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Matthew Davis

Denver

A smoking deal: Wow, could it be another holier-than-thou diatribe from our favorite shrill liberal (and I mean that in the worst possible way), Westword editor Patricia Calhoun, regarding the evils of guns? If Westword is so concerned about saving lives, how about issuing a moratorium on tobacco advertising? Last I checked, cigarettes kill about twenty times as many Americans per year as firearms. Oh, I forgot -- that might be something that would actually involve taking a real stand on something that could affect your bottom line.If nothing else, please spare us the maudlin closing line: "And the blood, like the traffic, flows on." Is Steve Jackson ghostwriting for Calhoun this time?

JR Armstrong

via the Internet

One last potshot: After reading the letters in the May 18 issue, I have to ask: Why do pro-gun people always respond so violently to an opposing opinion? Just wondering.Joni Brown

via the Internet

People who read people: I enjoyed Juliet Wittman's story on Ed Bryant, "Fright for Life," in the May 11 issue. Although Bryant is the author of horror stories (and proved it with his very scary "Doing Colfax" piece printed in the same issue), I found the article very enjoyable reading. Westword should publish more stories about this town's more noteworthy people!Renee Rodriguez

Denver

Crime shockers: I thought it was interesting that you had Patricia Calhoun's obviously biased anti-gun column in the same issue as Ed Bryant's story about a woman being abducted and murdered (with a screwdriver). I suppose in your mind, if the woman had a gun and prevented her own murder, she would be a "gun nut." The facts are that there are hundreds of thousands of cases each year in which guns prevent crimes. This is not propaganda; I've checked the stats at the library (a place I suspect few Westword reporters frequent). If guns aren't useful for preventing crime, then maybe police should not carry them on and off duty. I'm glad that the truth about the effectiveness of concealed-carry laws is coming out, despite biased news sources like Westword.

David Collins

via the Internet

The parent trap: Eric Dexheimer's tragic story in your May 18 issue, "The Mother Country," illustrated very well what so many of us have had to learn the hard way. If your life is empty, it is not a child's duty to fill the void. If you are not at peace with yourself, you should not be a parent. Jordan Ryan

via the Internet

Privacy, please: As the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) since June for the minor child mentioned in Eric Dexheimer's "The Mother Country," I was shocked and dismayed to read her real name published in your magazine. I respect the Thomases' right to make their ordeal a public affair, but I believe that as an innocent, dependent, vulnerable child, she deserves privacy. She is the named victim in the criminal proceedings against Denise Thomas. I do not feel that changing her name would have altered the content or effect of the story, and that would have provided her some degree of confidentiality. Please, show some journalistic integrity and make ethical efforts to protect child victims. She has made such strides in attempting to attain some semblance of a "normal" childhood over the last year; the media involvement is damaging and has victimized this child yet again. I am angered by the lack of foresight into the detrimental repercussions any article on the subject would have on this child, and disgusted that the smallest steps were not taken to protect her. By printing her name, you showed no concern or consideration for this little girl. In the future, use discretion and protect victims' and children's rights, and provide them the dignity to be anonymous. Kate Sandel

via the InternetAt your service:One important aspect has been left out of Eric Dexheimer's article: the Colorado adoption agency. Colorado law requires that a family receive a homestudy and adoption preparation training from a Colorado agency (which might then cooperate with an out-of-state agency to find a child). This Colorado agency is also required by law to provide post-placement support. What Colorado agency approved this family? What did it do to help? Why was it left out of the article? Why did the agency officials not see the red flags that the author of the article saw? Why weren't they there to help this family through the struggle? Adopting an older child is indeed a challenge, and this family should have had intense professional help. Your public deserves to know which agency failed this family so that another family can be informed when selecting an agency for adoption.

Marjorie Bluder

via the Internet

Eric Dexheimer responds: The Thomases worked through a licensed agency called the Adoption Centre. The agency's sole employee, George Esposito, did a short homesite visit but left Colorado two months before Elena arrived.

JOA, DOA: When Michael Roberts wrote his May 18 "Don't Bogart That Joint," his first of what will undoubtedly be many columns on the JOA between the Denver Postand Rocky Mountain News, he forgot to mention another potential casualty of a newspaper truce: himself. When the war's over and Michael Roberts doesn't have two dailies to kick around, what will Michael Roberts write about?

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