Letters to the Editor
Petty is as petty does: Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Scratching the Bitch," in the November 13 issue:
What a bunch of cowards at the State Capitol! First I read in Westword about Joseph Paiva and how Colorado grossly underfunds social services and then incarcerates those who fall through the cracks, and then Jamila Rochelle Allen is stabbed to death by her boyfriend.
The fact is that while one-third of female homicides are the result of domestic violence, most domestic-violence charges are misdemeanors in Colorado. So while people like Paiva, or even petty drug offenders, are looking at the bitch, potentially murderous behavior is commonly treated as minor. I'm shocked that women's organizations haven't taken on this kind of legislative abuse.
And the Denver County Sheriff's Office using this murder as a plea for a new jail is just as cowardly as the General Assembly's failure to make domestic violence a felony. The only reason the jail is full is because of petty drug cases. Given the danger of domestic violence, it's inconceivable that one could serve more time for drugs, burglaries or any other non-violent offense, as Paiva is doing.
Playing doctor: Eric Dexheimer's "Scratching the Bitch" was a good attempt at thorough coverage of a crucial and complicated social issue. The author described the path of a person like Joseph Paiva in a comprehensive way. Cases such as this are not uncommon. Although I am not well-versed in the legal system, Dexheimer's discussion of the "habitual/chronic offender" helped educate me and highlighted the inconsistencies in the criminal-justice system. I was not surprised by the enormous discrepancies on the county level. In my opinion, this is a classic act of human nature: Allowing one's own values, beliefs and issues related to power and control overrule sound reasoning and principle-based practice happens in all professions, especially politics. This issue needed much more attention. The article should have focused on the primary problem of the legal system and less on Mr. Paiva. One area worth discussing is how the legal system can interface with mental health more closely.
From the perspective of a psychologist who's dealt with individuals such as Mr. Paiva, I feel there were sources of neglect during the early phases of his treatment. At Fort Logan, when he was about twelve years old, he received an EEG whose results revealed "abnormal patterns suggesting an organic explanation for his behavioral problems," Dexheimer stated. However, he also said "the discovery didn't provide any fresh solutions." This is a perfect example of how those in the legal system and the media know little to nothing about mental health, even though they frequently play psychologist and psychiatrist. Although the EEG supported the presence of "abnormal patterns," most of the evaluations cited in the article are filled with psychobabble and not grounded in the organic nature of his problems. Based upon the results of the EEG, Mr. Paiva should have received a complete neuropsychological assessment to help design a treatment plan to specifically address areas that would assist with rehabilitation. There could have been tremendous benefit to providing correct evaluation and treatment when he was twelve, versus making Mr. Paiva the subject of a cover story in his thirties. The temper issues that characterize Mr. Paiva are consistent with brain damage; this could have easily been a result of being shaken as a young child.
You might want to consider an article about how parents who abuse children are charged and sentenced. I bet we would be quite shocked.
Editor's note: For two very different examples of how parents are charged in such cases, see Julie Jargon's "Angel Eyes," originally published in the November 6 issue, and Alan Prendergast's "
The Death of Innocence," from the July 31 issue. Both articles are archived at www.westword.com.
Home on the bombing range: Regarding Jared Jacang Maher's "Search Party," in the November 20 issue:
So you have discovered my old workplace, the Titan I silos out on the old bombing range. Of the six original sites, the one with the most promise is out at Elizabeth. Elbert County owns it and has a waste-transfer station there. It was the last to be salvaged, and only the high-value stuff was removed. A few years ago, the original "personnel access portal" still looked serviceable. It's time someone conducted a survey of this site for a possible museum or tourist attraction. There's a lot of history buried there.
The Air Force lost its enthusiasm for liquid-fueled missiles rather quickly after several tragic mishaps at Vandenburg and Roswell. Once, at 1A, the first site operational, they LOX loaded all three birds and raised them to the surface as a publicity stunt. It was quite a sight, plumes of oxygen vapor and chunks of ice falling off the missiles. Of course, the entire Denver press corps was invited to watch from the safety of the access road. This convinced the Russians that these weapons were the real deal. Many hours later, when the birds had been safely put back to sleep, everyone in the 451st Strategic Missile Wing started breathing again.
The chances of a successful wartime launch were slim to none. One of the nice features of this missile was the liquid-oxygen loading system. When it failed, it could fill the silo one-third full of liquid oxygen! What fun!
