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Letters to The Platteville Journal for July 9
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Dumpsters aren’t free

On the first weekend in June, the Friends of the Platteville Municipal Auditorium worked to clear the stage of the auditorium in the Municipal Building in preparation for an overlay to the existing stage floor. To facilitate this, a large dumpster was placed on Third Street, next to the building.  With a great deal of assistance from Rolling Hills Church Members, we were able to clear the accumulated debris from the stage area.

The Friends of PMA recently received the bill for the use of the dumpster, along with the disposal of the items within the dumpster. Much to my dismay, I discovered that we were being charged for a microwave and printer that someone else decided to dispose of in our dumpster. As you may or may not know, appliances and computer parts are not allowed in landfills. We were charged an additional $23 for these items being placed in our dumpster.

While this may seem like an insignificant amount of money, the Friends of PMA is a small group of citizens dedicated to the restoration of the Municipal Auditorium for use as a community resource. We have a very limited budget and are doing this restoration using no taxpayer dollars.

I am hopeful that the person or persons who put their microwave and printer into the large dumpster on Third Street during the first weekend in June will read this letter and send a check payable to the Friends of PMA in the amount of $23 to reimburse us for this expense. The check can be mailed to 670 Lancaster St., Platteville, WI 53818.

If you are not that person or persons who utilized our dumpster for the disposal of your microwave and printer, please know that putting these items in any dumpster is not free to the person or group who owns the dumpster.

Cheryl Schmieder
President, Friends of Platteville Municipal Auditorium

DNR vs. your rights

To all citizens of the U.S. who believe in freedom and your constitutional rights: Here is a case where a man has been denied both.

First, let’s start by informing you that a Department of Natural Resources warden does not have the right to take your gun from you if you are not hunting or doing anything wrong. This would be your right to bear arms.

This is a case where a man was minding his own business walking his fence line when he was approached by two trespassers dressed in orange. After a short conversation the two men told him to give them his gun. He said no. This is where it all went bad. This is when they physically ripped the gun out of the man’s hand. And why? Because he said no?

It was found out later that these two trespassers were wardens. The wardens are not used to being told no. This is not a reason to physically disarm someone who was not doing anything wrong. According to the court both wardens said that the man struck one of them with the butt of the gun. Well, they had to come up with something better than we don’t like being told no. Really? If that had been the case, this man striking one of them with the butt of his gun, this would have been a whole other case, like assault and battery. Neither one of those charges were brought up. I wonder why. It never happened.

Secondly, let’s talk about the right to defend yourself. After the wardens unlawfully disarmed this man, they drew their guns on him, then he drew his back. So are you telling me that if you are unlawfully stripped of your gun and two unlawfully active wardens are aiming their guns at your head, you don’t have a right to defend yourself? “The right to defend yourself if your life is threatened” — look it up!

I sat through the whole trial from start to finish. I have to say I was surprised by the verdict. I am trying to figure out how 12 U.S. citizens sat through the same trial and came up with two guilty verdicts out of six. I ask myself is it because of our compromising society — he had six charges we should probably give him something — or maybe it was in our society.

How educated are we on our rights? How many of us truly know our rights, and if you do, are you willing to stand up for them? To put it simply, this man was a U.S. citizen carrying a loaded firearm on his own land doing nothing wrong. I truly think if the judge wouldn’t have made a motion that this man couldn’t use the Second Amendment or self-defense as part of his defense, this man would have been not guilty on all six counts.

So remember all U.S. citizens know your rights and stand up for them. If we don’t stand up for our rights, how many rights do you think we would have left? This fight is not just for one man and his rights; this is for all U.S. citizens who want to keep your right to bear arms. So far the outcome of this man’s fight is saying that he did not have the right to bear arms. We as U.S. citizens can’t let this happen. These two wardens should be held accountable for their actions. This case is far from over.

Jamie Stietz
Editor’s note: Robert Stietz, 66, Gratiot, was sentenced to one year in prison and three years extended supervision May 28 after he was found guilty in a jury trial of resisting or obstructing an officer and intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer. Stietz was found not guilty of one additional count of resisting or obstructing an officer and intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer, and one count each of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon.

Blame Bush?

