Letters from the issue of Thursday, May 29, 2003

Robert Train


The Blame Game

Justin time: The May 22 letters regarding David Holthouse's story on Justin Green ("Justin Got His Gat," May 8) were alternately poignant, amusing and pathetic.

It's obvious Westword covers criminal-justice issues better than any other news source in Colorado. Yes, David Holthouse's emphasis on the alleged link between Green's crime and rap music was ridiculous, but that was one mistake in a detailed investigative story.

Green may be a "wanksta," as Justin Cremer writes, but his seven-year prison sentence was still too harsh, especially given that modern American prisons are psychologically destructive schools for the criminal sciences. Cremer adds, "No one who owns an AK-47 can be trusted completely," and thus displays his overt bigotry toward gun owners, almost all of whom are responsible, upstanding citizens. (Besides, as Holthouse notes, Green bought a "knockoff" of an AK-47.)

Instead of blaming rap music for Green's crime, Elizabeth Ward blames "the society that failed Justin." She continues, "What sort of a society allows an individual to buy an assault weapon? Who, exactly, needs an assault weapon in this country?" That's the equivalent of asking "Who needs to read a newspaper that isn't controlled by the government?" The Bill of Rights isn't about what politicians deem that we "need"; it is about our inalienable rights. Historically, an "assault rifle" is a fully automatic "select-fire carbine," according to Boston's Gun Bible. Today, an "assault weapon" is any politically incorrect gun that happens to scare the sniveling sycophants of the burgeoning American police state, in which only our approved masters can own effective firearms.

If Green's parents had raised him to be an adult -- say, by letting him home-school or teaching him how to use firearms and other tools responsibly -- instead of a prissy juvenile delinquent with his high-IQ head stuck up his ass, he never would have committed the crime in the first place. But Green can't blame his parents, either. I hope he gets out of prison early, and hopefully he'll emerge as a grownup.

Ari Armstrong


White makes right: Nice try, Deputy District Attorney Diane Balkin. We all need the appearance of equality in the criminal in-justice system, and your efforts to make it seem like you go after everyone with the same zeal were commendable.

But if politicians were to push for equality in criminal enforcement, they would likely be voted out. Remember "Parents Against Mandatory Minimums"? It's clear that white wealthy America doesn't mind heavy-handed law enforcement against traditional criminal classes, but when it comes to their kids, such tactics will not be tolerated.

David Noland


Lost in the Translation

Nowhere man: After seeing the wonderful film Nowhere in Africa, I happened to pick up the May 8 Westword and read "Nowhere, Ma'am," Jean Oppenheimer's review of it. Now, I do agree that it might have been better if the film had more on the adjustment of Regina, the daughter, to Africa, rather than that of the mother, Jettel. However, I find it very difficult to make this conclusion independently, since I have not read the book. I searched on the Internet to find the book, but it appears that it is not yet available in an English translation.

Therefore, two questions come to mind: Does Oppenheimer read German and, if so, has she read the book? If so, I humbly defer to her review. However, if she hasn't read the book, I seriously question whether she is in a position to critique this film with regard to the perspective from which the director chose to film it. Upon visiting the official Web site, I found an interview with the director, Caroline Link, in which she discussed why she chose to lend more focus to the mother. Not having read the book, I found Ms. Link's explanation to be more than satisfactory.

This film deals with a very difficult subject in a most profound way: the decisions that we as adults have to make for the survival of our families. The film does a marvelous job of depicting that. Granted, a child's perspective would have given us a view that we might not normally get to see. That would have been a luxury in this case and would have detracted from the angst that the characters felt not knowing, or, in the end, knowing, the fate of their families left behind in Germany.

Given the choice, I prefer the film as delivered. However, if Nowhere in Africa is available in English, I plan to read it ASAP. If I feel differently after that reading, I will most assuredly defer to the review.

Tony Sharp

via the Internet

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

The long and Rocky road: Thank you, Bill Gallo, for your tribute to the Rocky Horror Picture Show phenomenon in the May 15 issue. If the weekly midnight gathering at the Starz FilmCenter is a "family ritual," then I (as a 56-year-old regular celebrant) am the designated mom.

I also want to thank the CEI (Colorado's Elusive Ingredient) cast and crew for making Denver's Rocky such a wonderful celebration. As we say at the show, "Yay that type!"

Cheryl Kasson


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