To reduce wrongful shootings, police can learn from our soldiers

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 4, 2017. It can also be found online here.

Sometimes, police must shoot to keep the peace. When used effectively, this results in safer cities. When done wrongfully, it inflames society.

The question is how police can best wield deadly force. The 2015 Colorado state law mandating local law enforcement report and review shootings is a good start. In Minneapolis, where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman, the acting chief has announced police must turn on body cameras for “any call.”

But this technological solution treats the symptoms of police shootings that countrywide cause roughly 1,000 civilian deaths each year.

The problem is deeper: to reduce wrongful shootings, cops should reinforce an ethical code that, like soldiers, accepts deadly risk as inherent to their professional responsibility. Continue reading “To reduce wrongful shootings, police can learn from our soldiers”

Why veterans do belong on university campuses like UCCS

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on August 30, 2017. It can also be found online here.

I’m a veteran and I belong on a university campus. Both today, as a dissertation student, and someday, as a professor.

Last week a vocal minority calling itself the “Social Justice Collective,” in an unsanctioned newsletter posted on bulletin boards at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, declared this is bad for everybody, that “in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.”

To be sure, like all broad-based groups, veterans aren’t perfect. And this newsletter’s particularly distasteful argument is easy enough to dismiss. But it does provide an opportunity for former soldiers and fellow citizens alike to evaluate and upend some of what this newsletter claims are fundamental incompatibilities. Continue reading “Why veterans do belong on university campuses like UCCS”

Running the Rockies for Colorado’s Riches

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on August 27, 2017. It can also be found online here.

If value is that which is unique and useful, then the Rockies are Colorado’s rarest riches.

I learned this the hard way over the past week while part of a long distance trail running event. Along with 400 other athletes from 17 countries, six Canadian provinces, and 38 U.S. states, I participated in the TransRockies Run, a six-day, 120-mile footrace that featured 20,000 feet of climbing over the Rockies, traveling alongside US. 24 from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek.

While a race like this isn’t exactly for everyone, it does provide an exceptional view into what makes Colorado such a breathtaking place. Continue reading “Running the Rockies for Colorado’s Riches”

What the eclipse reveals about us

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on August 20, 2017. It can also be found online here.

Tomorrow, just before noon, the sun will disappear.

Well, almost. Locally, the partial solar eclipse begins at 10:23 a.m.; at the 11:47 a.m. peak, the moon will cover 91 percent of the sun; and the shadowy show should end at 1:15 p.m. Unless you’re a stargazer or a scientist, you probably weren’t expecting nature’s jaw-dropping three-hour intervention on an otherwise unremarkable Monday. But watching this eclipse gives us a unique opportunity to relearn something important about ourselves. Continue reading “What the eclipse reveals about us”

Keeping Manitou weird

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on August 6, 2017. It can also be found online here.

America is an angry place these days. Politics burn hot on both ends; cable news stokes the fire. Families choose sides, dividing the closest bonds. Arguments abound, and at times, that spirit of animosity can just be too much.

Which is what makes Manitou Springs so different, so distinct – so weird. While most think it’s the pot or the art, or maybe even that residents call each other “Manitoids” – what really sets Manitou apart is an uncommon neighborliness, connectedness, and kindness.

Continue reading “Keeping Manitou weird”

Time to ban downhill traffic on the Incline

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on July 11, 2017. It can also be found online here.

The Manitou Incline’s rules do not prohibit downhill traffic. They should.

On the Fourth of July, I ran up the Incline through a herd of holiday hikers and just below the top a group of six downhillers nearly knocked me off the steep trail. Jarring, but, this was to be expected on a day when I passed 23 people going down in my 24 minutes going up. Continue reading “Time to ban downhill traffic on the Incline”