Letters

From the week of July 9, 1998

Joanne Kappel, director
Stalking Rescue

Editor's note: If you missed the domestic-violence series, you can read the articles on our Web site, www.westword.com, or call the office at 296-7744 and ask for a reprint of "Hitting Them Where They Live"; although we request $1 for postage, we're waiving our standard reprint fee for this series.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
I read Robin Chotzinoff's article on Ron Siegfried ("Give Him Liberty," June 4) in disbelief. I think you should reread Thoreau, Rachel Carson and Rudyard Kipling, to name a few.

Ron Siegfried is to this modern world what Patton was to WWII. He is an ancient man lost in a modern era. He hears a different drummer, and I, for one, hear it with him. When his hands touch wood and plants and the so-called cast-off lumber from beautiful old buildings, he creates beauty with it. Would the Lakewood zoning department deny Stradivarius wood to make beautiful music? Why doesn't the zoning department demand that he cut down the huge trees in his backyard? Don't they offend the sensitivities of the unimaginative?

The yard that sits next door to Ron is so extreme in its starkness, one would expect bodies to lie beneath the manicured grass.

What happened to the ancient builders and visionaries? Most are now dead, but every once in a while, if we are lucky, we find one. Lakewood is very fortunate, because we have one in our midst, and his name is Ron Siegfried. It is time to draw the Siegfried line. I dedicate my grassless xeriscape lawn to you, Ron. I, too, hear that distant drummer. The Denver Botanic Gardens were built over an ancient cemetery. Rally forth, all those who build and create the unusual and unique, to the plight of this ancient young visionary. Do not let his dreams be dashed and trod upon by so many regulations, codes and complaints of small persons with small dreams. Let his sculpture and waterfalls continue. Who knows what the man may someday build?

Would the Leaning Tower of Pisa be better off torn down because it offends the straight-line sensibilities of a few? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Ron sees beauty in his wood. Don't regulate him to the cookie-cutter world that this is becoming.

Elizabeth Walker
Lakewood

An Uneasy Rest
I wish to congratulate you for publishing Harrison Fletcher's "Battle Cry," in the May 28 issue. I was disturbed but not surprised by the attitude of certain individuals in the story (Smith, Koury, Noel) who "understand the feelings" of the Reverend Colonel Chivington and his Christian citizens' militia. I am not surprised by their attitude because there have always been, and may always be, apologists for those who in their supposedly "justifiable rage" kill and dismember innocent women, children and babies. But at least there is hope in the more broad-minded people such as David Halaas and Andy Masich. Yes, "a massacre is a massacre." And there were and always will be the people who recognize this truth, like Captain Silas Soule, who opposed the massacre and died for the truth.

The condemnation of the massacre by the U.S. government and the removal of Governor Evans from office were the result of the moral reaction to the many atrocities committed in the just-concluding Civil War. But this reaction is always short-lived, and it's back to business as usual; killing again becomes a game, and we again begin to "understand the feelings" of baby killers. The 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam is a case in point, with "gook nits" replacing "redskin nits." ("Nits make lice"--Chivington)

Five years ago I visited a related massacre site south of Sterling: Summit Springs, which occurred July 11, 1869, four and a half years after Sand Creek and only six months after Washita. (The U.S. government called it a battle.) I saw the dot on a map and went there from curiosity only. I was unaware of the detailed history of the site. Only later did I learn that it was here that the Dog Soldiers of the Southern Cheyenne were finally defeated and Chief Tall Bull was killed, along with some 52 other men, women and children. The all-out struggle for survival that had started at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, with Colonel Chivington's massacre and dismemberment of 130 Cheyenne and Arapahoe children had now come to an end.

Summit Springs is a lonely place. It is on a flat plain of sparse grass and cactus. The summit itself rises, perhaps no more than a hundred feet above the surrounding plain, yet it can be seen from miles away because of its uniqueness. Alongside and carved into the summit is the ravine where Chief Tall Bull and a dozen warriors died defending the Cheyenne camp.

A mystic would probably feel the spirits of the innocent dead filling this hallowed place, peaceful at last, a century after their last brief moment of fear, terror and final excruciating agony. But I do not believe in mysticism, and the spirits of the dead did not envelop me; only in my heart and in my mind was their memory, knowing that the dead men, women and children, beautiful inhabitants of this, their beautiful native homeland, were dissolved in its soil, victims of a greed and a madness that has yet to be overcome.

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