Readers weigh in on the freegan lifestyle

"Free For All," Josiah Hesse, July 25

The Loan Ranger

I heartily applaud the likes of "Joshua," not only for living "off the grid," but also for recognizing that you can, and in fact should, refuse to pay back "loans." However:

You cannot (yet) be jailed for not paying on a private loan. The instance Hesse notes (jailed for failure to pay restitution in an auto accident) is someone who was ordered to pay restitution not through the civil courts, but the traffic court: a low-level criminal court.


living off the grid

Lenders such as mortgage companies and credit-card issuers do not enjoy that degree of power (yet — they are working on this). I know. In the year or two before divorcing me, my (now) ex-wife stole my identity and racked up over $200,000 in fraudulent credit-card and mortgage debt in my name without my knowledge or consent. Fighting these creditors tooth and nail, I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars ridding myself of this debt. And here's something I learned: credit accounts opened online have no signature. No signature means the creditor cannot provide "positive verification of the debt" (as yours). Remember this term. No signature means the contract is not legally binding; it's not enforceable.

They will fight this, but I found a bit of judicious suing on my part was marvelously clarifying to folks spending $650 an hour on lawyers. I'll leave to the imagination of the reader how one might put this information to good use.

Fuck 'em.

JM Schell

I stopped in a coffee shop and just found a copy of Westword sitting there. The cover caught my eye, as I recently got off of the road from living a freegan lifestyle and traveling with my brother. The information is awesome as I get settled into the city.

Alexander Beat
Posted at

I admire Joshua's stance and life choices. Good for him. But this piece kind of makes him look silly. It states he doesn't believe he should have to pay for his education, yet he has no problem accepting cash for teaching students. Again, I have no problem with that. Stick it to the Man, man.

What I find really funny about this article is the living-off-the-grid angle. The overall impression I got was, "You don't believe Joshua is living off the grid? Why don't you call him on his cell and ask him yourself?" I can't understand if this story was meant to be satire or sincere.

Dave Garner
Posted at

Editor's note: For dozens more comments on "Free for All," go to

"Shape Shifters," Off Limits, July 25

Logos to Go

Shirley you jest. The three logos shown to represent Colorado are comical. They look like a collaboration between the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Park Service. Both organizations are excellent in their areas of monopoly, but not necessarily in marketing.

Shirley righteous. I can see the logo with the short bar on the side of a bus after someone with a Sharpie adds curls of smoke to one end of the bar: Colorado is for....

Shirley they are nervous. New York has "I love NY," Virginia has "Virginia is for Lovers" and Georgia has "Georgia on My Mind." Two even come with songs. We won't even beat Guam (okay, territory — but look up its seal).

Shirley you hired the wrong twelve people. We already have some of the most beautiful images of any state:

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

And it comes with a song everyone knows and loves. Celebrate our hardworking farmers, workers, friendly people, our amazing mountains, incredible wildlife and climate. Don't celebrate a box. Or if you are going to do a box, at least put a SpongeBob above it.

The buck stops here. I suggest we all call Aaron Kennedy "Shirley" until he comes up with a campaign that is complete and suitable to the amazing people, land and climate of Colorado. The current ideas fall far short.

T. Landers

"Armed and Ready," Alan Prendergast, July 18

Safe at Home

I enjoyed Alan Prendergast's excellently researched, entertainingly lurid article on what is popularly and ignorantly named the "Make My Day" home-invasion statute. Opponents predicted doom — the same as about concealed handgun permits — and are wrong on both counts. The predicate for home-invasion defense is unlawful threat or application of force to the occupant by "intruder(s)." Most citizens can correctly discern an intruder and threats of force (wouldn't you?). Overwhelmingly, cases will be clear one way or the other. Where there is uncertainty, the law gives home occupants a stronger self-defense argument. This intruder may be known or unknown. The occupant does not have to be right about the intruder's intent to harm — but in context, the belief must be reasonable even if mistaken.

Law enforcement has a more difficult investigation when the "intruder" injured or killed is both known to the occupant and unarmed. It's a tough defense to sell, but not where there is a restraining order. The law is particularly beneficial to women in this context.

The statute does not authorize killing intruders who are not a threat — "threat" being the primary investigative issue. Context is everything. No law in the state of Colorado authorizes intentional shooting of an intruder — or anyone else — in the back, nor would a Florida-type stand-your-ground law. If the perpetrator is fleeing, there is no longer a threat. What the home-invasion self-defense law does is to reduce, hopefully eliminate, second-guessing by hostile authorities with an agenda.

J. W. Winchester


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