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Letters to the Editor

Trick or Treatment

Courting disaster: I very much enjoyed Stuart Steers's "Looking for a Fix," in the September 26 issue. You can tell a lot about a society by how it treats certain groups within it -- children, women and sick people in particular.

When it comes to the disease of addiction, courts and law-enforcement officials are quick to prosecute symptoms as a felony. Is it any wonder that the same courts and law-enforcement agencies are too busy to deal with child abuse and domestic violence?

As for drug court, the opponents are correct: It is a gross waste of resources. The Fifth Amendment states that the accused shall enjoy the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses. In common English, an adverse witness is a victim. However, in drug prosecutions, the accused never enjoys this right. If there is any victim in such a case, it is the addict.

Oh, yes -- society is also victimized when politicians prosecute the sick and leave those who perpetrate violence against women and children free to roam the streets.

David Noland
Denver

This means war: That in the year 2002, Colorado and the other 49 states continue to engage in the fantasies and the realities of the "War on Drugs" and forced "treatment" as one of its solutions is something the public will just have to deal with. Drugs and alcohol do not cause or make people do anything; people cause and make things happen. If you are a rotten person, then using drugs and alcohol will most likely expose this. As I understand it, the ancients saw it that way.

It's modern man's paranoid world where something is always wrong and, even worse, could be wrong that fuels the ongoing war of the state versus the individual, with no end in sight. This is my body, and although it could be argued that my body belongs to the state, I still believe that I should have the right to ingest any substance that I want and in turn fuel my fantasies and realities. Yes, just like the state.

Carl Andrew Sutton
Denver

Lessons learned: I am a graduate of Metropolitan State College; I received my B.A. in Human Services in December 2000. I am currently serving a three-year Colorado Department of Corrections sentence at a halfway house.

My recovery lies in the truth, not in politics or what can be proven hypothetically. The applications and requirements set forth by the Alcohol Drug Abuse Division and the Colorado Department of Human Services for transitional residential treatment "lacks a vital human service component," according to ADAD and CDHS. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs" report submitted on October 31 states that Colorado ranks second in severity nationwide on the overall Substance Abuse Problem Index, and Colorado ranks last in the nation in terms of state investments in substance-abuse prevention, treatments and research. For every $100 spent on programs that address the wreckage of substance abuse in Colorado, six cents are spent on treatment, prevention and research.

The judicial system continues to fail. I stand as an advocate for the men/women who struggle in this system. The judicial system works in the medical model, a closed system that is problem-centered and problem-focused. Teaching that addiction is a disease creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I pursued a Human Services degree for this very reason. It deals with problems the medical model has no room for: beliefs, attitudes, cultural and social variables. If people believe they are powerless, they are likely to act in a powerless way.

Not only is the disease-model belief inaccurate, but it is destructive. This model creates more of the very problems it allegedly solves. When people believe they can find their way out of addiction without outside help, they are more likely to wake from their drug-induced despair and build a life they value more than a life of drug/alcohol alone. Most important, when people believe alcohol/drugs are a way of life, a way to cope with the world and not something they are hopelessly imprisoned by, they may be more inclined to make the necessary changes not only in their own world, but in the world they live in. People can learn what's necessary to live a meaningful life and put that knowledge into positive actions.

I don't need a psychiatrist to know that being confident in my ability to achieve something for myself has much to do with whether or not I will actually make an effort to succeed at something I set my mind to do. We all create ourselves based on our beliefs, and what people believe to be true about themselves dictates how they behave in the world.

A common-sense concept consistent with the Navajo culture combines beauty, goodness, order, harmony and everything that is positive or ideal. Navajos say you should "think and speak in a positive way." This view reflects that thought, and language has the power to shape reality and control events.

Richard Montoya
Aurora

Steal yourself: Obviously, hard-core drug use is tragic, and the treatment of the disease is one of the trickiest endeavors a government can undertake. Again, obviously, money is a primary factor in why addicts cannot receive the attention they require, as mentioned by Stuart Steers in his story. How about the money spent on ridiculous methods designed to discourage the American public from using marijuana? (Eleven billion is the figure I've seen kicked around.)

Perhaps this prime-time example rings a bell. We have Dan. Dan is preparing to smoke a joint. Dan's joint supports terrible things. Thank you, National Ad Council, for warning me about Dan's frivolous spending and the horrible consequences of his actions. For shame, Dan, for shame. Don't you ever consider that the drug cartel you are funding is capable of heinous acts of viciousness -- such as the cartel's execution murders of a seemingly innocent Hispanic family for "getting in the way"? That's what the commercial said happened, and TV don't lie. Terrible.

