"Pinups and Cigarettes," Michael Paglia, August 21
I liked Michael Paglia's three-pronged theory on Tom Wesselmann. I was going to skip the show, but will definitely go to see it now. Thanks!
"State of the Union," Kyle Harris, August 14
Colorado has come a long way.
In 1976, Clela Rorex not only got no support from the Democratic Party, but Democratic Party officials, including Governor Richard Lamm, aggressively moved to change the statutes to explicitly state that marriage was between a man and a woman. Fast forward to 1996: When state legislator Marilyn "one-trick pony" Musgrave passed a bill altering Colorado's statutes to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages from outside the state, Governor Roy Romer vetoed the bill. And vetoed it again the following year. It took four tries and Republican governor Bill Owens before Musgrave could get the bill signed into law.
Regarding that man and his horse in Boulder in 1976, same-sex-marriage opponents still, forty years later, bring up horses. However, I think it's the opponents, and not the horses, who are the asses.
"After Tom," Alan Prendergast, August 21
Typical Prendergast article: informative, perfectly written and true.
I have often wondered what motivated Evan Ebel to be so angry. After reading the article, it became obvious: good parents, uncontrolled anger, bad system.
Spending 23 hours a day captive in a room is, to me, a reasonable definition of cruel and unusual punishment. How did anyone ever think that this could help a lost and angry young man? If you read the book Violence by James Gilligan, you will learn the reason many young men are violent: abuse, isolation; being belittled, abused and criticized. That is our prison system, and it was the system that Tom Clements was trying to fix. How sad and tragic that Ebel ended up killing one of the men trying to make a difference.
The saddest comment, though, was the remark by the "veteran parole officer" at the very end, when he said that this was "as bad a storm as it could have been." I almost laughed at the absurdity. To treat this violent and lost young man like an animal, and then make that statement because he killed the head of the department, is not very wise. This end result could have been much worse. Ebel could have gone to a populated area and killed many more. That it finally made it personal for this seasoned officer because it was close to home may have been what Ebel was looking for.
Note that changes are being made. Prisoners may be treated like human beings someday. Wouldn't that be a nice thing in a civilized society? No, seriously.
My heart goes out to the Clements family and the Ebel family. Violence and anger are a part of our society, and our culture. Here are another two victims, with their families living with pain for the rest of their lives. No one, and I mean no one, heals from this.
"People Movers," Letters, August 21
I want to congratulate Logan in Denver for calling out Gustavo Arellano's perpetually racist language in Ask a Mexican. In today's society, this kind of overt racism is not funny or entertaining — it is juvenile and insulting. Westword has always been a source of good writing and pointed criticism or accolades on a wide variety of topics important to their readership. Ask a Mexican has become an eyesore. Delete it.
This is in reference to the August 14 Ask A Mexican. I enjoy this column but, as an immigration attorney, I wanted to offer a word of caution. After the reader tells of his son-in-law being denied a visa based on admission to drug use, Mr. Arellano, presumably in jest, says that it is better to just cross over illegally than to try and enter the "right" way.
While everyone should know he is joking, some might presume that his situation will be no worse off if he reenters illegally again. Unfortunately, there are many injustices and counter-intuitive and illogical rules within our immigration system. Such a rule led to the consular officer denying his visa. If he reenters illegally, he triggers the "permanent bar" to admission into the U.S., which applies to individuals who have spent more than one year in the U.S. without status, leave the U.S. and then enter the U.S. illegally. This young man may still have a chance to come back to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident if he works with a good attorney while staying in Mexico. If he reenters illegally again, he will be barred from the U.S. for a minimum of ten years.
I know this is probably a bit technical, but people need to be aware of how complicated and illogical the system is so that they do not make the mistakes this young man made and compound these mistakes by entering illegally again. Sometimes it can feel hopeless, but there is hope for many people, and it is heartbreaking when they trigger these severe penalties for simple lack of knowledge.
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"Keep Calm?," Gina Tron, August 14
The big issue is shutting off our public parks to the public for events such as Chive Fest. Denver needs a festival site. (We have many, but it is far cheaper for the promoter to use our public parks than to rent out a proper venue with parking, bathroom facilities, transportation, etc.) I am a member of City Parks Friends and Neighbors, and our mission is to protect the pastoral character of historic City Park. People need a quiet place in nature to recharge their batteries.
Thanks for your article.