Letters to the Editor

From the week of June 5, 2003

Well, he's Michael Roberts, and he's writing for Westword. Unfortunately, that's all the justification he needs. As a media critic -- which, in his case, amounts to being a glorified gossip columnist -- Roberts doesn't worry about trying to hold himself to the most basic standards of journalism that actual reporters follow every day.

Ryan Morgan

Michael Roberts responds: I did not "assert" that Ryan Morgan was asked to leave the Denver Post. I noted that rumors had been circulating, then immediately quoted Post editor Greg Moore refuting them -- and even made mention of an award Morgan won from the Colorado Press Association. As for what Morgan calls my "half-hearted, perfunctory" attempt to contact him, I phoned the Post, asked for Morgan, was patched into his voice mail and left a message well over a week before the column in question was published. Morgan did not return the call.

For the record, during a six-day span in May, the Post published corrections for two Morgan articles -- and on each occasion, the mistakes were described as reporting errors. In one case, John Hickenlooper and Don Mares were said to have received 46 percent and 26 percent of the vote, respectively, in the May 6 election, when they actually earned 43 percent and 22 percent -- numbers that were widely reported by virtually every major Denver news organization (as well as the Denver Election Commission). As it turns out, a June 2 Rocky Mountain News article credited to Robert Sanchez and Kevin Vaughan made a similar goof, stating that Hickenlooper walked off with 44 percent on May 6.

Guns on the Run

Rights and wrong: Regarding Ari Armstrong's letter in the last issue, about all the letters in response to David Holthouse's "Justin Got His Gat," in the May 8 issue:

Mr. Armstrong's assault of Elizabeth Ward wasn't "poignant, amusing or pathetic"; it was just plain moronic. Trying to say that owning an AK-47 is the same "inalienable right" as the right to read a newspaper is "dumber than dumb."

Aside from that, he never did answer her question regarding who needs an assault weapon in this country. You don't use an assault rifle to hunt game for food, because an AK-47 would shred the meat to pieces and render it not consumable. You don't use an assault rifle for protection in your home, because it's too bulky and unwieldy (a .357 magnum is much preferred for dealing with the casual intruder). Therefore, by process of elimination, the only valid purpose for an AK-47 is to compensate for one's weak character or to kill as many people as possible in the shortest period of time.

I only hope the "gunslinging" Mr. Armstrong doesn't venture too often from his "redneck" neighborhood in Westminster to the fair streets of Denver, where I reside. Should he, however, it should be easy to spot his pickup and thereby avoid him, by noticing the much-dated and faded bumper sticker that I'm sure he still relishes: "I'll give up my gun when they pry my cold dead fingers off the barrel." Now, that's what I call pathetic.

Gaylan Taylor III

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