There's always a lot of fake blood -- and spare body parts -- at the Denver Zombie Crawl, which runs down the 16th Street Mall every year. But the ninth annual incarnation of the event, which took place on October 18, ended with some real blood and plenty of pepper spray, according to news reports about a couple of fights that took place near Cleveland Place late in the evening.
In fact, the Denver Police Department arrested at least seven people, including one man who was angry at officers because the spray made his child cry. But while most of the fisticuffs and arrests happened well after the main portion of the Zombie Crawl was over (the events began at 9 a.m. and the crawl ran from 4 to 6 p.m.), one civic-minded witness feels that the combination of zombies (or at least people dressed in grotesque makeup and costumes) and police presence could portend more evil for Denver.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver City Council and Denver Chief of Police Robert White, this anonymous party-pooper said he (or she) was "shocked and saddened, to say the least" by the events of the day.
"The ninth Denver 'zombie crawl' was in full display with an estimated thirty thousand participants dressed as corpses, demons, and dismembered bodies. This display was a smorgasbord of depravity soaked in blood drenched evil. The 16th Street Mall was packed with aggressive drunken and pot smoking zombie participants. I even witnessed the aftermath of a police incident where the police were woefully outnumbered by a mob of angry people who looked like they were trying to start a riot.
"This scene was chaotic and there were even small children present to witness this out of control drunken behavior laced with the prevalent odor and smoke of marijuana. I immediately thought back to the slogan used by Mayor Federico Peña, 'Imagine a great city.' This zombie event was a far cry from being a great city. A city that either welcomes or allows an event of witchcraft, voodoo, and demonic activity to take center stage is not a great city, but a center of depravity and evil.
"I watched the news reports following this event and was disappointed to NOT see disgust and disapproval of an event of this nature coming from City Hall or from church leaders; but rather reporting that placed a deceptive spin on this evil as something harmless with a relatively small number of arrests by the police.
"Really, have we become so desensitized and indifferent to evil that this behavior has become acceptable in the city of Denver? I am reminded of what the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, said, 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.'
"Mr. Mayor, please do not be deceived; when evil is welcomed in the city, evil will come. If evil is shunned in the city, good will come and the people will enjoy peace. Evil that is not properly addressed will only give birth to more evil. I will end this letter with the words of the great prophet Isaiah, who said, 'Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.'"
The mayor's office did not respond to our request for a comment on the zombie curse plaguing this city. DPD spokesman Sergeant Steve Warneke acknowledges that there was some fighting on the 16th Street Mall that day, but says the situation was never out of hand. As for alleged "demonic activity," he notes only that "nothing went bad...there were no extra problems or anything like that."
And while Visit Denver communications director Rich Grant says he admires the "'smorgasbord of depravity' line," he's had no problems with the Zombie Crawl.
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A group of German tourism writers were in town for this year's edition and enjoyed it immensely. "It's something we've promoted," Grant adds. "We're actually honored to have the city be in contention for the world's largest zombie crawl."