Letters to the Editor

Of Rags and Road Rage

Patricia Calhoun, as the editor of a rag that (with justification) regularly bashes King Webb's violations of various statutes and constitutional guarantees, it's surprising that you would agree with him on denying Denver citizens the right to protect themselves with a firearm ("Fire Away," May 11). You use dead bicyclist John Bray as an example of why we shouldn't be allowed to carry guns in cars. Yet you forget that Bray made a choice to get into a fight with James Hall. It takes two to tango, and both partners showed poor judgment. Instead of letting it go, Bray and Hall escalated their conflict, and now Bray is dead and Hall is up on murder charges. And that's the way it should be: Make a poor decision, pay the price.

But your shortsighted opinion blames the gun instead of the people. Webb defends his unconstitutional rules as being necessary to prevent gang shootings. So, of course, because gang members want to shoot each other down on Federal Boulevard (providing a valuable social service by eliminating each other from the gene pool), I, a law-abiding, non-gang-member citizen, should not be allowed to carry a gun to defend myself from carjackers, muggers and other violent criminals. Your illogic is laughable.

I'm glad your rag is free, because when you espouse such poorly reasoned opinions, it's certainly not worth paying for.
Bart Rhoten
via the Internet

Congratulations to Calhoun for putting it so accurately and succinctly: "Whatever words Bray used that day, they weren't as deadly as a bullet." Governor Bill Owens said he was going to get tough on guns this year -- here's his chance to prove it. Encourage him to veto SB 154, so that Denver can continue to enforce its common-sensical ordinance regarding guns in cars.
Mary Perez

Hmmm...the editor is all self-righteous about a shooting outside Westword? She should be glad that James Hall went after a bicyclist, rather than a more obvious target in her building.

Miss Calhoun is always so quick to defend the First Amendment, you'd think she'd give a little more thought to the Second. But that would require thought, wouldn't it?
A. Myers
via the Internet

In my opinion, the bicyclists in this town are getting too pushy for their own good. I myself have had problems with overly aggressive bicyclists in traffic lanes. I'm not saying that John Bray deserved to be shot, but I think bicyclists should leave major roads like Broadway to cars and trucks. That way, problems like this would not come up.
Name withheld on request

I enjoyed Calhoun's "Fire Away" piece. We have similar thoughts regarding how it was covered, at least by the Denver Post. It was a senseless murder by a person who should not have had possession of a firearm for any reason. "Road rage" is a weak explanation for what happened to John Bray while he was riding his bike, even if in a discourteous and arrogant way (which can happen). The accused murderer is a "sick pup" who harbored a deadly weapon intended for one purpose -- to dispose of someone with whom he didn't see eye-to-eye. The rage one feels from traffic, discourteous drivers and the competition on the roadways rarely, if ever, ends in cold murder. Some of the more typical rage is well-founded in impatience, frustration, fear, real or perceived threat, timetables and mood; this will likely never end, especially as we get more congested on the roads. But what can be minimized is the access to firearms, so as not to escalate a consequence of normal human interaction to a deadly outcome.

Sure, many a sick pup and misinformed/misguided others will acquire firearms and arm themselves if they feel they need to do so (likely as a result of paranoia) or feel they need to guarantee a misinterpreted inalienable right. But once again, we are reminded of the fact that there are too damn many firearms. Virginia Lopez, the Denver police spokeswoman, simply and unfortunately explained Bray's death as an occurrence with "no rhyme or reason" -- dead wrong! The explanation by one of James Hall's friends that the killing tool may have discharged when the victim was attempting to grab the firearm makes no difference: The intent to harm and the impact were directly related. The behavior of the cyclist is not the issue.

I am an avid bicyclist and cruise the metro area for pleasure and/or to get to work (a far better way to travel), and am oftentimes dismayed at other drivers and their arrogance toward those who have the same right to share the roads. Yes, I have yelled, flipped off, whistled at and spit in the direction of those who recklessly interfered or posed a threat to my right of way. But to consider carrying a firearm so as to preserve my desire and right to drive my bike is ludicrous and reckless, to say the least. My personal attitude will not change despite this rare occurrence, and my ardent support to eliminate many firearms, especially those with increasing lethality (sounds like an oxymoron), will never cease.