Stir Crazy
After reading the third installment in your prison series (Karen Bowers's "Bad Ol' Boys," August 1), I threw down my copy of Westword in disgust. Isn't anyone else as outraged as I am over the special treatment these criminals receive?

I just wish that all the elderly people who've behaved themselves and have never been in prison could receive such good care--including expensive operations performed at taxpayers' expense. The week before, I read about mentally unbalanced people and the help they get in prison. Just try getting those free services if you're on the outside! And why is it that bad teenagers are rewarded with special care and attention while good kids must fend for themselves?

I don't blame Westword; I know that your paper is just the messenger bringing us the bad news. But what, short of getting thrown in jail ourselves, can we do about this appalling situation?

Linda Wallach

Karen Bowers's July 25 story, "I'm a Con, You're a Con," was an excellent article. When a mentally disturbed individual is released after committing a violent crime, it arouses fear in anyone who has helped to convict that person.

For the victim--if she or he is alive--it changes your daily life. You get apprehensive about walking or jogging alone. After dark you are frightened by unlighted areas, parking lots, etc. At home you check and recheck doors and windows to see if they are locked, and you light up the front and back of your home. If you live in an apartment, you don't respond to the visitor buzzer, because maybe he will use someone else to gain entrance to the building. Often you don't ask friends to escort you somewhere, because you don't wish to place them in danger. Worse yet, you may not tell friends and family of your fears, because you don't want them to think that you are paranoid or go to the opposite extreme of over-protecting you.

Until the convicted person either returns to prison or an institution or moves a great distance away, you feel insecure.

Fran Washko

In your July 18 story by Alan Prendergast, "The Young and the Reckless," a caption under a photo of YOS inmates said they were "at attention." Not on your life! It was "parade rest," you betcha.

A small point, perhaps, but how will our already mixed-up youth learn things properly if we adults, especially in the media, don't use good examples?

I realize that the preceding may not be too clear of an example. But then, I'm a high school dropout.

Lloyd B. Hughes

A Site for Sore Eyes
Michael Roberts: Hey! I found the Westword Web site a-ok (Feedback, August 1), but I am most disappointed that you guys have not included pictures of the staff.

I have lived in Colorado since 1987 and still have no idea of what you look like, Mr. Roberts. I've had this image in my head all along, and I just want to see if I'm close. So, c'mon, Westies--let's see a couple of head shots (please, nothing X-rated) of your crew.

Or would this spoil the mystery of it all?
Cheryl Winston
via the Internet

The Fifth Dimension
It's weird to watch people who have had a huge impact on your life and heart get reduced to a two-dimensional piece (and I do mean piece) in a local weekly. I refer to a pair of articles appearing within weeks of each other in Westword, both written by the lovely and talented Michael Roberts. One was a review of the new Patti Smith record Gone Again (Playlist, July 18) that took issue with her "skimpy" body of work (ah, America, land of quality vs. quantity) and didn't hesitate to haul out that old story about the Easter album cover. I'm amazed there was no mention of the pit hair. God, it's a miracle she ever got to make a record.

The other thing wrecking my day is an article that recounted the very personal tragedies/demons of an old friend of mine ("Jailhouse Rocker," July 25). The piece seemed to be equal parts titillating expose, cautionary tale and music review. Although I do understand that the material here is virtual journalistic filet mignon (local golden boy's spectacular fall from grace), it is rough to watch reasonably articulate writers go for the slime every time instead of the pearl--or, even better, to occasionally know just when to shut up. Unthinkable, I guess. Everybody's got some kind of crummy job to do.

Victoria Frerichs

Actually, Brian Nalty wrote "Take Your Place" while he was in Bop Street, and the band used to play it at those magical gigs back in the Eighties. Anyway, Brian's famous now--whether or not he wanted to go down in the rock-and-roll has-beens hall of fame as the Jailhouse Rocker. I'm uncertain...

Why, Brian, why?
Eileen Schwartz
via the Internet

Skating on Thin Ice
In the current negotiations with Comsat (Off Limits, August 1), I am concerned that the demolition of McNichols is even a consideration. Why does Denver even entertain the possibility, when McNichols should remain as a facility for use by the City of Denver and the Denver Public Schools?

To my knowledge, neither Denver nor the Denver Public Schools has an ice rink. McNichols would provide one. Hockey and ice-skating aside, McNichols is a facility the school district can use for many things: basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, wrestling, indoor track events--and what about graduation ceremonies? And when not scheduled for school events, it can be open to the general public for the same uses.

If you build it, they will come. Well, McNichols is already built, and we, the people of Denver, are here. McNichols should not be demolished. There is no good reason and there are too many good uses and benefits for the people of Denver.

Chris Ward

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