Posts Tagged ‘colorado’

Vaccination Education in Colorado

March 24, 2014

The Denver Post reports that legislation to encourage Colorado parents to have their children vaccinated has been approved by a committee of the Colorado House of Representatives.

A measure to better educate Colorado adults on the benefits and risks of vaccinating their children was approved by a House committee late Thursday.

The Health and Environment Committee’s 9-2 vote came after several hours of testimony, which at times blended into a debate over parental rights.

To date, Colorado kindergartners have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Current state law requires only a parent’s signature to claim a personal, medical or religious exemption from vaccination, with the majority of exemptions for personal reasons.

State Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, said he wants to make sure parents have all the information on vaccinations and “that they’re not just opting out simply because of convenience.”

Pabon’s bill focuses on the personal-belief portion of the law. It would require parents to complete an online-education course that discloses the benefits and risks of immunization if they choose to opt out for personal reasons.

Moreover, it would require parents to submit to schools a statement of immunization exemption that includes a signature from a doctor or representative of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“There are kids who can’t get vaccinated because they’re immuno-compromised and are being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. To add on top of that, older populations that have medical conditions are also at risk,” Pabon said. “We just want to educate parents.”

Some parents are skeptical of the need for vaccines, fearing that vaccines carry their own risks, while others simply don’t want to be required to take these extra steps for exemption.

Dozens of parents and doctors testified Thursday at the state Capitol both in support and in opposition to Pabon’s bill before the House committee.

In Colorado, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 85 percent of kindergartners entering elementary school in the fall of 2012 were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR. That was among the lowest percentages. Mississippi and Maryland had rates near 100 percent.

Shawn Kelley and his wife, Susan, spoke out against the measure, saying their daughter received a “vaccine injury.”

“She had a brain injury from her MMR vaccine when she was a year old,” said Kelley, noting that the federal government confirmed the injury, and he presented the information to the committee.

Kelley said his daughter is also on the autism spectrum.

“For those people who say they’ve never seen any causality or anything like that, I would disagree,” he said. “This can lead to mandatory immunization.”

The argument by some that the bill makes vaccination mandatory was rejected by several lawmakers.

“You can still make the decision to not immunize your child,” said Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, a member of the committee.

Vaccination of children is important to Tom Birge, who has seen his daughter — now an adult — suffer through measles and mumps several times, because she has primary immune deficiency disorder that prevents her immune system from fighting diseases prevented from vaccines.

“She’s frequently sick, because people didn’t just get immunized,” Birge said.

I’m of two minds about this. I believe that the decisions regarding the welfare of children must rest with the parents and that the state ought not to usurp the role of the parents. In other words, it is not the role of the government to raise people’s children. Yet, the anti-vaccination people are endangering the health of not just their own children but other people’s children.
Vaccination is not completely safe and harmless. Nothing in this world is. There is no known scientific evidence that suggests any sort of a link between vaccination and autism, despite what Jenny McCarthy might assert. It is possible, however, that Jenny McCarthy is right. It is also possible that there are other health problems that vaccination may cause or make worse. The question is not whether vaccination is one hundred percent safe and effective. Nothing is. The question is whether vaccination is better or worse than the alternatives. Would you rather have your child face a one in a million chance of getting autism or one in a hundred chance of getting measles and dying.
It is a testimony to the effectiveness of modern medicine, including vaccination, that many people seem to have forgotten that “childhood” diseases like measles, mumps, or diphtheria are serious illness that can be fatal. The complacency that this success has engendered threatens to undo all the hard work that researchers have done to bring these diseases under control. This measure from Colorado is a step in making sure this doesn’t happen.
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Sheriffs Against Gun Control

December 18, 2013

I read in the news this week that there are some county sheriffs in Colorado and New York that have decided to refuse to enforce the stricter gun control laws that their state legislatures have passed. The story can be found in the New York Times, but I first read about it in Charles C. W. Cooke’s article on National Review Online. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times story.

When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he “maybe” obtained afterward.

He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference.

“How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?” he asks.

Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.

Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.

The resistance of sheriffs in Colorado is playing out in other states, raising questions about whether tougher rules passed since Newtown will have a muted effect in parts of the American heartland, where gun ownership is common and grass-roots opposition to tighter restrictions is high.

