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From the week of May 17, 2001

So please don't quote lines from Green Acres. Attend a play downtown, go to LoDo or the Pepsi Center. Most of all, you folks from Boston and California should drive on our freeways. By the way, we have some fantastic mountains!

Thomas G. Valle
Lakewood

Fault lines:Turner and Elliott accurately and honestly point out some of the true faults with Denver and the Front Range in general, and I agree on many points, maybe even most. Still, all things considered, I'd rather endure the "churlish" aspects of the great West than endure the endless parade of meathead, goombah Sopranos types with obnoxious accents (and thought processes), poor manners and big hair, etc., in the East, or the superficial, fake-breasted and spacey idiots on the Left Coast.

How about we put to rest this tired, over-generalized debate? There is no perfect place in the world, and all you can hope for is to find a place that has more of what you seek and need and less of what you dislike than other places. Everywhere in our country, we have a mixture of sophisticates, meatheads and everything in between, including people and things that you may not like but that you can disagree with in a civilized and honest manner. Thus, for lots of people, Denver and the Front Range are better places than most. Mr. Elliott should go to New York or San Francisco and quit bitching. Mr. Turner needs more sophistication in media, so he should try Chicago (oh, there's lots of sophistication there...along with people we cannot describe other than as "buffoons" following "duh Bearsssss"), or Atlanta (that bastion of sophistication where everything -- I mean everything -- is named after peaches) or, God forbid, Philadelphia.

And for those of us who remain here, try to know who you really are, and quit kidding yourselves about who you are, what you do, and the consequences thereof.

Mike Heimos
Denver


Mother knows best:The Veasey children are a classic example of child torture by the system that is supposed to protect them. Torn from their parents, they "act out" after talking to Mom, because this reminds them of what they have lost. Karen Bowers's "A Range of Harsh Lessons," in the May 3 issue, clearly describes an exceptional mom, one who went to the trouble of home schooling her children, then hired private tutors. Children form a strong bond to such parents.

If parents could calmly tolerate the loss of their children, the human race could not exist. Social workers pretend their abuse of parents is justified for the children's sake, but 100,000 cases like the Veaseys' (especially Candace Newmaker's) demonstrate the truth: Children are just as devastated. The Veasey children must all be returned home at once, with state-paid counseling to handle their trauma. I trust that wise mom to handle her boys.

The social workers cannot tell the best parents from the worst. Stories like that of the Veaseys are appearing in major newspapers and magazines from one end of the country to the other, in a rising thunder of outrage that will shake this nation. Your stories will save lives, but remember -- we need solutions, too.

Esther Cook
Denver


Cutting Your Losses

Give it a rest:With the recent announcements of the $2.5 million and $300,000 settlements for the Columbine victims' families, and pending claims against Jefferson County law-enforcement authorities, the Jefferson County Public Schools, the Tanner Gun Show and hundreds of video-game companies (Alan Prendergast's "The Do-Nothing Defense," May 3), I can't help but wonder how much monetary "payback" will be required before the tragedy can be put to rest.

Some compensation for the grieving families was to be expected. The parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were rightly punished for their part in the tragedy. But when attorney Stephen Wahlberg stated, "We have not yet begun to fight with those that we have a fight with," immediately after $2.5 million was awarded, I began to wonder at what point emotional suffering transforms into greed.

From the sound of Wahlberg and his rationalizations for future lawsuits, the families will be unable to begin the healing process until every adult and institution even remotely involved with the tragedy has coughed up a settlement. Will further years of drawn-out lawsuits and related media attention really help the parents with their grief? Perhaps, but if so, it is nothing more than another sad statement about the emotional climate of America today, where tragedies cannot be put behind us until a check is cut.There was a time when grieving and personal loss were held as private matters and the healing that followed came from and helped foster an individual's character. Today, with lawyers and the media magnifying and feeding off every catastrophe, is it any wonder that the victims need an external indicator -- a settlement or TV segment -- to help indicate some type of closure?

My only hope is that the families and their attorneys will allow themselves to heal before the Columbine tragedy becomes known as the Columbine cash cow.

Dale Albrecht
Denver


Fungus Among Us
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