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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

I found Mr. Rogers’ comments in Quick Takes – “Climbing fool …” – very inappropriate and offensive.

It is true that backcountry travel is best undertaken with capable companions, but it is not unusual for experienced travelers to accept additional risk to spend a few days alone in nature.

By all reports Aron Ralston was an avid and experienced outdoorsman fully capable of accomplishing the trip he had intended. Yes, he made a serious mistake in not filing an itinerary. But for the editor of the Vail Daily to call him a “moron,” a “dope,” and to equate his intelligence with that of an ox is repugnant.

The only additional costs associated with not having an itinerary or traveling companion were born by Mr. Ralston in the form of extended pain and suffering. Mr. Ralston self-rescued, walked himself onto the helicopter and into the emergency room, and likely saved taxpayer dollars. Had a friend or itinerary brought help it would have been in the form of a full-scale rescue with possibly dozens of rescuers and medical personnel.

Is he a hero? Certainly the actions he took and the courage he displayed in saving his own life were heroic.

Is he a role model? Damn right he is! He enthusiastically embraces the outdoor lifestyle most of us moved to these beautiful mountains to enjoy. He had the guts, determination, and strength to save his own life when many would have lain there and accepted death.

And on the very day Mr. Rogers’ tasteless opinion was published, Mr. Ralston faced television cameras, just days after his ordeal, with smiles, a joke and an enthusiastic determination to get back outdoors.

Mr. Rogers you owe both Aron Ralston and your readers an apology.

Bill Hendon

Edwards

Fanfare unmerited

Aron Ralston’s story.

Impressive.-

Two words: No itinerary.

I’m not anywhere near as experienced as he is being in the backcountry, but even I know that rule number one is to tell people where you are and your expected return time. Rule number two: Never go into the backcountry alone.-

While we lavish all this national and international praise and attention on Aron – who I’m sure is a nice guy and all – let’s remember that for someone who’s been on the N.M. Mountain Rescue Council and was pursuing the Aspen Mountain Rescue membership, he evidently believes that these common sense rules didn’t apply to him. They do. Regardless of his experience. Either this or he has a death wish. In either case, he was reckless, period.

If I were him, I’d be embarrassed for how stupid I’d been.

I’d also argue that even though we don’t live in a world where many of us face the kind of predicament he found himself in anymore, we all have the capacity to do pretty much whatever it takes to stay alive just like most people are capable of killing in certain contexts. He didn’t do anything that most of us wouldn’t have done faced with the same situation. Maybe that seems inconceivable to some readers, but it’s true.

Ordinary people stayed alive for months marooned in the Andes after their plane went down by doing the inconcievable. It’s not that remarkable, but it makes a great story for the media.

The president of Aspen Mountain Rescue was quoted in the piece as saying “Even if he had 100 people with him, would that have made a difference? Probably not. If someone else was there he would have just suffered less.”

Um, yeah. Brilliant. Isn’t that the point? He may’ve even come back in one piece.

Tim Moffet

Vail

In memory

A heartfelt thank you to those who attended the Vail Valley Public Safety Personnel Memorial Service hosted by the Vail Police Department on May 5.

The words of Pastor Carl D. Walker summed it up when he stated, “if you asked most of the residents and guests of our community, they would tell you they feel safe.”

The feeling of safety and security should not be taken for granted, and we should feel that we are fortunate to live in a community where we can feel this way. When there is a problem, we dial 9-1-1 and help is on the way immediately.

The police, fire, medical and 9-1-1 dispatch personnel give every day to ensure the highest quality service is provided to our community. There have been four individuals in the history of Eagle County who have given their lives in the call of duty. We should be grateful there have only been four, and give thanks for the ultimate sacrifice they gave to us while protecting our community.

I would like to thank the following people and organizations that helped make the memorial service a success.

Joel Best, Craig Bettis, Bill Clausen, Kris Cureau, Kelly DeCloux, Frank D’Alessio, Eagle Valley Library District Historical Society, Robert Ferri, Moses Gonzales, John Gulick, Pat Hamilton, Carolyn Hausam, Dwight Henninger, Andrea Holden, Joe Hoy, Kathie Hughes, Brian Jordan, Mike Knox, Gilda and Werner Kaplan, Jeff Layman, Dave Luke, Charlie Moore, Christian Mohr, Fran Micka, Caroline Puntenney, Buz Reynolds Jr., Lynn Savalas, Brenda Schultz, Wendy-Mee Stewart, Ryan Sutter, Mike Vaughn, Dave Vroman, Carl and Ruth Walker, Linda Wolz, Steve Wright.

Joe Russell

Administrative Commander

Vail Police Department

Tipsline defense

It’s time to respond to all those who think that Tipsline is a bad thing and that all persons who express an opinion should identify themselves.

Freedom of expression, in my opinion and many others’, is not only an American right, it’s a universal right. Yet what deters freedom of speech? Retaliation, harassment and persecution exist, and are a legitimate fear among those who express an opinion. We’ve even seen it happen admittedly in the school district. (I’m not picking on the school district. Retaliation happens all over.)

If one looks at some of the letters to the editor where the writer has criticized someone who has used Tipsline, the letter writer seems to want to retaliate against the Tipsliner, not just what the person has said.

I personally believe that we have a right to express ourselves without fear of retaliation, and if this means that someone expresses an opinion anonymously, so be it.

I have yet to clearly understand and accept the rationale of newspapers that even require letters to editor writers to put their name on the letter, or even be identified. I would go so far as to call it unAmerican and undemocratic. If someone wants to identify themself, great. If not, so be it.

The publisher’s excuse that has floated around the country for decades that it has had to do with libel and slander issues just doesn’t hold up. Libelous Tipsline comments will not be published, as far as I know, nor would a libelous letter to the editor statement.

I challenge people who disagree with anonymous opinions to direct your energies to what is said, not who is saying it. You’ll have to think harder, but you’ll be a better person for it. I commend the Vail Daily for providing a safe forum for people to express themselves.

I would also like those who oppose Tipsline to present a rationale for their opposition. I have yet to see an intelligent argument against it.

Michael G. Gallagher

(Not the commissioner)


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