The Hating Game
In the May 6 issue, I read first in Patricia Calhoun's "The Ten Commandments," then in Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario, of Vikki Buckley attributing the Columbine shootings to "new-age hate crimes." What I want is for someone to corner this feeder at the public trough and ask her to define her statement. Since she works for Colorado taxpayers, this Colorado taxpayer wants to know what she meant by that statement.
Hate crimes are hardly a "new-age" idea. They are carried out by folks who subscribe to one of the oldest philosophies on earth: the philosophy that one should hate and kill that which is different. That's not new-age, for folks who think they know what the term means. It's been around since the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. It is what put six million Jews on Hitler's list and 1,200 on Schindler's list. The hatred of the different is what put Matthew Shepard on a fence in Wyoming.
I feel that Ms. Buckley must be called into account for her words and have to back them up publicly. No mealy-mouthed apology: Put up or get outta town.
via the Internet
While reading Calhoun's "The Ten Commandments," I circled the quote "new-age hate crimes," already composing in my mind a letter asking for clarification on whether Buckley or the Shoels family had said it and noting the insidious "newspeak" implications. Then I turned the page and saw that good old Kenny Be was on the same wavelength. You are the greatest one-two punch in journalism today!
Also, Doc Presser, in his letter from the same issue, sounded like a 1920s socialist pamphleteer in attributing the sole cause for the Columbine shootings to the "capitalist system." This is fundamentally true, but these and other such perpetrators are not sweatshop kids lashing out against class oppression. Nor are they children of the Weather Underground, like the Unabomber and the militia movement. They are indolent, dispassionate children suffering from the advanced, final stages of a pandemic disease called "affluenza." Cases promise to become less isolated...
In the May 6 issue, why did you print the alleged "Heston's NRA Stand" diary entries when you said you "were unable to verify their authenticity by press time"?
via the Internet
Editor's note: Had we waited until the Red Sea parted, Heston's diary still would not have been authenticated--because we made it up.
Next Items on the Agenda
Patricia Calhoun: I am shocked and dismayed that you think that threats of violence against a politician and his family are a good thing ("Opportunism Knocks," April 29). I assume you only think this is positive as long as the politician disagrees with your agenda. I can imagine the screams from the rooftops if it had been Pat Schroeder getting the threats. I refer, of course, to your crude remarks about the threats against Doug Dean that he considers serious enough to warrant removing himself from public service. I thought you were supposed to be the pacifist. I thought you abhorred threats and violence. I am very confused. Maybe you would like to take a minute and explain this: Is it because your hatred toward the man overran your common sense?
I think very highly of your paper and, in particular, I think you do a very fine job. That said, please make yourself clear on this. It pissed me off the first time I read it, and it continued to piss me off the second and third time. I am not a fan of Mr. Dean, but I am a fiscal conservative with a liberal tilt toward social issues. I'll bet this describes a much larger portion of your readership than you feel comfortable with.
I am appalled by the idea of anyone being driven from office by threats. Even my most hated politician, Wellington Webb, deserves to serve the term to which he was elected. I would not celebrate if he decided that he could no longer serve his term due to threats to himself or his family. I sincerely hope that you feel the same way about Mr. Dean.
via the Internet
According to one letter in the May 6 issue responding to Calhoun's April 29 column, capitalism is the root cause of the Columbine shooting.
If we could collect a dollar from everyone with an agenda who's been grinding their political and social axes over the incident, we'd be so rich we wouldn't need capitalism.
Oh, Patricia--please! Are we really to believe that, of your entire readership, the only reply to our pointing out the callous disregard for life in America today was the May 6 letter pretending to be shocked at Colorado Right to Life's extremism?
For over a hundred years, our nation believed that the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which state "...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," were true. Ever since the 1967 abortion law that led to the infamous Roe decision (carried in Colorado by Dick "Duty to Die" Lamm) was passed, life has become increasingly cheap. The unfortunate defining of the unborn as non-persons by the Roe case, in the same fashion as defining African-Americans as non-persons in the Dred Scott case, has led to the unjust taking of 35 million innocent unborn human lives. Until Colorado, which opened the Pandora's Box of death in 1967, stands proudly to say that equal protection under the law for all life will be promoted, we will likely continue to bemoan these tragedies.
Wouldn't it be more honorable to say, as we requested of Governor Owens, "Colorado respects the sanctity of all life, from the moment of conception through natural death." That would be a most fitting tribute to the lives lost at Columbine. Nothing can replace the loss the families suffered. Each of those precious children's lives deserves a living legacy.
If your readership really believes respect for life is extremism, our nation's continuing decline is certain, and we are in more dire straits than we imagine.
Leslie Hanks, vice president
Colorado Right to Life
As the spouse of a teacher, I am enraged by some of the letters you are receiving regarding the Columbine shootings. Suggestions that teachers carry guns to work (which happens to be a school) to protect themselves from this kind of violence is plain ignorance. No one seems to be asking the real questions.
Why are our schools not safer? Could it be because someone had to make a choice last year whether to hire additional security for the schools or buy new books to replace the ones that are five years out of date? Could it be that there are simply not enough teachers available to police the children adequately, because the funds aren't available to hire any more? Could it be that all resources at most schools in the metro area are stretched to the limit by the current growth rate? Where do all those new kids go?
