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I would like to conclude by saying that if you want to know what's what with the Denver Church of Christ, check it out yourself. One visit certainly won't kill you, and it's liable to be the best thing you've ever done.

John Engler
via the Internet

I was a member of the International Churches of Christ (in Florida), and it was everything you described. It is amazing how their tactics are the same all over the world.

Patrick McMahon
via the Internet

I have a couple of comments in response to your article slamming the Denver Church of Christ. Having been away from the church for two years, I think I have a fairly objective viewpoint. First of all, if Julie Jargon never attended any church function, I don't think she can accurately write any article about the church. Of course, there is going to be an enormous amount of criticism when you're trying to stand for something that is true and pure in today's messed-up world. I can tell you that you won't find more committed Christians anywhere. Certainly, there is an enormous amount of pressure when striving to live a Christ-like existence--but no one expects it to be as hard as it is. God will triumph, despite this article. The Bible will have an answer to any question you could ever think up.

Name withheld

Editor's note: Julie Jargon did attend services at the Denver Church of Christ; she was not allowed into any of the activities involving teens, who meet apart from the adults.

Taken for a Ride
I never knew how accident-prone I would be on a Vekoma SLC until I read Stuart Steers's June 17 "Twist and Shouts." If there are so many accidents, I cannot understand why parks would rather put people in danger than spend a few extra dollars to build a B-and-M inverted coaster, which is much smoother and has fewer accidents than the SLCs. I don't necessarily think the woman in the article should win the lawsuit. But I do wish that more public criticism would be taken to heart by park employees--however far-fetched that may be.

Nicole Henault
St. Johnsbury, VT

Crazed and Confused
Regarding T.R. Witcher's "This Is Crazy," in the June 17 issue:
Of course Stan Israel didn't know what he was getting into; our society puts these professions on such a high pedestal. Imagine what it's like for people who have been mistreated by shrinks at least once already.

Psychotherapists nearly destroyed my life back in the Sixties trying to turn me into a stay-at-home wife. Something broke inside of me, and I never fully recovered. Seventeen years of trying to get help getting put back together left me so traumatized and re-traumatized by these people that the mere thought of having anything to do with them can induce severe panic. In 1987 my family pulled something similar on me. A social worker came to my apartment. I started shaking so badly I let go of the intercom button, effectively hanging up on him. By the grace of God, he took that as a refusal. Anyway, he left.

Nobody ever told me I could say no.
A phone call to legal aid went like this:
Me: I'm afraid my folks are trying to lock me up.
Volunteer (interrupting): Do you want to know what your rights are?

What I had in mind was my rights at that moment, while I was still on the outside. But she proceeded to tell me about the 48- and 72-hour holds. In other words, without knowing anything about me, a representative of patient rights treated my incarceration as inevitable.

If my situation had progressed as far as Israel's, I believe I would be either dead or on a violent ward today. Intervention "just in case" is like shooting first and asking questions later. There are serious dangers both ways. But, of course, the other side does not fit the mental/behavioral profession's egotistical or financial interests, so it is seldom heard.

As for people who do "the right thing" at the wrong time, read M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie.

Name withheld on request

A Devil's Advocate
Regarding Steve Jackson's "Dealing with the Devil" series, which concluded in the June 3 issue:

Congratulations and kudos to both Steve Jackson and Westword for having the will, commitment and talent to present such a series of articles. My respect and admiration for your publication have increased a hundred-fold; this is journalism at its best, and I hope you receive national recognition for your determination and efforts.

Having lived in other places (including New York, San Diego and Houston), I often think I have become immune to the terror and horror that can be part of our daily lives in modern U.S. cities. Despite the sordid and depressing subject matter, however, your series touched me (much as the Columbine murders and suicides did) and forced me to think about and reconsider my personal beliefs, commitments and attitudes toward a variety of subjects (e.g., the death penalty, parenting, child and family intervention programs, our legal [justice?] system and so forth).

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