What's the Agenda?
From Patricia Calhoun's "Opportunism Knocks," in the April 29 issue:
"On Sunday, Colorado Right to Life gave birth to this announcement: 'Today our organization reminds Governor Bill Owens and all Colorado elected officials that 32 years ago--April 25, 1967--this state signed into law the first in the nation abortion law...For those who would reject that the abortion culture is at the root cause of the Columbine massacre, we acknowledge that there are, of course, other influences. Yet, can anyone deny that we have destroyed our reverence for life at the most fundamental level? Violence in the womb has begotten violence outside the womb.'"

So...what if Eric Harris's mother and Dylan Klebold's mother had had abortions?

I'm not surprised that those fanatics would exploit the situation, but it doesn't in any way lessen their trivializing of the real tragedy for their extremist cause.

Shari Stowell
via the Internet

Ms. Calhoun missed one person in her column on opportunism: Tipper Gore's spouse rushed to Colorado and the photo opportunity to demonstrate that he "feels our pain."

Keith Anderson
via the Internet

Patricia Calhoun's "Opportunism Knocks" made it official: She believes that Westword's readers are stupid.

While cataloguing real and perceived exploitation of the Columbine massacre to advance pre-existing agendas, Calhoun deliberately omitted the most shameless, hateful and obvious exploitation of all--that perpetrated by the gun-control lobby. She sincerely believes that her readers are not intelligent enough to notice even the most stunningly obvious of omissions.

What makes the gun-haters' tactics so malicious is that they are using emotional reaction to tragedy to push legislation that they know would not have prevented that tragedy and seeking to punish millions of people for crimes that they know those people did not commit. Calhoun did not say one word about this--not even one!--while mocking the NRA's efforts to defend itself from a flood of flaming bigotry and bald-faced libel. She is not discussing the matter honestly and is endorsing a double standard that rises to the level of bigotry, but she sincerely believes that her readers are not intelligent enough to see that.

Eric Krein

I note that Patricia Calhoun and others have commented on the April 20 shootings at Columbine High School and, like those they criticized, have also added nothing to the understanding of why those tragedies just "seem to happen." Everyone failed to note that by a fantastic coincidence, Westword published in the April 22 issue a story by Harrison Fletcher titled "Smoke and Mirrors." Although that incident took place twenty years before the Columbine tragedy, sociologically speaking the two incidents are identical.

Few sentient people will deny that the world is in a constant state of upheaval that is reflected in the worldwide spread of anarchy, turmoil and conflict. The fact that such conditions have prevailed for a long time throughout the world logically suggests the presence of a dominant common social factor. That common social factor is the capitalist system that no longer does and cannot be made to work in the interests of the overwhelming majority.

All living entities, whether they are biological or sociological, have a birth, youth, maturity, old age, senility and death. Capitalism is in the last stages of senility and death, waiting to be scrapped and replaced by the next stage of social development. To deny that is to deny that all previous social systems went through those exact stages and were themselves replaced by the then-next stage of social development.

The capitalist system consists of two major classes: a tiny minority, the capitalists, who own and control the instruments of production and distribution; and the vast majority, the working class, who own no productive property and must seek to work for the class that owns and controls the means of life in order to survive. Despite decades of reforms, millions are unemployed or underemployed, unable to maintain a decent standard of living. The nation's educational system and health-care system are a mess and getting worse. Environmental pollution is widespread, and crime and corruption are pervasive, with slums, abject poverty and widespread homelessness everywhere. Wars are constantly breaking out, bringing mass suffering and death to millions of people worldwide.

These are the social pressures that lead to a massive social breakdown that results in the bombing of police stations, anarchistic cults, shootings in schools and all the other social evils that we see as so widespread today. As long as capitalism continues to exist, it will continue to decline, bringing with it continued and increasing social misery. The politicians and capitalists will attempt to contain the situation with more police and military force, and in the end, they will attempt to impose a fascist police state on our society, the outlines of which are becoming more visible daily.