Letters

I have cared for, and mourned the deaths of, friends who were dying of AIDS and who have been artists, writers, musicians and, yes, even some lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers and psychologists. Talented, loving, caring, beautiful human beings reduced to 89-pound skeletons, covered with Kaposi's sarcoma, blind from CMV retinitis, accepting death with equanimity, dignity, spiritual integrity and sometimes even humor--all dead, from infection by a virus that is an equal-opportunity killer. It has no preferences for sexual orientation or gender or social class. It is just as voracious in the body of a suburban housewife as it is in the body of an urban gay.

I don't think Mr. Cameron's hateful commentary should be encouraged by your or any other news service. Giving him a forum is tacit to sanctioning his behavior and his viewpoint. I agree with Professor James Cole, who says that Cameron is without "moral inhibition," and I think that is evidence of a serious behavioral disorder.

Sarah J. Chambers
Oakland, CA

As a socially conscious and productive member of the gay and lesbian community, I am outraged by the cover story regarding radical right, anti-gay zealot Paul Cameron. Although Ward Harkavy appears to try to diffuse Mr. Cameron's perverse and unscientific opinions about the gay community by allowing his vulgar proliferation to speak for itself, the article is negligent in its omission of factual information.

I find it incredible that a paper with your longevity and liberal reputation would devote a cover story to a man who ultimately calls for the extermination of all homosexuals. Not only is this shock journalism insulting to the intelligence of any sane, compassionate reader, but it gives a voice to ideas that should be reprehensible by today's consciousness without the benefit of countering them with scientific data. Mr. Cameron clearly has no business having any kind of public forum if he can "laugh" about the hundreds of thousands of gay men who have died from AIDS in this country. If Mr. Harkavy had written his article on a neo-Nazi skinhead who displayed a similar reaction to the Holocaust, I am sure the magnitude of this irresponsibility toward a viable segment of the community would have been realized.

Do Mr. Cameron and Westword not realize that AIDS is a worldwide epidemic with 60 percent of all known HIV infections transmitted through heterosexual contact? Why were this man's ill-formed observations allowed to stand without any facts to the contrary? In the interest of journalism, perhaps Westword should do a better job of informing its readers whether what they're reading is truth or cheap, dime-store fiction. In this case, Mr. Cameron's unchecked philosophy is too chillingly reminiscent of the propaganda of one Adolph Hitler.

Laney McVicker
Denver

Bolder Boulder
In response to the courageous (and ubiquitous) Name Withheld on Request who wrote the October 3 letter about Alan Prendergast's September 19 "Shut Up and Deal" and asked, regarding Boulder County's aggressive desire to preserve open space, "Is Boulder's abuse of power any better than that of other cities and counties that allow rampant development to occur on every square foot?" Yes.

E.F. Hart
Denver

More Monkey Business
My hat's off to Westword for allowing the public to take a peek into the secret and sardonic world of animal experimentation in Tony Perez-Giese's September 26 article, "Going Ape."

I fail to see how a bunch of monkeys in a CU lab can provide scientific information about the stress a child goes through when absent from its mother. The truth is probably just as Dr. Cohen describes when he says that the "good old boy" network at the NIH allows people like Laudenslager to hoard tax money for their own selfish purposes. Besides, hasn't anyone ever wondered why, after one hundred years of animal experiments, we have not cured one disease? Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of chemistry and biology knows that the data from other species cannot be transferred to humans. For example, aspirin can kill a cat; arsenic kills humans but is harmless to guinea pigs, chickens and monkeys; chloroform, used successfully for decades in human surgery, is poisonous to dogs; digitalis raises blood pressure in dogs but lowers it in humans. The list goes on and on.

When will the American people finally wake up and realize that the biomedical community has no interest in curing disease? But why would they, since there's so much money in "treating" it?

Bernadette Sonfeld
Littleton

I applaud Westword for having the guts to write about the controversial subject of animal experimentation. Ten years ago I read a book on this subject and was shocked to learn what I did. It's amazing how millions are spent to do the most hideous things to animals behind closed doors, things that if done by a private citizen would be labeled "cruelty."

This subject needs to be brought out into the open and become the focus of robust and healthy debate. The "scientists" should not have so much power to be able to perform such atrocities with impunity.

If it is wrong to leave a dog tied up in a backyard all day, it is also wrong to take an infant monkey from its mother. There are alternatives to these barbaric practices, and in many cases the experiments are so ludicrous that they don't require an alternative, they just simply need to be abandoned. This is clearly the case with Laudenslager's maternal-deprivation studies. Animals and humans suffer because of this gross misuse of public funds.

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