Letters to the Editor

From the week of July 27

The only good thing that could happen if he were appointed to a national job by Gore would be that we would be rid of him -- but God help the country and its money surplus, not to mention the national budget. But then, he said he wouldn't take a position and leave Denver in the lurch. Ha! Ha! He lied to us before -- if only we could be so lucky.
Name withheld on request

Comic relief: Wow! Kenny Be's last two Worst-Case Scenarios -- "Fanfare/Cab Fare for the Common Man" and "Tax Hike to Fund Additional Kids' Programs" -- hit the nail on the head. Keep up the good work.
Ed Schwartz

Casting Stones
I shot the sheriff: Alan Prendergast's July 13 "The Lost Command," on Columbine and Sheriff John Stone, can't go unanswered. Prendergast has no experience, training or expertise to discuss or judge a SWAT operation, law-enforcement operation or criminal investigation. For him or anyone else to do so, including the Browns, Rohrboughs or other misguided fools, is wrong.

Sheriff Stone has served Jefferson County for over twenty years as a law-enforcement officer, commissioner and now sheriff; he has accomplished more than we could ever give him credit for, yet he wants no credit.

In this article, you refer to the Browns, who have waged a poorly managed campaign of vendetta against John Stone, one that drips with campaign law violations, slander and just plain stupidity. The Browns still cannot deal with the fact that their precious son Brooks may or may not have been involved in the planning of the events of April 20, 1999, and they appear to have gone to the Ramsey School of Damage Control.

Of course, we did not expect any more out of this rag or this so-called journalist, who, if he had any talent, would certainly be writing for a real publication, not one that makes its living off the backs of victims of scumbags like Dylan and Eric and all their friends.
Nate Marshall

Send me in, coach: In his July 20 letter, Tony Chiang uses a couple of analogies that don't quite satisfy his desire to defend the police in the Columbine affair. "When a coach scripts a game, he is deciding the best way to handle different situations and successfully execute the plan," Chiang writes. "Although the coach now has to assess the situation with different tactics, he's still trying to win the game. Do you understand my point?" A coach has a game plan. But a pro-football coach also has a two-minute game plan that has been prescripted, and the players know ahead of time how to respond to just about any given situation in a hurry.

"There is a saying among lifeguards and divers regarding drowning victims," Chiang says. "Don't make yourself one." In other words, you need to plan how to save someone before you blindly charge ahead and worsen the problem you initially tried to correct. I don't see the lifeguards on Baywatch huddling to come up with a plan when some drowning person is flailing around in the surf, however. They have been trained ahead of time how to respond individually. It definitely doesn't take three hours to come up with a game plan.

I was a police officer put in a situation where we had to enter a house and disarm a person with a shotgun. It took us about five minutes to come up with a plan.
Jim Gregory
via the Internet

Local hero: The same week that Alan Prendergast's scalpel ripped open the sheriff's self-serving report came other wonderfully satisfying and long-overdue news: Frank DeAngelis, jock-coddling principal and self-named hero ("I was in the line of fire!"), is being sued for his part in nurturing the horror that was Columbine. Bless you, brave parents!

As for the half-a-thousand law-enforcement officers who still seek kudos from parents of dead and wounded students, let them quit trying to defend their behavior in the courts or the media. Instead, let them read Prendergast and then consider the case of Colorado's Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Like them, George Sakato was a volunteer for potentially hazardous duty. In October 1944 he was a 22-year-old member of the famed Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team then serving in France. Practically blinded with rage at the death of his best friend, Sakato led a charge up a hill, killing five Germans and capturing four others. He was later wounded and spent nine months in hospitals. Had he only known...

The far more prudent way would have been to first establish a perimeter, then postpone any further action while awaiting orders from superiors, and then join in a methodical search behind every tree and rock where more enemy soldiers might be hiding. This would have used up three or four hours -- ample time to determine if the Germans who had been firing had perhaps decided to commit suicide. Alas, all that Sakato did was act bravely no matter how terrible the situation. Fifty-six years later, what does he have to show for his courage? A medal and our everlasting respect.
Judy Huff

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