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All Vets Are Off
After reading Gayle Worland's March 25 "Doctor's Orders," about a distinguished physician dying in his own hospital, I've decided to take the necessary steps. Instead of sending my ailing body for treatment to Presbyterian/St. Luke's, I'd investigate the possibility of a good veterinary hospital close by, since, according to your story, problems were encountered in all areas--not only professionally, but also administratively.

Don Hamilton
via the Internet

The article pertaining to Dr. Karl Shipman is a fine example of how bad our health care in the United States is. There is no accountability from anyone in this profession, and having immunity from the law only adds to the seriousness of the problems with our health care. Until the people of this country stand up and demand accountability from their lawmakers in every state, health care in this country will continue to erode and more people will die at the hands of incompetent, reckless and dangerous treatments, drugs, etc., from medical people.

Stop the immunity from the law, and you will see improvement in health care.
J. Mayhew
via the Internet

Every Dog Has Its Day
Regarding Julie Jargon's "Dog Eat Dog," in the March 25 issue:
Why are we so fascinated by these little varmints? My suspicion is that we see something in prairie dog colonies that is entirely missing in the human habitat nowadays: charm, order and even an element of civility. The horrifying development on the Front Range is just the opposite. It is grotesque and antithetical to humane and civilized values. One ordinary colony of prairie dogs is more interesting than any grouping of high-consumption Republicans with their SUVs and kitschy villas.

Walter Hall
via the Internet

From Julie Jargon's story: "Just look at what [animals] do to each other." Yes, just like man, who bombs, shoots and in any other way destroys his fellow man and, when that is not enough, destroys whatever else he can, then has the gall to call it "sport."

"Man is a part of nature." Yes, he is. And when these so-called men get done destroying everything they can and polluting everything they can, then we won't have to worry about nature or man, because nothing will be left. These natural killers will have ruined it for everyone else and then probably blame it on something other than themselves. It makes me sick. Perhaps we could all get together and "thin" their herds a little. Seems these militias are overpopulating things these days--we would not want the little critters to produce more than their environment would support, after all.

Keith Edward
via the Internet

Clothes Call
Opponents of the proposed concealed-handgun permit bill currently in the legislature are concerned about increased social violence and "shootouts" should the bill become law. This naive premise is reflected in Kenny Be's March 25 Worst-Case Scenario, "Concealed Weaponwear." It is doubtful that incidents depicted in the cartoon panels would occur should the bill become law.

Opponents of the measure overlook the fact that social violence on the streets was the result of people carrying concealed weapons despite a law prohibiting that activity and presumably carrying that concealed weapon with criminal intent in mind if the situation presented itself. It is highly unlikely that after passage of the law, people with a concealed-weapon permit would be inclined toward such random violent acts while legally carrying a concealed weapon--especially after the requisite firearms training as a condition for obtaining that permit. Anyone who did not previously carry a concealed weapon because it was not within the law to do so and waited until getting a legal permit would probably also have the character to use discretion in carrying the weapon. Violence with a firearm is a matter of character and civil attitude. Merely possessing a firearm does not automatically result in the individual using it to commit a violent act.

If anything, the law could result in less violence in the streets, because people illegally carrying concealed weapons would not be certain their intended victim would not respond in kind. People inclined toward violence with a handgun may not be so brave when faced with the possibility that they may be looking down the barrel of a loaded weapon.

Richard Becker
Broomfield

You continue to do such exemplary reporting, and we all thank you for raising the level of Denver journalism far above what it would be otherwise. And could you do a profile on Representative Doug Dean in the legislature, as you did (alas, with no effect) on Bill Owens? Here's the real dealin' Doug: anarchist about laws and law enforcement against speeding, a baby-face Heston on guns for all. Help!

Pat Bourgeron
Lakewood

Graven Images
I cannot believe all the people who are writing to complain about your comics. I enjoy Jesus of the Week and think Jesus himself would understand that its purpose is to point out the peculiar ways people have chosen to depict Our Lord--not to make fun of Jesus himself.

Joni Rogers
via the Internet

I find Westword to sometimes be an interesting and informative paper. But I have to wonder about Jesus of the Week. If this is supposed to be a comic, I fail to see the humor. Blasphemy is not funny. If it's supposed to show freedom of speech, why not really be daring and make fun of Buddha or Allah, etc.? Better yet, make fun of a stereotype. Putting down a minority might be fun.

Most people know that trashing a stereotype or minority is not acceptable for a newspaper that wants to stay in business. Various groups and organizations would be all over you. If Christians generally had more backbone each time they're slandered, this feature would be removed. Please remove it, or you will lose another reader. I invite all Christians to write in protest of this "comic."