You know, if drug dealers offered "crime-free" stickers on their wares (kind of like dolphin-free tuna), I think a lot of this sort of thing could be rooted out. Yes, I can see it now: The sticker would be blue and say Gunshot Residue Free, with a symbol of a dove freebasing marijuana. Of course, if low-level drugs were (gasp) legal, Dan could obtain his joints without the worry of faceless cartels gunning down nameless families. Then again, if Dan (and everyone like him) got off his fat ass and voted to change the myopic methods employed by our government on levels bordering on ridiculous, all those innocent families in Latin America could breathe a little easier and sleep a little better.

Therefore, I will not buy any drugs; I will simply steal them. That way, I'm taking money from those terrorist bastards, and soon they will have to fold up the old cartel tents and pursue other occupations. Or whatever it is that washed-up drug dealers do. Probably become parking attendants. Those people can be quite nasty, and a terrifying number of them are not of this country. Beware!

"Buckshot" Walker
Denver


The Bus Stops Here

Drive time: Laura Bond's October 3 "Drive, She Said," on RTD's number 10 bus, was right on. I used to live in the Cheesman Park area and would ride that bus on occasion. Once, the driver turned one of the huge articulated buses the wrong way up 13th Avenue, to the screaming of rush-hour commuters. Backing that baby back on to Broadway was a sight!

Now I ride the light rail, which I dearly love (I would love to see a higher level of security on the trains, however). The later the hour, the rougher the crowd...Try it sometime, Laura: Another story awaits!

P.S.: I wish to thank Westword for being the strongest and most honest editorial voice in Denver! Keep up the good work!

Dennis Wennerstrom
Denver

The 'crats in the hats: Good article by Laura Bond. I happen to be an RTD driver, and if the "privateers" are keeping their buses up to the same standard as we do, I'm a leprechaun.

Come up to Boulder some time and ride the routes. RTD runs the LEAP, SKIP, STAMPEDE, 209, 227(DASH), AB, B, CC, DD, F, G, H, J, L, M, N, S, T routes here; compare them to FTC's routes.

Another thing to look out for when dealing with the 'crats is to demand numbers and the sources of those numbers. They like to throw out vague phrases like "the private companies' complaints are comparable to the rest of the system." I encountered someone one time who insisted that the private companies had the same number of complaints as the union drivers -- but the problem with that is if they meant that both had the same number of complaints, then 20 percent (at that time) of the system was getting as many complaints as the other 80 percent. Not a good number.

Unfortunately, I have to ask you not to use my name, because I could be fired for writing you, but I'm tired of the semantic games being played at RTD and the Colorado Legislature.

Name withheld on request


Mean, Median, Mode

The wheel thing: I have to respond to Kenny Be's October 3 Worst-Case Scenario about dating Governor Owens's daughter.

I have been following the ongoing feeding frenzy centered around Representative Tom Tancredo that has consumed almost every liberal/left-wing zealot reporter or media personality in the Denver area who has access to a pen, word processor or TV camera. The operative word throughout this smear campaign -- which was initiated by the Denver Post, not Representative Tancredo -- has been "mean-spirited." Liberals like to throw that word around when certain people are trying to do their job, uphold the law or otherwise impede the radical left-wing agenda.

Referring -- even in parody -- to Governor Owens supporting the murder of "fags" (that is a quote from Kenny's cartoon, not my choice of words) is the most mean-spirited and vicious of "jokes" that I have seen in a while. There were some other references in the cartoon that went over the top as well, but none came close to the implications that the last frame tried to convey.

I have read Westword for many years. I will probably continue to do so -- very carefully. But I am getting quite tired of the Post, and now you, attempting to color much of what you print with such obvious contempt for conservatives and the law, as well as a total disregard for being fair-minded, respectful and civil.

Is this intentional, or simply a case of Ms. Calhoun being asleep at the wheel?

Michael Zsitnyar
Lakewood


The Wild, Wild Qwest

Customer disservice: I enjoyed Patricia Calhoun's September 26 "A Hard Cell," about Qwest and the Wireless division's customer service. Until a few months ago, I worked customer service for Qwest Wireless. I worked there for years and always tried to stretch the rules for the customers, frankly because I was so tired of being yelled at and abused because the customers were so unhappy with the company.

My job was to get issues resolved via e-mail or phone as fast as possible. I had to apologize and sometimes try to fix the problem, but mostly I lied for a living. I was constantly bringing home this guilty feeling about my job. The most important part of the job was quantity, not quality. It did not matter if I resolved the issue or not; it was important to those above me that we worked on fifty issues a day. Sometimes someone would write in and ask for general information about a calling plan. It was a lot easier to ask them for their PIN code or tell them to call the 1-800 numbers instead of actually helping them. We did not have time.

I agree that cell phones are a societal menace. I constantly get annoyed at hearing other peoples' dim-witted conversations.

