LETTERS

A Touching Story
Regarding Karen Bowers's "A Wealth of Trouble," in the March 15 issue:
Barbara Huttner's story was extremely poignant to me. I know her pain, her anger and frustration, because I endured the same. For four years I suffered through the supervised visits with my every move being scrutinized (should I hug my child?), the lame bullshit of Arapahoe County Social Services and the Englewood Police Department, over $27,000 in legal expenses, three different attorneys, constant, intense and overwhelming pressure to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit, a bankruptcy, vandalism to my home and my car, hate mail/ notes and false innuendos from people who never met me, alienation of friends and family that will never be repaired, professional and social ostracism...

I know her pain.
All this, and where did it end? What ultimately transpired? All charges were dismissed. (Now, your Honor, where do I go to get my dignity back?)

I have a successful but extremely guarded relationship with the children's mother, but I'll never again trust her. Make no mistake---I do love my children! For it was through them and them alone that I found the strength to get up in the morning and somehow get through one more day of the travesty.

Recently I was asked what was it like. I thought about it, then said that it was like attempting to defend yourself in a room with no light. Imagine not knowing when you were going to get hit next, what direction it was coming from or how hard it was going to be.

My solace and my peace come from my current relationship with my kids and a belief in divine retribution. My best advice to Ms. Huttner is to forget justice---it is not only blind in these matters but deaf and dumb as well. Forget the Constitution--as far as the law (and anyone else, for that matter) is concerned, you are guilty until proven innocent. Never speak to authorities without your lawyer being present (none are on "your side"--they all want to nail your hide to the wall!), trust no one, watch everything that you say and everything you do. After all is said and done, even if you are declared innocent, you will never, ever be truly vindicated. Regardless of the outcome, your name will be on a list of pedophiles and child molesters for the rest of your life (no one I've ever talked to has successfully had his name deleted).

May God bless and keep you, Ms. Huttner. May He smile upon you and give you strength in this, your time of need.

My heart, indeed, every fiber of my being, aches for you.
Name withheld on request

Flats, Busted
Thank you, Westword and Richard Fleming, for your March 15 story "Glowing Reports." Even with the cynicism of our age, much of the public is still unaware of the web of PR firms, attorneys and consultants that influence almost every aspect of our daily lives.

It's not limited to "happy news" about plutonium and silencing citizen activists. "Hired guns" like MGA/Thompson are active at every level of our government and society. They hijack our democratic process while promoting and protecting those who profit from poisoning our families and neighborhoods. MGA/Thompson's credentials reflect their values. ASARCO, Martin Marietta and Shell are companies that have profited from polluting our communities--and MGA/ Thompson seems to ignore even common table manners when feeding from that trough.

Please keep 'em coming, Westword. We won't be able to reclaim our country or protect the lives and health of our loved ones until the message hits home.

Brian Andreja
Sierra Club/Rocky Mountain Chapter

Editor's note: Due to a copy-editing error, "Glowing Reports" misstated the risk of getting cancer from plutonium exposure for residents living within a few miles of Rocky Flats for half of their lifetimes. The correct figure, as reported in the state health department study, is 1 in 100,000.

99 Percent Puerile
He's back! He's bad! He's Michael Paglia!
Thank you, Westword, for hiring this terrific reviewer who makes art so alive, interesting and informative.

Margaret Neumann
Denver

Michael Paglia's article describing the $7 million in public art at DIA ("A Site for Sore Eyes," March 8) proves that art criticism can too be coherent. I thank him.

I have to quibble, though, with his complaint that political hacks made the selections. It's a valid point, but experts with "credentials" are usually hacks in service to an out-of-state iconoclasm that has dominated the intellectual scene for three generations. The Wilma Webbs of politics have the same philosophical impulse as the literati of art. (Actually, both have more of impulse than of philosophy--both rely on odd scraps of metaphysics to prop up their enthusiasm of the moment.) The major flaw of public art is that it exists at all, not who selects it.

To be useful to the general reader, criticism should point out when art affirms a common vision that preserves society and when it expresses nihilism that attacks it. We live in a time when poets compose by random selection of words from flash cards, painters hang blank canvases and children are conditioned to believe that all points of view have equal worth. Many of those children are now thirty years old, and it's time they learned to discriminate. Discrimination is the essence of criticism and refined taste. The art world has learned that calling it censorship or yahooism can put the critic on trial.

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