A Matter of Degrees

Letters to the Editor

Lesson plan: Eric Dexheimer's "Friend or Foe," in the December 13 issue, was the most frightening story I've read in a long time. I understand that colleges need to aggressively pursue accusations of sexual assault (are you listening, University of Colorado football recruiters?), but it seems that Colorado State University officials have taken this too far.

Isn't anyone responsible for his/her own actions anymore? It seems to me that if Mike Kochevar had to leave school, then Sarah should have been kicked out, too. (It's clear that both Sarah and Mike were at fault here, at least to some degree.) A better course of action, though, would have been for both students to be allowed to remain, sadder and wiser after this very unfortunate lesson.

Maggie Fulton
via the Internet

Bed alert: Has the world gone mad, or is it me? Ladies, experimenting with your sexual freedom does not mean you get to have sleepovers with your buddies and accuse them of rape. It sounds like no one was very honest about what they wanted from the beginning, and now two lives are in shambles. Their disparate views on what kind of relationship they actually had is astounding, and I quote: "She never had any interest in Mike anyway." Then what was she doing in bed with him? Friendship is built on communication and trust, so I don't know what these two had, but it was not a friendship. "Hooking up" comes not with less responsibility, but more, much more.

Some things never change, and my advice to the young ladies of today is the same as it has been for centuries: Put the bottle down. Keep your pants on, especially when in bed with a man with whom you have no intention of "making it." Know your boundaries, learn to articulate them. Because no means no, but turning away and saying nothing means... nothing. And trust me, leaving it up to a twenty-something-year-old male with an erection to read your mind will have the same outcome every time.

Barbara Macfarlane

A facism in the crowd: Thirty years of so-called "feminism" have taken us from the ridiculous to the sublime. Women want to be equals in the workplace, but weak and victimized everywhere else -- capable of being mesmerized by charismatic, evil, mustache-twirling men and forced into decisions they haven't the will to resist. Why didn't you use the real name of "Sarah," since you used Mike's? Why are men held accountable for their crimes and not women? What about a woman who leaves her infant son to die and then is given custody of him? How far are we going to let this nonsense go?

It's time to take off the blinders and see "feminism" for what it really is: a new fascism that is in fact thoroughly anti-feminist in every respect. It is nothing more than an immature nihilistic movement of spoiled brats who set out to trash the past and are now seeing how far they can take it. You want an example of a feminist? Margaret Thatcher.

What has happened to this young man at CSU and many others like him is criminal. I hope his poor mother and other women will come to see how dangerous this really is and how far it could go. Making love is now a game of "Mother may I?" on college campuses.

I remain a dyed-in-the-wool bleeding-heart liberal. Les Miserables is my favorite novel. Am I the only person who can recognize fascism when he sees it?

Marty Goldstein

Seeing Red

Bowling for dolors: I read with surprise the December 13 "Buffs Taken Aback," by Bill Gallo (a writer I enjoy), about CU and the Bowl Championship Series rankings, which directed so much venom and fury toward Nebraska (and dragged up the same tired old jokes). All Nebraska fans I know (myself included) tip our caps to CU for a terrific victory over our beloved Big Red on November 23. However, we are not as inclined to overlook CU's two (ugly) losses as is Gallo, who calls them meaningless. There are no meaningless losses in college football if you want to be champs, which is one of the beautiful things about the sport: i.e., all games matter.

The BCS is not the fault of Nebraska, and the Nebraska fans I know do not try to justify Nebraska's undeserved good fortune. But quit crying, Gallo. Your team was not gypped. One-loss conference champions Oregon, Illinois and Maryland are the teams with a reason to be angry.

Jeff Butters

Cause and Effect

The geek shall inherit the earth: Not only was I disgusted with Alan Prendergast's "I'm Full of Hate and I Love It," in the December 6 issue, but it showed that people like him were the root of the problem. Instead of being completely neutral on the subject, Prendergast decided to give his profound insights into Eric Harris's life from his personal journal entries. At the finish, the author says: "That is how the journal ends -- not with the howl of the wolf-god, but the whine of the pathetic geek who can't land a prom date."

I'm guessing that lines like that one were what caused Harris and Dylan Klebold to develop their hate and ultimately do what they did.

Marc Ross

The hating game: Sandra Govens's scarily ignorant, vitriolic diatribe in the December 13 issue is absolutely symbolic of what caused Columbine. Maybe Ms. Govens should walk a mile in the shoes of the Harris and Klebold families, or kids who are terrorized, or just about anyone with a functional heart and soul. Perhaps that would cure what ails her and her miserable ilk...but then, I doubt it. If you're looking for a "sick animal," Ms. Govens, you're really much closer than you realize.

And we wonder how it is that our kids come to be filled with so much hate.

Peter Rition
via the Internet

Good grief! In the last issue, someone asked Westword the purpose of publishing the Eric Harris diary article. Well, I would say the purpose of the article was to give information to the community that we didn't already have -- important information that needs to be out there.

Another wanted us all to "move on." First: This is a public event. It doesn't just affect the people who were personally and directly damaged by it. Studying the facts surrounding this case is helpful to understanding the causes and preventing such events in the future.

