Adults need to take student safety seriously, finally
When will adults take student safety seriously?
My friend Luis Garcia lived with integrity. He always worked to be the best version of himself.
Today, adults talk about safer schools and ending gun violence. Their words are seemingly filled with authority and integrity. Yet the best versions of these officials can be found in their talking points in the news and social media. Unfortunately, their words have no impact.
At the beginning of this school year, police entered our school with semi-automatic weapons during an active shooter threat. With guns pointed at us, we evacuated and stood on the hot football field. As kids were crying and collapsing, I watched a school board member hand out water to onlookers across the street. He turned his back on traumatized kids while performing virtuous acts for adults.
Our school had another lockdown a few days after my friend Luis was shot. A normalized event, but I no longer felt normal. Overwhelmed by fear and sadness, I hurt because I mourn Luis. And I know every kid going to school right now is traumatized. Every day we wonder and worry if we will be shot next. Every day we watch officials speak about protecting kids, yet we see no change in our lives.
Where is there integrity in action and not just in words? When will the adults in charge stop turning their back on us kids and start actually being the best version of themselves? When will this city take real action to face and fix this crisis?
Saedra Gurfinkel, East High School senior
On March 3, several hundred East High students marched to the state capital calling for stricter gun laws. It is inexcusable that students should have to ask us adults to protect them. I guess I naively think that everyone believes, as I do, that our youth are the most important thing in our country (yes, even more important than guns), and we have an obligation to provide for their well-being.
David Ryan, Montrose
In the year 2021, according to CDC data, there were 20,958 U.S. homicide deaths by firearm. According to the FBI, only 3% of homicides involved any type of long gun. Handguns accounted for more than half of the gun-related homicides. And according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 64 law enforcement professionals were killed by firearms in 2021, a record number since the 1950s.
Fully automatic weaponry is illegal in the U.S. Semi-automatic rifles and handguns fire one round per trigger pull. Rifle magazine and handgun clip limits are popular talking points, but a skilled shooter can replace a magazine or clip in seconds. So, capacity limits will not significantly reduce gun violence. Switzerland has the highest per capita ownership of semi-automatic and fully-automatic weaponry in the world but one of the lowest levels of gun violence. The country has guns but no gun problem. Why?
The goal of zero incidences has an unequivocal focus on weaponry. This singular focus may preclude the rightful consideration of uncomfortable social insights. Mental health issues and cultural influences deserve more attention. Most shooters have known mental health concerns or criminal records.
Mental health care should be aggressively delivered in keeping with the widely recognized increased need. Cultural influences, values, ideas, and customs are determinants of behavior. Gun homicide rates drop dramatically as geography changes from urban to suburban to rural. The cultural environment of core inner cities is worthy of government self-reflection.
Douglass Croot, Highlands Ranch
Re: “Why Democrats left out assault rifles,” Feb. 26 news story
You go, Rep. Elizabeth Epps. Colorado’s Aurora theater shooting, and Columbine High School are sufficient local experiences for us to act. The first state to require gun show background checks, we can again become a national model that helps Sen Bennet, Reps. Negeuse and DeGette move the U.S. Congress where it most matters and right now is unlikely. Meanwhile, we gain these protections
There is and never was sufficient reason for automatic assault weapons to be available to anyone but the military and law enforcement. Gun safety and the numbers killed by guns in Colorado are at last about to be better prevented and managed. And irrelevant. The numbers killed by assault weapons exceed these in all our single events.
Colorado can and must do this now!
Mary Estill Buchanan, Boulder
Editor’s note: Buchanan is a former Republican Secretary of State, a Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, and co-founder of SAFE Colorado, which petitioned and passed the Close the Gunshow Loophole in 2000.
Colorado’s Democratic legislators deserve praise for addressing gun safety with or without a ban on assault rifles: their proposed legislation will most certainly save lives. However, the gorilla in the room is the Second Amendment as misinterpreted by the Supreme Court and the resulting ridiculous number of guns that exist in our country. Countries that treat gun ownership not as a right but as a privilege have a small fraction (generally one fourth to one tenth) of guns and gun deaths and injuries that we experience. Trimming the fingernails of the gorilla is good but getting rid of the gorilla altogether is the only real solution.
