I challenge Hal Sundin's Jan. 3 column and his opinion that the Second Amendment should be altered or repealed and certain freedoms and liberties regarding firearms should now be destroyed because it would make us safer.
In an attempt to support his position, he resorted to specious arguments.
Specious argument: Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually completely incorrect and fallacious; the opposite of historical, factual and logical.
So many Americans want the actual truth regarding firearms and they simply are not getting it, not from politicians, nor the media, and certainly not from Mr. Sundin. His statements, like others, must be corrected.
I'm deeply disturbed because those who claim such profound knowledge regarding the realities of firearms are actually anti-gun zealots who not only don't own firearms but are totally and completely ignorant regarding their history, use and realities.
Mr. Sundin reports he's a retired structural engineer. What if I said we needed more engineering laws and building codes instead of simply enforcing existing safety regulations? Or argued differences between stainless and high-tensile steel regarding "stress versus strain curve"? I would sound like an idiot because I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. Furthermore, anyone dumb enough to listen to me could die for considering my bad advice. Such is the case with Mr. Sundin.
I've taught firearms since age 15; been a cop, bodyguard, and world-class competitive shooter; held multiple advanced certifications and instructorships; testified as an expert; taught law enforcement, military, federal agents and civilians from all over the world; even appeared on America's Most Wanted. I've counseled people who have actually shot other human beings in self-defense.
I currently sell, repair, build, teach, test, certify and use "all things gun."
If you want the truth regarding firearms, listen you me. Not only is my advice and instruction applicable and appropriate, it's endorsed by the FBI.
Ignore Mr. Sundin. If you want to own and carry firearms for self-defense, do it. It repeatedly and historically saves lives, secures freedoms and defends entire countries.
I write in reference to your good High Country News article of Jan. 8 on oil shale retorting requiring enormous amounts of water. That is true and worrisome.
But even worse, as the Colony Project of the U.S. Department of Interior found in the 1990s research in Parachute, it takes more energy to get "oil" (actually kerogen) out of the rock than is contained in the product. The research was done in a vertical retort, now disassembled. I challenge the good folk at High Country News to research the real history of the Colony Project.
I find it curious and disturbing that, according to The Post Independent, Colorado Mountain College board member Kathy Goudy said that Stan Jensen would not have resigned without the package that he was offered.
It seems CMC's only stated reason for the offer, despite their acknowledging his very excellent work, was that Dr. Jensen was no longer "a fit."
CMC's apparent requirement of silence from Dr. Jensen regarding such makes it sound like the "generous" departure package was at least in part a bribe. Why?
I can only think that the CMC board has something it wants to very desperately cover up. I pray and trust that God will sort this out.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a country that allows its citizens to be arrested without a warrant, then held indefinitely without charges or a trial? What if you lived in a country that conducts global apprehension and incarceration operations and frequently transfers its prisoners to countries known to use torture as a means of obtaining information? What if you lived in a country that routinely carries out targeted assassinations, to include killing its own citizens? How about a country that uses wiretaps and monitors its citizens' email without a warrant?
While many will find it difficult to believe, we live in a country that does everything listed in the paragraph above. It's being done now, not during some earlier period or under some previous administration.
While the PI word limit on letters to the editor does not allow sufficient space to document each of the above, the information is available from reputable resources. If you have access to a web browser, search on a few keywords and judge the validity for yourself. Try "rendition," "targeted assassinations," "warrantless wiretaps," "unauthorized surveillance," "watch lists" and "NDAA."
If you can find time to check on only one of those, I encourage you to at least look at the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress and recently signed into law by the president.
Pay particular attention to Section 1021, which allows U.S. armed forces to detain without trial any person (including an American citizen) who has committed a belligerent act. Then browse the web for comments by members of Congress who voted against this, and read the concerns expressed by others who see this as a violation of our Constitution.
Indeed, each of the items I have listed seems to violate rights that I thought were protected. Yet our representatives and our president appear to have embraced them in the name of increased security. Do they make you feel more secure? Maybe that depends on how much grumpiness you can hide before being incarcerated for belligerence.
January is National Mentoring Month. I have been a Big Buddy in the Buddy Program for the past 10 years, during which time I've experienced fun-loving moments and growth opportunities. At the end of a decade, seeing that my Little Buddy has a true sense of herself and an inner confidence gives me the assurance that this quiet, kind, creative young adult will be just fine in whatever she chooses to do in life. In fact, I am sure she will contribute more to this world than I can even imagine.
Reflecting on our years together, I am reminded of the pure joy of hanging out with a playful, mischievous, silly kid; the birthdays and plays; the focus on school work; and the discovery of art through visiting local galleries and the Aspen Art Museum. Today, it's hard to believe that I am being exposed to what it takes to get into college in 2013.
