Eliminate Prison Overcrowding by Legalizing Drugs!

I'm writing about "Big-House Budgets" (Currents, March 22).

I have a common-sense, inexpensive and easy solution to our prison-overcrowding situation: Reserve our prison space for those who intentionally harm others against their will. Not gardeners. Not people who use, produce or sell to willing buyers "unapproved" products.

What message would this send to our children? The same message we send to our children when we allow adults to purchase products like tobacco and alcohol.

A free country's government cannot protect its adult citizens from themselves. A free country's government has no right attempting to do so.

Kirk Muse

A Letter That's Brief, to the Point and Not So Accurate

The fictional article, "Apocalypse Soon?" about Guy McPherson (March 22) would probably be true if everyone used nearly $30,000 yearly for home energy like Al Gore, former vice president.

Richard Humphrey

We Won't Run Out of Oil Anytime Soon--but Open Your Wallets!

Saxon Burns' recent article on Prof. Guy McPherson was interesting speculative reading, but way off base.

Saudi Arabia has provided a majority of our oil since discovery of its large oil fields in 1949. The western tar sands at Athabasca, Alberta, Canada, has nearly 43 times the amount of oil. This will ensure us with a steady supply of oil for more than 200 years, and we will not have to transport it across an ocean. Suncor has been working on this tar-sands reclamation project for the past 10 years and will be in full production as soon as our price of fuel rises above $4.30 per gallon.

Yes, our oil consumption and fuel prices will rise considerably in the next few years, but once we pass $4.30, we will have all the oil we need without all the shipping problems. The myth of "oil peak" is just that--a total myth.

Since "big oil" has record profits, everyone has made the false assumption that the oil companies are making huge profits on every gallon of gas we purchase. In fact, after exploration, drilling, pumping, refining and delivery processes, the companies only average 8 cents per gallon of profit! The government taxes take six times more out of our pockets at 48 cents per gallon. And, no, I don't work for an oil company; I do high-voltage electrical engineering and related consulting work.

It will require energy to heat the oil sands and remove the oil. Most large oil reserves are blessed with a large amount of natural gas. This gas can be used to heat the tar sands, and the oil is released.

McPherson and his band of survivalists will be living in the desert by themselves and still totally out of touch with reality.

D.C. Cox
Physicist/principal, Resonance Research Corporation

Survivalists Need to Learn the Importance of Community

Survivalists remind me of the nuclear-bomb drills we had in the 1950s: Hide under your desks, and that will protect you from radiation sickness. The survivalists underestimate how much we are community before we are individuals, and they underestimate how little it takes to destroy our fragile web of community support, and how much the human community depends on the natural community.

We've had evidence throughout history, and even recent history: World War II exhausted oil, food, electricity and technology for the citizenry; Chernobyl exhausted the world's supply of bone marrow; the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina exhausted the entire government's supply of compassion (but we still have plenty of conservatism left).

Why are we talking about decreasing our carbon output by 60 percent by the year 2050? Unless we reduce our carbon output to zero yesterday, and exponentially accelerate all available alternative energy technologies, there isn't going to be anybody around in 2050.

Maybe nature can create a more caring and intelligent species than ours. That might not be a hard bar to get over, I thought, while listening to Emil Franzi and his dinosaur friends "debunking" global warming in very unscientific terms on KVOI AM 690 recently.

But if you still want to be a survivalist ... do you really know how to maintain a photovoltaic and solar water-heating system without parts and tech support? Do you really know how to grow your own food without help from some sector of the community? And if you're going into hunter/gathering, you might want to talk to some people who are already in that business: Hunter gatherers are starving, because of the way we've screwed up their world.

True survivalists would look for ways of reinforcing instead of divorcing community. Oh, sure, we'd all like to save our own sweet individual asses in a crisis, and that "women and children first" stuff mostly only worked in the movies.

It's kind of sad, in a way.

Dennis Williams

City High Student: Warehouse District Needs to Go

My name is Jared Najar-Young, and I am a ninth-grader at City High School in the downtown area, and my school focuses on place-based learning. My humanities class recently used your article ("Cost Versus Culture," March 1) on the Warehouse District as a starting point to get us all "revved up" about studying this part of town. I thought your article was very well done, but angled at trying to save the Warehouse District. I feel that you have an obligation to provide the facts of both sides and let the reader choose what side they want to be with. I did not see very many pros in the article for the Arizona Department of Transportation completing this part of the Barraza/Aviation Parkway project. Unlike most of my classmates and Dave Devine and Molly McKasson, I am in favor of the highway. I believe it will lessen/eliminate the massive amounts of cars downtown.

I understand that this part of downtown is the artsy area, and truly the best place for the aspiring artists and the "poorer" ones. But the artists moved in knowing that ADOT was planning to make it the last part of an existing highway; that was one of the main reasons the rent was so low, and month to month. Also, the buildings' structures are not in the same shape they were 100 years ago.

If there were a better route for the last part of the highway, ADOT would be building it there. As you can tell, there is another side to this story.

Jared Najar-Young

City High Student: Warehouse District Needs to Stay

I want to express my views on the Warehouse District battle. I think we should keep the Warehouse District and make a bridge over the area that will end at Interstate 10. It would cost a lot of money to do it, but it would be worth it to save the Warehouse District and the artists' lifestyle. There would not be a fight over the stretch of highway, but ADOT probably won't want to spend more money than they have to.

In the end, I am on both sides: saving the Warehouse District and the artists' lifestyle, and finishing the Barraza-Aviation Parkway. Congress Street would not be a commuters' way but a buyers' way. Even though it would be a little more costly, it would be a "win-win" situation.

William Graessle

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