methods preventing death to self and others so that as the individual’s brain capacity for healing varies, so does their treatment?

Why are some organizational systems’ compliance staff interpreting Colorado law such that mandated reporters are allegedly required to have an existing Release of Information to DHS/law enforcement to initiate the mandated reporting and requests for health and welfare checks? We are in the business of saving lives. Please, in the name of Sandy Hook’s children, giddy-up.

Michele Betts Shultz

Colorado Springs

Limiting the health insurance tax

Sen. Cory Gardner stepped up on an issue vital to Colorado’s small businesses and working families, the health insurance tax. This tax directly raises premiums, and Sen. Gardner has co-sponsored legislation to keep it on hold for two more years.

If his bill passes, it would be a great relief. My company employs 60 people and even with the health insurance tax suspended this year, our health plan is my third highest expense and the only one I have no control over. I’ve consistently seen annual premium increases of at least 16 percent, and for the last three years, it’s been 20 percent. If the health insurance tax returns in 2020, it will cost me an extra $25,000. That’s money I don’t have.

Even as I spend more each year, my contribution represents an ever-smaller percentage of the premium, so my employees are forced to kick in more. Their burden will only get worse with the health insurance tax dipping into the funds I have available for wage increases and other benefits. Many small businesses are expecting similar impacts, so the health insurance tax will harm working families statewide.

I’m in the business of helping doctors manage payments, so I see health care issues from all sides — and no one is happy about the health insurance tax. It raises costs and undermines Coloradans’ shared goal of expanding health care access.

The health insurance tax should definitely remain on hold. Many thanks to Sen. Gardner for working to make that happen.

Andrew Graham


Could our status be worse?

We applaud The Gazette for printing Robert Blaha’s letter! (Feb. 5) We regret he didn’t have more words or ink to give us more detail. Could our status be worse? Look back to 1776 when Edward Gibbon published “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” In a succinct summary he describes some of the reasons why Rome fell.

• Debasement of currency — try our $20 trillion debt on the books and $200 trillion off books

• Disregard for ethics and morals

• Dissolution of family and family values

• Costs of maintaining military legions across the world — look at our war costs in life and treasure

• Excessive taxes on ‘producers,’ note — not simply rich, but folks who made stuff

We make no comparisons nor moral judgments; but quote a famous historian. Each of us can examine his or her heart, mind, and conscience, to see if we care enough to protest.

Jack Flobeck

Colorado Springs

The worst of both worlds

Until the relative ‘use culture’ of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana is recognized, we will not be able to make informative decisions about the many questions regarding recreational marijuana.

As our citizens, political leaders and various law enforcement and health agencies wrestle with the many tangents of recreational marijuana, they must first take into account the relative ‘use culture’ of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. The ‘use culture’ of a product is how a product is used, when a product is used and the frequency of its use.

The legalization of recreational marijuana was promoted and primarily legalized on its economic, social and mental impairment comparison to alcohol. The ‘use culture’ of recreational marijuana, however, is more like that of tobacco while the mental impairment element is more like that of alcohol. Recreational marijuana is more likely to be used before work and school, during a break or between classes, at lunch and on the way home and after school or work. The ‘use culture’ of recreational marijuana accounts for it being the ‘worst of both worlds’ (alcohol and tobacco).

Ron Johnston

Colorado Springs

Should be thankful for Hispanics

As far back as 50 years ago, it was economically viable for Mexicans to come to the U.S. because of the currency disparity. Duh. Republicans who could afford it hired cheap Mexican labor — big money for Mexicans.

In the meantime, everyone looked away from the working classes. We are seeing the fruition of this moral ignorance in full bloom today. Now it is the Democrats who have become morally relative.

Ironically, Tom Brokaw was wrong. Mexicans/Hispanics shouldn’t have to assimilate, Americans should. Americans should be thankful for their southern neighbor: Mexico is a Christian country, and the people are family oriented. They might keep America grounded. Just don’t let their lesser imports over, around or through the wall.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

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