When Cartoons Are Outlawed ...
Regarding the July 1 Off Limits:
M. Wartella's "Sell Your Soul to Evil" cartoon clearly expresses satire and was not meant to be taken seriously--it was in part to amuse, and also to make us think. The other responses reinforce the age-old observation that people are stupid, and even more so in a support group.

Who do these hysterical, self-serving people think they are? The next thing they would do is ban all references to violence, sex and emotion. Hel-lo: This is not the perfect utopian society that you think it is, unless you are on lithium. People are inherently violent--look at the past century of wars. I will never, ever condone the use of deadly force, but at the same time, some is necessary. (Oh, no! Don't punish little Jimmy. You'll warp his fragile little mind!) What the individuals did at Columbine High School may have shocked and brought a strange new awareness to the general public, but you can't blame reporters for doing their job too well. The kids with shotguns, pipe bombs and lethal intentions may have had some influence from the media, computer games and no real sense of wrong, but that does not mean that the whole educational system is warped beyond repair.

When I was in high school ten years ago, I had the same access to firearms, pipe bombs and computers that these kids did; I had a similar peer group of geeky freakos, social pressures and oppressive peer groups, and we did a lot of dangerous experiments--but we never had any wish or intent to kill other people, and we never did any acts that could be considered harmful to anyone but ourselves. People need to understand that it is our constitutional right to print whatever we think is correct. Nobody has any right to tell me what to do or what I can or cannot do, unless it is harmful or possibly harmful to others.

After all, it's a free country. Try to live that way.
Grant Cameron
via the Internet

Instead of requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every schoolroom, as both Congress and many Colorado lawmakers are proposing, I'd like to suggest that Wartella's cartoon be displayed instead.

How quickly everyone has forgotten that intolerance was one of the primary motivations behind the Columbine shooting, if early accounts are to be believed. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been taunted and harassed, rather than tolerated, by the school's elite of athletes. Although their violent response to this treatment is inexcusable, so is this country's frightening swing to shut off public debate.

We need more talk, not less. We need more understanding, not orders.
Jay Levy
via the Internet

High school killing sprees, gay-bashing skinheads, satanic suburban teenage rituals, etc., etc.--is it an episode of South Park or the front page of the Denver Post? I've been living in Georgia for the past three years, and until recently, I would tell anyone who asked that I was born in St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver and am a sixth-generation Coloradan.

But do you know what I tell them now? I tell them I'm from Alabama. Is anyone there aware of the fact that there are daily metropolitan newspapers in this country running South Park movie previews literally on the same page as interviews with the Klebold/Harris families? Wake the fuck up!

T. Edward Bak
via the Internet

It's Not Just Black and White
Thank you for the marvelous July 1 article by Julie Jargon titled "The Black Sheep," about the Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church and its minister, Joel Miller. It was well-researched and very well-written. It did a better job of characterizing our faith than we frequently do ourselves. We are far too often recognized only for what we do not believe. However, it's no surprise that many people feel a need for a spiritual connection without the dogma that surrounds many other faiths. That's why we are here, and that's why we are growing. (In fact, there is an even newer church than ours currently forming in Parker.)

Joel has been a strong anchor in our religious community, and it's very heartening to see him recognized as such. Though the article didn't focus on it, his work in the aftermath of the Columbine shootings has been nothing short of inspirational. With Columbine High School practically in our backyard, he was the first minister on the scene, and his work then and since should serve as a model for clergy responding to crisis.

Your article also did well at describing the growing isolation of the evangelicals in our area. However, it is not entirely their fault. When anything divides us, we are all responsible, and we must all respond. It is our sincere hope that the effort to bring together our diverse community though the Columbine Peace Labyrinth Project will bear fruit. Whether liberal or conservative, mainstream or evangelical, secular or sectarian, we are all Columbine.

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