Carrying a Torch

Letters to the Editor

Love everlasting: I just read Steve Jackson's incredible "The Racer's Edge" series, including "The Bounce-Back Kid," in the March 8 issue, and "The Kid Bounces Back," in the March 15 issue, for the fifth time. I wanted to write to tell you how moved I am, and to tell you what a wonderful writer Steve Jackson is.

The Klug family is indescribable -- in their love, in their devotion as a family, in the way they look at life and, most important, in their faith. How can words describe what the organ-donor program does for families like the Klugs? No one can know the pain, the sleepless nights, the agonizing days, the memories of seeing your child grow up and suffer. I only wish the world could read this series. For all of the cynics who think love is dead, Chris Klug's story only proves love gives and restores life.

It is hard to think that someone had to die so another could live, but that thirteen-year-old heart will go on giving and go on loving in the body of a very brave man.

Peggy Thoma
Redmond, OR

Blinded by science: Thank you for the incredible two chapters on Chris Klug.

"Science writing" came of age only fifty years ago, with Blakeslee of the Associated Press. It's a complex process: The writer must become a readable, observant, understandable, accurate translator who takes arcane material and makes it accessible to laypeople.

In March 2001, Steve Jackson did that flawlessly. But he did more, mastering not only the medical mysteries and solutions but the joy of sports, the warmth of the love from Missy and Chris's family and friends. Even Blakeslee wasn't that versatile. And on top of all this, Jackson's prose is that of a fine contemporary novelist.

You have excellent writers at Westword, anyway. But Jackson's latest may be a Best of Denver in itself.

Pat Huff

Be a sport: While reading Steve Jackson's story, I thought how great it would be to see Chris Klug carrying the U.S. flag or even the Olympic torch in the 2002 Winter Olympics. I found a site where everyone can go to nominate Chris, the person most deserving of this honor. He would not only be representing the United States, but Colorado as well. So everyone should take a minute and go to, fill out the form and be proud that we could vote for one of Colorado's finest and most courageous athletes to represent our state and our country.

Trayce Titterington-Alfrey
via the Internet

Doubting Thomas

An ace in the hole: I had to laugh when I read in Stuart Steers's March 22 "Take Cover" that someone compared Denver councilman Ed Thomas to Jesse Ventura. If I were to liken Mr. Thomas to a Ventura, Ace is the one who comes to mind!

Ed Thomas is a lot like Denver's mayor, Wellington Webb -- basically a blowhard who hasn't done much in office. With Webb, it has been the economy that has done the heavy lifting, not any great mayoral work. Thomas, too, has been coasting along. It's an easy ride when the economy is going your way.

It would be nice to get a take-charge, do-something mayor like New York's Rudolph Giuliani, someone who is willing to not follow the same tired path. But it isn't going to happen here. Thomas is the type of politician that Denver loves: bland, stale and out of touch. Sounds like the perfect candidate for mayor!

Bill Stevens

Same old story: There was a time when Westword was a gutsy, tell-it-like-it-is newspaper. Now you're playing into the hands of lame politicians. Stuart Steers's article on Denver councilman Ed Thomas was too silly for words. Thomas is little more than a blowhard. Nothing new. Nothing special. Nothing more.

Denver needs people in the city council with new ideas, and a willingness to do the right thing and not be afraid to step on a few toes. Thomas is none of those things. He's old news.

Karen Reed

Dinner Belle

Let's dish: I feel the need to respond to Julie Jargon's well-written article about the women's gifting groups ("'Tis Better to Receive," March 22). It is embarrassing for me to admit, but I made the large mistake of giving my money away to someone I never met, who didn't even bother to thank me. These groups provide a few women with lots of money and many women with nothing. If you got in early, while all the hype was still up and everyone was excited, then yes, some women made money and even cycled through several times. But that lasted maybe two months. I joined last summer and haven't received a cent. And I know of several other women who also haven't been gifted.

It was easy to get sucked into this "get rich quick" scheme because of the lies and propaganda presented at the meetings. I was told that no one has never not been gifted; that you don't have to invite (recruit) anyone in order to be gifted; that it is totally legal; that the Denver district attorney approves of the Original Dinner Party because it's the only gifting group that is functioning legally; that you should cycle through in about three months; and even that there is a fund set up to help any women who "get stuck."

It's interesting to me that now there are women forming a coalition to make gifting groups legal in Colorado. Maybe they don't understand why these types of money scams are illegal: Someone always loses. I honestly tried to bring new women into the cycle last year, hoping to get my big money. But I couldn't convince anyone to join. And now I couldn't possibly ask anyone to join, knowing the ODP doesn't fulfill its promises.