Sadly, what I remember most about my job was hearing the total desperation in someone's voice about receiving a $30,000 phone bill or having their service cut off for no reason whatsoever. They would receive non-authentic scripted responses that really didn't help them at all. I remember receiving letters from people who thought that they were writing to Joe himself, or at least a manager. I would reply that I was a manager and that I could help them, or that we would be sure to use their feedback to right the issue. No one above me ever really cared about the customers' comments, and they certainly didn't read any of the letters.

I see that Qwest is beginning a new advertisement campaign that includes several employees and focuses on service (Off Limits, October 3). I find that amusing, especially because when you call or write, you usually won't be speaking to an actual employee of Qwest. A contracted person will be assisting you, and sometimes they will do a good job and sometimes they won't. The contractor that replaced me makes a lot less money than I did and has a serious lack of grammar and sentence-structure comprehension.

As for me, I have never been happier. I now work for a socially responsible company, and I don't have to hide my ID badge when I get on the bus like I used to. But please withhold my name: Qwest made me sign a series of papers stating that I would not speak of the working conditions there so that I could get roughly $1,500 sent to me six to twelve weeks after I was laid off. That was all I got.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: Late Friday, October 4, Qwest, AT&T, WorldCom, Sprint and the Colorado Telecommunications Association (which represents rural phone companies) filed a joint application with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to raise business and local phone rates by $1.47 a month -- ostensibly to offset a reduction in intrastate access charges, the charges that long-distance carriers pay to local phone companies to complete toll calls. "Consumers lose in two ways from this industry plan," says Ken Reif, director of the Office of Consumer Counsel. "Local phone bills increase by $1.47 per month, but there is no guaranteed reduction in long-distance rates."


Cut on the Bias

State of confusion: I just read the October 3 installment of Michael Roberts's The Message, titled "What's Left?" and I remain confused. So confused that I reread the column several times, specifically the portion about the bias of the Denver Post.

Yes? The Denver Post is biased? Yes? Here is where the confusion comes into play: Why is this news? Why does it merit mention? The Denver Post is biased. The Rocky Mountain News is biased. Westword is biased. There is not a single newspaper operating today that is not biased.

Perhaps Mr. Roberts would be so good as to explain in a future installment of his almost weekly diatribe why this fact merits reporting.

James C. Hess
via the Internet


First Things First

Ignorance isn't bliss: Allow me to quote. Ahem. "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...." That's what it says. Look it up.

Call me Pollyanna, but I kind of expect professional journalists and their editors to have at least a nodding acquaintance with this quote. Maybe that term -- "professional" -- is too strong a term in this case? That's what I gotta think after Westword prints and then seriously comments on missives screeching about our constitutional guarantees of "freedom of the press and free speech."

The First Amendment is marvelously simple, and it says nothing about what information government will provide to the public or the press. Nope. It addresses the way in which government is restricted from controlling the free expression (speech) of either the press or the citizenry (this excludes libel, slander and shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater). But many Americans (exemplified by September 26 Letters correspondents Nick Werle and Barbara Adkins-Jordan) cheered on by an equally ignorant or purposeful media believe the First somehow means government must throw open its doors to all comers. I can accept -- if not forgive -- this in self-interestedly obfuscating extreme left-liberal outfits such as the American Civil Liberties Union, but it seems to me that Westword's editors ought to display a little more, uh, honesty? You guys know the First Amendment has nothing to do with the sort of sunshine lawsuit you talk about in your editor's note. Yet by attaching it to letters from people who obviously have no clue in hell what the First is talking about, you contribute to the disinformation campaign and assist in America's strongest growth industry: aggressive ignorance.

The Constitution doesn't call for newspapers to tell the truth, thank God. Dopes like Madison and Adams figured each American ought to be smart enough to understand our own Citizens Handbook without the assistance of corruptible and political newspapers. But would it kill you?

JM Schell
Arvada

Breaking silence: Bravissimo to Alan Prendergast for his exemplary audacity in screaming out against the far-too-long suppressed silence enforced on prison inmates in both state and federal institutions ("The Long Silence," September 12). Here's the rest of that story: The United States Postal Service took it upon itself in the interest of noblesse oblige to sister bureaucracies to allow officials of "any jail-type institutions" to confiscate or destroy any incoming or outgoing mail addressed to or sent by any of its charges without fear of prosecution. What a fine example that sets. Herbert C. Hoover, our 31st president, was responsible for instituting the federal penal system, and for some mystifying reason, he wound up the recipient of (Dr. Joseph Paul) Goebbel's Diaries. Obviously, Hoover learned a few tricks in disseminating false information amongst the mass-minded from Hitler's chief propagandist.

How many Americans are aware that those "interpretative tours" of Alcatraz Island are unconscienced distortions of historical facts? Those trusting tourists visiting one of the most infamous prisons in chronicled penology must pay to take a ferry ride to Fantasy Island compliments of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

James Carey
Leavenworth, Kansas


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