Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 14, 2005

Putting the Public on Notice

Land sakes: Surely no one is surprised at the content of "Grazin' Hell," Alan Prendergast's article in the April 7 issue. It's all too drearily familiar in today's political climate. The very word "public" puts an institution in the crosshairs of the current batch of conservative politicians and talking heads. Public lands, public libraries, public schools, public television, public parks, public health: all quaint and obsolete concepts, like the Geneva Convention.

Right-wingers won't be satisfied until America is one huge gated community, where they can be spared the necessity of mingling with the rest of us or contributing one penny of tax money toward our well-being. And if they can turn a profit at the same time by selling what used to belong to all of us to their campaign contributors, it's merely another sign of God's favor.

Shay Lynn

Snow Lo Contendere

The last resort: Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Skier, Beware," in the April 7 issue:

First, let me state that I've been involved with the ski industry for the past ten years, and although I don't agree with many of the special concessions granted to the industry's major operators, it's utterly ridiculous that Westword devoted an entire page in an attempt to garner sympathy for a reckless, novice skier. It's shocking how often resorts (and others in this society, for that matter) must defend themselves against individuals who refuse to accept personal responsibility.

Julia Parsons alleges to have fallen on the Lionshead Bridge, which is conceivably the flattest section of the mountain. She acknowledges it wasn't the result of a collision, so her "accident" can only have happened as the result of three things: excessive speed, extreme carelessness or being extraordinarily unaware. In any case, it's clearly a skier's responsibility to remain in control at all times while engaged in this completely voluntary activity. I suggest this particular skier save the attorney fees and purchase a package of ski lessons.

Nowhere in the article does Eric Dexheimer identify witnesses or cite a ski-patrol report, which is pretty standard procedure in the case of on-mountain incidents, to substantiate Parsons's claim. For all we know, Parsons could've slipped in the parking lot. How can we ascribe any credibility to a grown woman who readily admits she was negligent in reviewing the language in a contract (yes, the waiver is a contract) before signing her name? This is a particularly frightening admission, considering the plaintiff's chosen profession.

C'mon, Westword: Devote a little less ink to careless and irresponsible litigants, and more time to actual sports on the Sports page.

Lawrence Baca

The cost of business: I understand that you would want to keep your business from being bombarded with lawsuits from every wannabe Bill Johnson who ever fell down your slope. But don't be stupid about it. Vail could have gotten off with only paying $2,000 -- but now it will lose much more. After reading this story, my family -- mother, father, myself, my wife and our two children -- will not be going to Vail for our planned ski trip. We intended to make it a two-week outing, and at one point during the trip, my brother who lives in Denver was going to join us with his family for at least a weekend. Not now. What if one of my small kids inadvertently got caught in a bear trap that Vail put out? Vail would not be held responsible, and I'd be stuck with a one-legged kid and a huge medical bill. No, thanks.

Vail, you would have made way more money off of my family than you would have had to pay in hush money. Your huge ego keeps you from understanding the cost of doing business.

Rick Steves
via the Internet

Rockies in Their Heads

A glass act: Thank you, thank you, thank you for Bill Gallo's "Diamond in the Rough," on the cover of the March 31 issue. If the owners of the Colorado Rockies hadn't been so cheap, we could have had a baseball team that was a real gem. Instead, we have a national embarrassment.

L.T. Harper

Homer on the range: I hope Bill Gallo was at the opening-day game at Coors Field and saw that fantastic bottom-of-the-ninth win. Instead of "rock bottom," I predict the Rockies will be at the top of their game this year. And when they finish the season leading the league, I hope Westword will devote as many words to praising the team.

John Munoz

Get the Message

Best intentions: Kudos to Michael Roberts for his April 7 "Hard Corps," which promotes another media organization and picks up on the most important topic of our era: Africa and its orphans!

This is the topic our grandchildren are going to be asking us about, and most people do not have any awareness or interest in learning about it. I thank you for the education and giving publicity to News Corps International. It just proves your paper makes choices that are best for all.

Awareness is a powerful beginning.

Nancy Wood

Big Hack Attack

Doctoring the news: It strikes me as incredibly crass that just over a month after Hunter S. Thompson's suicide, Michael Roberts would attempt to exploit the Good Doctor by writing an article about the "repercussions" of his suicide as reported by the media ("Death Wish," March 31). Does Roberts really believe that stories about Thompson's suicide will incite his loyal fans to take their own lives? Please. That's like saying Marilyn Manson records will cause teenagers to worship the devil and go on suicidal killing sprees. Roberts ought to know better.

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