Save your money, ladies: Invest in a good education to empower yourselves. Women get sucked into these groups looking for support and female networking, but it doesn't work that way. The ODP is a pseudo-feminist scam that pretends to help women when what it really does is perpetuate the "come rescue me" mentality.

Name withheld on request

The Ruling Class

The numbers game: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to two fine articles by Julie Jargon in the March 22 issue, one about the Original Dinner Party and the other "Civics Disobedience," about Andrew Hartman. Not only do I partake of gifting circles, but I was also one of Andrew's professors at Metro.

These two articles demonstrate the power of the status quo, however subtly, particularly in the use of numbers. On the issue of gifting circles, many within my culture and others have provided me with the ability to gift and sponsor people in financial and spiritual need, and to receive. The stock market only provides me with the ability to lose, and lose I did, close to $10,000. One system benefits the rich, the other benefits the rest of us in a variety of ways. If a person chooses to place his money in a state-sanctioned pyramid, by definition making it legal, he has that right. I'd rather give my money to like-minded people than to strangers who buy one more of something they already have, be it a country, a fur or a corporation.

On the issue of education, is it fair to demand that teachers be passionate and stimulate the learning process and then, upon compliance, expel them for differences in classroom decor and ideas? As a nation, are we not beyond this yet? The students circulated a petition and received close to 1,000 signatures in support of Hartman. Rather than consider the petition, the principal quickly stated that Hartman was using the students to his benefit. One bunch of numbers collected by students was found to be suspect, another bunch (statistically skewed, I might add) about the Original Dinner Party was accepted without hesitation. Hmmm.

Thinking Americans need to be suspect of financial schemes of the greedy, as well as teachers misinforming and misdirecting our students. But in no way do the Dinner Party or Hartman pose a threat of any kind. Often Americans fear differences, fear creative, alternative-thinking women and men of any color, even though most, if not all, of our expansions of democracy and freedoms have come about as a result of the actions of the very people they fear. With what do Hartman and those "stupid, silly women with their salads" provide us? Maybe a different lens to look through, maybe a different creed to dance to.

Thank you, Ms. Jargon, for shedding light on a couple of alternative behaviors that we have yet to fully embrace, and ones I think can only make us collectively, not necessarily individually, strong. Maybe I'll start reading Westword again.

Oneida J. Meranto
Metro State College

Left wingnuts: I wonder whether Thornton High teacher Andy Hartman bothered telling his ninth-graders that Indonesian sneaker-factory workers earn ten times the income of other Indonesians? Along with James Loewen's Lies, did his students read Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago? Did he add to his exaggerated depiction of Europeans' excesses in the Americas an examination of Stalin's merciless slaughter of between thirty million and sixty million Soviet citizens? And while figuring the ratios of African-Americans in our jails, did he do the math on political and religious prisoners in Cuba and China?

Too damn many public-school teachers are leftists, and most administrators are foaming-at-the-mouth socialists eager to indoctrinate their young charges in The One True Way -- just like Andy. The problem for Andy is that today, too damn many parents expect a little more from the local collective -- er, public school. Today parents expect teachers to teach, rather than waste kids' time proselytizing political agendas on any side. Parents expect teachers to fill kids' heads with facts 'n' figures rather than political ideologies, no matter how "progressive." School administrators -- despite their personal politics -- know this and are responding appropriately (if only for self-preservation), as they did in Hartman's case. Moreover, all us grownups know that you can fire a teacher for sacrificing goats in the classroom and one or two immature kids will wail, gnash their teeth and rend sackcloth ($7.95/yd. at Naropa) in protest. So even if a few of Hartman's more easily persuaded kids walk out, petition and tell reporters how, like, way cool he is, it doesn't change the reality that he needs a little, well, re-education in educational methodology.

It isn't a matter of the school and parents not wanting kids exposed to these ideas, as Hartman, in true lefty form, claims. It's the teaching, stupid. That's what's he's being paid for -- yes, Andy, someone actually pays for the public schools! And what most thinking parents don't want to pay for is a goofball like Hartman avoiding actual teaching. Besides, public-school teachers should not be forcing or even encouraging their students to protest the military and American industry, and they certainly should not be inculcating white, heterosexual male kids in the popular, left-wingnut notion that they are personally guilty for every evil perpetrated by one human against another for the past 25,000 years.

That's what public university liberal arts programs are for.

JM Schell
via the Internet


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