As a mentor, there were times when I was unsure of my contribution. However, you never forget those precious times spent talking something over together, or how proud it makes you feel when you hear your Little Buddy repeating something that you taught her. Those times make you realize that you have helped with the development of this person's life along the way. Being a Big Buddy adds value to you as an individual well beyond your initial expectations.
The Buddy Program makes our community shine. My friends supported our Buddy relationship, too, which shows the power of this community. Through the Buddy Program, other community members supported us with generous discounts on ski lift tickets, passes to the ARC and event tickets. Countless others supported us on a daily basis with warmth, generosity and access to everything this valley has to offer.
As has been said many times about this program, it's hard to know who gets the most out of it - you, or your Little Buddy. I highly recommend becoming a mentor in the Buddy Program.
For more information, contact 970-920-2130 or www.buddyprogram.org.
Judith Lewis Mernit's Jan. 8 front page article, "Producing more power means using more water," was another example of parroting hearsay about oil shale.
Here are some facts to set the record straight:
• The amount of water needed for an oil shale industry has been studied extensively. AMEC, a Boulder consulting firm, recently completed a thorough study for the Colorado, Yampa and White River Roundtables. They concluded that between zero and four barrels of water per barrel of shale oil produced would be required, considering the various technologies under development or already commercialized abroad.
The high end of the range is for technologies that use coal-fired electric power to heat the oil shale. Most technologies do not anticipate this form of heating, and will use less water. Zero water usage from external sources is possible because water is produced during the processing of oil shale.
• Overall, the AMEC study concluded that 120,000 acre feet of water would be required for a 1.55-million-barrel-per-day oil shale industry.
• The estimated usage for a commercial industry, should it ever evolve, is less than 2 percent of the water in the Colorado River drainage, on average.
• Based upon the AMEC study, oil shale's estimated water usage would be about 25 percent of the water diverted to the Eastern Slope each year. If the unused allocation of water on the Western Slope is not used here, it will either go east to the Front Range or down river, and not yield economic benefits in our region.
• Industry would not be looking at commercializing oil shale if it took more energy to extract it than was produced in the form of oil and gas. The idea is ludicrous.
• The BLM's November 2012 PEIS was not "a fresh analysis of oil shale." It was essentially a republication of the PEIS finished in 2008. But BLM came to entirely different conclusions based upon the same information: namely to stop leasing of oil shale lands and require research on those lands before granting any commercial leases - unlike leasing of all other BLM controlled minerals and oil and gas.
R. Glenn Vawter
It is sad when an auto accident takes the lives of pedestrians, but downright tragic when that accident was preventable, long predicted and entirely unnecessary. The loss of two lives on Highway 65 on Grand Mesa on Jan. 5 is one of those tragic accidents that never needed to happen. And it will happen again.
More lives will be lost until the U.S. Forest Service, Mesa and Delta counties, and CDOT behave responsibly and reduce speeds at the trailhead and build a long-requested parking lot to serve the public at County Line on Grand Mesa.
For more than nine years, private persons and the Grand Mesa Nordic Council have implored the Forest Service and other agencies to rebuild the County Line parking lot away from the highway. Many Nordic Council members have worked long hours with the agencies to get this parking lot project rolling. Nine years is a long time.
In those nine years, the nonprofit, volunteer Nordic Council has developed and improved many miles of ski trails on the mesa; purchased grooming equipment; employed groomers and ski instructors; offered lessons and ski rentals to local children; organized and hosted a citizen ski race series each winter; and provided an outstanding recreation area for locals at no cost.
Anybody can show up and ski or snowshoe at the trails on Grand Mesa, for free; and hundreds do so, each winter weekend. It is a choice ski area, and it is all thanks to volunteer local labor. (The Nordic Council is not publicly funded, but relies on memberships, grants and bake sales.)
Late last summer I drove over the Mesa and was aghast to see that the long-discussed parking lot expansion still was not done. Like many other skiers, I made a call to the Forest Service and talked to a recreation specialist. There was a lot of hemming and hawing. Finally I asked him, "Have you been up to that parking lot on a winter Sunday? Have you seen the overcrowding?" No response. "Someone is going to get killed."
We are grieved and outraged at this unnecessary loss of two precious lives.
I thank you for providing a relatively new columnist, Charles Krauthammer. I had never heard of Mr. Krauthammer until I saw his column in the Post Independent. He provides a different point of view.
And I really enjoyed John Burg's Jan. 7 column on the bridge and downtown traffic problems under discussion. Perhaps, we should vote him into City Council or the mayorship.
Alex De La Garza