Channel 13 in Colorado Springs reported local reacation on the Obama administration possibly relocating Gitmo terrorists to the Supermax prison in Florence. The reporter interviewed two women that are residents of Florence. One woman is the local library director and the other apparently was a woman on the street. Both women expressed complete comfort with the idea and said they believe the facility itself and the staff are quite competent to take on this unique set of inmates. The news anchor commented that Florence residents are in favor of bringing radical Islamic terrorists to their town because it would create jobs. The question is not whether we can have confidence in Supermax and it's courageous, highly trained personnel. None of the criminals there have escaped and threatened me or my neighbors, and I don't even worry about that happening. However, I am not in favor of bringing terrorists to Colorado or any other location on our mainland.
Gitmo was put in place to keep such people away from the general population because they pose a serious threat and a clear and present danger. The people they align with and want them free are also a threat. While I adamantly disagree with the President's decision to close Gitmo and then toss around several ideas as to where in the United States these criminals will end up, I especially think Colorado is about as poor a choice as could be made.
Governor Ritter is in favor of bringing the inmates here. Residents need to consider the fact that the Colorado Springs area has been considered a possible target for terrorism, especially since 9/11. In addition to Ft. Carson, Cheyenne Mountain AF Station, the Air Force Academy, Peterson AF Base, Schriever AF Base, we have Homeland Security and several large defense contracting firms. This area could become even more of a target if we house terrorists that no one else on the planet wants. Our governor should put the safety of our people first, ahead of any political consideration.
Several years ago I was employed at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City. We provided medical care to inmates at the various prisons that was outside the capability of the prison healthcare units. As part of our ongoing training, we were made aware of the fact that violent criminals have families and friends that come in and out of the area to visit inmates. In addition, people that have an unfriendly attitude toward a prisoner also come and attempt to enter the prison to visit. Of course, visitors are screened and may be turned away, but they are in the region, spending time in our communities. If a very violent inmate required hospitalization or emergency care, extreme safety measures were mobilized to secure the safety of hospital employees and the surrounding neighborhood and community at large. The possibility of a friend or family member possibly trying to stage an escape during transport or while the patient was receiving medical care was anticipated, with appropriate planning put in place. If we house radical terrorists in prisons in Southern Colorado, and our new policy dictates that we are more sympathetic toward them, will we not be forced to allow these prisoners to have visitors? If they ask to have the privilege of visits from families, friends and religious leaders, will we have the ability under new guidelines to deny those privileges? Given the new policy directives, we will at a minimum allow them to meet with legal counsel. Would we not also be required to allow them to have visitation rights similar to other inmates? The question then becomes, do we want the friends and associates of terrorists coming in and out of our state?
Congressman Doug Lamborn has spoken out against this proposal and if you agree that our state should not take on the responsibility and possible additional terror threat, write to President Obama and Governor Ritter, and also write to Congressman Lamborn and others to support their efforts to take this possibility off the table.
Contrary to the newsclip on News Channel 13, the support expressed by two residents does not amount to a concensus that everyone in the area welcomes the Gitmo Jihadists to our great state. Having lived in Canon City, I know many people there and in Pueblo who are not in favor. This is an important debate and our readers that feel strongly one way or another have an opportunity to participate in the discussion. If our voices aren't heard, they aren't given consideration.