The Unfair Force

Letters to the Editor

Dishonor roll: I read Julie Jargon's "Honor Rolled," in the July 17 issue, with interest, as I have many such stories over the past twenty years. Each case is unique, but a common thread runs through many of the stories. My son's case was very different from Cadet Moynihan's in that my son was cleared at every step of the way -- and yet he was disenrolled because his accuser was an "elitist" cadet "who could not have possibly made a mistake." While my son could not fight his own battle forever -- as he, too, had to serve to make up for his three-plus years at the academy -- I spent three years of intensive work to clear his name and succeeded at the final step with the Pentagon, which felt the same as those early in his hearings: that there was insufficient evidence to convict. In our case, I guess you could say we won the war but lost the battle.

I believe in my heart -- because I have to -- that most people in the system judge as best they can without prejudice, although many are too zealous and don't just stick to the evidence. Unlike in civilian courts, the feeling is often "better to lose a good one unfairly than to have a rotten apple escape into the system." Obviously, the civilian laws of our once-great nation could not tolerate this kind of thinking.

My son has moved on and has been working with a major aerospace company for years now. Although he never talks about it, I can tell you that the scars will always remain. I, too, have moved on. Again, I can forgive, but I will never forget those three torturous years in which I took on his case personally because I could not afford to continue to pay civilian lawyers.

The good that came out of our case was that we made many good friends in the Air Force who felt that my son got a raw deal. These friendships have lasted to this day and include many senior officers. In the end, all we can say is that life sometimes is not fair.

Paul R. Shannon
via the Internet

This won't be tolerated: I am a 1987 academy grad and find it interesting that things never change. We had a more rigid honor code then: Lie, steal, cheat or tolerate, and you are out. What the cadet did here is patently a violation, and she should not get a second chance. The whole harassment issue is a red herring. My experience is and was that the academy would aggressively go after the male cadet if, in fact, there was any crossing of the line.

Nice job helping to pull down a great institution. I hope you can sleep well at night.

Jeff Frient
via the Internet

Two if by sea: The two young people in your "Honor Rolled" story are freed of their Air Force bondage and may apply for a commission in the United States Naval Reserve. After flight school, they can apply for Top Gun training. Flying from a carrier on the high seas is a challenge the Air Force cannot offer. Good luck to both of them!

David Neuman

MST time: I am a female veteran of the WAVES (Navy) who was raped by a Marine in 1960, at the age of eighteen. When I reported it, I was interrogated and eventually hospitalized. Navy personnel suggested the attack was my fault and really no big deal because I was not a virgin at the time.

I received no counseling or treatment, and during a hearing at the hospital, officers asked me what I wanted to do. I was sobbing and said, "I just want to go home to my mother." So they discharged me.

It breaks my heart that sexual assaults are still occurring in the military. They even have a name for it: Military Sexual Assault (MST).

To this day, I am still trying to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder from my assault and attending PTSD group therapy at the VA Medical Center with several other women veterans. Thank you for your interesting article. It's important that these stories are shared.

Claudell Van Hoozer
Omaha, Nebraska

Just the Bare Facts, Ma'am

How low can you go? How disappointing to see a cover such as the one you chose for the July 10 paper. How cheap, how disgusting. Do we really want to be a part of a society that has lowered itself to such a moral standard?

Mary Freund

Foul bawl: Westword's content is a "cesspool" in both articles written and advertising accepted. It's vulgar, smutty, pornographic, tasteless, foul content that would have no circulation if it wasn't free.

Bill Peery

This Fun's Loaded!

Independence haul: Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Armed and Dangerous," in the July 10 issue:

I hate to agree with Jon Caldara, but he's right: Conservatives are more fun these days. Or is that funnier? Either way, I enjoyed Dexheimer's Sports column -- almost enough to forgive Westword for the recent overdose of Independence Institute coverage.

Henri Foster

License to kill: My bad for taking so long to get back to you on Eric Dexheimer's "Armed and Dangerous," but check this out for hypocrisy: A conservative think tank in Golden sponsoring an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms event? This, while millions of citizens are imprisoned for possessing drugs that conservatives made illegal because they say they are dangerous. And drunk rednecks with guns aren't?

If guns don't kill people, alcohol doesn't kill people and tobacco doesn't kill people, then statistics show that drugs don't kill fewer than 1 percent as many people (compare 250,000 who die from tobacco alone annually to less than 10,000 from all drug overdoses combined).

