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Letters to the Editor

The Slime of His Life

Mile hype: Great article by Stuart Steers on Mile High Telecom ("Con Air," February 6). I was a manager there and quit due to all of the lies and misrepresentations. I worked on Wall Street for ten years, but never encountered the slime that I came across at Mile High Telecom. What really pisses me off, though, is the fact that they lied about donating money to the NYC charity that they used in their advertising and as a way to let customers know that they were different from Qwest.

Scumbags!

W. Casey
via the Internet

Don't ask, don't tel: This is an outrage! Not only did investors get swindled out of millions, but so did the employees who work at Mile High Telecom. There are a hundred employees there, and soon they will all be unemployed, with no chance of the employees receiving their pay. It's bad enough that they work there without benefits or vacation or sick time, but now they are working there without pay. Where does the insanity end?

Mile High should be closed down for good, and all the investors need to ante up. Not only are they gambling with other people's money; they are also gambling with other people's livelihoods. The federal penitentiary is too good for these crooks. They need to serve hard time in a real jail and never see daylight again.

Name withheld on request


Katica Got Her Gun

Fire when ready: Great work on "Bull's Eyeful," David Holthouse's article on Katica Crippen in the February 13 issue. Holthouse and Alan Prendergast offer the best investigative journalism in the state.

By the way, though, it's not a "clip." It's a magazine.

Ari Armstrong
via the Internet

Playing with fire: Oh, puleeeeze! While I will give Katica's boyfriend the benefit of the doubt that he "didn't know it was illegal" for a convicted felon to be in possession of a firearm, there is no doubt that Ms. Crippen was informed and chose not to obey the law (which seems to be a pattern with her). I have no sympathy for her situation. It is a shame, however, that the taxpayers are once again having to support her. I think work release is more suitable, so that she can support herself while serving the remainder of her time.

Sheila Maphet
via the Internet

His aim is true: I have always enjoyed David Holthouse's articles. I want to thank you for bringing some light to the issue of those overzealous prosecutions of ridiculous gun-related violations. Westword seems to be the only newspaper in town that reports on this issue with any objectivity. Not only will the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News not report both sides of the issue, but, as I'm sure you know, they have even gone so far as to prohibit classified ads for individuals selling firearms.

Holthouse's article makes a strong case for putting a stop to the further wasting of taxpayers' money in keeping people like Crippen and other non-violent offenders in prison on technicalities. It makes me wonder just how much of King George's deficit would be eliminated if those non-violent offenders were paroled and the "Safe Neighborhoods" prosecutors were terminated, or at least reduced, or even reassigned to other types of cases. Probably not a lot relative to the size of the deficit, but every little bit does help, especially in a recession. On a smaller scale, in Colorado it would likely have more of an impact.

Columbine and the 9/11 terrorist attacks have certainly contributed to the current atmosphere of fearing guns at all costs. It does seem reasonable that any violent crime, whether a gun is used or not, should be punished. But how far is society willing to let the law-enforcement community go before it says, "Enough already; let's be reasonable about this"? In Crippen's case, she was sent to prison for merely possessing a firearm to pose for some pictures. Yet when a police officer kills an innocent citizen, such as Ismael Mena, he or she gets a paid leave of absence. What has happened to our justice system? What will happen to our civil rights?

Mike Triplet
via the Internet

May the enforce be with you: As a member of the National Rifle Association and supporter of Project Exile, I've been following the Katica Crippen story. People in the media and others call for more firearms laws, but heaven forbid we enforce those laws! Ms. Crippen shows a considerable lack of judgment. Anyone with a room-temperature IQ knows that it is illegal for convicted felons to even pick up a gun. She knew this and did it anyway, and had the guns and her bare rump on the Internet for all to see.

 

This reminds me of Mark Manes, the Columbine gun vendor. The bleeding hearts came out for him, as well. These federal felonies carry stiff sentences: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

The gun grabbers have an agenda, and you are helping them. Pass gun laws, don't enforce them, complain that the gun laws don't work, and go for the next step, which is confiscation. We aren't going to let that happen. We aren't going to turn into the United Kingdom, where self-defense is a crime. Crippen and Manes need to do every minute of their time and be examples of where firearms crime leads. Only then does Project Exile work.

Pat Desrosiers
Denver

Smoke and mirrors: Kudos to David Holthouse for having the courage to identify one of the most insidious dangers in our society: abuse of power by government authorities. Hopefully, he is clear with the IRS, because if the government agencies feel he went too far, that's the first place where he will be attacked.

He touched on several factors that go against someone like Katica:

1) In the '60s and '70s, judges could sentence based on their evaluation of all circumstances of the case; we had more mercy than justice. Then the "conservatives" came into power, and the pendulum swung to "justice." Now we have justice without mercy.

2) In 1987, federal sentencing guidelines reduced judges to rubber stamps. The guidelines were arbitrarily chosen by a committee given a deadline by the United States Senate. For example, anyone with a federal sentence must serve 87 percent of the sentence as of 1987. A committee member admitted on a PBS program that they chose that percentage because of the calendar year in which they were dealing with the issue. Madness.