Dan Super
Lakewood

Save the Jesii!
Those who complain about your Jesus of the Week feature are surely missing the point. Peter Gilstrap isn't necessarily mocking Jesus or Christianity; he is mocking the ludicrous manner in which some of his followers depict him. Gilstrap doesn't reproduce El Greco crucifixions with catty remarks; he confines himself to sentimental, twee, tasteless illustrations that do more to discredit Christianity than his clever commments ever could. If I were a Christian, I would vent my spleen not at Westword but at those (presumably Christian) hacks who create those ridiculous portraits.

Do Moslems and Buddhists depict their figureheads in as tacky a manner? If so, let's have at them, too!

Steven Moore
Littleton

I am disgusted with your magazine regarding the Jesus of the Week articles! After going back and seeing previous complaint letters, it is evident that you are not going to remove this degrading feature with a painting of Jesus every week. I am asking people to search out places that carry Westword and to please ask that the establishment remove the papers. This would get Westword's attention! It has been obvious that they have no morals.

Come on, Westword: Say you're sorry! I can't hear you!
Frank Elwess
via the Internet

I myself am glad to see that someone will step up and point out religion's debacles. For too many years, man has had gods--deities such as Jesus-messiah-Jehovah--and for thousands of years, man has killed other men and made laws to prevent freedom. It is high time religion be put in its place. Keep up the work. I will surely recommend your paper to all who understand that religion is one of man's biggest debacles.

David Williams
via the Internet

The Gang's Still Here
I read Steve Jackson's "Dealing with the Devil" series, in the February 25 through March 18 issues, with great interest. I say this because I am a correctional officer at a juvenile detention center in Denver. I am currently working with the female population, and this story struck a chord with me. Day in and day out, I hear these young girls talk about and glorify the gangster lifestyle. Somehow they have the misconception that it's okay to party all night and sleep with perfect strangers, especially gang members. In my opinion, they are clueless as to what could and may happen to them. As always, they think they are invincible. I have read excerpts from these articles to open their eyes to the danger they are placing themselves in.

This story was a true tragedy for all involved. My only hope is that by making as many people as possible aware of this story, we can somehow prevent it from happening again. I pray that no mother has to ever endure the pain and sorrow that Brandy DuVall's mother did.

Rose Rivas
via the Internet

I am fearful lately. On the streets, in my house, in my car. Steve Jackson's articles have haunted me since I began reading them in late February. Making love, I think about Brandy DuVall's rape. In my house, I worry about men climbing through my windows. My view of Denver shifted. My fear of men surfaced. The evil perpetrated by the Deuce-Seven gang affects more than Brandy DuVall or Venus Montoya or the families involved. Theirs really are crimes against all women and all men who strive to live peacefully and safely on this earth.

I have always been a supporter of the death penalty; when members of a society choose to inflict such cruelty and brutality on a fellow human being, they cede their rights to live and breathe in that society (even in a prison community). While the repercussions of this crime will be felt indefinitely, there would be some relief in knowing that the men paid the highest possible price for their crimes. I want them to die on my tax dollars, not live on them. Finally, like others, I will ask that my name be withheld. I do this not out of cowardice or shame about my views, but out of sheer terror that any men associated with the gang would know my name.

Name withheld on request

It's sad that Brandy DuVall had to die the way she did. Seeking the death penalty is no way of seeking revenge. I think it's just as evil as dealing with the devil himself. Who are we, "the people," to judge what should happen to these guys? Their judgment day will come as they face the Lord Himself. Each and every one of them will pay for their part in the brutal rape and murder of Brandy (in the eyes of the Lord).

I'm ending this letter by saying God bless each and every one of them who was involved in the brutal rape and murder of Brandy DuVall. May God bless her, and may she rest in peace. Also, may God bless everyone's family that was involved in this case.

Name withheld on request

The reason I'm writing is that I feel like more young girls should read this story and be aware of the consequences that come about when getting into a car with strangers or, for that matter, going to parties where gangbangers reside.

I feel for Brandy's family, and my prayers go out to them, but what a lot of people do not think about is the fact that there are a lot of young girls just like Brandy who hang out on the Federal strip and don't know what they are about to get themselves into, just because they want to have fun or get attention. That doesn't mean that they deserve to die or go through a night of hell. I know this because my girlfriends and I used to hang out and cruise this strip on weekends. We used to get ourselves into some predicaments, and I thank God that nothing bad ever happened to us. Now that I've read about the torment and hell that poor little girl went through that night, I can't even drive down the street without looking at certain people with disgust. This world has become such a sick place.

