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Islam is evil and sinister

Dear Editors,

Based on experience while working in a Middle Eastern country, I see Islam as a dark, evil, sinister political system used by ignorant clerics and greedy dictators to empower and richen them, while keeping their followers in ignorance and poverty. Because democracy is such a threat to their power and wealth, they lie to their followers to turn them against us. I see Islam as a far greater threat to freedom and human rights than communism or Nazism ever was. Islam has contributed nothing to the betterment of humanity in over a thousand years. The success of Western Civilization drives Islamic leaders nuts with frustration and anger because it exposes Islam for the social and political failure that it is.

Ignorant men, living in isolation, reading one and only one book, over and over, in their lifetime, are enslaving women and sending ignorant young men to kill us. The Islamic dictators have got to go, but what comes next is worse, and they have their greedy, tribal selves to blame for that.

On the bright side, we humans, worldwide, are an inherently decent bunch. We get along quite well when we ignore the political and religious dictators who try to turn us against one another. Remove the political and religious overburden that turns us against one another and we do just fine together.

Happy Independence Day!

Tom Harman,

via e-mail

Prevent the hijack of the HD's

Dear Editors,

I would like to take this opportunity to express the concern I have for the proposed drilling of gas wells in the HD Mountains and the devastating impact it will have on pristine roadless areas in the San Juan National Forest in Archuleta County.

It appears that the National Forest Service is willing to disregard existing environmental protections and bow to the greed of the oil companies who, with the unyielding support of the White House, have a fast track to approval. Rather than protect the very essence of their being, the USFS is ensuring the destruction of virgin, uncut, old growth forests. By the development of some 36 miles of roads in an area of approximately 12,700 acres, the very existence of archaeological ruins, dating back more than 1000 years, hangs in the balance.

During the long-term drought, water is far more important to our future survival in the desert southwest than the petty amount of gas that will be extracted from these wells during their brief 10+ years of 4 productivity. For this short-term gain, the USFS is willing to sacrifice the quality of the water wells of all residents and ranchers in the area by submitting to the pressure that the current president and his administration are applying for the development of these gas wells.

To put into perspective the magnitude of the impact to our public lands the drilling will create, I have accumulated these facts: the roadless area, which is in the crosshairs of development and where 36 miles of road will be cut into virgin, uncut forest, is approximately 12,700 acres (19.8 square miles). The City of Durango is 9.6 square miles with 68 miles of roads. Can you imagine how forever changed the forest will be with road density more than a quarter of a city's?

The impact of this development will be felt personally too. The DOW GMU in which I hunt will be turned into a noisy, polluted, almost completely deforested wasteland. A piece of heaven on earth turned into another dump at the hands of our government.

Jennifer Burck

Pagosa Springs, CO

Lessons from Los Alamos

Dear Editors,

Robert Evans, as he attacks the Friends of the Animas Valley, seems confused about what a representative democracy, a republic, is.

He would perhaps be enlightened by a visit to Los Alamos Nuke Cityfor all its other faults a heartland of representative democracy, a town where the actions of elected officials are watched carefully and where voters weigh in almost with malice when they feel elected officials fail to, well, represent them.

It all began in the 1960s, when the once-secret city ceased being government turf and became a town in its own right. The PhDs here, fed up with too much government intervention in their lives and used to being on the front lines of fighting the Cold War, took to heart their responsibility to set up a town in the finest traditions of the American way. Thus, the combined city/county government is guided by a charter that allows voter intervention at literally every level, up to and including the right of citizens to force an item onto the council agenda with a mere five signatures on a petition! Similarly, county actions can be brought before the voters with comparative ease. The town's founders put great faith in the ability of a well-informed, well-educated populous to get it right; they crafted a city government based on the work of this nation's founders. They did not view public opinion as an annoyance, but a necessity, an investment in avoiding later controversy and frictiona lesson Durango might well learn.

What Evans forgets is that the purpose of a representative democracy is for elected officials to execute the will of a majority of the people, not vote their own opinions or the opinions of this special interest group or that. As thingsstand in Southwest Colorado, from the observations of this fifth-generation former resident, it would appear that everyone from most of the Fourth Estate (present company excepted) to elected officials are by and for the developers and land speculators. By my measure, Durango is more oligarchy than representative democracy as each and every elected official whistles the same tune.

What does Evans have to fear, that Durango voters may not be as easily influenced as a handful of officials? That representative democracy is breaking out all over the place?

I suggest he may want to come on down to Nuke City and talk to a few county council members, make that "former" county council members who forgot that they serve by the will of the people and then received a wakeup call both when the voters turned back a pro-growth development they had approved and then turned them out of officethat is the councilors who didn't have sense enough to not seek re-election to begin with!

But this all leaves me wondering about the fate of a nation, whose very roots are based in populism and representation. Why do so many work so hard to keep the people from participating in THEIR government? Pathetic!

- Kathleene ParkerLos Alamos, New Mexico

The Death Ride revisited

Dear Editors,

We enjoyed your article about the history of the Death Ride two weeks ago, and we're glad that you publicize such unrecognized events and the riders who perform such challenging feats. However, there were actually eight riders and not six. The two missing from your article were Dave Pickett-Heaps and Dan Bryan, who are non-locals from Summit County. These two guys traveled a long way to do this ride. We know this is just an informal ride and not a race, but I think they still deserve some recognition, especially since Dave did the full 228 mile ride solo, unsupported and in 16 hours. Congratulations to all eight of the riders for their big accomplishments!

Helen and Greg Bruckbauer

Durango, CO





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