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Dear Editor,

Toni Smith, a sociology major and basketball player for Manhattanville College, has made an unpleasant name for herself by turning her back on the American flag during the singing of the national anthem. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, she described her action as “patriotic.”

“Being patriotic cannot simply be an empty slogan. … Therefore, any true patriot must acknowledge and respect my right to be different,” she wrote.



In fact, turning your back on the flag is not patriotic. It is a symbolic gesture of opposition to your country in time of war. Nor is this about her right to be “different.” It is about her judgment in opposing her country in time of war.

Toni Smith and other protesters have the right to express themselves because generations of Americans have been willing to die for that flag and what it stands for. Their own disrespect for flag and country is beyond their ability to comprehend the moral and political issues that shape our times.



We will respect their right to demonstrate their support for the genocidal villain in Baghdad by whatever means necessary – in this case, attempting to sap the will of the only power that can remove him. But we will not respect – nor are we bound to respect – their betrayal.

Bob Anderson

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

After reading several letters speculating on where tax money goes if it is unclaimed by illegals, I can point out factually that it is counted as part of our welfare funding. After taxes are counted and doled out, the portion of SSI and welfare funding that is “in the red” for illegal immigrants is $26 billion.

This is paid out (after illegals’ tax contributions are subtracted) by the U.S. taxpayers in benefits. This figure does not include anything other than SSI, health and welfare dollars.

Before I put anything in writing as facts, I do careful research to base my statement on facts only. I do not want to make a blanket statement and then find I was mistaken later. This information comes straight from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Despite being in this country illegally, illegals and their children qualify for WIC, and other welfare benefits under PRUCOL, Persons Residing Under Color of Law. Information straight from INS. For information on WIC, PRUCOL, etc., look under a search engine for these acronyms.

The United States and Mexico are in preliminary talks to merge both countries’ social security systems under a plan that would add tens of thousands of residents south of the border to the rolls and cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Information straight from the House Ways and Means Committee.

I think it would be a sad statement for our wonderful country if no one wanted to immigrate here. I am pro-immigration, if it is legally done. I am anti-illegal immigration and financial support for them.

Marty Lich

Gypsum

Dear Editor,

The Bush economic plan is said to benefit only the rich. Since our taxable income is less than $10,000, we would not be classified as “rich.” However, we do own stocks, due to earlier 401K and IRA investments. So do most of our children and friends, none of whom could be called “rich.” The value of our stock portfolio has shrunk drastically due to an economic slowdown that began during the Clinton administration.

A major element of the Bush plan is elimination of double taxation on dividends, which should stimulate the stock market and benefit many of us who are not rich.

Reducing taxes is painful to politicians and bureaucrats, but is the only sure way of reducing the size of government.

Dick Prosence

Phoenix, Ariz.

Dear Editor,

I can’t believe it … Megan Helm has to pay $200 and serve 60 hours community service for her negligence, reckless driving and manslaughter of five firefighters.

Helm didn’t follow established safety rules. She never should have put that van in drive without enforcing safe driving regulations. ALL occupants MUST be seat-belted! Also, she should not have been eating or “snacking” while driving. Your state patrol stated: “After making a stop for snacks in Parachute, Helm momentarily looked away from the road and lost control of the van.” Did she drop her Twinkie and yank the wheel while retrieving it?

People so disposed to quickly turn their back on personal responsibilities immediately point to a manufacturer for problems. If Ford F-350 15-passenger vans are so prone to roll, how can Ford sell them? Helm’s attorneys stated 424 people were killed by 15-passenger van rollovers since 1990. Considering the number of vans built and operated by thousands of people over all those years, that’s a very low accident statistic. SUVs have a much poorer record; compact vehicles are even worse! Ever heard it said that “Statistics don’t lie, but liars can do statistics.” Whatever works for a defense attorney, right?

Family members of any of those who were killed under Helm’s hand on the wheel should sue her in civil court for wrongful death. She’s already been proven guilty in criminal court … even if the legal system of Glennwood Springs and Colorado are so weak in merely slapping her hand.

David V. Chevalier

Ogden, Utah

Dear Editor,

Thank God we are starting to notice that this “megalomaniac” peace that started in earnest in the ’80s just might not be sustainable, either socially, economically or environmentally. Mostly it is noticed in our choices in personal transportation, and the way we drive. But we can see it in almost everything from the personal computer to the extremes of sensationalistic entertainment.

We are really walking the path of war: The discrepancy between the wealth, and poor, the self-serving, knee-jerk government as a puppet to the powerful, the disregard and ignorance of the balance of nature, and the escapes of reality that abound.

Mostly it is about oil though, as we must have a good supply of really cheap oil to feed our ego-driven excesses as well as our fundamental needs. Iraq sits on the second-largest oil reserve known to man … and we want to secure it. Maybe Saddam is just another oil baron lobbyist; he just isn’t in Washington. If we do not like the raping and pillaging of the drug lords maybe we just need to stop buying their drugs.

Unfortunately, we are hooked on the oil no matter what the cost. The cost is far more than the paltry price we pay at the pump. It will cost us everything that is precious and innocent and good as we know it; that will be our sacrifice. Obviously, gas is not expensive enough yet; notice what we like to drive and the way we drive it. Do we not get that it is the gas pedal that uses more gas? (The harder and more often you push it, the more you use.) The more accidents we have, the higher our insurance premiums are. It is truly a measure of how we think. You or me, versus you and me.

The laws of nature (gravity) will prevail in driving the top-heavy SUV too fast, over 65 mph. It will roll at the first opportunity. The mag chloride won’t make the road safe, like four wheel drive, it just makes you think that it’s safe until you hit the patch of ice… so beware. Let’s slow down!

Ray Brooks

Rifle


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