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From the week of December 18, 2003

To add insult to injury, now Jefferson Center for Mental Health wants to limit its involvement with David and the Mallamos. I am well aware of budget constraints within county and government agencies. This especially goes for the child-welfare and mental-health divisions that are likely to get one of the first cuts during budget-crunch time. This reasoning, however, is no excuse to let a child who is becoming more dangerous to self and community terrorize his family and friends. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this child and children like him are dangerous. Dangerous to themselves and everyone around them. In the best-case scenario, they will receive treatment, respond and become functional within society. In the worst-case scenario, they will receive treatment, not respond and be released into society when they turn eighteen -- dangerous to themselves and others.

Thank you for this piece. Hopefully, it will open eyes to that dirty little secret called "child welfare." Those who read the article should understand that while they may not have involvement with child-protection or mental-health services, they may be indirectly affected by individuals who have. Personally, I would rather my tax money went to provide care for a child like David, to assist him in becoming a productive citizen within our community, than go to re-waxing the gym floor at the multimillion-dollar high school down the street.

Name withheld on request

Past imperfect:As I read "Nowhere Boy," I was struck by a profound sense of anger, as I saw similarities between David's and my own life. He was born in 1988 and as of 2003 had been in ten homes. The impermanence of the human bond will lead to more antisocial behavior from David.

David, wherever you are: You are wanted, needed, important and worth caring about! Find a medication that helps you! Get pissed. If you need to, please talk with a therapist. See, my mom did the same things to me as yours did to you. I understand your anger and pain. Don't turn it inside out. Express all you feel. If all else fails, trash the past. Make today a good experience for you.

Bryan Wills
Denver

Who's the abuser?As the executive director of a statewide disability-rights advocacy organization, I found "Nowhere Boy" to be a very accurate portrayal of the abuse that families of kids with severe needs face by the system that is paid to serve these children. We have taken many calls from other families that have faced the same situation, particularly with Jefferson Center for Mental Health. Unfortunately, other families retreated and were afraid to speak out or challenge the system due to retaliation by JCMH. The intent of HB 1116 was not to expand Medicaid, but to prevent mental-health providers and county social-service agencies from charging innocent parents with dependency and neglect. Of course, the mental-health industry chose to use it to obtain more funding for themselves. As human beings and taxpayers, we need to demand accountability.

Thank you, Laura Bond, for exposing this problem.

Julie Reiskin, executive director
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

A complex situation:I am most impressed by Laura Bond's "Nowhere Boy." I was fascinated and read the whole thing in one fell swoop. I know how complex this issue is, and she captured the essence of the problems faced by all concerned and the difficulties in trying to deal with this youngster and children like him. Thanks for your interest, care of research and clarity of presentation.

Moe Keller
Colorado Senate

A friend in deed:I am a friend of this family and was trusted to care for David and his younger sister once when Sue and Paul Mallamo went to visit the older girls. I had to go to the school once to get David after he was disruptive.

I just wanted to tell you that Laura Bond did a wonderful job with this story, and I hope that it helps others, as Sue and Paul want it to do. Thanks for the way in which she told their story. These are beautiful, loving parents, and she let that fact shine through. David is a loving boy, and I hope that he gets the help he needs. We love him very much.

Juanita Bolton
Lakewood


Power Failures

Windy city: Regarding Stuart Steers's "Power to the People," in the December 11 issue:

You gotta love striving ideologues -- er, that is, idealists like Stephanie Bonin and other enviros who want to force free markets into compliance with their politicized, inaccurate fear-mongering of "global warming." Yes, it would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels. Say, while we're waving that thing around, could I get a new H2? And more hair? Thick, wavy, windblown locks? No sense driving an H2 three blocks to Starbucks if I don't look like those guys in the ads.

Markets, not Greenies, should set energy prices. Economics 101 tells us that. Power prices are up this year because supplies are low. Soon supplies will increase and prices will drop. When wind-generated electricity can be had as cheaply and reliably as electricity from coal, natural gas or (gasp!) nuclear power, then power companies will clamor to convert. PORA (People Opposed to Road Apples) didn't get the government to force Henry Ford to set up his assembly lines "for the people!" Rather, when cars became more economical and reliable than horses, horsepower was knocked off the hoof and put under the hood.

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