By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
When Irish Guys Are Smiling
Regarding the ethnic contretemps in Evergreen (Eric Dexheimer's "War of the Words," August 9), one is tempted to ask what the reaction of the Jeffco DA and the pecksniffs in the media would have been had the situation been reversed, with the Aronsons spouting off about "dumb, drunken Micks" and telling so-called jokes about Ireland's Great Hunger, and the Quigleys submitting illegally obtained evidence to incite a frivolous prosecution. In a word: zilch, zed, nada, nothing--given the fact that the Irish missed the boat for the current political-correctness mania and that Denver's "Irish community" organizes only to paint a green stripe down Broadway for its infinitely overrated annual parade. Bill and Dee Quigley would be fortunate to avoid time in the slammer for violating federal law, and their neighbors' distasteful remarks would be treated as the story's "lighter side." Some groups know how to make everybody take them seriously, and some hire Rocky the Leprechaun.
Still, the Quigleys can take heart--given Bill's conviction for reckless driving, perhaps the St. Pat's Day parade committee will invite him to occupy the "conspicuous malefactor" slot established in 1992 for the now-departed Maureen Farrell (remember her?). Bill would be a considerable improvement over a habitual shoplifter, and at least he can bring his own car.
Your article setting the facts straight in the Quigley/Aronson matter was fine in itself, but it rang with overtones that seemed to attempt to garner sympathy for the Quigleys. I apologize, but I cannot feel anything but anger and hatred for these people. What are we to feel about people who, in seriousness or jest, mock the slaughter of millions? I cannot feel compassion for people who laugh and joke about "throwing lampshades and soap bars onto the Aronsons' lawn and painting an oven door on their house."
No matter what the laws might say, these are neither good nor innocent people. They are pathetic, and while perhaps deserving of pity, deserve no one's sympathy. They may not have committed any crimes against the law, but such actions brand them forever guilty.
On occasion, people have told me that the articles in Westword contain a spin that departs from the factual reporting of known facts. Such was the case in the article by Eric Dexheimer concerning the Quigleys and the Aronsons.
It would be folly for me to argue with the manner in which my office or myself was portrayed. However, we attempt to dispense justice in an even-handed and fair manner in every case presented to our office. In spite of statements by almost everyone involved in the case that the ADL did not try to influence our decision, the article seems to try to advance this theory through speculation and supposition.
Many citizens, citizen groups and other types of community groups monitor the activities of our office, and I believe that is entirely proper. We are a public office established to serve the public interest. This concern and interest in what we do does not translate to a blinding of our primary objective of doing justice, despite Dexheimer's claims to the contrary.
My main objection to the spin in the article relates to the subtle portrayal of the Aronsons. The fact is that a court of law found probable cause to believe that Candice Aronson was the victim of a felony menacing. That means she was knowingly placed in fear of serious bodily injury by threat or physical action and with the use of a deadly weapon. In this case the deadly weapon was an automobile.
Secondarily, the conversations recorded by the Aronsons did contain words and phrases that referred to their ethnicity, which the article seems to pass over as unimportant. Our decision to both file charges and subsequently dismiss them was based on the intent behind those words. My quote that this "was a garden-variety neighborhood dispute" does not adequately portray this incident. If I used this analogy, it was inaccurate. The matters brought to our attention in this case were not, in my view, a two-sided dispute, and nothing about this was garden-variety.
Finally, the Aronsons appropriately sought and received legal advice concerning their taping of these conversations.
My final observation concerns the future. I feel the article serves to further tear at the fabric of this neighborhood. I, for one, hope for a constructive resolution to this conflict. Instead of promoting more discord, we should search for reconciliation. Our world needs a lot more of that.
David J. Thomas
Jefferson County District Attorney
What's in a Name?
Every so often, the "Off Limits" column goes off the deep end, particularly when it deals with those who don't blindly accept liberalism. It is interesting that your August 2 attack on David Kopel and Paul Blackman concerned not the veracity of their article about Waco but Blackman's use of a pseudonym. To call this a "coverup" is ridiculous. And in contrast to Blackman's legal (albeit misleading) nom de plume, TV reporter Paula Woodward's pseudonym use in swearing a voter's oath is a criminal act. Her contention that she was given permission by a public official is dubious. Can I get permission to commit murder? You also say that Woodward uncovered a "scandal." The only thing she uncovered is that, thankfully, you still don't have to give a Social Security card, fingerprint or biological sample to exercise our most fundamental right.