Downhill Eraser

Letters to the Editor

This boy's life: Alan Prendergast's "Throw It All Down," in the January 5 issue, was the most amazing story I have read in years. I cannot believe how quickly his life went downhill. Rest in peace, Michael Lanahan. What a waste of a promising life!

Laney Alvarez
via the Internet



CU later: Is anyone surprised -- saddened, sickened, infuriated, sure -- by the outcome of Michael Lanahan's far too short life?

No doubt, feminists and their far-left fellow travelers read this as proof positive of the once popular (in their circles) bumpersticker sentiment, "Every man is a potential rapist." It's certainly likely that a randy, oversexed and clearly alcoholic Lanahan let his dick and his bottle do the thinking for him that fateful night with Jane Doe. On the other hand, what do women think men are thinking about when they are lying in bed next to them, naked and having just completed a marathon of sex? The Buffaloes' running season?

In hyper-liberal Boulder and, worse, inside the hysterically leftist CU culture, every man is not only a potential rapist, but if he's had sex -- consensual, adult sex -- he is a rapist. Period. As long as you are rich and connected, it's okay to sexually abuse (let's call a spade a spade, shall we?) and murder your six-year-old daughter in Boulder, but Gaia help the poor slob who's accused of "rape" by the girl who just let him tie her up and hump her.

Mothers, keep your sons close. Actually, send them far away from a place that fetes a Ward Churchill, protects John and Patsy and hounds a young man like Lanahan to his death.

JM Schell

Open Mike night: I wanted to send kudos to Alan Prendergast for yet another excellent article. He was able to give a taste of the pathos and excitement that spilled through Mike Lanahan's short life. And yet the article didn't shy away from destructive behaviors that are not uncommon among the late-teen/early-twenties crowd. Kudos are also in order for including Jane Doe's part in this sad saga. She came off as being realistic in what was and what was not agreed-upon behavior. I hope that she will be able to get back that part of herself that Mr. Lanahan took away. I was disappointed that the parents didn't allow any interviews -- but I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on anyone.

Again, another well-written, balanced piece. A great way to start off 2006!!

Tim Ferree

Friend or foe: I am unfortunately involved in the "Death on the Flatirons" story in more ways than one. I swam on the CU swim team and went to a couple of parties at Michael Lanahan's house. I was the bouncer who told him to leave and never come back. We shared some friends and knew each other. I never liked Lanahan. I met him during his downward spiral, and he was more dangerous to women than any frat boy I've ever encountered.

Alan Prendergast wrote a well-researched story on a heated topic. He did his homework, and many things he found none of us knew.

I only wish he would have talked to somebody who was not a close friend of Lanahan's. Many of our stories do not paint Lanahan in a bright light. In my experience, Lanahan was not an especially well-liked person on the swim team. Yes, some people were friendly with him, but many people couldn't stand him. Women all around him were constantly warned of him, for obvious good reasons.

While I have no sympathy for Lanahan, many of his friends were my friends. I feel sorry for them. Even by taking his own life, he played with his friends' emotions with that narcissistic wild goose chase in the mountains.

If you want to talk to somebody who has felt real pain, ask to see the scars on Jane Doe's arms or legs. An outcast? Ask how many friends Jane still has from those days. A tainted person? Try being either called "the rape victim" or a liar.

Everything he did was his choice.

Casey Freeman

A friend in need: I lived with Mike Lanahan for about ten months, from September 2002 to April 2003. He was wildly insane, incredibly witty, a complete binge drinker, and a nice kid who always had something nice to say to and about me. I was 23 the year I lived with him, and Mike was this nineteen-year-old, typical frat-party seeker, swim-team captain (he really did adore the sport and the team) and, honestly, the-glass-is-half-full kind of person. He also stole loads of stuff and never felt remorse for any of it. Yet Mike and I always got each other. He was a guy who had a ton of friends and valued friendship and partying with his mates.

I hadn't had any contact with Mike since I left the house in '03 to move to Boston. It was not that we'd lost touch; it was more that it was never an option because we were content with the brief amount of time we had in each other's lives. He was an odd kid, but hell, we were all eccentric that year. Bad decisions, misrepresentation and his recent scripted actions coupled with his suppressed depression gave him this only option. That totally sucks, man, and it's a major waste for an eccentric mind.

