Death penalty against God’s wishes
Dear Editor,
It is not just wishful thinking that states can live without the death penalty. Generally, states that do not have capital punishment have lower homicide rates than states that have capital punishment.

People of New Testament times need to consider what Jesus did when asked about the legality of divorce. Jesus was aware of His present time and of what the law stated, but He referenced a time before the law was ever given to reveal what God’s intentions were/are for humanity (Mt. 19:3-8).

For the sake of our Protestant brethren in Colorado, I promise not to bring up the whole Henry VIII affair, but the example of what Jesus did regarding divorce is also valid for capital punishment. We only need to go back and examine what God did about the very first homicide.
After Cain killed Abel, God put a seal on Cain so that no human being would presume to execute him (Gen. 4:15). Execution is God’s domain – not man’s.

This is the ideal of what God intended/intends for humanity even today. Cain became a wanderer, but society today cannot have killers on the loose. This is why we have jails. Incarceration is enough. The law of love leads one to choose life instead of death.

Until the saints come marching in, and I am not just referring to the ones down in New Orleans, we all have work to do. Colorado, please pray the little prayer at every day, and please abolish the death penalty.

“Society will never learn to respect human life when the state hypocritically kills those who have killed. The violence of capital punishment only begets more violence.”

Let the Coloradoan without sin be the first to put the lethal needle in!

 –Sincerely, Matthew R. Dunnigan, Rome, Italy

Winter, road riding, 550 don’t mix
To the editor,
On my way back to Silverton from the hospital last weekend, I was driving up Coal Bank Pass behind a heavily loaded semi with his hazard lights on, going as fast as he could, considering his load. As the semi approached a right hand turn around a blind corner (one of many on those passes), there was a road biker going around the turn, same direction as us, on the road because the shoulder was covered in plowed snow. The semi had two choices: slow down and follow the biker at a very slow pace and at the risk of being unable to gain speed again until he got to the top of the pass, or move into the other lane to give the biker room while keeping his speed up.

He chose to cross over, and as he was taking the corner in the middle of the highway, a southbound car came around the corner and had to swerve off the road onto the icy downhill shoulder to avoid colliding with the semi.

It was very scary. I know last weekend felt like spring, and we haven’t had much snow this year, but we have enough to cover the shoulders in many places along Highway 550, and ice covers the rest of it. Road bikers on the highway during these conditions puts us all in danger. I know suggesting a ban on nonmotorized use during times of year when the conditions are too dangerous to accommodate road bikers would cause an uproar in the Durango community, but can I suggest simple discretion on the bikers’ part during the winter season? Please consider the safety of everyone else on the road.

– Kathryn Rende, Silverton

Defense cuts endanger security
To the Editor,
The 2013 Defense Department budget cuts military spending by $487 billion over 10 years, which translates into eliminating six Air Force fighter squadrons, cutting 16 ships from the Navy, and reducing the Army and Marine Corps from 180,000 to 100,000 troops over five years.

Our thinking is that future wars will be fought with more high-technology weapons and fewer troops. The problem is we could lose highly qualified military personnel because of the cutbacks. The end result could mean we will have a plethora of high-technology weapon systems available, but lack the quantity and quality of noncommissioned and commissioned military leaders to employ the equipment.

Another $600 billion in defense cuts could be enacted if Congress does not act to change current laws.

Unfortunately, our military strategy might be faulty. Let’s look at a few countries who could be potential adversaries:

- China has a multi-million man army and a large air force. It is upgrading its missile systems and developing anti-ship missiles that could threaten U.S. naval forces. It is in the process of deploying two aircraft carriers and building up its submarine fleet. China seeks to dominate Southeast Asia and wants to annex Taiwan. It is a close ally of North Korea.

- North Korea has a million man army and continues to expand its missile capabilities. It poses a threat to South Korea, and maintains a goal of uniting Korea under its domain. It has nuclear weapons and continues to sell nuclear and missile technology to a number of countries, including Iran.

- Iran threatens the Middle East region with an aggressive attitude and the potential development of nuclear weapons. It has missile systems capable of hitting targets in other Arab countries, Israel and Western Europe. Iran has acquired some submarines and is building up its navy. It has a close relationship with Venezuela and might want to establish a naval base in that country.

- Venezuela threatens South American and Central American countries. President Chavez is friendly with Castro of Cuba, and has developed a military relationship with Russia. He has purchased a significant quantity of arms from Russia and has allowed Russian warships to use Venezuelan port facilities.

- Russia is a Communist country that could still threaten world peace. It supports Iran’s nuclear program, and it is upgrading its land military forces with the latest weaponry and is refurbishing its navy.

Another concern for the U.S. is the potential rise of radical Islamists in a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. As the totalitarian governments in the region fail, they could be replaced with Islamic forces who might implement Sharia law and who could be antagonistic and possibly adversarial to the U.S.

The weakening of the U.S. military with the proposed budget cuts could embolden potential adversaries to expand militarily in their respective regions. We need to maintain a strong military posture to protect our national security and promote peace in the world by deterring potential adversaries from launching military adventures.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, former PO2 and LT, U.S. Navy, Londonderry, N.H.