3) Public defenders are as innocuous as can be when it comes to "defending" someone. They are paid by the system, and they want to move along in their career paths. Rare is the PD who takes time to really "defend." On this basis alone, Katica could have appealed with a writ of habeas corpus to get released because of incompetent and inadequate legal representation. No one told her that. No wonder the public defender would not be interviewed.

4) Matsch deviated from the guidelines, but he still gave her more than the minimum.

5) I wonder how many guns OJ owns?

6) I wonder what Katica's former parole officer looks like? I dare say a matronly female was jealous of the better-looking client.

7) It's "he said, she said" on the "cap the cop" claim. Of course, it's a matter of taking the word of law enforcement over the accused. Supposedly, the law-enforcement officer has nothing to gain by telling the truth! Unless he has conviction quotas.

8) And where in the hell was the ACLU during this case? For that matter, where the hell are they now? Judge Matsch would jump at the chance to set her free if someone would appeal to him on the basis of "incompetent legal representation."

You should run another article to stir up the legal beagles on behalf of Katica.

Tom Jensen
via the Internet

Possession is nine-tenths of the law: Boo-hoo! Let's all cry a tear for convicted felon and meth-slinger Katica Crippen. If our tax money wasn't tied up incarcerating her, I am sure that it would be spent providing welfare for her and her child, or drug rehab for her and those she would continue to addict on the streets. What your liberal rag failed to mention was that she was advised during the probation interview that she could not possess a firearm and that she had to sign a written form listing the terms and conditions of ISP, which specifically state that she is federally prohibited from possessing a firearm.

If she wants to argue the "constructive possession" of the firearms in her case, tell her to take it to the Court of Appeals and blow some more taxpayer money. Before she does that, though, please advise her that being a complete and total idiot and posting the pictures of her violating her probation and committing a federal offense on the Internet is not an affirmative defense.

Shane Anderson
Denver

Safety lock: Congratulations to David Holthouse for another thought-provoking story. Keep up the good work.

If Katica Crippen had been rightfully charged with distributing assault weapons on the spot in April 1997, this case would not be considered a technicality by anyone. Instead, she has the meth and burglary charges on her record and becomes a poster child for the Second Amendment. Please!

 

Don't feel sorry for this woman. Look at her past and think if you want her holding anyone's guns. And someone driving around with no license or insurance after three DUIs obviously doesn't give a shit about you or anyone else. They rightfully could have sent her drunk ass back to the pen for that alone. The streets are a safer place without her.

A. Slayton
Denver


The Rights Stuff

Military farce: I do not agree with everything Michael Cohen had to say in his February 6 letter about Julie Jargon's " The War Within," published in the January 30 issue. Some of it was misogynistic and chauvinistic, particularly his apparent "boys will be boys" attitude toward rape. Sexual harassment has no place in society as a whole, let alone in the military institutions that we supposedly hold to a higher standard. Personally, I believe in a woman's right to serve.

However, while not mitigating his other comments, Cohen made some valid points about the logistical difficulties involved in integrating women and the diluting of standards regarding physical requirements, military ethics, mental toughness and readiness, all of which I feel do undermine force strength. That said, I take stronger issue with J. Mitchell's February 13 response to Cohen, which seems to suggest that anyone who criticizes the military is a traitor. I can't vouch for Cohen's background, but I have served myself, and honorably. Given that Mitchell writes off freedom of speech and freedom of the press -- which are written into our Constitution -- in one broad stroke, I have to question who the traitor is.

The fact is, the military isn't infallible. Once, while I was stationed in Monterey for a training assignment, an entire wing of the Air Force barracks across the street from me had an outbreak of crabs, to the ribald amusement of everyone in my Army unit. Was the entire company, from the first sergeant down, then guilty of treason for thus "spitting" on themselves? I could generate volumes of similarly anecdotal criticism of the military from my experience alone (which is meager) without feeling the least bit like a traitor. Someone should remind Mitchell of the ethos that our military is charged with the protection of not rabid militaristic nationalism, but democracy -- despite its sometimes paradoxical complications.

Mitchell's is the same error in logic behind the current push to go to war with Iraq, a war that many actively serving personnel, as well as veterans including myself, do not believe in.

Steve Sedlmayr
Denver


Edifice Complex

Designs on Denver: In the February 13 Westword, MetaDesign creative director Brett Wickets states that the new wing of the Denver Art Museum, now under construction, is a "stark, stylistic contrast" to the current Carlo Ponti-designed building.

I realize 2003 is still young, but that statement has got to be, hands-down, one of the biggest understatements of the year. In what I am convinced is a case of "edifice complex" with an added touch of jealousy, the directors of the Denver Art Museum, seeking to upstage their Denver Public Library neighbor, have chosen a design that does not relate at all to the current building nor the neighborhood, draws attention away from the current building, and in architectural renderings I saw looks like it completely dwarfs that building.

With the new logo, the DAM has completely abandoned the current building altogether, which is a shame. I think the Ponti building is a marvelous piece of modern architecture. Bold, minimalist, even a little whimsical.

Peter Gross
Denver


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