Second: When someone has suffered a loss and is experiencing grief, there are always many people who want them to "get over it" and "move on." The grieving process is something that takes as long as it takes and, in fact, probably is never completely over. Who has the right to tell somebody else that it's time to stop grieving now? People who are grieving don't need others telling them how long it's appropriate to grieve. What they need is support, which most especially means respect for their right to grieve for as long as they need to, without any judgment of that.

Benton Wheeler
via the Internet

The parent trap: Kids may not fully realize the extent of the ramifications, but they know right from wrong. They may be tormented and belittled for years on end; still, they have a choice as to how to deal with it. That choice is communicated through parents. So before you paint Harris or Klebold as Manson-like psychos, let's look at their parents, who did little to nothing.

Instead of scalding the young corpses of Klebold and Harris, let's fry the living -- like their parents, who have a much greater responsibility than almost anyone else. Klebold and Harris were just kids; they were picked on; their pain was virtually ignored by their parents, their school and their classmates. They knew right from wrong, and I doubt I'd have an ounce of sympathy for them if it was my kid who was killed in such a school ambush. But if my kid was killed, I damned well assure you that I'd find a legal precedent to sue their parents, who should have been able to circumvent this and deal with it before it got to that point.

Viki Reed
North Hollywood, CA

The truth will out: The rumor is that one of the Columbine killers' own families is now making public some information that the Jefferson County sheriff refuses to yield about motives. I wonder if September 11 (Dylan Klebold's birthday) had anything to do with it.

Frustration with "terrorism experts," who after 9/11 said they had never even considered a hijacked airliner as a weapon, led to some "vortexing" of information. Columbine's killers had mentioned the concept more than two and a half years ago.

We have to wonder aloud where some anti-terrorism "experts" study. Dylan and Eric died with their attack, much like the suicidal terrorists of 9/11. They shared evil concepts of religious superiority. They invented their own God of wrath.

We can't learn from history if coverups restrict the truth to a small group who tells us they have everything under control. If it was either the Klebold or Harris family who leaked information, I thank them. Those who fear copycats because of the release of truth should also consider the prevention possibilities that truth provides.

Steve Schweitzberger
Columbine Estates

Reader's digest: Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed Alan Prendergast's Columbine story. It was written so as to keep the reader interested. I never make comments like this, but great work.

Daniel Pruitt
Roswell, GA

Giving Edit Where Credit's Due

Dial M for motive: Yes, the Off Limits item in the December 6 issue was indeed correct. I mistakenly reported in my piece in the Sunday Denver Post that the Sand Creek Massacre was heralded in the Denver Post, when the massacre and its sorry aftermath were, in fact, reported with unvarnished glee in the Rocky Mountain News. It's a mistake that I own up to, as I'm happy to place the responsibility squarely at the door of the News, whose race-baiting editorials at the time certainly played a part in the murder of innocent Cheyenne women and children.

Suzette Brewer

Prepare to Eat Thy Maker

Gobble, gobble: Just a quick note to remind whiner diner Nicole Huntley, who responded to Marty Jones's November 22 "Dead Bird Walking" in the November 29 Letters section, that all of us who consumed dead birds on Thanksgiving did so as a natural function of survival as well as a spiritual homage. I am also compelled to remind her that if she thinks eating only the flora of planet Earth will somehow not involve death in the food chain, she needs to go back to high school -- and this time pay attention in science class. All of the plants and micro-organisms that were slaughtered for her delicious little feast had lives as well. And I suspect her excrement is just as malodorous as that of the "meat eaters," in case she is still deluding herself into thinking she is somehow better than the rest of us.

Ancel Phelps

Give Them the Bird!

High flyers: Great job! I thought Eric Dexheimer's "A Wing and a Prayer," in the November 22 issue, was articulate and very unbiased. I am a falconer living in Boulder, and I agree with the falconer's side of the story. To be able to take a wild peregrine again is every falconer's dream. Sure, we can get one from a breeder, but put it this way: Would you rather fish from a trout farm or from a raging river?

Rob Palmer

Bird brains: The Colorado Hawking Club recently petitioned the Colorado Wildlife Commission for the right to remove four peregrine falcon chicks from the nest for use in the sport of falconry. There are many compelling reasons to refuse this request.

The peregrine falcon, just removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in August 1999, is still in the early stages of a complete recovery in Colorado. A tremendous amount of time and money by public and private groups went into this recovery. The Colorado Department of Wildlife, falconers, the Peregrine Fund, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management all cooperated in this effort. Since then, Great Outdoors Colorado has supplied funds for the continued monitoring of the peregrine. The removal of birds from the wild for the private use of any group would demonstrate disregard for these collaborative efforts.

In 1998, the Wildlife Commission agreed to a five-year monitoring period with "no take" of peregrines. There are still two years left in this period. The previous Wildlife Commission and the public accepted these terms in good faith, and this Commission has an ethical responsibility to stand by the agreement.

Captive propagation of peregrines is extremely successful, and all of the birds needed by falconers are currently available to them through this process. The financial burden that allowing removal of falcon chicks would place on the CDOW is an unacceptable drain on an already beleaguered budget. Approving this request would create the need for an additional $30,000 to $40,000 a year in monitoring to ensure that the harvesting of peregrine nestlings does not harm populations.

Contact the Colorado Wildlife Commission (wildlife.comm@state.co.us) before its final decision on January 10, and let them know that you do not want peregrine falcon nestlings removed from the wild for use in the private sport of falconry.

Rachel Hopper
Fort Collins


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