We’ve lost our way

The results of conditions of migrants at our southern border were released by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security this past June. The report revealed rampant overcrowding. A few examples from the report: 76 people in a cell designed for 12; 155 people in a cell designed for 35; 41 in a cell for eight. Officials found people standing on toilets just to find air to breathe and detainees in standing-room-only cells for weeks! The report warns of the spread of illness and detainees turning violent as the result of horrid conditions. Instead of responding with empathy for these shameful conditions, the administration made things even worse in June by announcing the elimination of education, recreation and legal services for unaccompanied migrant children in US custody. It is important for Americans to remember that many of those detained at the US Mexico border are not doing anything illegal. They are fleeing gangland violence and persecution in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. We have a whole history of allowing people with legitimate claims of violence and persecution to be admitted to this country and being allowed to become citizens. In my opinion, we have lost our way as a country the way our government is treating these unfortunate people. We have a president who appeals to his base by denigrating immigrants. I appeal to my fellow Americans to not become complacent about this unconscionable issue. Let your representatives and the president know that treating migrants in this way is not acceptable and is un-American. Urge them to work toward a path to citizenship for the far majority, who are good people, just seeking a better life. My wife and I are proud to display a bumper sticker on our vehicles that says: “Immigrants Make America Great.”

Tom Heffernan

Ridgway


I want to ride my bicycle

After a fatal bicycle crash, it is important to have a conversation about safe cycling. When a cyclist is hit and killed, it is easy to say, “Biking is so dangerous. We need to get those bicyclists off the roads!” At the Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance, we believe otherwise. We believe it is possible to ride smart, be safe, and significantly reduce the risks.

Start by being visible, predictable and defensive. Be visible by riding on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic, and using lights at night. Be predictable by following the rules of the road, by defensively “driving” your bicycle as you would any vehicle.

Feeling fearful about cycling? Consider the data. Less than 20 percent of all bicycle crashes involve an automobile. Of the bike/car crashes, fault is split 50/50 between the motorist and the bicyclist. Of the crashes caused by the bicyclist, most are the result of the cyclist disobeying the rules of the road, i.e. failing to yield when exiting a driveway, blowing a stop sign, or riding opposing traffic. Of the crashes caused by the motorist — such as the left or right hook — when a motorist turns in front of a cyclist, the cyclist can help prevent these by being visible, with their lane positioning and by being defensive, according to League of American Bicyclists.

Don’t let this recent death make you swear off bicycling. Montrose has excellent bicycle facilities and many low-volume streets providing access to most parts of town. If you would like to become more empowered and confident on your bicycle, the Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance offers educational opportunities including the Smart Cycling 101 class this fall via the Red District (see our website for class listing, www.montrosebicycle.org). We hope to see you out there on your bicycle.

Tammy Zamoyski and

Bevin Barber-Campbell

Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance

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