I've been speaking on the issues of our constitutional rights to personal freedom for years now, and the only "Hell, yes!" I can get is from a bunch of redneck hypocrite conservatives. What's up with that? All I can say is keep throwing these Second Amendment events, and maybe we'll get lucky and have some friendly-fire casualties.

David Noland

Street Wise

Get the point? Regarding Dave Kawamoto's "Nail Art," in the July 3 issue:

Just wanted to thank Westword for doing such an incredible human-interest story. It's great to see you spending time to educate people about the lives of street kids and what happens to them when they grow up. So many people look over them or walk past them like they don't exist, so thanks for stopping.

I appreciate your efforts in covering subjects that would otherwise not be mentioned. Year after year, you remain cutting-edge. And while I'm writing, Jason Sheehan is great. His articles are the first thing I read every Thursday.

Leslie S. Williams
via the Internet

Eat It!

Praise the lard: Regarding Jason Sheehan's "Lard Almighty," his July 3 review of Juanita's:

First of all, I'd like to tell you what a pleasure it is to read Jason Sheehan. I thought I would miss old whatever-her-name-was, but Jason's love of life, food and fine writing has more than filled the void she left behind. Second, I was extremely tickled to read that Jason considers the State Diner in Ithaca, New York, to be one of the best -- if not the best -- diners in America. I ate at the State several times between the ages of seven and nine while my dad was getting his Ph.D. at Cornell (1962-1964). I loved the way the place looked, I loved the ambience, I loved the smell, I loved the food.

One fine Sunday, we went to town to have lunch. My younger brother and I fought over whether to eat at the State or at the new McDonald's that had just opened down the street. Even at that young age, I knew the difference between mass-produced plastic fare and the real thing. Unfortunately, my brother won the argument that day, and I've hated the Golden Arches ever since.

Thanks for the memories.
Bruce Kaufman


Crap: I'm amazed that Jason Sheehan would be nominated for the James Beard Foundation award and was completely floored when he won! His reviews are pure crap, and he has a potty mouth to go along with it!

Estelle Ledbetter
via the Internet

More crap: Jason Sheehan likely does not have the credentials he claims. He is a special-ops person, hired by the media titans, such as Sony Pictures/Denver Newspaper Agency/ New York Times, etc., to target restaurants in Denver that don't submit to the social circles of the new "investors" who are intending to take over Denver for their development and re-identification.

Where there are popular restaurants with a longtime local following and dedicated customers -- kind of a Denver social circle -- Jason Sheehan has been hired to bad-mouth them. Because he's in a secret clique with entertainment titans, his background is easily fabricated in that they own all public agencies and colleges.

Denver University is a good example of what I'm talking about. The media titans target the heads of power of such an establishment and connect them to lucrative business ventures in return for access to the school and records. Many people have fake credentials from situations like this.

I suggest Jason Sheehan likely has this background. Possibly Stuart Steers, too (if he's new to Westword in the last three years). With Qwest, US West, Regal Entertainment and now JD Edwards/Oracle/PeopleSoft being the biggest economic presences in Colorado, the people of these organizations like to set all social circles of a city like Denver and use tools like Jason Sheehan to dilute and dismantle the pre-existing social circles.

Mark Zahn
via the Internet

Back on the Train Gang

All aboard! Regarding Michael Roberts's review of Train in the July 3 Playlist:

Michael, it isn't necessary to insult the majority of your readers (I'll bet that many own at least one CD by at least one of the bands you referenced) in order to give an album a negative review. Or are you the only one with "taste"?

Terry Rafferty
via the Internet

Pink Rock

The seven-degree solution: Just wanted to say I have enjoyed reading Dave Herrera's The Beatdown. I was just reading the July 3 Westword and was surprised to see his mention of Elik Pink. Man, did that bring back some memories.

I played with Elik Pink when I was a wet-behind-the-ears, snot-nosed punk back in the mid-'80s. I wasn't even old enough to get into the bars we played in. That's where I met Dynamite Don (Brethren Fast), and together we broke off and jammed in the Simpeltones for a while.

It's a very small world when it comes to the music scene here. I still run into ex-bandmembers in the strangest places (i.e., the old sound guy from Elik came to our show at the Grizzly Rose in June). I'll bet you could play Seven Degrees of Elik Pink with all the musicians in town.

Jim Dalton


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