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From the week of March 28, 2002

Ready, Fire, Aim

The Rifleman: As a member of the National Rifle Association, I read with interest David Holthouse's "Living in Exile," in the March 21 issue. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the bleeding hearts would come out of the woodwork.

The tagline on this article is a lie. Possession of a gun is not the only crime involved here -- these people are convicted felons. As such, even a person like Mr. Garcia, with his limited IQ, should know to stay away from anywhere firearms are present. If that takes him away from his criminal running buddies, that much better the chance that he makes something of his life. Alas, he chose to throw that chance away.

The news that Sarah Brady is in a pickle for a straw purchase in Delaware is rich. You can't make this stuff up. Her son may be a legal purchaser anyway, but it is still illegal. The hypocrisy all around is absolutely breathtaking. She feels that she can violate her own law. As I suspected, the gun grabbers want to give as hard a time as possible to law-abiding gun owners but give convicted felons a pass. We need to make believers of these people, as Victor Martinez now is.

Project Exile works. That is the hardest thing for gun grabbers to accept. The fact that crime rates can drop without confiscating legal firearms is driving them crazy, and I, for one, love it!

Pat Desrosiers
Denver

A shot in the dark:It is unfortunate that civil injustices must be solved on a case-by-case level, but David Holthouse's "Living in Exile" was seriously flawed.

Ask yourself: If you were driving home and another motorist got mad at you, would you care if he put a pistol to your head and threatened to pull the trigger? Would your mind resist emotionality sufficient enough to ask: Is the gunman serious? Put yourself in that position. Your life would sweep before your eyes. Rather than calculate whether the gun is real or not, you might find yourself thinking about your impending death at the hand of a madman. Look at your cases: These are repeat offenders. The courts have given them many chances to change their criminal behavior to socially acceptable behavior. And probation and parole agreements are just that: written agreements. These folks all agree not to commit crimes anymore; that's why the state/fed grants them "another" chance at freedom.

Unfortunately, many of these folks disregard the fact that society is based upon rules. So ask yourself: Why do these guys feel compelled to carry illegal weapons? To protect themselves from a corrupt and brutal police state? Well, if that were the case, then your tax dollars and mine would represent these fellows' interests -- like public defenders already do. But the fact is that these guys carry guns to protect themselves from other guys who carry guns illegally.

How many chances at freedom should society give a violent offender? Three? Four? Ninety? A million? Justice does not mean "to enable." Ask yourself this, Mr. Holthouse: The next time someone dear to you has a gun held to his head by someone who's very, very angry, will you testify for the offender and tell the judge, "Well, after all, he didn't pull the trigger"? I don't believe any sane person would. Why, then, did you ask your readers to do so in the court of public opinion?

Please rethink your thesis, Mr. Holthouse. You are too fine a writer to act so irresponsibly to make offenders sound like victims and the rest of us like "bad guys."

Name withheld on request

The right stuff:I'm sorry, but I don't have much sympathy for a carjacker with a homemade zip gun or a felon firing his weapon in the air while he's high on crack. Do you not think that these behaviors are anti-social and irresponsible?

It is common for those unfamiliar with the law to claim that what America needs is harsher gun laws. The truth is that there are plenty of tough laws, if only they were applied. What most of our cities lack is strong enforcement. Project Exile attempts to change that while cutting to the heart of the issue: It restricts ownership of firearms to citizens who have not lost that right.

What better law for us to enforce than one prohibiting felons from owning firearms? These are not citizens worthy of the privileges of lawful citizenship. Because they have been tried and convicted of a felony, they have lost their right to own a firearm, to vote and to run for public office. They have lost some of the privileges they were born with as Americans because they chose to be irresponsible with those rights. With those actions come consequences, and enforcing those consequences only serves as a deterrent to people who have not crossed that line. Project Exile is the right approach.

Rod Sayler
Denver


Used and Abused

Stand by your man:Julie Jargon's "Playtime Is Over," in the March 14 issue, was fabulous. If you are in contact with Dr. Dicke, please let him know there are people out there on his side.

Willow Bradner
Denver

Suffer the children:You are to be congratulated for bringing the case of John Dicke to public scrutiny. Alas, he is but one of a number of bad actors in Colorado's current psychotherapy scene among whom child abuse seems to be acceptable if the child is "bad enough."

