Powder burns: Congratulations on Jared Jacang Maher's story on Marc Frank Montoya, "One Wild Ride," in the November 10 issue. It is a beautifully written documentation about what it means to come from the hood and what it means to make it out of the hood. In Jared's storytelling, he captures the range of struggles that many Mexican and poor, inner-city kids face -- from how loyalty to friends drags people into the gangs to being pulled over by the cops simply because one is non-white, wears baggy clothes and drives an expensive SUV. In ways that very few college-level ethnic-studies classes or scholarly books do, this story offers a richly nuanced understanding of the complexity of racial and economic forces acting in the hood. Mr. Montoya's story is a positive and hopeful message.
So I thank you for the story and for showing people that while there are no easy or perfect endings, there are better endings than being locked up or being gunned down by a rival gangbanger. If a man can land on the moon and a Mexican can make a good living riding a snowboard, then just about anything is possible -- no matter how humble one's beginnings are. Using one's talents to make a better life...that's real. That's gangsta!
Marcos Mohammed Ming-Gutierrez IV
Son set: Thank you, Luke Turf, for tossing a grapefruit in the strike zone with "The Price You Pay," in the November 3 issue. Peggy Jo Freeman will never pay enough taxes to cover the cost of incarcerating her sons, and she feels abused by the system?
With five murders, a sexual assault and an unspecified number of other charges, including robbery and burglary, committed by three of her five sons -- all fathered by different men -- it's safe to say she hasn't won any awards for her parenting skills. I don't feel the least bit sorry that it will now cost her more to place money in her scumbag sons' prison accounts so that they can get a snack from the commissary. She (and society) is reaping what she has sown. I feel sorry for the victims' families (she must be a proud mom -- five murders!) who have suffered because this woman couldn't keep her legs shut. People like me are getting tired of bearing the cost of incarcerating the progeny of tens of thousands of Peggy Freemans.
Mrs. Freeman has chosen "not...to be abused by the system or nobody else." Too bad law-abiding taxpayers don't have the choice to not be abused by the irresponsible Peggy Freemans and their criminal offspring.
Phooey for thought: A pity party for Mrs. Freeman because sending money to her jailbird kids will cost her a bit more than it did before? I don't think so. Maybe a pity party for the taxpayers who house and feed those jailbirds she produced and failed to teach right from wrong. Her wonder boys abused society, we all pay for that, and she thinks the system abuses her? Phooey.
Hard duty: The cost of electronic funds transfer for families sending money to their kin in prison borders on punishment. The Department of Corrections obviously did no comparative shopping, nor is it aware of online alternatives. Why not PayPal? Families can use their money orders to establish accounts there and disburse to the DOC. PayPal does charge for its services, but not near as much as the EFT companies named in Luke Turf's article.
Used and abused: It's really difficult for me to find much empathy for Peggy Jo Freeman's frustration at the rising cost of keeping her four incarcerated sons supplied with cigarettes and candy bars. Let's see...she had five sons with five different men beginning at age sixteen. Four of her five sons wound up incarcerated in the Department of Corrections. The Freeman boys have committed multiple murders, sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries and have conservatively cost the State of Colorado millions of taxpayer dollars. And she's declaring that she's "not going to be one of these women that's going to be abused anymore by the system"? Hey, Ms. Freeman, news flash: It's a drop in the bucket compared to what you've cost the rest of us. You raised a family of criminals; it's you and your rotten kids who have abused the system. Go ahead and whine about the high cost of keeping your inmate sons stuffed with prison-commissary junk food; see if I care.
Sympathy for the devil: Are we supposed to feel sorry for Peggy Jo Freeman? I wasn't able to muster up one ounce of sympathy for this woman. The fact that she has four sons in prison for murder is a testament to the kind of mother she was. She ought to be ashamed to show her face. I don't care if the State of Colorado charges ten dollars for every dollar she wants to send to her sons. This money is for extras, such as shampoo and snacks. These are not "necessities," Luke Turf. Colorado prisoners get three square meals a day and plenty of soap. Yes, a person can wash his hair with a bar of soap: This is prison, remember? And Peggy Jo Freeman's sons are murderers, remember?