In New York State, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed one of the toughest gun law packages in the nation last January, two sheriffs have said publicly they would not enforce the laws — inaction that Mr. Cuomo said would set “a dangerous and frightening precedent.” The sheriffs’ refusal is unlikely to have much effect in the state: According to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, since 2010 sheriffs have filed less than 2 percent of the two most common felony gun charges. The vast majority of charges are filed by the state or local police.

In Liberty County, Fla., a jury in October acquitted a sheriff who had been suspended and charged with misconduct after he released a man arrested by a deputy on charges of carrying a concealed firearm. The sheriff, who was immediately reinstated by the governor, said he was protecting the man’s Second Amendment rights.

I really hate to say it but Andrew Cuomo is right and these sheriffs are wrong. While law enforcement does have some discretion in making priorities and allocating resources in  enforcing the law, they do not have the authority to decide what laws they wish to enforce, nor may they refuse to enforce laws duly made by the legislature. In our republic  it is the legislature’s job to make the laws and the judiciary’s job to decide on their constitutionality. If the people do not like the laws that the legislature makes, they can petition the legislature to change the laws or they may change the legislators, as has already been done in Colorado. By acting as they are, the sheriffs, however well intentioned, are setting a precedent for the replacing of a country governed by laws and the constitution into a country governed by the whims of despots. I might add the fact that the chief law enforcer of the country, the President, has been deciding for himself what laws to enforce may well be considered grounds for impeachment, however politically impossible it may be at this time. These sheriffs are making themselves part of the problem rather than the solution.

Sore Loser

September 13, 2013

Two Democratic State Senators in Colorado were recalled this week. They had supported tougher gun control laws for Colorado and their constituents didn’t like it. At least that is the explanation that seems most likely. Naturally the Democrats have a different take on the matter. Naturally their policy on gun control couldn’t possibly be unpopular in a state like Colorado, especially in the rural parts of the state. Their defeat has to be the results of the nefarious NRA which spends millions of dollars to prevent popular gun control measures from being enacted. This couldn’t be the results of a fair election. It must be massive voter suppression.

I got an e-mail from Debbie Wasserman Schultz on this very subject yesterday.

Friend–

Yesterday, I tweeted about how people had a hard time voting in the Colorado recall election, and wow did the Republicans blow up my Twitter feed. They think that Democrats are angry because “dead people and illegal aliens” weren’t allowed to vote.

I’m not angry, I’m disappointed. Voting is a basic American right — maybe the basic American right — and right-wing special interests like the NRA and the Koch brothers poured a lot of time, effort, and money into this race as court battles made it harder for (very much alive) Coloradans to cast a ballot in this week’s election. We know that when voting is made harder, Democratic turnout is driven down.

We’re not going to let this stand. That’s why we’ve launched the new National Voter Registration Project to ensure that what happened in Colorado doesn’t happen again, and why I want you to be a part of it. Add your name today.

The Colorado recall was defined by blatant attacks on our democratic principles. Colorado voting laws allow mail-in ballots to be automatically sent to voters, and in the election last November, 74 percent of Coloradans used mail-in ballots. For the recall, due to obstruction, voters weren’t allowed to vote by mail and didn’t even know where to vote in person until two weeks before the election.

These efforts were able to depress voter turnout. Now they’re saying that what happened in this election is a preview of what’s to come in 2014.

I don’t know about you, but I’m taking them at their word.

Add your name today, and together, let’s stand up for the right to vote:

http://my.democrats.org/Right-To-Vote

Thanks,

Debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

Read the sentence I put in italics. I wonder if Debbie Wasserman Schultz really understands the implications of what she wrote. If making voting harder causes fewer Democrats to get out and vote, what does that say about the people who generally vote for Democrats? Are they too lazy to get off their couches and travel to a polling place to vote? Are they too stupid to find the polling places?

Well if that is what Debbie Wasserman Schultz believes about their base, I won’t argue the matter with her. Personally, I think voting should be made harder. I don’t think that it is too much to ask for voters to vote at polling places where their actual physical presence is required along with an ID to prove that they are who they say they are. Voting by mail or through the Internet so obviously facilitates fraud that I have to believe that that is the intention of anyone who supports such measures.

Naturally, there are people who may be unable to actually vote at a polling place, either because of some handicap or their schedule does not permit. Exceptions should be made in such cases, but in general, if you are able to go to a polling place to vote but choose not to, then you are not taking the matter seriously enough and your vote should be suppressed.