I observed portions of the videotapes described in the article at a seminar by Dicke himself, at a national "attachment disorder" conference in South Carolina last October. I can confirm the truth of much of what was in your reporting about these tapes, though this seminar apparently didn't show the worst of it. Yet what was shown clearly troubled even the presumptively like-minded attendees at this conference: After a mid-session break, I was the only one of the audience to return to the seminar -- and if I hadn't been there for investigative reasons, I wouldn't have returned, either. I felt more than a little sullied just by watching it.

Perhaps the disciplinary action against Dicke signals an improvement in regulatory enforcement in Colorado, which would be good, but responsible officials also need to look into how and why government caseworkers are actually referringtroubled children to such abusive quacks, as you reported was the case with "Dallas." And if taxpayer money is paying for such treatment, we are all in the uncomfortable position of being enablers of the abuse. One does not want to believe that quacks who abuse children in the name of therapy, like Dicke, are common in Colorado, but the evidence suggests that they are. You could almost say that Colorado has home grown a whole cottage industry of child-abuse-as-psychotherapy.

Dicke, unfortunately, is exceptional only for his high profile, but otherwise is representative. Alongside his foray into dildo didactics, he has been a leading defender and practitioner of "holding" therapy. His public defense of Connell Watkins, who tortured and killed ten-year-old Candace Newmaker with that therapy, was rife with rhetoric betraying the same child-loathing attitudes that underlie the "cutting-edge treatment" practices of a host of "attachment" therapists in Colorado and around the country.

The most bone-chilling aspect of all this, dramatically shown in the Dicke affair, is the apparent absence of boundaries dictated by ethics and humanity. Why didn't Dicke recognize on his own that using dildos with a five-year-old is just plain wrong -- regardless of the circumstances? Why didn't Dicke's professional training warn him that letting a kid prance around naked in the office, tossing sex toys in the air and worse, would further "sexualize" an "oversexualized" personality? Why didn't he hesitate to experiment on a small child who was there only for evaluation and possible treatment? Having listened in person to the man and others like him, I'm afraid the answer may be the same as it was with Watkins when she asphyxiated Candace: He saw the child as an object to be used toward the ends of himself and others, and not as a full human being with rights to sovereignty, dignity and humane treatment.

As the cases of Dicke and Watkins attest, therapists of this ilk just do not know when to stop or where not to go. Apparently they have to be told by the rest of us. Since they do not understand the limits of common decency, the people have to act, legislatively and regulatorily, to keep such therapists' hands off Colorado's children.

Larry Sarner
Loveland


Listen Harder

Tapping your 'Fone: John La Briola's been had. In "Hold the 'Fone," his March 21 interview with Califone's Tim Rutili, Rutili borrows a line from the greatest rockumockmentary ever made: "If I wasn't making music, maybe I could work in a hat shop. Like, 'Does that fit? How 'bout that one?' Yeah, I could do that." (See http://us.imdb.com/Quotes?0088258.)

Looks like La Briola's one listener who didn't "pick up" on the sounds Rutili was making.

Kevin Keenan
Denver

Kitty litter: Melanie Haupt has done it again! She was proven wrong when she called Radio 1190 "snooty." Now, in the March 14 "Meow Mix," she says that it puts women in a box and only gives grrrl rock a designated time slot.

I just wish Ms. Haupt would tune in to Radio 1190 before she writes another incorrect story. Radio 1190 plays grrrl rock all the time during rotation hours. You can catch not only Le Tigre, but also the Butchies, V is for Vendetta, Sleater Kinney and many more. Radio 1190 cannot be categorized, and Radio 1190 does not categorize. Please, Ms. Haupt, at least listen to the station or call before you write another article on Radio 1190 that shows you have no idea what you are talking about. Your readers would appreciate it!

Julie Simpson
via the Internet

Laura Bond responds: The hat tricks never stop. Tim Rutili's heady quip alludes to a bit of dialogue delivered by Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest) in 1984'sThis Is Spinal Tap. According to John La Briola, theTap joke plays on a line offered by Ringo Starr inLove Me Do nearly twenty years earlier: When asked about his life's ambition, the mop-topped drummer replied, "Well, I've always wanted to open a posh ladies' hairdresser's. Perhaps a chain of them."

As for Boulder resident Melanie Haupt, she's a Radio 1190 fan and supporter. Her point that "grrrl rock" gets the most play during the weeklyTestosterone Detox is sustained by the station's playlist.

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