Daniel Chilcoat, Lakewood
Disappointing direction for the GOP
Re: “Peters, election deniers focus on state party posts,” Feb. 27 news story
I was disappointed to read that Colorado’s Republican party may choose an election-denying extremist for their party chairman. I am an independent voter and used to split my vote between the parties depending on the individual candidates, their experience, and their stand on issues important to me.
However, in the last election, I voted a straight Democratic ticket. I believe the vast majority of Republicans are decent, honest people but they have let a minority of dishonest, corrupt and racist extremists take over their party. This situation reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” where he stated that black equality’s largest stumbling wasn’t the Ku Klux Klan but the white moderates who saw the reprehensible behavior of the small minority of racist extremists and did nothing to stop them.
I am hoping that the majority of Republican moderates will reject the minority of extremists and restore the Republican Party to something that an independent voter like myself can consider. I would recommend rereading Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” as his words are much more eloquent and inspiring than my attempt at paraphrasing.
Brian Rothkopf, Centennial
Memories of the 1968 “bull crew”
Since the Denver Post and other local media did an excellent job commemorating the 50th anniversary of both bores of the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnel being operational, I might, if anyone is interested, add a few details about the preparation phase for beginning the project, as best I can remember after 55 years.
A day or a few days after New Year’s Day, 1968, the “bull crew,” consisting of five of us and our foreman, began work on getting the 1943 pilot bore into shape for construction. With water dripping on us, we straightened, elevated, and replaced wooden crossties and iron rails that had been installed earlier in the small tunnel. We also attempted to brace up areas where support posts had rotted or collapsed. This was in preparation for getting the pilot bore tunnel ready to use the “mantrip,” a rail car with “motor” at its front, that would transport workers along the pilot bore tunnel.
Electricians, carpenters and others would finish getting the pilot bore ready by putting in lighting, air and whatever else was needed so that three “crosscut” tunnels could be cut to where the first main bore tunnel would be made. We laid railroad tracks in the crosscuts so that core drilling could begin taking a long snakelike sample of the ground the first bore would have to blast through.
Outside work involved working in chest-high snow to lay a pipe to the “dry house,” the place where workers could put on “diggers,” rubberized work clothes. Sometimes we helped unload construction materials in the rapidly filling “yard.” Sometimes we helped in transporting things to the west side where drilling on the first bore would begin on March 15.
I was on the west side when one of our foremen set off the first blast. I was just a face in the crowd under my hard hat, like a host of others who would work on the tunnel at one time or the other. I was only there for a while, but like anybody who has ever worked on constructing anything, it’s a nice feeling to see something you had even a small part in building.
John Dellinger, Aurora
Don’t delay rooftop solar
Individuals nationwide are taking personal responsibility to help fight climate change by installing rooftop solar panels. Judith Kohler’s article described how this effort is being stalled by Xcel’s delay in allowing connections to the wider grid. Xcel was sitting on approximately 4,000 applications to be connected until regulators forced the utility to clean up this backlog.
While the good news Kohler reported was that the backlog seems to have been addressed, the untold story is that Xcel achieved this by simply denying interconnections, leaving homeowners who installed solar panels with no connection. While technology may be a concern, either the two-decade-old rule about substation thresholds that Xcel relied upon needs to be changed or Xcel needs to upgrade its equipment to come into the modern world. Losing this clean power hurts us all.
K.K. DuVivier, Denver
Glenwood Canyon safety? Slow down
Glenwood Canyon is approximately 13 miles long.
Driving a constant 30 mph takes 26 minutes
40 mph takes 19.5 minutes
50 mph takes 15.6 minutes
60 mph takes 13 minutes
Why can’t we all agree to drive 40 mph, “waste” a few minutes, leave approximately 60 feet between cars and eliminate virtually all accidents?
It seems like a small price to pay for safety. Nobody hurt, no damage to vehicles or structures, no road closures or delays. Think we should try it?
John Kleinwachter, Carbondale
Aurora Police Department’s intended use of Truleo’s artificial intelligence programming as an omnipresent “virtual sergeant”– which will micro-manage, evaluate, screen and record every word spoken by each of its on-duty officers — sounds like a brilliant plan. Of course, the city will need to budget money for its next outside consultancy expenditure relating to public safety–the topic being why Aurora can’t seem to recruit or retain police officers.
Peter Ehrlich, Denver
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