Hate crime laws unequal

Colorado's House Bill 1138, designed to further the understanding, and punishment, of "hate" in our state's criminal proceedings, stands the notion of equality under the law on its head. If I am ambling down the avenue with a friend and we are set upon by bad guys and the penalty for beating up my buddy is twice what it is for beating me up, where does that leave me in the eyes of the law?

House Bill 1138 declares a "pressing need" for state law enforcement agencies to upgrade their reporting of "bias-motivated" crimes. Yet, FBI reports indicate that "hate" is a subjective quality that defies legal definition and offers little prosecutorial ammunition.

Asking a cop on the beat to outguess the entire psychology industry is a fruitless quest for legal precision.

As subjective as the word "hate" is, it provides front-line ammunition for the same controversial political agendas that have nurtured an anti-discriminationism ideology that has ravaged American society. Ask the folks at Colorado's Masterpiece Cakeshop, or Melissa's Sweetcakes in Oregon, or florist Baronelle Stutzman in Washington State, all of whom have experienced state-sponsored hate firsthand.

"Hate crime" legislation is nothing more than a bludgeon to advance highly controversial political agendas, agendas resting on artificial "identities" involving nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and sexuality, all of which amount to a prostitution of equality under the law for political gain. Let's lift the blindfold from Lady Justice so that she may recognize the severe tilt to her scales of liberty caused by that fist full of hate and that drives spurious hate crime laws, starting with Colorado's own hate crime law.

Whitney Galbraith

Colorado Springs

   

Not a health care bill

I can't believe the audacity of the GOP health care plan. What a slap in the face to some Donald Trump supporters, those who need health care. Republicans continue to tout the same mantras: Their bill will let Americans make their own health care choices, and it will reduce costs. Yes, I can agree with them because this isn't a health care bill, it is a budget bill. And Americans will have no choices because they won't be able to afford health care.

Where is the humanity in our government?

In the words of our president, sad, so sad!

Kathy Farrell

Colorado Springs

   

Does not serve us well

Paul Ryan's approach to health care ("Ryan says freedom, not coverage, priority in health care," March 6) does not serve us well.

Ryan recently characterized the "American dream" as "the idea that anyone can make it in this country." Accordingly, all one needs is the freedom to make the choices - and take the risks - necessary to "make it" - whatever "making it" means. Recently, Ryan tweeted this answer: "Freedom is the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need."

This frames freedom as a permissive concept: the freedom to buy what you want, and not what others say you need; freedom to say what you want, even if it hurts others or incites violence; freedom to pollute our air because you don't want to bother with an emissions test or adhere to clean air standards.

This permissive view is selfish. It values the individual good but is indifferent to any greater good. We know freedom has significant limits. Speed limits reflect a greater good of public safety. Free speech is limited by laws against hate crime and child pornography.

What good is freedom if there are no real choices in which to exercise that freedom? What good is free enterprise if one cannot access the education or resources necessary to succeed? What good is screaming "get a job," when the job requires skills one does not have or pays so little that it does not cover child care or health care? Or - to return to Speaker Ryan's adage - what good is the freedom to buy what you need if you are unable to acquire the means to do so? Or, is this a perverse way of saying that you really only need what you are able to buy? Tell that to a cancer virus.

Schuyler Foerster

Colorado Springs

   

Hum, slow or grow?

Ref: Wayne Heilman March 14 Business Pg. B1 and Wayne Heilman March 14 Business Pg. B2. Heilman sure captures attention with these two headlines: "Springs job market humming," and "Area job growth slowed." Talk about having it your way, either way or six of one and a half dozen of another? Clear as a bell?

Jack Flobeck

Colorado Springs

   

Carrier a man to emulate

Thank you, Ray McElhaney, for writing such a touching letter about Gazette carrier Harold Pudder. I was lucky to have known him for many years. I can't express any better what a good man he was, but I think your point about the rest of the world emulating him was so important. Howard obviously took great pride in his job, and he was so cheerful. I will miss his wave and hearty "good morning!"

Kristin Peterson

Colorado Springs

   

Council silent and unresponsive

I was pleasantly surprised with The Gazette's decision not to endorse Jill Gaebler in her campaign to retain her seat on the City Council. I believe, however, that The Gazette was remiss to endorse any of the candidates who currently sit on the council. It and the mayor have completely abandoned the downtown neighborhood residents who were devastated by the hailstorm of Aug. 29.

It is vital to the city's interests that they protect residents' properties when it is clear that the catastrophe was not a random "act of God" or weather incident beyond the city's control; the city knew about its faulty mains as this same event had happened before (in 1995). After the event, some city officials were responsive to our phone calls seeking information only to have them arrive at our doors with the words "immunity" on their lips. Currently, however, mum is the word from the council and city. This current council has shown itself to be silent and unresponsive to any of the Shooks Run neighborhood concerns, abandoning us to worry about how to prepare for another event "when" - not "if" - it should happen again. For the incoming council, hopefully made up of new members, the mains in the downtown Shooks Run neighborhood need to be addressed promptly.

Chip MacEnulty

Colorado Springs