Friday, July 8 2017
More than 120 people filled the dining hall Friday night at the Golden Age Center for a town hall surrounding the controversial issue of Guantanamo Bay detainees being transferred to one of the prisons in Fremont County.
The people who showed up were clear about how they felt as the consensus was a resounding no.
The town hall was hosted by the Americhicks, Molly Vogt and Kim Monson, radio personalities based out of Denver. However, Friday night, the two were accompanied by a camera crew who was working with ABC World News.
Monson said ABC had approached them wanting to do a story after ABC saw video from the previous town hall they had completed about nine months ago.
“We thought people needed their voices heard,” Monson said, adding that ABC’s story is giving the people here in Fremont County that opportunity.
The concerns many people voiced at the town hall surrounded the safety of the community, the economy and the legality of the issue.
State Sen. Kevin Grantham said in one of the opening comments that the entire issue surrounding Guantanamo Bay detainees is simple because the transfer of GITMO detainees is illegal.
Rob Fountain of Colorado Springs attended the town hall because the concern about the issue seemed obvious.
“When we have a pathogen…we keep them isolated. These are the hardened, well versed, well practiced guys. To give them the opportunity to infect the civilian population, even the jail population, is unacceptable,” Fountain said.
Others present also spoke about how the community could become dangerous if GITMO detainees were brought here.
Some pointed out that it would not be the detainees in the prison who were necessarily dangerous, but the families, friends and advocates of the detainees who would follow that would be the danger to the community.
Others discussed what the transferring of GITMO detainees to our community could do to the local economy.
“This is a tourist town,” Ethan McClaugherty said.
McClaugherty questioned what would happen if these detainees and any who follow, particularly those who would want the detainees free, would dare to attack the city.
He said people would not want to come here for fear of their safety.
Others in attendance posed questions, such as if those detained at GITMO are considered military prisoners, should they be guarded by the military.
And the end of the town hall, Vogt said that the issue being discussed is an emotional one.
“It’s because it’s our community,” Vogt said.