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From the week of December 6, 2001

Naming Names

No kidding around: I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed Julie Jargon's article about the Central Registry ("The Name Game," November 1). I found it very informative and an interesting read. I work at a child-care facility, and not too long ago we were under investigation. One of the children, who was approximately four years old, accused another of touching their "no-no spot." The children involved claimed they had told a teacher, but none of us knew anything about it; we took all of the appropriate steps and in the end were found guilty of institutional neglect. After the investigation went to the state's Human Services department, we were told that none of our names would go in the Central Registry. So far, so good.

Reading this article, I realized how lucky we were not to have been placed in the Central Registry. I never knew that it was that easy and that it is that messed up. Thank you for writing the article and letting us all in on how things truly are.

Lanette Holley
via the Internet

Guilty until proven innocent: Congratulations to Julie Jargon, who did a marvelous job of balancing the tough reality of the Central Registry. For years now, I have been aware of really good people, wrongly accused, who have been on, or remain on, the registry. At the same time, as a children's advocate, I want us to use all available tools to assure children's safety. We have yet to reach the place where children stay safe but good people are not unfairly labeled and sometimes destroyed.

Balanced, thoughtful articles such as this one are needed in the quest to find the best answers concerning the Central Registry.

Adoree Blair
Littleton

Suffer the children:Let's judge the Central Registry on the basis of whether or not it protects children rather than by whether it protects adults. If the registry does not protect children, then there is no point to the registry.

But adults can perfectly well protect themselves by avoiding children. For almost fifteen years, I have been a tutor, so I have been in danger of being falsely accused. And yet, I have never been against the registry for the purely selfish reason that there was danger to me; I believe every child deserves a happy childhood, and I know I need not be a tutor.

If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Children are not only a great joy to be around, but a demanding responsibility.

The registry may need improving, avoiding the extreme of either minimizing the injuriousness of abuse and failing to respond or the extreme of humiliating the accused. In some countries, there are not just two possible verdicts, but three: guilty, innocent, and case unproven.

Diane Woodard
Louisville


Locked and Loaded

Taking aim:He's as vicious as a guy with a box knife aboard a 767, as nasty as a guy with a pair of lightning bolts on his shoulder sending babies to the gas chamber, as evil as a Republican who beats a Democrat by a few hundred votes!

Who is this Peron of vileness, this Pol Pot of detestability, this Mengele of mangled modern sensibilities?

Well, um, he's Rocky -- John Rothrock, to be exact, co-owner of Rocky's Autos (David Holthouse's "Riding Shotgun," November 22). And how do we know of his evil deeds? Well, ahem, because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sez so.... Now, which BATF are we talking about here? The guys who, for no other reason than to boost their visibility, budget and egos, staged (then ran away from) the Waco fiasco? The guys who previously had their fingers deep into the Ruby Ridge pie? As I recall, these brave heroes managed to slaughter lots of kids and women in both. Locally, a couple of years ago, a bunch of them got drunk and, in a display of manly manliness, threatened to trump up charges against a tavern owner who refused to serve the drunks more booze. Those guys?

Of course, since what the BATF does (that voodoo that they screw so well) has taken a '52 Buick-sized back seat to the FBI and even the Clintonated CIA since 9/11, we can certainly take everything they tell us about that criminal mastermind, that gun-running underworld don, Johnnie "Machinegun" Rothrock, as carved in Kevlar. That must be why Westword gave not even a slightly raised eyebrow of journalistic cynicism to the BATF's "official" version of events surrounding this almost laughable, ABSCAM-esque (if not Monty Pythonesque -- do they have any cheese or not!?) situation. Or maybe it's just because, also since 9/11, there haven't been any really useful anti-gun events the liberal media could sink its subjective fangs into.

The BATF obviously hasn't learned a damned thing since Waco; has the liberal media learned anything since 9/11?

J.M. Schell
Arvada


Off to See the Wizard

To Air is human: Oh dear, it's pick-on-Michael-Jordan time again ("The Wizard at Odds," November 29). Why do innumerable writers, including Bill Gallo, feel they know what dignity in sports is all about? I can only imagine that after counting all the ceiling tiles in the building, Gallo decided to purchase a cheap ticket on the sentimental express. What else would drive a man to call young players in the NBA "vulnerable"? Dear God, these guys may be eighteen and nineteen years old, but they have spent most of their lives immersed in competition that we on the sidelines can barely comprehend. Sure, they may not know how badly a lover can crush your reason, but if they don't want to knock Jordan on his ass every time they see him, then they're the ones who should retire.

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