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This is what journalism is supposed to do--make us think, teach us, and stimulate public debate and change.

Andrea Westcott
Westminster

I have just finished reading your six-part series on the tragic rape and murder of Brandy DuVall. I was very deeply moved by this story and by the way you gave the reader a chance to see all aspects of the characters' lives. What happened to Brandy is tragic; there are no words for the brutality of the crime. Sometimes we forget that life hands us situations that we have no control over, which lead us down the path that has been chosen for us. It's the choices we make every day, whether they are right or wrong, that we have to face and live with. It's sad and disturbing that some people make the choice to hurt themselves and everyone around them because they choose to make the wrong choices. I was truly touched by your retelling of these events.

Jamie Sandoval
via the Internet

For now, I will go by the name Jane Doe. I am really glad this is over. I am sad to say that I know all the devils who raped and tortured that little girl. It didn't shock me to read about them years down the road. I used to hang with them in the early Nineties until they started getting aggressive toward females (especially Francisco Martinez). Brandy is in a better place right now, and I thank God they all got caught, and I hope they all get what they deserve.

Name withheld

Coming Clean
At a time when "ethnic cleansing" is so prominent in the news, it was of particular interest to see Harrison Fletcher's June 10 "Shifting Sands," concerning our own ethnic atrocity known in Colorado history as the Sand Creek massacre.

As the search continues for the actual site where this sad event took place, the attendant reflection regarding the villains and heroes at Sand Creek is instructive. The massacre of the Hungate family, whose mutilated bodies were dramatically brought into Denver for display, was a classic example of how readily a thirst for revenge can be inflamed, with Cheyennes and Arapahos camped under a flag of truce at Sand Creek becoming the innocent victims in this case. Yet the blind hatred and rage that drove Colonel Chivington's troops to commit such hideous atrocities did not infect all of his troops. Even in the climate of those frontier times, history records that Captain Silas Soule risked the future of his military career by refusing orders to commit the troops under his command to attack the encampment at Sand Creek. His testimony at the military inquiry afterward was primarily responsible for Chivington's censure, but it also resulted in Captain Soule's murder on the streets of Denver.

Sand Creek is more than the site of atrocities committed against a peaceful encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho. It is a site that demonstrates both the best and worst of humankind. It is a site to promote the understanding of justice over revenge and responsible individual action over mass hysteria. It is a place that deserves the current focus of identification, preservation and interpretation, both to honor the memory of the innocents who died there and, hopefully, for the betterment of generations to come.

G.L. Rathbun
via the Internet

The Straight and Marrow
Regarding Juliet Wittman's "Terra Infirma," in the May 27 issue:
"I'm gonna get medieval on yo ass" is a not just a threat; it's a promise we came to the Bone Marrow Clinic at University Hospital to have fulfilled with its high-dose therapy protocol. We needed and demanded an exorcism for breast cancer. Dr. Jones was our Max von Sydow. My dear partner was Linda Blair, replete with green vomit (we learned to call "emesis"), and her head spun around for days until the chemo was through. The doctors, PAs, nurses and all the people at the Bone Marrow Clinic put on a bravura performance. Truly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they never let up. The treatment is complex and demanding of caregivers and patients alike, with its moments from Pulp Fiction and The Exorcist. Yet the warmhearted, caring and professional acumen never flagged. The Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at University Hospital is superb, a rare jewel of which Denver and the medical profession can be proud. They provide the best medical care I have ever seen or heard of.

This spring we had just decided on high-dose therapy when the early release of studies that appeared to cast doubt on its efficacy hit the media. Nobody takes on high-dose lightheartedly. We wrestled with the decision. In "Terra Infirma," Juliet Wittman nailed the impossible situation better than anyone--and we have been looking everywhere we could think of to get the last word on the controversy surrounding this treatment, including the Wall Street Journal, the ASCO Web site and the New York Times.

Everyone knows that one thinks better when eating well. I suppose I should not have been surprised to find Juliet Wittman's excellent article while looking for a restaurant in Westword. Thoughtful writing on a scientific question and good food go hand in hand.

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