Name withheld on request

Nice work by Steve Jackson--an incredible amount of effort on his part. The way he weaves a story is pretty impressive.

I was born and raised in west Denver--it was a rough place in 1952-'65. I remember we were burgled three times in one year, 1965, the year Mom moved us to central Denver (ha!--where we were burgled by the brother of a "friend"). At any rate, Jackson's story makes those days sound like a walk in the park--another reason to add to the growing list that I truly am glad I was born in '52 instead of '72.

Jim Amos
via the Internet

I have been completely upset for days, after reading these articles, thinking of the horrible things this poor child Brandy DuVall had to endure. Her mother, Angela Metzger, has to be one of the strongest people to be able to live through hearing over and over the despicable deeds done to her daughter, as well as having to deal with the pain of her loss. It is so ultimately sad to hear that all the people involved have such disrespect for life and no heart to stop these horrific acts from happening.

I thank you for touching my heart with this series, even if it was hard to read. However, I was extremely offended at the placement of advertisements on opposite pages of this story. Here is a story about, among other things, the blatant disrespect for a woman's body sexually, and then I see your advertisers' sexist, exploitative pictures of women's bodies next to the story! Shame on you! Being the alternative newspaper, you could be a part of the solution in changing people's outdated sexist views. Is money more important than heart? At least the ads could have been placed far from this story. I hope you can and will be more conscious of this in the future.

I do hope that those heartless boys and Uncle Joe get to feel some excruciating pain in their lifetimes and that they remember Brandy's suffering when they do.

Name withheld on request

I can tell you from personal experience that the scum who murdered Brandy are safely locked away. They will never harm another little girl ever again. They are locked in their jail cells eighteen hours a day, rarely breathe fresh air and are hating life right now. They do not strut around like they own the town anymore. In fact, they spend most of their waking hours either worrying about the death penalty or about what other inmates might do to them the day they arrive at prison. They sleep on mattresses that are two inches thick and sit on steel stools. They eat, sleep and use the toilet in their cells.

I know it won't bring Brandy back, but it's nice to know how miserable they have made their own lives.

Name withheld on request

This is regarding Salvino Martinez's letter in the March 18 issue. I would like to say this to all the readers of Westword and to Steve Jackson: Everyone who thinks Salvino is a snitch is out of their asses--and that includes the Martinez brothers. There's no proof that he ratted on anybody. I know him personally, and if anything happens to him, those fools better watch their backs, 'cause they're gonna be headed to the wrong territory now.

Salvino does deserve his say in this matter concerning him. Salvino isn't no snitch, and he will sue you for using his picture in your paper and writing false statements about him being a rat. And if anything happens to him, it's gonna be on your conscience, isn't it?

Print this in your piece of shit paper.
D. Blake (Sal's stepmom)
via the Internet

Editor's note: Rightly or wrongly, Salvino Martinez has been identified by prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses in four first-degree-murder trials as an informant. Martinez contends he is not. He has written a rap song about Steve Jackson's "Dealing with the Devil" series; check it out at www.westword.com, where all four articles are also available.

A Dog-Gone Shame
The day after reading Kyle Wagner's piece on the North Woods Inn ("Deal a Meal," February 25), I made still another trek in search of the elusive Rockybilt, the greatest burger of all time. I have fond memories of stopping at the Rockybilt on Evans at University, or at the one down on South Broadway, or the one over on Speer just before Federal Boulevard. And when these had sadly closed, I managed to ferret out who was keeping the Rockybilt alive. From the small Atomic Cafe on 44th Avenue to the Corner Street Pub and the Mickey Manor, I've followed this delicious little burger for over forty years. Imagine how I must have felt as I anticipated the taste of the secret sauce and the thin patty with onions grilled in.

What we got at the North Woods Inn was a tasteless dogrocket of ground something with a dollop of some ghastly brownish orange stuff on a boring, cold bun. For the North Woods to claim their offering is a Rockybilt is ludicrous. (By the way, the Mickey Manor was about 35 years too late to hold claim to having the original recipe.)

We kept one of these barf burgers and were going to mail it to you, but unfortunately, our dog buried it before we could send it. When he digs it up, we'll forward it along.

Mark Carlton
via the Internet

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:

Westword Letters
P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: editorial@westword.com.

Missed a story? The editorial contents of Westword, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available online at www.westword.com/archive/index.html.

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