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Letters to the Editor

Ramsey Tough

Very good tag-team coverage in the March 23 issue of the continuing Ramsey screwups. Although I enjoyed Michael Roberts's outing of Ramsey sympathizers in "The Message" and Patricia Calhoun's continued bashing of the Jeffco persecution -- oops, make that prosecution -- in her column, the reader's choice prize goes to "Patsy Ramsey's Book Tour Diary."

Truth really is stranger than fiction. I can't wait for the second chapter!

Sheri Wagner
via the Internet

Thank God someone in the media can write a fair article about the Ramseys. It's frightening to see the mob-like mentality led by the likes of Geraldo, the tabloid press and TV pundits.

The real story is that when the cops can't or aren't competent enough to solve a crime, they leak damaging information to the news media about their targeted suspect and let them lead the media lynching. We've seen it before in the O.J. Simpson trial -- only this time, there have been no charges filed and no indictments. If this kind of trial by media continues, one day there will be no need for judges and juries, just self-appointed hanging judges and a mob with a rope.

JoAnne H. Bay
Astoria, Oregon

Michael Roberts claims that I am "widely thought to be in the Ramseys' pocket." Really. Says who? The comedy team of Green-Boyles? A handful of cyberspace losers? The implication is that I am at most being compensated by the Ramseys for favorable coverage, or at least doing their bidding. Either idea, and anything in between, is as ludicrous as it is insulting. Roberts cites as "evidence" my August '97 story, "Are They Innocent?" and my refusal to appear on the same talk show as Boyles. My article was the result of an assignment by News editors to write a profile of the Ramseys. I chose to focus on their behavior during the major crises in their lives -- the death of John's eldest daughter, Patsy's battle with cancer and JonBenét's murder -- as recalled by their friends and family. It involved interviews with more than forty people, many of whom were reluctant to talk. The result was a story full of new information and insights from sources who actually knew what they were talking about. Any reporter could have contacted these people as I did. Prior to the publication of my story, no one even tried. Apparently, the idea of covering the Ramseys' side of this story -- or even acknowledging that they have a side -- makes some reporters squirm. They prefer to ignore the standard journalistic tenets of fairness and balance rather than risk a bashing from Boyles and his hate brigade. Roberts further says that the Ramseys blew it when they granted me an interview because it "provided ammo to their critics." Oh, please. Boyles and his mob have been screaming for blood for three years. They never lack for "ammo." What they need is a life. Roberts also misinterprets my refusal to appear with Boyles on television as somehow indicative of bias rather than what it really is -- a sign of total disgust.

Lisa Levitt Ryckman
via the Internet

If only Michael Roberts was the problem, I could let it slide, but when editor Patricia Calhoun can't remember that "media," as the plural of medium, takes plural verb forms, your credibility suffers.

"As the national media has been reminding us..." Calhoun, March 23.

"The media in general is finally letting the Ramseys have their way..." Roberts, March 23.

Also, be careful of data -- that one's sneaky.

Keith Johnsen
via the Internet

Copy editor's note: Not only are Westword writers consistent, they read their Webster's. "The great popularity of the word [media] in references to the agencies of mass communication is leading to the formation of a mass noun, construed as a singular," according to the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. "This use is not as well established as the mass-noun use of data and is likely to incur criticism esp. in writing." But, hey, we're used to that.


The Company You Keep

In regards to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Westword by the ACLU ("See You in Court," March 23), you are probably going to win, but you will have a tough uphill battle. Why? Because law-abiding citizens -- you know, the ones who sit on juries -- have very little sympathy for the criminal element. Coupled with that is the fact that the public in general is not signing on to the "Poor me, the whole world is picking on me" syndrome that the criminal so dearly embraces.

That being said, I would hope Westword will begin to understand that the criminal element is a liability and not an asset.

 

Arthur Kerndt
Denver


The Dearth of Innocence

Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Sight Unseen," in the March 16 issue:

What a sad article. For the daughter, for the mother, but most important, for the families that have been destroyed because of Ms. Abbott's techniques. I wonder if these forensic investigators ever stop to question their methods. I hope that a serious inquiry is made by a grand jury into Sungate, the Arapahoe County prosecutor's office and the other "investigators" at Sungate. How many innocent people have they destroyed? Because of their actions, how many guilty people are going to be set free to do their despicable actions again?

