Sermon on the Mount
Michelle Dally Johnston's July 4 piece on the Shattuck contamination, "Down in the Dump," was an excellent piece of work. There was one point that I was disappointed she did not address, however.

Although the radium industry was once a thriving business, five decades later everyone had forgotten about it, and it came as a huge surprise that so many sites in the city were polluted. So who is going to be around to remind us fifty years from now that the Monolith in the Overland Park neighborhood is a pile of deadly contamination rather than a pretty hillside?

Brandy Reese

Patriot's Blame
Ward Harkavy's July 4 article "Still Crazy After All These Years," on the dubious "patriots" like Colonel Arch Roberts, illustrated the two-dimensional, short-sighted and ludicrous views of the lunatic right (and to some extent, the mainstream liberal left). The racialist, and sometimes clearly neo-Nazi, ideology espoused by some of these fools has no relationship to empirical science or objective history. Their opposition to an overbearing, infringing and potentially authoritarian government is invalidated by their attraction to an ideology that is totalitarian, all-pervasive and murderous. Any sincerity in their love of real American patriotic ideals is undermined by their clearly missing the point. It was Washington himself who stated categorically that the U.S. was not a Christian nation, just as it was not a Mohammedan nation, or any nation with an established state religion. What it clearly was to the Founding Fathers was a nation of individuals with their own personal relationship with the Deity, uninfringed upon by the state. That sacred relationship is also uninfringeable by so-called "Christian patriots" with their own agenda on how other people in the USA need to conduct their private lives.

But the other side of ludicrous views belongs to the liberal left. It is they who refuse to distinguish between racists, neo-Nazis and arrogant scam artists (like the Freemen), and the majority of the patriot movement who are libertarians, constitutionalists and basically people alarmed at the rising pervasive intrusions of governments in the everyday lives of people. Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center (of which I happen to be a member) published its topical report, "False Patriots," about the far-right paramilitary groups. It might have been a valid, informative compilation of the hate groups in the U.S. if not for its inclusion of persons and groups that have no relationship to them.

Among those included were the former L.A. station chief of the FBI, who had strongly expressed opposition to the federal government's handling of the murderous Waco fiasco; the respected constitutionalist who runs the American Agricultural Movement; a Jewish libertarian gun-and-book shopkeeper (Bob Glass of Boulder); and the Hawaiian-Asian leader of a patriot group (Stan Hashimoto, also of Boulder). The left-liberal media has focused on the potentially dangerous pinheads with their copies of The Turner Diaries in their back pockets and represented them as the "patriot" movement. But at the the same time, they have failed to give any attention to people like the Michigan Militia's Olsen, who proudly refers to his Jewish grandparent and lambastes the racists and Holocaust revisionists, or the Ohio Militia's Johnson, who is an African-American alarmed at what he sees as civil liberties violations of fellow African-Americans. The putative patriot movement in the U.S. has a complexity and diversity of components and individuals that pragmatically challenges the agendas of the liberal left in this country.

And Mr. Harkavy, please be more exact in defining Don Weideman's "Messianic" congregation and others of this kind. Fundamentalist Protestant congregations with Jewish embellishments are absolutely not Jewish, despite their self-proclamations of being Jews for "Yeshua." Literal and aware mainstream Jews will never buy it, and non-Jews are not obligated to, either.

Max Winkler-Wang

As a reputed militia patriot "kingpin," according to the Denver Post and the FBI in a Sunday, January 25, 1995, front-page Post story, I can perfectly illustrate just what kind of propaganda the Clintonista regime and the FBI and the Justice Department involve themselves in. And Ward Harkavy falls into this trap, this propaganda, that so many of his fellow liberal-media brethren fall into with all these militia hysteria stories.

In this recent installment, on the so-called "militia patriot" guys up at KHNC in Johnston--the former Patriot Network, now the American Freedom Network--Ward really dispels most of the stuff we're told about militias being white supremacist and anti-Semitic when he discusses the Hebrew faith of Norm Resnick and Don Weideman. But, oh, of course, they're being duped, right, Ward Harkavy? Is that what you want us to believe? That they're just covering up?