I resent my tax dollars being used to feed, clothe and house these worthless pieces of shit. They should have been executed. To top it off, these killers are eligible for parole in 2006, 2019 and 2026. Won't it be nice to have them back among us again? Thanks, Peggy Jo, for raising such fine sons!
Join the club: From the November 10 Drunk of the Week: "...especially when the pumpkin is dropped off a fourth-floor balcony outside the apartment of the Head of Drinking Regrets, who recently relocated to the University of Wisconsin."
Good God, people! Another member of the Institute of Contemporary Cirrhosis leaves town, and still my phone doesn't ring for at least an interview. I'm figuring that you've run a background check on me by calling my old "local," the Owen Glyndwr in Cardiff, Wales, which may have mentioned a few minor infractions of its "house rules" involving broken chairs and a few stolen pint glasses or ashtrays. Please ignore these incidents, as they occurred when I was younger, dumber and more susceptible to peer pressure (well, one out of those three, anyway). At least let me tag along for one or two Institute "lectures."
Diamond Dave Morrell
Roman holiday: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Students' Counsel," in the November 10 issue:
I was somewhat surprised to find a long article on the subject of schoolchildren's critique of newspapers using as its base a group from Saint Pius X School in Aurora. Certainly, the editors of Westword are -- or at least should be -- aware of the fact that students in a Roman parochial school are taught what to think about whatever it might be they are permitted to read. And I am equally certain the editors are -- or should be -- aware of the fact that the Roman religion also teaches and tells its followers what they are not permitted to read, in order to prevent the "grave sin" of thinking differently from what and how they are dictated to in the first place.
While it might be true that, at least under the current conditions in the United States of America, brutal torture, long imprisonment in the foulest of imaginable conditions and ultimate execution by burning at the stake are not current punishments for thinking something contrary to the dictates of the Roman pope, the hundreds of thousands who did suffer and die this way during the dank, dismal, dirty and disease-ridden Dark Ages of the Roman religion's rule over the Western World stand in mute testimony to the ultimate goal of Rome's current Pontifex Maximus, whose avowed purpose is a "return to the absolutes" -- even though these so-called absolutes are nothing more than the discarded detritus of centuries of ignorance and superstition elevated to a status of "divine afflatus" in one "infallible" religious personage today.
How did Westword ever expect to get an unbiased set of opinions, much less thoughts or ideas, concerning freedom of the press in a Roman religion's "indoctrination camp"? Surely the editors are aware that the fundamental source for the practice of censorship, in all forms and on all methods of communication, is spelled out in those Roman "absolutes." And equally surely, the editors ought to know that were Rome's "absolutes" to be imposed here in America, Westword would be among the very first to be shut down and put out of business.
Colin J. Guthrie
Box score: I share Michael Paglia's disappointment in the Building Outside the Box exhibit at the Denver Art Museum ("Future Tense," November 10). Knowing of the design process behind Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin and his master plan for the World Trade Center, I was excited to get beyond the "It was inspired by the mountains" tripe for the architecturally illiterate. (I'm a recent architecture-school graduate, for what it's worth, and an elitist, apparently.) But, no, the exhibit was clearly designed for middle-school field trips. Maybe the documentary DVD for sale in the gift shop goes deeper, but I'm reluctant to pay for more disappointment.
I regularly read Mr. Paglia's architectural criticism and appreciate his point of view on our city's underrated but fragile built environment. Thanks, and keep it coming.
Murphy's law: Regarding (most recently) Amy Haimerl's "State of the Art," in the November 3 issue:
What the heck is your obsession with Lauri Lynnxe Murphy? Are there any other artists/ galleries in this city? Who at Westword is related to her? Perhaps you might want to consider reviewing some of the other independent galleries that would welcome some exposure. Stop being so bloody predictable.
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Lost and found: Usually I am pleased with Jason Sheehan's restaurant reviews, but I beg to differ with his October 27 report on Milagro Taco Bar, "Lost in Translation." We've been there six times since its opening, with many different sets of friends, and the verdict is uniformly positive. Milagro's food is delicious and quite affordable, especially the Mexican combinations. The Tres Leches cake is to die for, and the margaritas are the best in town. I'd ask diners to give this place a try for themselves -- it is definitely one of our new favorites in Denver.
P.S.: I love Westword and have for years. Keep up the good work.