Rage Before Duty
Regarding T.R. Witcher's "Hell on Wheels," in the December 3 issue:
The failure to properly define the term "road rage," and its all-encompassing use to define every conceivable traffic infraction, has led to even greater misunderstandings. Its misuse has diminished drunk driving by making it a version of road rage rather than the legitimate and even more dangerous social ill that it is. In addition, Captain Powell's belief that "active aggressive" drivers are more dangerous than inattentive, boneheaded passive-aggressive drivers is a sad statement. Besides the fact that "active aggressive drivers" is almost as vague a term as "road rage," I'd rather have someone tailgating me who is actually paying attention and driving "actively" than a boneheaded idiot who's blocking the fast lane, pissing everyone off and basically creating the stress leading to road rage in the first place.

Brent Tharp
via the Internet

There is a basic cause for the problem of road rage. It is a combination of ignorance and/or arrogance on the part of those who commit such acts. Ignorance regarding the basic principles of driving contained in the Driver's Handbook, and arrogance of drivers who believe that courteous driving according to the handbook applies not to them but only to others as "mere mortals" who have an obligation to stay out of the way. Any "mere mortals" who dare to drive properly in a civil manner are the subject of road rage for allegedly challenging the self-ordained status of those who deign to drive by their own rules and concepts contrary to the manual.

Part of the problem is the lack of academic software in the human mind, as an organic computer of potentially infinite capacity, to contain a database required for coming to a basic conclusion in response to data input from the senses. Add functional illiteracy problems in reading ability, reading comprehension and reading retention that exist despite fancy degrees, and there exists the potential for road rage and many accidents that common sense knowledge of the Driver's Handbook would prevent if applied while driving.

For example, the handbook specifically cautions drivers about following too closely. Despite that admonition, too many drivers still follow a car length or less at 55 mph on the Valley Highway through Denver and create the infamous multi-vehicle pileups. Common sense intelligence should indicate that reaction time and stopping distance for the vehicle mass at 55 mph is far greater than twenty feet. I have been subject to potential road rage when I have activated my hazard flashers to warn off idiots following too closely behind my vehicle, and the driver behind me flips me a single digit to brag about his or her IQ--though driving habits also are indicative of his or her mentality.

Richard Becker

My issue concerns the way so many drivers follow so closely on the highway. If they knew anything about what happens to flesh when colliding with metal, glass and pavement at 60 mph, maybe they'd leave a little room for the car ahead of them. Generally, driving is unnatural for the human species, so natural selection will take effect. Unfortunately for many innocent passengers and drivers, they're in the wrong place at the wrong time.

James D. Neville
via the Internet

I wonder whether it is safe to obey the traffic speeds posted on West Hampden, West Sixth Avenue or South Santa Fe. They are posted at 45 mph for new, improved roads of two or more lanes. If you go the legal speed limit and obey the law, you get tailgated, fingered and shouted at for going less than the prevailing speed, which seems to be 55 mph.

As with Thoreau, civil disobedience seems to be the best road--unless you want to get hit from behind or leave the road to pull over to safety while the SUVs and 4x4s speed by, trying to evade the Sheridan, Englewood and Denver police helping fill city coffers in the name of "safety."

D. W. Hester

The Hard Cell
Judging from Tony Perez-Giese's December 3 "Jail Bait," if Westword had its way, all the druggies and robbers and loonies would be out on the street. I, for one, am glad they're locked up. And I hope when the city builds a new jail, it builds it in Westword's backyard.

A.T. Garcia

I would like to discuss "Jail Bait." The only reason Denver does not have a new jail facility is that the mayor and the manager of safety want to be re-elected to office, and a jail in a neighborhood does not gain votes. Look at the recent issues over the new juvenile jail: No one wants the facility in their backyard, so the Denver administration has to put the issue on hold while the old facility is dangerously overcrowded and a serious threat to the staff and the juveniles. Today the Denver County Jail is filled with Denver's worst criminals, who are packed inside like matches in a box. Unfortunately for the inmates and the staff inside this old jail, one of them will have to die or win a lawsuit before Webb will open his eyes to the situation in his Havana Street Hilton.

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