 

More Foolishness about the Aurora Shootings

July 24, 2012

 

 

The day before yesterday, I suggested that people, especially politicians not use the shootings in Aurora Colorado to push their political agendas.  But, being politicians, they can’t help themselves. Its what they do. I was mostly concerned with gun control advocates, but people on the other side can say stupid things too. Witness the statements of Congressman Louie Gohmert.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.

During a radio interview on The Heritage Foundation‘s “Istook Live!” show, Gohmert was asked why he believes such senseless acts of violence take place. Gohmert responded by talking about the weakening of Christian values in the country.

Gohmert also said the tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter. Istook noted that Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.

“It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.

I am as much an advocate of second amendment rights as anybody, yet I have to question whether it would have been a good idea to start shooting in a darkened, crowded theater, not knowing precisely what was going on. It seems to me that someone trying to stop the shooter would be more likely to hit a bystander.

On the other hand, have you ever noticed that these sort of events never happen at gun shows, or police stations, or really, anywhere where there are armed people who are prepared to use their weapons? It seems that although Colorado allows concealed carry of firearms, the city of Aurora is more restrictive and the theater chain did not allow guns on the premises. Is it possible that the shooter considered these factors when choosing where to strike?

What rep. Gohmert may not understand is that the purpose of bearing arms is not really to engage in shootouts, but for deterrence. Honest, law-abiding people arm themselves in the hope that they will not have to use them. The idea is that one is less likely to be attacked if the assailant knows his potential victim can fight back with deadly force.

Moving on, Mayor Bloomberg continues his streak of idiocy by suggesting that the police go on a strike for gun control.

One of the few points that President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on is that they’re both determined not to let gun control become an issue in the election, despite Friday’s theater shooting in Colorado. However, their attempts to dodge the issue have only emboldened Mayor Bloomberg, who was rather bold to start with. After warming up on Monday’s Morning Joe, Bloomberg ended the day by suggesting on Piers Morgan Tonight that law enforcement should take a drastic stand on the issue. “I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike,” Bloomberg said. “We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”

Earlier, Bloomberg said, “I think there is a perception among the political world that the NRA has more power than the American people. I don’t believe that.” However, there’s evidence that the NRA isn’t the only impediment to passing stricter gun laws. The New York Timesreports that support for gun control has hit a new low. An October Gallup poll found that gun control laws were less popular among people of all political persuasions, and for the first time a majority (53 percent) opposed banning semiautomatic guns and assault rifles. Representative Peter King told the paper, “The majority of American people are very attached to their guns. They look on any attempt to regulate or control them as an infringement.”

 

First, such a strike would be illegal in most jurisdictions. The police may not endanger public safety by going on strike and allowing criminals to rum rampant, and I cannot believe that many police officers would be so unprofessional as to agree with such a course of action.

Second, Mayor Bloomberg really suggests that the police blackmail the public into supporting policies it does not want. The tide of public opinion on this issue has shifted dramatically against gun control in the last two decades, which might be why Bloomberg is so eager to suggest extra-legal methods to achieve the policies he wants. Ultimately the precedent set by such a police strike might end in a situation in which the police have first say in every piece of legislation, hardly a democratic method.

Finally, and here is the important point, note carefully Mayor Bloomberg’s idea of the relationship between the police, the government, and the people. To him, it seems that the problem is that too many people are armed, and likely to attack the police. He makes no distinction between criminals and law-abiding citizens. All are equally under suspicion and no one should be trusted to defend themselves. When you consider also his incessant nanny-statism, it is clear that Mayor Bloomberg’s America is an America composed of lowly serfs who are incapable of caring for themselves and who must be grateful that their betters take an interest in saving them from themselves. There is the real evil.

 

 

Colorado Couple Thought They were Millionaires

April 14, 2011

I would probably have a heart attack if this happened to me.

The Spragues–a retired couple in Pueblo, Colo.–have better reason than most of us to ponder the old saw, “easy come, easy go.” For an exhilarating hour or so last weekend, the Spragues opened up the Sunday paper to discover that they had won more than $4 million in the Colorado Lotto.

There was just one problem, however: The newspaper had printed the wrong numbers.

They took their sudden rags to riches to rags adventure fairly well, though.


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