Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Allen R. Smith

This letter is in response to the person who wrote in anonymously to the Tipsline, complaining about one of the stories in my book, “Ski Instructors Confidential.” In the letter, the writer took grave offense with the Vail Daily for printing the story about a ski instructor and a child’s cap gun. Many of the stories in “Ski Instructors Confidential,” including this one, occurred over 30 years ago. A time of relative innocence, when people didn’t sue each other at the drop of a hat. Before “political correctness” suppressed what people should say or do, for fear of repercussion. Before big business entered into the ski industry and we were all just a bunch of kids doing our best to keep each other entertained under what were sometimes challenging circumstances. Don’t you think we’re all wearing our underwear just a L-I-T-T-L-E too tight if we can’t laugh about what went on during the early days of skiing? Granted, I wouldn’t do many of the things today that I might have gotten away with then. Like most, I’ve become a little more sensitive and understanding to situations in general. Nevertheless, I can’t help but to look back on some of the pranks that we committed as young adults and still laugh. That was our youth. Those are our memories. Such was the intent of writing “Ski Instructors Confidential.”Allen R. Smith Author”Ski Instructors Confidential”What we doI am outraged and amazed at the lack of understanding Matt Zalaznick displays in his commentary “So few police, so many bike trails.” His attempt at sarcastic humor regarding law enforcement looking for “international arms smugglers and Al-Qaida cells” is lost in his pure ignorance of what law enforcement, along with fire firefighters and emergency medical techs, actually do.It is a given that the crime in Eagle County is porportionally smaller than “the big cities.” But don’t fool yourself and think it is any less dangerous or violent when it occurs. The beating, stabbing, or shooting of a person in Eagle County is just as sickening as it is in Denver or even Los Angeles. And the danger of approaching such offenders warrants the same amount of care and caution. For Mr. Zalaznick to make oversimplifictions of the role of law inforcement, especially in the wake of a Colorado Springs officer being shot and killed in the line of duty, is outright irresponsible.The need to hire additional deputies is a matter of safety. Not only public safety, but the safety of those who are willing to risk everything (their spouses, children and themselves) to serve the citizens Eagle County. Unfortunately, that safety is firmly based in politics and money. And it is always going to be like that. It is not based on the amount of tail-gaters, speeders, immigrants or ignorant Caucasion criminals so well exemplified in Mr. Zalaznick’s column. The reality of it is this: When your house is on fire, you don’t want five firefighters, you want 50. When your child or parent is traumatically injured, you don’t want two EMTs, you want 200. And when you’ve been victimized, you don’t want a cop, you want the whole department. No one is getting rich being a firefighter, EMT, or cop. The only reason they do it is to help others. It is unfortunate that it took an event like 9/11 to demonstrate their commitment to others. But as evident in Mr. Zalaznick’s column, some will always be unappreciative to thier sacrafice. But that doen’t matter, because none of them do it for the fame. I am a cop. I am a firefighter. I am an EMT. And when Mr. Zalaznick, or any other resident of Eagle County, calls for help, my brother and sisters in emergency services and law enforcement will come. We will be there regardless of our portrayal in the local press or community. That’s what we do.Brandon Beaudette AvonDidn’t run cartoonI noticed that when the Vail Daily reported the violent demonstrations that were taking place in several cities because of the printing of satirical cartoons about Islam, you did not choose to print any of those cartoons for us to see what the ruckus was about. It’s not only the Vail Daily that chose not to print any of the cartoons; neither did most of the newspapers in America. As the Boston Globe speaking for many other outlets editorialized, “Newspapers ought to refrain from publishing offensive caricatures of Mohammad in the name of the ultimate Enlightenment value: tolerance” But as for caricatures depicting Jews in the most horrific stereotypes, or Christians as fanatics on any given issue, the mainstream press seems to hold no such value. So what has happened? In my opinion, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated. The forefront of the battle against this powerful ideology that is capable of altering basic human instincts is with the American free press. America is fighting an ideology that can turn a mother into a launching pad of death. There was a time when the press was the strongest guardian of free expression in this democracy. There are many stories about courageous reporters within the press corps. I feel that the press has betrayed not only its duties, but its responsibilities. To my knowledge only three print newspapers chose to print the cartoons: the Austin American-Statesman, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Sun. What did they do that the other papers in America chose not to do? They printed cartoons that were at the center of widespread turmoil among Muslims over depictions of the prophet Mohammad. It appears that the media has adopted a new philosophy: If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from covering it, and if the group is pandered to by the media, the media will go through elaborate contortions to justify its abdication of duty. Tolerating evil is a crime. Appeasing murderers doesn’t buy protection. It earns disrespect and loathing in the enemy’s eyes. Political correctness and basic fear form the shackles around our ankles by which the Islamists are leading us to our demise. The cowardly attitude of our American press of not confronting Islamic force empowers and strengthens them to continue to launch attacks on the very freedoms we cherish as they continue their battle against our values and way of life. When we were attacked on September 11the I came to understand that the main reason for that attack was that the Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, and our freedoms. What I never imagined was that the American press – an institution at the heart of those values and freedoms, would be the first to surrender.Mikki FuternickVailVail, Colorado

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