Don’t confuse me with the facts

To the editor,

What is it about science, evidence and facts that so many conservatives vehemently oppose? Is it that the facts are just not available or within easy reach? No, we have the interweb. Is it that when presented with the facts, Republicans are too stupid to grasp the obvious? Not all of them. Is it possible that when presented with evidence that may contradict their ideology or world view, conservatives would rather simply choose to ignore reality and believe what puts them at ease? Bingo! Ding ding ding!

Specifically, the ongoing witch-hunt against Planned Parenthood. Don’t just take my word, do your own research. Google “what is Planned Parenthood guilty of” and then follow and read the results. Here’s what you’ll find.  

In July, the Center for Medical Progress began releasing selectively edited videos of Planned Parenthood staff members discussing the health-care provider’s fetal tissue donation program. Anti-abortion advocates immediately began accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting off the sale of fetal tissue, which would be illegal. Multiple investigations were launched in congress and in Indiana, Georgia, South Dakota and Massachusetts. They turned up no evidence that Planned Parenthood was doing anything other than receiving legal reimbursements for the cost of processing the donations.

To conservatives, this is inconvenient to their inflexible dogma, so it must be denied. Damn your liberal truth! Don’t confuse us with the facts! Unfortunately, a lie told often enough becomes the truth. Example: Bush kept us safe (except for 911.) 

In its defense, Planned Parenthood is asking that equal scrutiny be applied to the Center for Medical Progress, the group that filmed the controversial videos. Democrats have called for a federal investigation, alleging the group used fake forms of identification in the course of making the videos and also deceiving the IRS and its own donors as to its real mission. 

I read an absurd right-wing rant (complete with the usual lies, inaccuracies and ignorance) in the Herald, suggesting that liberals pay for Planned Parenthood since apparently only women who vote Democrat would ever use the health care they provide. I’m on board. Tax me. But then to be fair, lets allow the families of the many mass shooting victims to sue the state government in which the tragedy occurred. Through higher taxes, all registered Republicans will pay off the lawsuits for all the victims of gun violence in their state and all registered Democrats will support Planned Parenthood. Problem solved.

– Bill Vana, Durango

(Editor’s note: The following is a poem submitted for Veteran’s Day by our regular poetry contributor, Burt Baldwin, of Ignacio.)

The Wilderness for Christopher deKay

May 4th, 1864

Dear Mom,         

Hope this letter finds you well.

Please give my best to sister Lilly and Pa.

We marched today due south

toward what they call the Orange Turnpike.   

Colonel Fowler says that he is proud

to lead us against the separatists.  

We are to engage the enemy tomorrow,  

so I am writing this now and will fold it up

carefully, keeping it close to my heart.

Sometimes I want to cry for this war is such ugliness.

Crying is best done in private while at the latrine.

Enough of that!

The countryside of Virginia is beautiful

and we are bivouacked in a wooded area.  

It looks like it may rain and the morning dew

has left the air sweet and soft to the smell.  

It reminds me of home.  

There are a few critters out here,

some rabbits, deer, and I happened upon a coon.  

Our New Jersey 15th Volunteers

is made up of a great bunch of boys,

some of which are from Somerset

and one of them knows Uncle John.

I am in Company A which is made up

of several fellow Flemington lads.  

General Hancock reviewed us yesterday

and we “hurrahed” our colors for the ole boy!  

Last night I saw some flashes to the south,

I guess they are softening up the lines.  

I am going to take a short stroll through the woods

and enjoy God’s many creations while I can.

Please let Pastor Raymond know I am saying

my prayers!

– With deepest love, your son Allen

Mental illness not the only trigger

To the editor,

I am writing to respond to a letter printed by Dennis Pierce in the Oct. 5 issue. As usual Dennis takes a very complicated issue and puts forth over-simplified solutions. The issue here is gun violence. 

Maybe the biggest argument that Dennis puts forward is that, in his words, “It is safe to say that the majority of the problems have to do with those that are mentally unbalanced.” Depending on the source, between 2 percent and 10 percent of all gun-related homicides are carried out by individuals who have a mental illness.  Much more commonly, people with mental illness are the victims of gun violence. One study points out that you are much more likely to shot by a friend, relative or acquaintance than someone with mental illness. 

I think Dennis has a good point about the tax on every box of ammunition. That is common sense. And maybe some of that money needs to be spent researching how other countries have reduced gun violence (not just mental illness).  This is a complicated issue that needs due diligence and strength to fix. It’s hard to pinpoint how effective gun laws actually are due to so many factors. That doesn’t mean that we should give up and let those who would do bad things with guns get them legally and easily.

– Nico Foster, Durango

86’ed from tenant rights meeting

To the editor,

There were notices in the papers regarding a meeting on tenant issues at the Durango Public Library, on Mon., Nov. 2.  Nowhere in the notice did it say this meeting was exclusively for tenants. The attorney giving the talk, hired by  tax dollars, insisted that I leave because of my occupation. Without drama, I left stunned and humiliated.

If the attorney had taken the time to know me, she would have found out as a rental manager for almost 20 years, the amount of free months of rent I humbly gave away (which I have never made public until now).  Last year, from September-November, I fed and received no rent, not even a “Thank you” card, from an indigent that fell on hard times. I used to work cleaning rentals he managed from 2001-05. I offered my upstairs private apartment last month to a Christian Syrian refugee couple. The list goes on.

I believe this attorney at the library thinks that people who manage rentals are the enemy. I know plenty of others in my profession who have donated their spaces. Most recipients are grateful. A lot of lease holders have created horror stories too. It takes a thick skin to do my job.

– Sally Florence, Durango