Letters to the Editor

Lost and Found Department

The joy of Saxonia: I found "Smelter Skelter," Stuart Steers's July 26 story about the lost town of Saxonia, very interesting.

Richard Boulware did a fine job researching Saxonia. My only hope is that vandals will stay out of the area until a Colorado historian or Colorado official can re-evaluate this latest missing town's history.

The story was most appropriately dated, too: a week before August 2, when Colorado celebrates its official entrance into the Union.

Name withheld on request

Was it good for you? "Smelter Skelter" was a very good article! Westword should publish more "good news" stories about the state we live in.

Heather Peyton
via the Internet

The Dean of Journalism

Rag, rag, rag: Michael Roberts's "Press for Success," in the August 2 issue, was interesting and well written (if too long!), but it was very obviously biased against Dean Singleton. In other industries, a smart businessman is rewarded with the cover of Forbes. In the publishing business, he is lampooned on the cover of a free weekly.

It is clear that Mr. Roberts wishes he worked for a real newspaper -- like the Denver Post -- instead of a rag like Westword.

Harry Sanders
via the Internet

The terror of Teeny town: I got a good laugh out of the "Teeny Weeny Deany" nickname for Dean Singleton.

Too bad that under the JOA, the Rocky Mountain News is becoming pretty teeny weeny itself. (Except for that Saturday monstrosity, of course.) And for that, we have Deany to thank.

Jackie Wells

Sermon on the Mountain

Small is beautiful: In a state dominated by industry giants such as Vail, it seems unlikely that a small place like Aaron Brill's could make it (Eric Dexheimer's "Risk-Ski Business," August 2). But the more you think about it, it is very logical. If there were a place to ski without intermediates in the way, I would be there in a second.

Good luck to Silverton Mountain.

Name wittheld on request

Things to Do With John Denver When He's Dead

Fandemonium! I commend Jonathan Shikes for his July 19 Off Limits item regarding the mountain climb in memory of John Denver. The climbers have accomplished a beautiful, extraordinary tribute.

I am also in full agreement with Shikes's usage of the words "rabid" and "cult-like" to describe John Denver fans.

I am devoted to continuing Denver's legacy through hosting the annual Celebration (this year's is the third, an event for those who truly appreciate what John stood for), held in Salida; through my international best-selling book A Mountain in the Wind -- An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver; and through my work bringing his music (and humanitarian help) to thousands in prisons, juvenile detention centers, orphanages, teen pregnancy programs, nursing homes and other places where people need help (peaceisuptoyou.tripod.com/ christine smith/).

I am someone whose life has been deeply touched by his music and message, but I am not a fan. "Fans" of John Denver are indeed as Shikes described: a rabid cult to be avoided like the plague. At one time I naively thought all proclaiming his name must be good people, but I was wrong.

Through time and painful personal experience with so many of them, I now see there is a distinct line between those who truly appreciate John Denver and those who are merely "fans" -- defined as those obsessed with Denver's celebrity for the reflected glory it brings them. "Fans" are those who chat endlessly about him, sounding like teenage girls swooning over their idol. "Fans" are overgrown, starry-eyed, immature people trying desperately to cling to something greater than themselves to feel a sense of worth. "Fans" are quick to quote lyrics, but their behavior shows they've not taken any of his words to heart.

Many "fans" gather once a year in Aspen, where they pride themselves on seeing "important people" and thereby (in their minds) becoming important people themselves. I have seen countless examples of their superficial appreciation, shallowness and deceit. They are a gang of hypocrites intent only on using his name to feed their egos.

"Fans" miss the point.

I have also met beautiful individuals -- quiet, unassuming and dedicated to John Denver's message, who are living it in their daily lives. As a result of my book and memorials for John, I have received thousands of letters from those who truly appreciate John Denver for the gifts he gave us. They do not seek recognition, although they may receive it. They do not think of themselves as better than anyone else, although they may accomplish much. They open their hearts and minds to truth and seek to love all. They are authentic appreciators of his music and message.

Many have expressed to me their desire that Denver's legacy forever endure. I believe it will, but it's not because of "fans." It will be in spite of them.

Christine Smith
Howard, Colorado

Rabid city: After reading Janet Jones's letter in the August 2 issue, in which she defends John Denver fans from being described as "rabid," I came up with an extra sentence to add to her motto. Her version, supposedly based on a Denver quote, goes like this: "You do what you can do, and I'll do what I can do, and together we can make a difference."

My addition is this: "And the rest of us will stay the hell away from you people, because you are crazy as loons!"

Ray Wilson
via the Internet

Mob Mentality

Under the gun: Kmart's decision to stop the sale of 9mm and other pistol ammo, as reported in Alan Prendergast's July 12 "Attention, Kmart Shoppers," is not going to stop any law-abiding citizen from purchasing such. There are plenty of other hardware stores where handgun ammo can be obtained, plus pawnshops and gun shops.

I am a law-abiding gun owner and collector and own only one handgun that uses ammo that cannot be used in any submachine gun or pistol ammo carbine. My handgun is an original Colt Police Positive .38 revolver, which was the original working tool of law enforcement from about 1905 until its permanent retirement by the late 1950s, being replaced by the .38 special revolver. It was the very pistol that would have been carried with great pride by Eliot Ness and his Untouchables. Al Capone himself used to target-shoot with the Colt .38 at beer bottles in basements when he was a teenager in Brooklyn. The Colt .38 was used by cops nationwide, as well as all the gangsters, but it was also available for sale to the general public. Modern-made Remington .38 Short Colt ammo is available at Bighorn Trading Co. here in Boulder, along with every other kind of handgun ammo, so I don't need to look to Kmart.

I ask you and the readers of Westword this: Are anti-gun activists and liberal Democrats merely being hypocritical liars in crusading against guns while owning guns themselves, or are some of them really planning to disarm conservatives so they can view them as clay pigeons for target practice and private vengeance?

John Bales

In the Center Ring

Under the big top: Ms. Calhoun, your suggestion in the July 26 "What a Circus!" that the Ramsey murder investigation is nothing but a circus is sadly true. Circuses are for entertainment, but seeking justice in such a heinous crime should carry no joy, thrills or pleasure.

When you think about this case, O.J. Simpson, Columbine and the children methodically drowned by their mother in recent weeks, voyeurism of the investigation from Boyles to Brokaw to others of the post-Watergate self-acclaimed fourth balance of power in this country does nothing but feed and feed on the frenzied participants in this circus. Justice needs to be served swiftly and done in a dignified, solemn and truly professional manner -- and this fourth balance of power (today) convolutes, perverts and inverts this process. Woodward and Bernstein's efforts changed the world for the better -- but their efforts didn't reek of circus dung.

J. Matthew Dietz

Hip-Hop to It

For the love of mike: It has come to my attention that either there is really no significant hip-hop community in Colorado, or the community's cries are being unheard (see Tonika Simmons's July 12 letter about T.R. Witcher's "After the Fall," published in the May 31 issue).

I have been in Denver since 1995, and since then, the reigning MC in Colorado, according to Westword, has been Kingdom or Dez. What is this? Is he the only MC in the state? What does a person have to do to get an MC battle or freestyle session? I know for a fact that there are a couple of MCs who will blow the doors off of Kingdom and Dez (who has never defended his so-called crown). In other metropolitan cities, there's an open mike, and the crowd and judges determine who is the supreme MC. The hip-hop community has the right to decide -- not a columnist.

This is an issue that must be addressed. When will the media in Colorado truly recognize underground hip-hop and not succumb to getting their palms greased or asses kissed? When will raw talent prevail -- and so-called MCs step up to the mike to defend their skills?

Mongo Slade


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