Letters

From the week of July 9, 1998

The Bused of Denver
Although I enjoyed your annual Best of Denver issue as well as your domestic-violence series, I didn't know how much I'd missed Patricia Calhoun's columns until she came out swinging in her July 2 "You Can't Get There From Here."

Give 'em hell, Calhoun! Send Pat Bowlen back to Canada. I'll happily donate bus fare--with some left over for those women trying to get off welfare.

Sam Jordan
Denver

How can we expect women to stay off welfare and hold down jobs if they cannot get to those jobs? I was very impressed with PUFF's project--and very unimpressed with the role the city has played so far. I hope Denver's Welfare Reform Board meets soon and addresses this problem. In the meantime, thanks to Patricia Calhoun for exposing the situation.

Ellie O'Toole
Denver

UFOs to Go
Regarding Tony Perez-Giese's "Reach for the Sky," in the July 2 issue:
What an adventure! After reading about Ken Storch and LJ Dalicandro's UFO-hunting project, my life looked rather dull. (And, in fact, it is.) Please help me get some vicarious thrills by reporting on the result of their hunt.

Jeanne Robbins
via the Internet

Interesting article on extraterrestrials/ aliens/UFOs. For your prophetic information, those funny-looking lights in the sky are all "fallen angels," flitting about here and there, doing paranormal/psychic vibration work on your brains and generally doing the work of their master: Satan. They're like shapeshifters, physically appearing in any form the human mind is capable of understanding. However "benign" their channeled messages may seem, they are diabolical to the core and will render nothing but ruin, death and destruction for mankind in the end. There's only one force that can (and will) confront them: The Holy Spirit. Read and understand the words and works of the Holy Spirit in the Islamic Koran, and you will have not only the means by which you can understand who and what they are, but the "inner spirit" to overcome their influence in your lives--and they are influencing most sentient life on this planet, including yours.

Thanks for bringing attention to this issue--finally.
Jonas the Prophet
Nederland

On the Domestice-Violence Beat
Regarding your series on domestic violence, "Hitting Them Where They Live," in the June 11 and June 18 issues:

I am writing to say thanks for making an attempt to expose domestic violence for what it really is--the biggest bullshit scam going! From the reporting to the prosecution, domestic violence is anti-male from the word go. Also, at $2,000 a pop, guilty convictions represent a cash cow for the state justice department. How else are they gonna pay for all the new jails they want to build?

While lawmakers and feminist groups want to "micro-manage" society's dysfunctional relationships, they should at least have the balls to level the playing field! Namely, district attorneys should be equally as aggressive to prosecute women who manipulate the system as a means of retaliation against men.

Name withheld on request

We want to make it clear that we have been working to end domestic violence for over a decade. One of us is an original incorporator of our local abuse shelter; we have sponsored benefit events for the shelter. Nonetheless, much of the women's-shelter movement is seriously misinformed about the causes and scope of the family-violence problem. For ten years we supported a cause with a mistaken premise. We were scammed, conned, taken in and duped!

This misunderstanding of the family-violence problem is so pervasive that churches and charities around our country are unwittingly supporting programs that make things worse. Local governments, the courts, law enforcement, prosecutor's offices, mental-health clinics and other tax-supported agencies fund programs and make policy decisions based on misinformation and political propaganda rather than responsible scientific studies. The scientific studies reveal a startlingly different picture of the problem of family violence.

One of the widely believed myths of our society is that family violence is men assaulting their wives and children. Solid scientific research reveals that family violence is something women do more frequently than men. Men account for most violence outside the home; however, women instigate most family violence and women assault family members more frequently and more severely. Feminists, women's shelters and the media usually quote "reported violence" statistics collected by law-enforcement agencies. Law-enforcement statistics tell us about the activities of law-enforcement agencies, not the activities of families. Law-enforcement statistics about spousal violence are very misleading, and those who quote them are either misled or deliberately attempting to mislead.

We cannot hope to implement solution-focused programs and policies until we face the fact that women are violent. A "politically correct" but scientifically false diagnosis only makes the problem worse.