But more important, let's look at who the real criminals are in America and who the real terrorists are in America. How many drive-by shootings, armed carjackings, drug deals and murders are militias really proven to be connected with? Oh, I know, lots of people have been led to believe that Timothy McVeigh was part of some big militia movement. There is no substantiation anywhere of that, and in fact, he was kicked out of a Michigan militia meeting he once tried to attend.

As to the jokes who call themselves the Freemen, that not even questionable, so-called militia groups are having anything to do with: So they issued a few hundred thousand dollars in bogus money orders. How many people did they murder? Huh? But do you see the FBI laying siege to the Crips, the Bloods, the Bandidos, the Hell's Angels, any of the other really organized crime elements in America?

No, but we're being led down this path by most of the mainstream media--including Ward Harkavy, who falls into this crap--that all these militias are a threat to all of us. Yet there's no evidence to suggest it or even remotely link them to the terrorist activity that's been done here or to American bases. The Bandidos and the Hell's Angels fire rocket launchers at each other's headquarters in Europe and regularly steal munitions here, and they have leanings toward white supremacy, but we don't seem to hear much about that, do we?

Ward, your research is very lacking, just as your story is lacking in any kind of direction.

Daniel King

The Odd Squad
Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Thomas Pynchon, Gunter Grass, Anaas Nin--this is how your splendid Best of Denver issue affected me. Your writers are excellent, your taste(s) oddball...but I love to be kept guessing.

Please, always, keep it going!
Reynalds Bayard

This Best of Denver is the worst edition that's ever been put out. I don't know who was evaluating things this year, but it was terrible.

Name withheld on request

In the June 27 Best of Denver issue, under "Best Place to Find Relatives of Your Meal Watching You Eat," at the bottom you wrote: "There are always more fish in the sea."

Not! The fishing vessels that are out there are literally mining the oceans with huge drift nets, purse seine nets, etc., and they drag out for miles, consuming all in their path and at an alarming rate! Many sea animals are considered "trash" and discarded as non-commercially viable. The truth is that it won't be very much longer before the oceans are literally empty!

C. Raymer

Mon Overboard
Great article by Joshua Green on Postman Roger ("Please, Mr. Postman," July 4). It's wonderful to see coverage of the interesting personalities on the local music scene besides just the musicians. It's also great to see such thorough coverage of the reggae scene. Thank you!

Rick Guthke

The point I made in my June 13 letter, which you failed to address, is that we local, blue-collar, busting-it, rent-paying artists who play reggae music right here in our own charming town are completely ignored by Westword when it comes time for the Best of Denver readers' poll (this year was no exception, although I wrote you in plenty of time for reggae music to be included). We also seem to escape your attention completely when it comes to reviews. It's just dandy--and pretty damn safe, I might add--that you review all the major touring acts coming through. They really need your review to establish their success. You get to go to all those concerts free! What a contribution you're making to reggae music!

Those of us who also attend those concerts don't need you to tell us which artists to see. But have you made the acquaintance of any of the local players? I would say that you are still in the Tourist Safety Zone.

I admit I have not read Westword much in a while. I am busy trying to support myself and my child playing reggae music. Who am I? What band am I in? Don't ask you, right?

Kathryn Harris

Michael Roberts replies: Harris is a member of the Healers, a band that certainly has not been blackballed by our staff. The act was a participant in last year's Westword Music Awards Showcase; a profile of the group that appeared in the event's program called it "Denver's favorite reggae band." But Best of Denver isn't a popularity contest, and Westword didn't name a Best Reggae Band this year because we didn't have a clear winner. (Ska, a reggae derivative, was represented in the issue; Judge Roughneck took the prize in that category.) Westword's ongoing coverage of reggae, however, is arguably the most extensive of any publication of our type in the nation, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to further the appreciation of it--Harris's severe case of sour grapes notwithstanding.

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:

Letters Editor
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail to: editorial@westword.com


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