Man who sparked vast fire got off easy

Re: the April 16 article "Probation for man who started 18,000-acre Arizona wildfire."

Since when is firing a 12-gauge incendiary shotgun shell into an empty soda box on a national forest considered "target practice?"

The article on the gentleman who caused Arizona's third-largest forest fire last year provides an important insight in the gun debate. Twice in the article, Steven Craig Shiflet's actions and those of others who started dozens of wildfires last year were characterized as "target practice."

What were these people practicing?

What Shiflet was doing was partying, and playing with firearms. Incendiary shotgun shells are designed and intended to set their targets on fire by spraying incendiary material.

His "mistake," as his attorney characterized his actions, was not an accident. He wanted to start a fire and he did.

It destroyed 18,000 acres and cost $4.4 million to stop.

When are we going use common sense about restricting gunplay on our public lands?

Roger E. McManus

Biologist, Tucson

Vote out extremist thinkers

Re: the April 15 article "AZ GOP legislators talk communist plots, terrorists."

It is truly disturbing to see that Arizona GOP legislators think our "far reaching and intrusive government" is working to establish communism in America.

This, of course, is not reality-based in the least. It is an extreme and unverified position for Republicans to take.

And we, as the voting public, should take care to vote them out of office at the earliest opportunity.

Extremist thinking has resulted in some of worst incidents in U.S. history - the Salem witch hunts, the extermination of the Plains Indians, Jim Crow, McCarthyism and one of latest debacles, the Iraq War, in which we were led to believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them against us.

Chris Edwards

Registered nurse, Tucson

Rosemont foes wrong on runoff risks

Re: the April 14 article "Battle over pollution rules."

I take issue with the statement that Rosemont opposition is worried that tailings runoff will seep through in large amounts and pollute groundwater.

There is absolutely no proof this will occur, considering the fact that dry stacking will be the method engaged for controlling tailings and that reclamation will begin as soon as possible when design parameters are met.

This means the tailings area will be nearly reclaimed with vegetation before end-of-mine life and there is no way runoff will seep through the tailings in a manner proposed by mine opponents. Vegetation will impede seepage through tailings.

Mine opponents just haphazardly prognosticate a worst-case scenario and defend it as always true or mistakenly assume tailings will be handled the same way as legacy mines south of Tucson do.

Either way, mine opposition has it wrong.

Dave Efnor

Mining engineer, Tucson

Rosemont water issues must be examined

Re: the April 16 article "Another low-runoff year may herald CAP shortage."

This not the first time the "experts" have talked about the dwindling supply of CAP water.

Why don't we hear a bigger uproar over something like the proposed Rosemont Mine? This mining operation will use a large supply of available CAP water, putting about 1 million folks in the greater Tucson area at risk for water shortages.

Are we making the right decision about this mine or is big money talking ?

Bill Atkinson

Retired electrician, Green Valley