For Pete's Sake
Karen Bowers's "Mannix Depressive," in the July 5 issue, while well-written, factually on the mark, entertaining and even illuminating in many respects, at first troubled me.
It did not seem to expose R.W. "Pete" Peterson's excesses so much as it may have served him yet one more meal at the publicity trough he so relishes at the expense of the good faith and credit of the many honest, hardworking and responsible investigators he so easily dismisses by word and deed at every opportunity.
The man has made a career of butchering the image of a profession already fraught with the consequences of the imaginative twistings and turnings of the minds of countless mystery writers, who portray us, at one end of the spectrum, as crude, unethical bozos, and at the other as slick, well-armed skirt-chasers. It is a pantheon in which the lonely and honorable Sam Spades and the honest and ethical Ellery Queens get well and truly lost.
We investigators are more than characters in a play, strutting about with assault weapons at the ready against who knows what photogenic threat, a portrayal fondly adopted by Mr. Peterson.
Still, the saddest insult of all is that, by his conduct, Petrson attempts to destroy the blunt but real romanticism that I think helps drive many of us in this old and honorable business to aspire to the nugget of truth in our real lives that both Sam and Ellery in their fictional lives so desperately clung to--a sense of technical propriety which established clear and present bounds beyond which neither they nor their clients could tread.
The good detective story always has been the conflict established by those who served that line and those who crossed it.
Whether or not I can find my butt using both hands, as Mr. Peterson so joyfully prattles, I know where that line is. And it may come as a surprise to Mr. Peterson to learn that I also know that the statute of limitations guiding the district attorney's office in its investigation of his conduct in the Masek case, in which he may face possible charges of burglary and theft, is, in fact, still running, contrary to the quote in the Westword story by Mr. Peterson.
Perhaps, in the end, publicity will turn out to be no match for competence. So, in the meantime, upon further review, by all means hand the man another shovel and some more rope.
I enjoyed Karen Bowers's story on the private eye. It was the perfect story to read while lying in the shade on a hot summer day. What a cast of characters--Pete Peterson sounds like he leads a very interesting life. And I don't care if he's working on his own on the O.J. Simpson case; I'm glad someone is doing the work. I hope he helps the prosecution nail that O.J.
I live to read Westword. I keep an extensive library, and it includes the best issues back to 1985. You enable me to decide how I'll vote in almost every election.
The "Empty Nest Syndrome," in the June 21 issue, moved me to write and congratulate Robin Chotzinoff on her style. I felt I was actually riding alongside Doug Stewart through his worthwhile work. What a trip!
I hope it is not too late to comment on your June 21 issue. Robin Chotzinoff's "Empty Nest Syndrome," about Doug Stewart and his business, Bird Control, Inc., was a real treat. I always like to hear about someone who gave up the daily nine-to-five grind in order to do what he really enjoys--even if his business is "for the birds." From now on, though, I'll be sure to wear a hat at Coors Field--no pigeon souvenirs for me!
In that same issue, Eric Dexheimer's "An Incomplete Sentence," was very well-written, but the story itself was very depressing. No punishment is too harsh for that father. It is beyond imagining that someone could do that to his children.
The Crime of His Life
In reply to Fred Webber's July 5 letter about Eric Dexheimer's "An Incomplete Sentence":
It is very typical stereotyping to make this lame attempt to link homosexuality, gayness or lesbianism to pedophiles, necrophiliacs and rapists. What Mr. Webber and so many others seem to miss in these comparisons is the very distinct difference of mutual consent between adults that is present between two men or two women homosexuals. Consent between two adults is lacking in all these other categories. An adult who takes advantage of a child in any manner is an abomination. Rape is an act of violence. And necrophilia is also missing the vital consent between adults (unless there is some agreement prior to the death of the "dead stuff"). Even those "freaks" into discipline and bondage believe in "safe, sane and consensual," and if they don't have the consent, then it is a crime.
Homosexuality is not a crime, even if a few narrow-minded persons think it should be one. Preying on children is a crime. Rape is a crime. Necrophilia is a crime. Illegal detention or kidnapping is a crime. Assault is a crime. How is it that an otherwise intelligent person could miss such an obvious distinction?
Consent cannot be obtained from or given by a victim of a crime, Mr. Webber. That is what sets the standard for "normal," not heterosexuality. Surely even you will "consent" that many heterosexuals engage in deviant, abnormal behaviors. Think about it.
Name withheld on request
Although I can understand why any responsible adult would want to disavow any connection to James Christensen, for Fred Webber to compare the perversions of Christensen to the activities of homosexuals is unconscionable. Thanks to the lies promulgated by the religious right, we have been down this road again and again. The fact of the matter is this: Most pedophiles are heterosexuals. Pedophilia does not go hand in hand with homosexuality, any more than necrophilia does with heterosexuality.
Are you listening, Fred?
Rec and Ruin
Regarding Richard Fleming's "Cover Up in the Locker Room," in the May 31 issue:
I'd like to congratulate you for exposing the cover-up of the Peeping Tom at the North Boulder Recreation Center. I've been a patron of the facility for about a year, and I was shocked to find that a woman's efforts to expose a Peeping Tom in a public facility frequented by children would reveal the small-town, "don't ask, don't tell" politics among Boulder's inner circles.
My first encounter with the Peeping Tom was via the appearance of a cryptic note taped to the women's locker-room mirror, alerting us to the fact that there was a Peeping Tom "working in the rec center," spying between ceiling tiles, and that management knew about it and was doing nothing. We were all alarmed, but when we mentioned it at the reception desk, all we got were blank stares--it was obvious they were told not to say anything about it, leaving us totally in the dark. I felt violated, victimized and angry. With each visit to the locker room, I expected to come face to face with the Peeper, and I noticed other women walking around looking at the ceiling.
Caroline Schuler was the staff member who bravely and effectively brought her suspicions to the police. What Caroline received for her efforts was harassment, a hushed-up "transfer" to another rec center, a "poor evaluation" (for making trouble), the cold shoulder of conspiratorial silence from the NBRC, a "so-what" kind of response from management about the crime itself, and a non-investigation investigation from the police (no formal charges made, no victims questioned).
All this reeks of small-town, old-boy networking and the kind of anti-female ignorance one might expect to encounter in parts of the Deep South--not our progressive Boulder.
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More Hot Air
In his July 5 letter, R. Metz illustrates a typical problem of insufficient knowledge on which to base a valid judgment. Metz is one of the many who naively believe that gasoline used in autos is the main use of petroleum. In truth, private autos using gasoline consume a small portion of the petroleum produced in oil fields.
More people will ride public transportation and give up their autos when RTD begins adjusting transit for public needs rather than political expediency. The main problem with RTD is that its primary concern is getting people into and out of the downtown area. They overlooked the need of people who live on one side of the metro area and work on the other side and have little or no need or desire to go downtown for any reason. Time is too valuable to waste in riding the bus on a two-hour trip across town when it can be driven in thirty minutes or less despite the traffic.
R. Metz is an academic idealist with perhaps a fancy college degree but no ability for thinking and reasoning, or he lacks basic knowledge on which to base a valid opinion. It is time to face reality rather than academic fantasy.