Thank you for great investigative reporting.

Amber Hardee-Schmidt
via the Internet

Eric Dexheimer's "Sight Unseen" was a short but excellent history of the child sexual-abuse witch-hunt that has swept this country for the past fifteen years. The witch-hunt came to Colorado in 1986, when Governor Roy Romer ordered a grand-jury investigation into the Akron day-care center. As a result, two marginally retarded boys went to prison. It was the 400 videotapes of interviews between Kee McFarland and the children from McMartin that lost that prosecution -- interviews like those conducted by Carole Abbott. And as a result, child-welfare agencies across the country stopped videotaping interviews of alleged child victims. Colorado law provides for presumption that these kind of interviews will be videotaped. Last year, a bill in the Colorado legislature would have mandated videotaping; it was killed in the house judiciary committee. All of the child saviors came out with objections why they couldn't videotape -- never mind the existing presumption. I had a videotape that I wanted to show the committee, but was refused by the chair: It was of a detective who, after repeatedly demanding "Did he touch you?" bullies a four year-old girl by asking, "Is this the truth or are you lying to me?" These interviews are nothing more than a psychological rubber hose used to alter a child's reality and come up with a bunch of bullshit.

So District Attorney Jim Peters charged Diana Goldberg with investigating Carole Abbott and reporting back to the Sungate board. I can just see Diana's bosom swell with ego. She's a very important person indeed, a child savior. I remember Goldberg from the Central Visitation Program, where I used to have supervised visitation with my daughter. She threw me out when I brought a friend and presents to my child's birthday visit. Goldberg is a lawyer who used to work at Metropolitan Legal Aid representing mothers. Neither she nor Legal Aid have ever helped a father that I know of, and I have been taking hundreds of calls a week for years.

Colorado is second behind Mississippi in the number of children in foster care. In every area of their well-being, children are declining. Governor Owens ordered a task force to investigate Colorado's child-welfare system. Despite numerous requests I couldn't even get on the mailing list. When I appeared in person, my testimony was politely refused. I have no faith in the state of Colorado, its district courts or general assembly in any issue involving a child. When they get their bloody hands on a child, woe the kid.

Kenneth Ward, Fathers for Equal Rights, Inc.
Denver

I see that the child-abuse games continue. Things have not changed one bit since I went through my own hell with the abuse industry. It feeds off of the working poor while at the same time ripping their families apart.

Is anyone really surprised with the cozy relationship between Sungate and the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office? Sungate was former District Attorney Bob Gallagher's pet project. The whole idea is to lead children with suggestive questioning to concoct a bunch of crap and send innocent people to jail. Absent physical evidence, the district attorney needs children to testify to their confabulations. I am not surprised that the DA's office is not forthcoming with exculpatory evidence. Their sole focus is to win prosecutions regardless.

I remember how my child went to court school. She got so good at it, she was teaching other children. Sungate has a court school, too -- and innocent people go to prison as a result. I'll bet nine out of ten cases have no factual basis.

There is only one solution that would fix the system, and that is to take their money away from them.

James C. Plunkett
Denver


Kenny Got His Gun

Regarding Kenny Be's March 23 Worst-Case Scenario, "Smith & Wesson Agrees to Make Safer Guns":

 

Gun control is illegal. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Background checks, mental-health and felony-record restrictions, establishing any age limit to buy or use a firearm, safety-lock legislation and assault-rifle bans are all against the law, strictly illegal and a direct violation of a citizen's inalienable right to defend himself against state tyranny. The right of the people to keep and bear arms -- to use physical force against any government -- is what all tyrannical powers-that-be fear the most. It is the very linchpin of freedom, democracy, liberty and the right to be free from state tyranny in any government.

The Democrats want to confiscate all your guns. The Republicans want to keep guns out of the "wrong" hands (e.g., American Revolutionaries -- ring a bell?). The truth lies with the American people. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed: Gun control is illegal.

Steve Jones
Nederland

Although I laughed about Kenny Be's home-renovation series (I've got a kitchen-cabinet project I could use him on), I was glad to see him get back to doing what he does best: giving people hell.

Forget Smith & Wesson -- Kenny is this town's real straight-shooter.

Amy Wicker
Denver


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