Reverend Sam and Bunny Sewell
Naples, FL

I know that in order to be "fair," you had to put in the man's side of the story, but as far as I am concerned, the number of men who are wronged in domestic-violence situations is exactly zero. They deny, deny, deny. But the simple fact is, they deny because they don't think they did anything wrong. They think they have a right to abuse their wives. They think that as long as they don't hurt them physically, then it's okay.

Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not. I was married to a man like that, and it was only because the police and the victim advocates and the district attorneys did their job that I'm alive today.

Name withheld on request

Where do you get your "facts"? The FBI reports men and women in relationships are reporting attacking each other at near-equal rates (actually, slightly more assaults by women on men). I grant you, the injuries inflicted by males tend to be greater, and I don't doubt your eight-to-one arrest-ratio statistic; I can easily visualize cops and people in general mocking and blowing off battered husbands. The truth is, being weaker doesn't justify violence.

I'll tell you, too, that the "Krystal" case sounds pretty hinky to me. Sounds mutually abusive, when I read between the lines (as I must, since you tell only her side). I'm not inexperienced in this issue: I come from an Appalachian area where wife-beating, though not approved of, was accepted by society. Also, my two closest friends (who are not from that society) are women who again and again seek out relationships where they are controlled (one usually isn't allowed to get phone calls or messages) and battered by a succession of essentially identical lovers.

The most telling quote of the series was, "It's hard for these guys to stay out of relationships." Yeah, because our society and their (mostly also abused) childhoods have taught the women involved to seek out carbon-copy abusive, self-absorbed pretty boys, one after another. The theme in your articles that batterers must take responsibility for their actions is very true. The fact is, if you really love someone, you don't hit her, and if you don't love her, you shouldn't be with her.

But another truth is that it takes two to tango. Both of my friends, for instance, are at least somewhat (although less so than their "partners") mutual in the abuse. One of them, while living with me (non-sexually), became extremely and insistently verbally abusive (verbal and emotional violence are real, and scarifying)--trying, I believe, to get me to hit her. Not because she likes injuries, or even to obtain the power of guilt over me (which is a well-documented pattern), but subconsciously, because it's the only relationship pattern she's known. I never hit her, by the way. I've never hit any woman in my adult life, other than agreed-to spanks for fun, which aren't violence.

Even by just staying, the victim participates in her own abuse, allows it.
The truly feminist position is to recognize (as you do only mockingly, putting quotes around the word "empowerment") that men want and need women, and that thus the true power, the power not of violence but of choice, is in the hands of women. All they need to do is use it to not choose the same bastard with a different face; removing a woman from an abusive relationship doesn't help her if she just finds another.

By the way, of the many abusive relationships that my two friends have had, that which resulted in the most serious injuries was a lesbian one. Stop shitting on men.

Tom Hyle
Colorado Springs

Thank you for addressing the issues surrounding America's most under-responded-to criminal behavior, domestic violence.

There are many victim support agencies offering a variety of services to those afflicted by family predator behavior. Though stalking appears to be the "power crime of the Nineties," many of us know that relationships based on power and control have been around as long as those supported by mutually nurturing love and respect. Though many of our private and public agencies operate with the best of intentions, Stalking Rescue provides a relatively different philosophy to our clientele: No one is more motivated to help the victim than the victim. Therefore, in addition to referring victims to safehouses, police and other related services, we offer our clientele proactive strategies for predator containment. It has been our observation that many assistance providers are engaging in "outreach" programs designed to meet the immediate needs of victims. To those providers, we take our hats off for educating victims about what this behavior is and how its generational perpetuation affects all of us. Stalking Rescue promotes victim accountability for their personal safety, their children's safety and their personal recovery. We cannot help our kids until we help ourselves.

There are many dedicated persons assisting those victimized by domestic violence in our community. I applaud the efforts of so many. As a former victim of domestic abuse, it warms my heart to attend the Denver Domestic Violence Task Force meetings monthly and see these dedicated professionals who "show up" for so many victims. Let us all support the common good of our individual missions rather than judge that which we do not know. Blame and labeling can only produce separation, contempt and inefficiency. To every assistance provider, police officer, victim advocate, therapist, prosecutor, attorney and judge, I say that together we can stem the tide of increasing domestic-violence cases in this country--because, after all, we're all in this together.