There are many elements as to what contributed to the violence at Columbine. I know all the taxpayers (and, yes, teachers pay taxes, too) out there are wondering what they get for the money that goes to the schools. But everyone across the country has just witnessed what you get! Without the necessary resources, schools cannot cope with the disturbed kids that need help. And when the next school-bond issue comes before the public, maybe you will think twice before deciding that you don't need that one extra administrator or teacher who may have had the time to possibly intervene earlier at Columbine High School.
via the Internet
The God Squad
I have a question for all of the Christians who are upset with Peter Gilstrap's Jesus of the Week, including one woman who wrote a letter for the April 29 issue: How can you people worship and defend a God that stood and watched as His children were slaughtered at Columbine?
According to Christian theology, Jesus witnessed the bombs being constructed and the weapons prepared for bloodshed. He saw Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris enter Columbine, and He was fully aware of the impending doom. He didn't lift a finger as the bloodbath ensued. He was apparently unconcerned with the forthcoming pain, misery, heartache and death that would horrify the entire world.
Christians, it's obvious to me that your Jesus Christ doesn't love the little children. The paramedics and doctors did more to deserve the public's thanks than did your savior.
It saddens me to think that there is criticism concerning the service Sunday not representing various ethnic and religious groups (Off Limits, May 6). Who was the service for but the families of those who were lost--not the public? I did feel that Franklin Graham was out of place, but the others, I thought, were in good taste and thoughtful. Even at times like this, the ugly head of intolerance raises itself. No wonder we live in such confusion and violence.
More Stern Talk
I want to thank Michael Roberts for being one of the only writers who took an unbiased look at the aftermath of a few comments made by Howard Stern regarding Columbine (Feedback, April 29).
But he's wrong when he says that no one will step forward to defend Stern. There are folks who still believe the First Amendment stands for something and who are willing to defend every American's right to speak up, even when it offends us. Free speech is our greatest--and most difficult--right and needs to be defended vigorously. So many formerly "reasonable" people are now speaking about limiting our rights, all in the name of a "safer" society. (It makes me shudder.)
Roberts's statement that "Howard Stern may be a symptom...but he sure ain't the disease" is right on the mark. In the "it's-not-my-fault" America of 1999, people would rather blame movies, video games and rock bands for senseless violence instead of those who actually pulled the trigger. They'll decry Howard for (apparently) single-handedly causing the downfall of American morals. And yet, with each new shootout that happens, they'll (once again) spend more time debating the merits of The Basketball Diaries than looking for a real solution.
The Peak had no problem loving Howard while he was making them money and getting them ratings. Now, all of a sudden, to their "surprise," he has an outrageous statement about the horror at Columbine. Everyone is posturing, as they seem to do in the wake of things like this, to gather media attention in their direction. If you don't like Howard, turn him off. He has a right to make a living anywhere in this country, like anyone else does. The Peak wanted him for the exact reason they are trying to now distance themselves from him.
Shameful. They knew what were getting when they asked for it.
via the Internet
Did the words Howard Stern spoke "upset" you? Did you feel he was "insensitive" to your feelings? Was he "mean" to you by saying it? Do you want to "strike out against him" for saying it? "Hurt" him and the radio station that plays his show? What does this remind you of?
Let's be role models for our kids. Let's not allow words to affect us in such a negative way. Turn him off, walk away, let it go.
via the Internet
While the Constitution and, specifically, the Bill of Rights are continually being debated and interpreted by scholars and judges, I am amazed at how many people in this country lack even a basic understanding of their meaning. "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." I haven't heard anyone suggest that Stern should be charged with a crime for his comments.
What would happen if I told my boss to "fuck off," then claimed immunity to any consequence because of my First Amendment right to free speech? Ask Jimmy "the Greek" or Marge Schott about their right to free speech. Who misinterprets the Constitution more often? Journalists. The First Amendment guarantees you won't be imprisoned or fined by the government for speaking your mind. It doesn't guarantee you an audience, nor does it guarantee you won't lose your job. The people of this community have every right to boycott the advertisers on Stern's show, and the Peak has every right to dump the show if it wants (it likely won't). If the FCC refused Stern a license to produce and syndicate his radio show, that would be censorship. Locals refusing to subsidize the juvenile garbage that Howard Stern fans regard as brilliant comedy is nothing more than the free market at work.
I just wanted to write in support of Howard Stern and his program that's been the subject of ridicule by the Colorado Legislature. Howard says some outrageous things, and I tend to agree with the criticism made of his comments regarding the Columbine tragedy, but I don't believe that they justify his removal from the morning lineup on the Peak. As a college student, I know firsthand that his show has a huge following in the Boulder area. I would be extremely disappointed if he was yanked from the airwaves in Denver!
via the Internet
Of course Stern has the right to say what he said. That fact is evident in that he did say it. Having that right also means having the right to suffer consequences. If I were his boss, I would exercise my right to fire him.
via the Internet
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:
P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missed a story? The editorial contents of Westword, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available online at www.westword.com/archive/index.html.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.