The five-megaton thermonuclear warheads were assembled and stored at the nuclear-weapons assembly area on Lowry, where I worked, right across the street from Windsor Gardens on Alameda Avenue. We had twenty warheads -- eighteen for the birds and two in reserve. Only during the Cuban Missile Crisis were all eighteen missiles armed. We would take the warheads out to the missile sites on trailers pulled by five-ton Ford trucks. Right down Sixth Avenue! In case people were wondering what was under that tarp, the Air Force thoughtfully stenciled big radiation symbols on all four sides. To remove all doubt, the trailer was placarded with "Explosives" signs that we removed on the return trip. Nuclear-weapons mishaps are called "broken arrows"; we never had one in Denver.
The greatest danger in exploring the old sites is getting injured in a fall and/or lighting failure. Thrill-seekers will need a main high-power light and two reliable back-ups. For those unfamiliar with the underground layout, it's very easy to become lost and disoriented. Always leave someone topside just in case.
Up from the underground: Loved the "Search Party" article. It was great!
via the Internet
Shelter from the norm: Regarding Julie Jargon's "No-Kill Bill," in the November 13 issue:
It's good to hear about the new Denver Shelter Alliance and its focus on the "no-kill" shelter designation. According to Ms. Jargon, "While shelters in other cities tend to fight like cats and dogs, the ones in Denver have a long history of collaboration." This has not been my experience, nor does it sound like it's been the experience of the wonderful Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah.
It is important to consider and question the objection of the Alliance's first project. As Jargon so clearly states, "In the dog-eat-dog world of fundraising, semantics can be critical." And Mr. Rhode, of the badly named Dumb Friends League, agrees that semantics can be misleading: "No one can say they'll never euthanize an adoptable animal without limiting the number of animals they can take in."
As a supporter and former volunteer of MaxFund (and current volunteer at two other shelters), I can attest to the truth of both statements. MaxFund does stress its no-kill status -- heavily -- as a fundraising policy, and it works! But MaxFund has very limited space and can take in only a small percentage of the animals it gets calls to rescue. Also, what is not mentioned to contributors is that some dogs (and cats) can be warehoused for months, and even years, in small wire cages with cement floors, getting little exercise and even less socialization.
I would like to suggest that the Alliance reconsider its designations. "Open Admission" is also misleading, because it does not tell the full story. Rather, it should become "Open Admissions/Adoptable Animals." And the other designation, for MaxFund and the Animal Rescue and Adoption Society (two shelters that do not euthanize except for humane reasons) should become "No-Kill/Limited Admissions."
I hope everyone can resolve this issue soon so that they can get back to better care for all shelter animals and an end to needless euthanasia. The work should be to make Denver shelters equal to any in the country, and there's a way to go before that happens.
Name withheld on request
Totally tubular: Kenny Be's November 20 Worst-Case Scenario, "Crazy Bill's Mouse Factory," was great! The illustration of milking tubes attached to each male mouse's member was one of his best (not to mention most disturbing) ever. Nicely done!
Be's the best: I want to express my continued years of enjoyment of Westword. I especially enjoy Kenny Be and the other cartoons.
via the Internet
Strip stake: Regarding Debbie Dayton's letter on Sheridan strip clubs in the November 13 issue:
She says, "Employment at these clubs keeps many families from becoming hungry and homeless." So these families to which she refers contain breadwinners who would be unable to find any work elsewhere? That's hard to believe. Debbie is kidding herself to think that it is possible to have self-esteem while selling one's body as a sex object. People who have self-esteem do not degrade themselves.
People shouldn't have kids they can't afford to support. Anybody can pop out a kid. But a responsible and caring person makes sure they can take proper care of a child before they have one.
Anybody who has a child has a moral obligation to put that child's interests first. Imagine the embarrassment and humiliation of coming into this world and finding out you had a stripper or a prostitute for a mother. You would be coming up in an unsavory environment not of your choosing. It would be hard to overcome this and make a decent life for yourself if you wanted to. Your options would be quite limited, and you would be handicapped from the start. It isn't fair or right to do this to an innocent child. If a person doesn't feel a moral obligation to put their child's interests first, then they shouldn't have a child.
via the Internet
Editor's note: On November 4, Sheridan voters repealed an ordinance that had allowed Troy Lowrie's All Star's Sports Cabaret club to go all nude. And as predicted in Alan Prendergast's "Skin City," published in the October 30 issue, last week Lowrie sued the City of Sheridan -- for the third time.
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