What is it about Obama that, no matter what he does, we have people still blaming George W. Bush?

I was reminded again of this fact when my husband casually asked a friend if he was liberal or conservative. His “no comment” spoke volumes, but the answer came when he started bashing Bush. After President Obama just released five “high level terrorists,” all this person could come up with was, negatives on Bush.

John Kerry and Hillary Clinton both try to reassure us that our boys won’t have to fight these five again. Well, golly gee, these five are not called “high level terrorists” because they are foot soldiers. They are the planning committee! Obama wants us to believe this “deserter” is a hero! What is that saying to the other brave young men, who did not walk away, and to the families of the six brave men who dies trying to find him?

When President Obama invited the parents of the “deserter” to the White House, the father, with the president’s approval, gave a blessing in Arabic, dedicating the White House to Islam! Saying a prayer to Allah at our White House, and no outrage from Christians?

It’s not as if we didn’t have red flags flying on day 1! But most chose to ignore those red flags! My question: Will our God still bless this country?

Sharon Richter

Send money to Dems

My mailbox is filling up with slick flyers from groups like “Citizens for Prosperity” which are trying to get me to believe that thanks to the efforts of Gov. Walker and Rep. Howard Marklein, Wisconsin is doing great. “Citizens for Prosperity” is a group that gets its money from the Koch brothers, and of course Walker’s taking an axe to the middle class and public education has left guys like the Koch brothers prospering like never before. Funny, though, the same week had a report stating that Wisconsin was last in the Midwest in job creation the last three years — even Illinois had better job creation.

The purpose of this letter is to point out that democracy and fair elections is under attack from these richly funded efforts. I would suggest to your readers that one way to respond to these efforts is to send a check to people like Dick Cates, Ernie Wittner and Mary Burke. The game of politics has changed and voting is no longer enough. It takes money from citizens like ourselves to fight back against these outside groups. For example, Rep. Marklein is reported to have received more than $70,000 from these outside groups for one vote — his vote to end the Mining Moratorium.

In closing, Gov. Walker recently released a report on all the jobs his administration has created that listed “scout masters” as created jobs. I wonder if anyone could tell me where I go to apply for one of these well paying scout master jobs?

Charles T. Steudel
Mineral Point

Government and war

Has six years of war changed our commander-in-chief’s perspective from that of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient to one of a war monger? His saber rattling over Ukraine and effort to rekindle America’s flame for war in Iraq concern me. His actions also create an issue for the congressional election. Will voters elect candidates who support or oppose military action in Iraq? Let’s consider some typical justifications for war in Iraq.

Should we protect Iraq oil fields? Their loss would affect us less than the Iraq oil embargo of the Gulf war. U.S. oil production has increased 49 percent since 2008 and we now produce 86 percent of the oil we consume. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates U.S. production will increase from 7.4 million barrels per day to 9.2 million in 2015. Some estimates indicate the U.S. will be energy independent by 2020.

Should we fight for Iraqi freedom? The 2013 Global Slavery Index estimated 29 million people were enslaved worldwide. Of 160 nations ranked for slavery, Iraq was ranked a free nation at 104th, with 30,000 people enslaved. The U.S. ranked a little better at 134th, but had over twice as many enslaved, 63,000.

Is ISIS military strength a threat? ISIS — Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or “Islamic State” — is a loosely organized group of Sunni militant fighters who took over communities that supported ISIS political and religious beliefs. They implemented Sharia law and some reports indicate Shiites, Christians, and Jews who rebelled were executed. Unlike organized armies, to sustain themselves they pillaged weapons and supplies left from previous conflicts. Their strength is miniscule compared to Saddam Hussein, who had the fourth largest mechanized army in the world.

Should we protect American business in Iraq? Our military personnel take an oath to defend our constitution, not business. Would you die for business? If big business wants foreign interests protected, I suggest they send the politicians they’ve paid for, starting with those who disregard our constitution.

My conclusion: With more than 6,700 U.S. military deaths in the war on terrorism, I see no reason to justify additional loss of life in Iraq. Besides, do the war mongers currently in Congress or running for Congress propose we do anything different to change the outcome this time?

Bill Laurent

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.