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A Life or Death Matter
Regarding Steve Jackson's "The Final Judgment," in the May 27 issue:
While there is no question that Brandy DuVall would most likely still be alive if she had been home the evening she was abducted, I still do not believe that state-sponsored blood sport in the form of capital punishment could have deterred her murder, nor do I believe that it will deter other such crimes. It will only demonstrate what a high source the perpetrators have on which to model their behavior.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the words "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," he could not have imagined the brutality of DuVall's murderers. He also could not have anticipated that "we, the people" would allow our government to get so out of our control that it could besiege and massacre over 100 people because they had different religious beliefs and that "we, the people" would consider it justifiable. Rather, he meant that the government shouldn't be empowered to take actions collectively that individuals couldn't take individually.

I do not believe that any individual has the right to murder in retribution under the laws of the State of Colorado, so how can the state derive that power from the consent of the governed? However, I do have the right to separate myself from those who would probably do harm to others. Therefore, I propose that the appropriate treatment for all individuals demonstrating a propensity to harm others is to isolate them from society for the rest of their lives, with no chance of parole. This would prevent the harm to others and the cost of appeal after appeal. Most importantly, if a mistake had been made, the person now known to be innocent could be set free. Being set free in cases of wrongful incarceration is superior to a government's apology after a wrongful application of state-sponsored blood sport, capital punishment.

Bill Fargo
Denver

Death would be too easy for Brandy's murderers. They should go to jail for life, live a very long time--and be tortured every day worse than they tortured that girl.

Harold Stackdell
via the Internet

Do You DARE?
Regarding Nadia Pflaum's "Truth or Scare," in the May 20 issue:
Having been chosen to be a DARE officer, I was trained by seasoned LAPD/DARE officers and had the pleasure to teach for more than seven years. As usual, you presented a slant to your story by interviewing students who have veered from the DARE program's emphasis and allowing them to paint a sad state of the DARE program's effectiveness. Having a strong working knowledge of the program and knowing the caliber of officers who are chosen to teach the curriculum, I am confident that much of their accounts of the program are largely embellished.

DARE does not promise miracles. DARE elicits the participation of police, schools and parents to actively partake in the interest of the children, guiding them in alternatives to drug use. DARE's focus is also to improve students' self-esteem, anger management, assertiveness and awareness of the consequences of their actions. I think it's necessary to reiterate what both Officer Edwards and Mr. Ahrens pointed out: DARE is meant to be taught in all twelve grade levels of education--not just the "core curriculum" fifth grade. This, in my opinion, is where the program in Colorado schools is deficient.

Finally, DARE relies on the cooperative effort between police, parents and schools to influence students positively. The failure of any one element of this triad will result in the inability to communicate DARE's message effectively. Every one of the students interviewed admitted that either their parents or their friends (or both) were heavy alcoholics and/or drug users. How is the influence of a DARE officer in a fifty-minute class, once a week for seventeen weeks, supposed to hold up to the exposure students receive from family and friends in excess of forty-plus hours in the same week?

I commend these DARE officers and support their efforts wholeheartedly.
T. Steele
via the Internet

I have always suspected that DARE is a waste of taxpayer time and money--a lesson for its young subjects in the more colossal waste of taxpayer time and money on the overall war against drugs.

Jay Smithers
via the Internet

Purple Pose
What a colorful cover May 20. Congratulations on art worse than mine (stick figures). I cannot help laughing at the half-illuminated-Blinky's-Fun-Club-clown-look-alike, half-sunburned-Governor-Owens-look-alike. It's comedy, isn't it? That you got right. But the fact that Michael Roberts wrote the accompanying article, "Peace and Love, Nineties Style," is hilarious .

Like ya say, you can do whatcha want, so have your fun in the sun--this has happened before. Cherry Creek Shopping Center was built on what was once the site of the old city dump. The land to the west of the Platte River was the big hobo shantytown until its recent downgrade to electrical-hazard theme park, floating fish tank, tipsy center and the other liquefaction projects. In comparison, high on the hill, the woolly-white Mammoth site seems a pretty safe bet.

M.A. Eckels
Denver

What do you hear about the Fillmore? The purple chandeliers.
Saturday, May 22, the Chris Isaak concert sparkled like the purple chandeliers. Isaak and his opening act certainly seemed to like the purple chandeliers. When I entered the auditorium, I liked them as well. They glimmered over an expansive area for the audience, a large, seatless space. After three hours of standing, the purple chandeliers failed to carry my spirits to their lofty heights. Instead, my calf muscles screamed "surrender." As a respite from the sweltering conditions, I eased my way over to one of the several bars to rehydrate. Water? That'll be $2.50. As I worked my way back to my wife, I gazed toward the purple chandeliers and, glancing at my bottled water, realized who was paying for them.

What can I say about the Fillmore? Nice purple chandeliers. As a concert venue, it makes a great roller-skating rink.

David Thompson
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 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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