I want to thank you for printing this article for him. For giving him a voice. The kid was wild. He was also a good friend. He was a loved one. And he did a lot of things that he never regretted, but it is apparent that he also did some things he did regret. It is a terrible tragedy, and difficult to read from across the country, but I thank you for telling me his story, one that he couldn't share.

R.I.P., Lanahan. Thanks for cracking me up that year. Rock on, wherever you are.

Boston, Massachusetts

This boy's life: To this parent of two children in their twenties, Alan Prendergast's account of the life and death of Michael Lanahan presents a harrowing picture of a certain nihilism evident at times in today's young American life. I don't know if there are any budding Arthur Millers out there, but this sad tale has all the elements of a Shakespearean or Greek tragedy.

Lanahan was in no way heroic and one hopes Jane Doe is able to put her psyche back together, but the roots of this story would seem to run deep.

Robert Porath

Sympathy for the devil: I'm finding it very hard lately to read your bleeding-heart rag. All of your sympathy for criminals is driving me crazy. Recently I have read stories touting sympathy for not one, but two convicted sex offenders, two drug-abusing "parents," two convicted murderers, two illegal immigrants and countless stories of poor criminals stuck in jail. And those are only the ones I can remember. Thank goodness for the occasional condemnation of folks like the "cool mom" and the Air Force cadets.

Victims deserve sympathy, criminals deserve punishment. Dostoyevsky knew this. One hundred and forty years later, maybe you could get a clue.

Dustin Foster
Wheat Ridge

Dream On

Join the team: I just want to thank you for Bill Gallo's "Dream Team," in the December 22 issue. It was such a wonderful story.

A lot of people out there do not know how hard these gentlemen work to get where they are. These men play for the love of the game and the love of the fans. They do not have multimillion-dollar contracts; they have the love and support of their families and fans and go out and play for that. The more information that the media puts out there, the more people can learn what a wonderful league the AFL is.

How many members of the NFL or NHL would remember your child's name after meeting them once, let alone agree to be your child's "Show and Tell" at school just because they asked? These men do! We are so lucky to have them in our community!

Lisa Pell

Ghana, But Not Forgotten

Have a nice trip: Thanks for "Mama's House," Jason Sheehan's review in the January 5 issue. As a guy who spent seven or eight years in the restaurant biz before turning to photojournalism, restaurant reviews have always been the first place I turn when opening a newspaper. In my mind, Sheehan is the best.

A few weeks ago, I read his review of Buenos Aires Pizzeria while working in Buenos Aires. I'm writing this in my living room near the University of Denver, but I feel like I have been to Ghana.

Keep up the incomparable work.

Michael Lewis

Alphabet Snoop

What's in a nickname: "Districtly Speaking," Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario in the January 5 issue, was right on target. The city's obsession with naming neighborhoods after neighborhoods in real cities -- such as Soho in New York -- is getting ridiculous.

He missed the most obvious one, though. We are all living in KowTow -- because Denver was, and always will be, a cowtown. And thank God for that.

Rachel Stover

A river of absurdity runs through it: Fabulous comic! We loved it. And we are so glad that Kenny Be picked up on the absurdity of the RiNo acronym. There are so many artists, designers and creative folk in this area, we thought it was about time people knew about it. Kenny's expression has done just that. We appreciate it fully!

Tracy Weil
River North

A Major Label

From reggae to bitches: Reggae is..."rock"? Back in the days of Jimmy's Grille, Denver's most famous venue for reggae, I wrote you guys. I was just a little annoyed that, in Westword's view, reggae music was not deserving of its own music category in your Best of Denver survey.

I looked at your web listing of clubs in the area, checking to see if our New Year's Eve gig at Kilimanjaro's had been listed. Yup, it was -- in the category of "rock," because reggae still goes unrecognized by Westword as a genre of music that stands by itself.

Hey, guess what, guys? Reggae is not rock. Thank you for the continuing ignore-ance that has persisted for over a decade. Duh.

Kathryn Harris


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