For Adults Only
It upsets me that your recent covers--the December 31 Year in Review and the January 7 issue--have been so vile. You have a right to print whatever you like, but surely parents have a right to go out to dinner with their kids without this stuff at kids'-eye level everywhere!

Name withheld on request

Eric Dexheimer's January 7 cover story, "A New Dress for the Old Gal," was vintage Westword--just like the Airedale building is vintage Denver. Impressive structure, even if the subject is a tad unsavory. Congratulations on another fine edition. I hope the city realizes what treasures it has.

James Stein

The Same Old Story
Hooray for Stuart Steers's "Nursing a Grudge," in the January 7 issue, about indifference toward the elderly. What can we do? Perhaps school tags should be worn by employees of nursing homes. A school tag has a number on it that tells how far the wearer went in school. Of course, school tags could be used in other places, also.

William Burke

I've heard so many people express hope that our new governor, Bill Owens, might breathe some fresh air into the state government that may be good for us. However, I already see the mistake we voters made. Stuart Steers's article on Meridian nursing homes and their owner, Trish Nagel, shows that Owens is willing to pander to business over and above the interests of the patients. What a sorry situation to appoint someone like Nagel to his transition team. What a sorry choice the voters made for governor. Too bad. Business as usual.

Steve Harstrom
Idaho Springs

The Heart Remembers
Three months ago, you could not pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about Matthew Shepard. Today his name is rarely mentioned, and the issue of gay rights is discussed even less.

So I want to thank Patricia Calhoun for her January 7 column, "The Long Road Home," and for remembering that what is important to a community is not just what is in the news for a few days. I pray the Denver police find out what happened to Steve Heyman. I'm sorry that they had to be reminded to do their job. And for all the victims of such hate crimes, I light a candle.

Rob Rutowsky
via the Internet

Calhoun hit several sore points with her column on gay-bashing.
As a person who is liberal on some issues and conservative on others, I would like to recommend to every gay person and, indeed, every person who feels in danger when walking down a dark street that they support with every fiber in their bodies all legislative efforts to allow the carrying of concealed firearms in Colorado. Despite all the noble-sounding Gandhi crap, Christian cheek-turning horseshit and media gun-bashing, there is nothing better to discourage a xenophobe from picking on you than the mere fear that you might have a hefty, big-holed handgun in your poke.

Lemme tell you about the Dick Valentine Theory of Crime Reduction: Issue a military surplus .45 semiautomatic pistol and 500 rounds of ammo to every non-felonious citizen in the state. Give these citizens training. Let them carry the concealed firearms. Yes, the crime rate would skyrocket. For about six months. Then it would drop to zero.

Now, that would be real freedom.
One of our greatest writers, Robert A. Heinlein, once wrote in Beyond This Horizon that "an armed society is a polite society." True. Very true.

Dick Valentine

I am always saddened when a person who fights bigotry reveals herself to be as bigoted as the rest of us. Patricia Calhoun did so in her January 7 "The Long Road Home" when she endorsed Time's description of cowboy country as "rednecks and other yahoos." It's clear she sees Denverites as culturally and morally superior (genetically, too?) to rural folk. Such urban arrogance is one of history's oldest prejudices.

I also find the ongoing use of "redneck" to describe bigoted, boorish people interesting. The term originally described farmers, especially downtrodden tenant farmers, because their lengthy labors outdoors prompted the back of their necks to become permanently reddened by the sun. That the oppressed and downtrodden are now synonymous with bad white guys reveals a class bias as well.

I hope Denver media country, with its blondes and other yahoos, starts practicing what it preaches in the fight against bigotry.

Derry Enyon
Fort Collins

Great work by Calhoun (as usual) in pointing out the hypocritical coverage of the two deaths: Matthew Shepard and Steve Heyman. Yes, homophobia is alive and well in Denver as well as out there in cowboy country. Please keep us informed of any developments in the Heyman investigation.

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