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.

We visited the site again in August 1996, and everything remains the same. May they forever rest in peace, and may they never be forgotten.

George Shenkar
Detroit

The Rest of the Best
How dare Adrian Dater "yawn" over the Best of Denver issue in his letter published July 2? The Best of Denver is my favorite issue. I keep all of them and wait all year for the new edition. It never lets me down. Every year the Westword staff finds new and unusual things about this city. So what if we all know about Aimee Sporer's hair? It's fun to read about, and Westword can't just write about burgers and buildings. (Besides, it's great hair.)

Mr. Dater sounds like a know-it-all. But if he knew one-tenth of the things that Westword wrote about in the Best of Denver 1998, I'd be surprised.

As for his complaints, I have one response: Yawn.
Sherry Carpenter
Denver

How pleased we were to see that one of the neighborhood murals was listed in your Best of Denver issue! (See "Best Cultural Mural", page 28.) However, we would like you to know that Carlos Fresquez had lots of help from the neighbors of the Cole and Five Points neighborhoods. Is it possible to give credit in some future Westword issue?

As is the case with the neighborhood art projects that are sponsored by Neighborhood Cultures of Denver, the mural at 3438 Downing Street was designed with input from the residents and painted by them with the artist overseeing the work. The lead arts organization at the time was the Urban Art Experiment, under the leadership of Mel Benetti.

The correct credit for this mural is most important, since residents of low-income neighborhoods take great pride in artwork in which they have been involved. It is one way their neighborhoods can be seen differently by the public. When neighborhood residents collaborate with their artists, they contribute a number of (usually unnoticed) assets and develop a greater sense of belonging.

Mary Kennedy and Carlos Fresquez
Neighborhood Cultures of Denver

Please accept my genuine thanks for the honor of Best Jazz Recording in your 1998 Best of Denver issue. Your publication has been a continual source of support for our artistic endeavors, so I would like to use this opportunity to again express my gratitude for all that you have done. You have truly helped bring our music "Out of the Shadows."

Also, thanks for acknowledging the wonderful musicians involved so they could know their efforts were appreciated, too. (Wade Sander is our trombone player, by the way.) If you know anyone who would like a CD, they are at Twist & Shout, Wax Trax, the Malt Shop, Kolacny Music or bobgillisgroup.iuma.com.

Bob Gillis
Denver

I hate having to write this. I look forward to reading your Best of Denver edition every summer. I like to learn, laugh, disagree and congratulate as I read through your selections. Alas, the activist in me got the best of me just now as I began to read this year's edition. I must comment on the placement of one of your Best Ofs: Best Porno Web Site. This entry was placed among gay, lesbian and drag-queen Best Ofs. The impression one gets is that "porno" is somehow related to gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender. As a member of the GLBT community, I must take offense at the placement of the porno nomination. Porno and GLBT are not related and should not be considered to be in the same category of nominations.

Because of my fondness for your magazine and my belief that your magazine is supportive of the GLBT community, I choose to believe this placement of the porno Web page nomination was a mistake. I can more easily believe this since following the GLBT listings are listings for other best Web pages. It was an editor's oversight, right?

Please do me the favor of an honest reply. Was this an error in printing and editorship, or was this an intentional, insensitive, ignorant choice for the placement of the porno Web page nomination? If the answer is the latter, I hope you will be honest and admit it and also will be more sensitive and aware in the 1999 edition of Best of Denver.

Thank you. Now that the activist in me has acted, I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of your magazine. (P.S.: Good job on your choice for Best Gay Web Page. Cafe Vivid is, as you state, "beautifully crafted.")

Leslie Wright
via the Internet

Editor's note: How about none of the above? Best Porno Web Site was bumped up two categories in order to accommodate Kenny Be's fine illustrations for Best Place to Meet a Drunken Drag Queen and Best Place to Get Drunk for Free.

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