The Gropes of Wrath

Letters to the Editor

Doing our patriotic bust: I was outraged by the women's mistreatment at DIA security, as reported in Patricia Calhoun's October 11 "Busted!" I wouldn't even want my son to witness a woman being treated with such disrespect -- her boobs squeezed and butt prodded by "security people" as onlookers watch and are amused. Calhoun's lucky that they didn't make her wear a wet T-shirt. After all, this is the crowd that probably keeps Survivor and Big Brother on the air. It seems normal -- and all this in the name of patriotism.

It has begun. Hysteria and fear drive this. It's easy to see why Japanese-Americans were rounded up and tossed into internment camps fifty years ago: It made everyone feel "safe." Just like parading women in front of passengers and workers who watch them being groped. And they all stand by, silent.

Maybe if this is such a "swell" idea, then Mrs. Wellington Webb and Mrs. Bill Owens can demonstrate their patriotism and in front of TV news cameras show all of us how to be patriots as their breasts and butts are squeezed and prodded by the DIA security people to make us all feel safer. Or is this just for the common folk? I believe there are Web sites that make money having two women perform in this way.

It's enough to make me not want to get on an airplane. Maybe we can just leave the business of airplane flyin' and conductin' business to the menfolk -- isn't that how it's done in Afghanistan? Yeah, freedom. Freedom from common sense.

Thank you for alerting the public about this. It's outrageous. I will be notifying my congresspeople about it.

Jane Darling
via the Internet

Bosom buddies: I dunno, Calhoun. You referred to the big bunch of boobs who made or carry out the policy about checking bras and question whether underwires are a significant threat.

Frankly, I'd rather hear you and 49 other women caterwauling about this than have one party slip through with, say, a sharpened coat-hanger wire (a "Brooklyn Bullwhip"). Who'da thunk that a dozen $1.99 box cutters could have caused so much destruction?

The problem is, they are smarter than we are, at least at present, and you cannot know what can be "weaponized" and what can't. Finally, at the end, you make the recommendation that women not wear underwires through the gates. Hooray.

I wonder if maybe you wrote this whole piece just for its punnability, although I will say that your editorial and your comments on Channel 12's Colorado Inside Out will spread awareness about the problem and perhaps save a lot of time and effort as the word gets out. But you didn't have to be so snide about the policy itself and those who carry it out.

Dick Valentine
via the Internet

Frisky business: I just read "Busted!," Patricia Calhoun's interesting piece on DIA's unorthodox security measures. But I have to ask: Is this a recent development? I have gone through security twice at DIA since the terrorist attacks, the last time about two weeks ago, and I was never subjected to a pat-down or even a wand. And, yes, I do wear the offending garment when traveling.

I'm all for tighter security, but it really sounds to me as though someone is abusing his authority. And by the way, isn't this "security" company the very same one that does work at the Newark airport?! Bush made a mistake in not handing over this task to military or other government-regulated forces. Adolescent groping is what we can expect from the twenty-something high-school dropouts charged with America's safety!

Name withheld on request

Waiting in line: I am also a female who owns underwire bras. I would be grateful, not upset, about being searched at the airport. Women have often smuggled illegal items in their bras. I think it is foolish to assume that there aren't any female terrorists who would willingly smuggle a weapon onto a plane by hiding it in their bra. Is Patricia Calhoun really asking DIA to decrease security simply so that women can wear their undergarment of choice?

Think about the important job those security guards have: If even one weapon gets through security and ends up on a plane, they have to answer for it. Let's give them a break and thank them for their diligence.

I find it very upsetting that Calhoun would complain about tight security at an airport at a time when I have loved ones traveling. I, for one, will be the first in line to fly out of DIA after reading her column.

Jennifer Wehde
Casper, Wyoming

Stud missile: This also raises implications for people of both sexes who wear body jewelry in the darnedest places.

David Hakala

What's in a Name?

The law of the letter: One of the things in Westword I used to find most consistently funny were those fire-breathing letters from readers, the contumacious ones, dripping with sarcasm, overflowing with outrage, towering with superiority, mercilessly excoriating some object of their wrath -- the letters that ended not with a bang, but with the whimper of "Name withheld." Oops! The pit bull turns out to be a pussycat, after all.

Once upon a time, editors would print anonymous letters rarely and only with compelling reason, usually the public interest or actual physical danger to the author. Westword accords this privilege so frequently to so many people with an excess of convictions and a shortage of courage that the bombast isn't funny anymore, just time-wasting. I've developed the habit of glancing at the end of the letter first, and, if I see the all-too-frequent "Name withheld," not bothering to read the rest. These personless missives don't qualify as opinion; they're more like poison-pen letters.

Earl Noe

Let Us Prey

Weird science: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "A Click in Time Saves Minds," in the October 4 issue:

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." That's according to L. Ron Hubbard, the science-fiction writer who later created the Church of Scientology.

John Cassella

Go With God

Sacred truths: Thanks to Steve Jackson and Westword for the article about our friend and champion, Father Jim Sunderland ("War and Remembrance," September 27). Father Sunderland and his family have been a part of my husband's and my family since we were born. It is often said that if we were only to listen more and take the time to process within our solitude, we would hear God's voice guiding us. Father Jim has spent many a night at our kitchen table. It is always an exchanging, teachable moment for us all. It was through his wisdom that we recognized within ourselves the need to look at peace and justice through Christ. We know that violence only begets violence. We understand, as does Father Jim, that all life is sacred and that we, as humans, must not use revenge to take another life.

Father Jim also advocates justice in our church. Together, we often discuss the human injustices that are still dictated by our human leaders in our church -- i.e., the silencing on women's ordination, exclusive language, gays and lesbians, and the possibility of some forms of simony.

Thank you for your gift.

Adele DeLine

The holy truth: Steve Jackson's story on Father Jim Sunderland was the most spiritual, uplifting, life's-holiness-toward-mankind story that has been written in any magazine or newspaper in decades. For many of us, coming of age during WWII was a profound jolt. This story should be made into a TV movie. Father Jim Sunderland's one-of-a-kind life story raises all of the questions and gives all of the answers as to why God made me and put me on this earth.

Esther Rita Teale
Colorado Springs

Fusion Confusion

A bitter biscuit: I'm writing in response to Melanie Haupt's September 20 "Tasty Treat," on the Disco Biscuits.

I am an avid fan of the music that the Disco Biscuits create, and I was disappointed to find so many drug references in the article. Ms. Haupt provides no evidence that she attended a Disco Biscuits show or even spoke to fans of the band in order to reach her conclusions. It is unfair and wrong to make such assertions without firsthand knowledge, and it is articles like these that give musicians bad names.

Because the music is coined as "rock-trance fusion," she immediately thought of E-ingesting "raver" fans. While such fans do exist on the Biscuits scene, they do not constitute the majority. There are people from all walks of life who attend Biscuits shows, and the musical tastes run the whole gamut: rock and roll, classical, electronica, heavy metal, dub/reggae, rap, hip-hop, drum and bass, etc. If Ms. Haupt had actually attended a show, she would have found that "music lovers who wear big-legged jeans and visors, love glow sticks and Teletubbies, and consider the pacifier to be an essential wardrobe feature" are minimal, at best.

There are a few other passages that I highlighted, but I will not go any further, for space and time reasons. I simply would recommend that the author engage in extensive research on the topic at hand before writing such blatant falsehoods. Furthermore, you, as editors, should be hesitant to print such fallacies in the future.

Andrei Marinenko
Germantown, Maryland


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