Regarding Patricia Calhoun's column "Court Time," in the May 3 issue:
I have a suggestion for all those rich folks who have nothing better to do with their time (and money) than sue each other: Get a five-dollar annual pass to the City of Denver's rec centers. It is the best deal in town. Then donate the money you save by not paying Denver Athletic Club dues to a worthy cause that helps people with real problems.
Then get a life.
Doom With a View
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "Doom and Doomer," in the May 3 issue:
After Oklahoma City, I began listening to the USA "Patriot" Network. Know your enemy. If you believe talk radio consists of Rush Limbaugh, you should listen, too. If Rush is a marijuana cigarette, these people are the mainlining of heroin. If the ol' pussycat is a .38 special, they are an AK-47. If he is a P-51, they are a stealth fighter.
When the president exercised his own right of free speech, which the extremists immediately tried to distort into a call for repression (you're only supposed to exercise your rights if you agree with them), he was calling on some in talk radio to voluntarily restrain their vituperation and calls for violence. Your odds are equally good of persuading a piranha to turn vegetarian.
We should not try to close them down. Keep them out in the open, where we can keep an eye on them. If we drive them under the rocks from whence they came, matters will only get worse. That you published your article is good. The more the responsible press focuses the light of publicity on these people, the better. But your tone was a wee bit too lighthearted. I can well imagine a similar article being written in Weimar Germany after the beer-hall putsch about a funny little ex-corporal with a Charlie Chaplin mustache and his apparently comic-opera followers, a real barrel of yocks.
Richard P. DeTar
I'd like to add a little opinion and insight to Westword's investigative reporting on the patriot movement. While the movement obviously includes loonies, profiteers and those who overstate their case, most of the patriots seem to have legitimate concerns about the federal government.
Since the time of the Civil War, the power of the federal government over citizens, for both good and bad, has gradually increased. The growth of this power has been slow, so that we have been desensitized to it. Ultimately, however, power corrupts, and the same federal government that once enforced voting rights now teargasses little children and confiscates people's homes when they grow a little marijuana. These patriots seem to be people especially sensitive to tyranny (maybe like our Founders) who, in their bumbling way, are trying to wake us up. While I am not afraid of U.N. troops, I am afraid of the horrendous national debt, taxes that never seem to end and the increasing militarization of the police. And I am amazed that so many people who distrusted the government in the 1960s are now so willing to excuse its obvious corruption. The media have also been lax in examining the legitimate issue of growing federal power, and so have fueled the conspiratorial theories of the patriot fringe.
A new (or is it old?) political dichotomy seems to be emerging in the country--those who have faith in centralized government control versus those who do not. The patriots are just the fringe of the latter. I do enjoy reading about patriot eccentricities, but the core issue of governmental power is more significant and is largely being ignored.
Not that it really matters to anyone except the Jewish community, which is embarrassed by his antics, but Norman Resnick is not an Orthodox Jew! He violates the rules and prohibitions pertaining to the Sabbath and festivals observed by all Orthodox Jews, including driving, using the telephone, mowing the lawn, etc. He goes bareheaded, which Orthodox men do not. He is vulgar, profane and vicious.
Resnick has been called to task by some of Denver's rabbis for some of his more outrageous on-air statements. He is virtually, though unofficially, shunned by most members of his own (non-Orthodox) synagogue.
The fact that he constantly refers to himself as an "Orthodox Jew" is either further indication of his delusional mental state or another cynical ploy to draw more attention to himself.
Name withheld on request
As a researcher in many fields, when I see "facts" that do not readily make sense, I ask myself, "Who benefits?" So who did benefit when the federal building in Oklahoma City blew up? Did the militia movement get anything other than a black eye?
Assume that this wasn't the work of a total maniac; given the ability to put together a bomb of such proportions, it seems unlikely. The only group that seems to be benefiting is the Treasury's Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the FBI (and perhaps the federal marshals). ATF's image, tarnished recently by actions in Waco and in the Northwest, has improved, and the government seems ready to authorize a new round of COINTELPRO-style infiltration, surveillance and subversion of domestic political groups.
I'm not saying that there is a conspiracy by our own government to usurp power. Yet what happened to "John Doe 2," who turned himself in on day two and then suddenly did not exist? Has the ATF been known to use unauthorized and lethal methods? Doesn't McVeigh somehow remind you of Oswald?
Let's not allow an emotional rush to judgment to permit our government to stampede us into the destruction of the Bill of Rights.
R. Christopher Horak
Reburn of the Native
How ironically fitting it was for Westword to run the obnoxious letter from Carroll Newberry discrediting American Indian studies and the article covering Colorado's obnoxious "patriot" militias in the same May 2 issue. Both items clearly demonstrate how paranoid ignoramuses fear the toppling of the great white male institution. I believe it's time someone tell them their fear is quite unnecessary, because no evidence of this fictitious event occurring anywhere in America exists at this particular moment.
The ignorant and intolerant nature of most white Americans constantly astounds me. Newberry, for example, twice proclaims he is "not anti-Native American," yet he fills his letter with anti-American Indian sentiments and stereotypical notions of the people he thinks he knows something about. Strange that Newberry asks the crucial question of why we need American Indian studies when the answer lies in his mirror.
The move to include multicultural studies on college campuses was initiated to provide American students with a holistic, academic knowledge of our country and to help dissuade the same ignorant views so eloquently expressed by Newberry. Does this mean we eradicate Western classics from our studies? Absolutely not. American Indian studies--as well as African-American, Asian-American and Latino/a studies--were created to complement conventional Western teachings in hopes of providing students with a better understanding of the American macrocosm.
Believe me, Newberry, American Indians have long been ready to move into the 21st century, regardless of your aged stereotypes and the institutionalized racism imbedded in the likes of the subjective Westword and Metropolitan State College of Denver. However, I am uncertain if the 21st century will bring about any new understanding given today's images of paranoia run amok and bomb-blasted children. In a way, I take back what I said earlier--maybe Newberry and the "patriots" have much to fear as long as white culture maintains its monopoly on knowledge. As for indigenous people owning and operating the country, America could learn a good lesson from South Africa.
Felix Sanchez-Edsitty (Dine)
Better to keep silent and have others think you a fool than to open your mouth and prove it. Apparently, Mr. Newberry's version of Native American history goes like this: 1. They used to be man-eating sexist savages 2. They taught Pilgrims to plant corn. 3. Now they are either drunks or drive Lexuses. Gee, Carroll, thank God you aren't racist.
I don't know how I feel about the brouhaha over Native American studies, but I do know that there's more for me to know about the past and future of this country's indigenous people than was covered in Girl Scouts. Writers like Carroll Newberry could certainly learn a thing or two.
In two places in Carroll Newberry's letter, he states he is not anti-Native American but puts down Indian people as drunken, lazy bums who don't try to work but sit around playing drums. I think this person needs to be sitting in the front row in the Native American studies classroom. He needs to learn some truths about Indian people.
This self-proclaimed friend of an Indian man is so racist and stupid, I feel sorry for his family and friends. The family and friends should be ashamed of this person and should pray for this person.
Carroll Newberry says that the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls can teach all that is needed to know about Indians. I would like to know: Who is going to teach them? Almost all non-Indian people are full of misinformation that they consider the gospel truth.
Back in the 1800s, a Paiute prophet named Wovoka said the buffalo and the Indian would come back. Carroll Newberry had better wake up and smell the buffalo chips. The buffalo and we Indian people are back! Not that we went anywhere to come back from!