Black to the Future
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Fade to Black," in the September 20 issue:
Are we supposed to care what Lauren Watson is doing these days? Judging from Eric Dexheimer's story, he is cutting his lawn and living off the government. How the mighty do fall...and we wind up paying the price.

Sherry Fowler

Thank you very much for Eric Dexheimer's update on Lauren Watson. It was an interesting slice of history, and I thought the section on his sons was very revealing. They have learned their lessons well. It looks like the future might be in good hands.

J.T. Washington

We Came, We Thaw
After reading Robin Chotzinoff's "We're Loaded for Bear," in the September 13 issue, and the letters about that story printed last week, I had to write my first letter to the editor. Here is my earth-shattering message:

Will everyone please get a life? Klondike and Snow are bears, just bears, and deserve neither the ridiculous outpouring of public support they have received nor the space Westword allotted them.

Ice crap, indeed.
Johna Paulson

I am shocked and dismayed at the profane language used in the article's subtitle: "Enough of this polar ice crap." Also, the disparaging remarks about the Zoo Two: Save Our Bears Foundation. The foundation also has the best interests of the bears--Klondike and Snow--at heart. If the Denver Zoo had had the bears' interests at heart when they were born, they would have worked cooperatively and collaboratively with groups such as the Save Our Bears Foundation to work out a way to keep our bears in Denver.

I am not sure if your article was meant to be serious or humorous. Either way, I do not appreciate it or the hurtful cartoon about the bears on the cover of your newspaper.

Carol A. Tyson

With all the issues that could have and should have been addressed concerning the Denver Zoo, or zoos in general, I have to wonder about a front-page story that also dedicates four more pages of the paper to complaining about Klondike and Snow (this time filled with whining about whining) and then positive propaganda for the zoo in general.

Robin Chotzinoff, the author, complains about the attention that Klondike and Snow have received. The complaint is valid--Klondike and Snow have their own spot on the zoo's answering machine, polar bear paraphernalia is matched in quantity only by Disney-movie paraphernalia, and perhaps no other zoo animals have had the kind of name recognition these bears have. However, the animals that Robin pleas for are still the cute and cuddly ones. What about the birds, lizards, rodents and fish that the zoo keeps on display? These animals not only do not have name recognition or T-shirts, but they barely even have species recognition! Who cries for them? Who worries about hiding their food so that they have to exercise their minds and don't go crazy? And what of Ulu's head swinging, as described in this article? Angela Baier of the zoo brushes this behavior off with a comment that it might not be Ulu, anyway. Well, who cares if it is Ulu or not?! That kind of stereotypic behavior is associated with animals, both human and otherwise, who are going crazy. Does anyone write an article about the big cats and the absurdly tiny boxes with painted-on scenes of mountains that they must live within? What of the hyenas in these cells who run in circles and jump against their walls, twisting their heads wildly, driven mad by boredom? Or the tiny rodents in these houses who run in incessant circles?

So, indeed, no one is noticing any of the other animals besides Klondike and Snow, but the sad thing is that no one noticed them before Klondike and Snow, either. The zoo hides behind a cloak of lies and is a very powerful institution that seems almost above the law, especially the moral law. They claim to exist to protect animals, to be in the business of propagating endangered species. Well, I say if that is true, then release these stir-crazy animals back to the wild. In fact, release Klondike and Snow. Sea World is not the answer; the Arctic is. Free Klondike and Snow! Experts across the country work with captive-animal rehabilitation every day. The zoo claims these animals are too acclimated to people to survive. Well, whose fault is that? Captive-animal release is possible--much more so than the zoo would like the public to believe. After all, if they actually started restoring animal populations and protecting species and their habitats, as the zoo is supposedly in the business of doing, then they would go out of business. And, of course, that is not at all a profitable venture for a money-making corporation such as a zoo. Zoos are not in the business of protection; they are in the business of profit.

The zoo is a prostitution house that is supported by our taxes. Think about it. The zoo has to answer to the public, and so do Westword and its writers. When will the cloak surrounding the zoo and its policies finally disintegrate?

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