Letters to the Editor

Every Second Counts

Mark his words: In "Marked for Death," in the May 25 issue, Alan Prendergast stated that there have been eight inmate homicides at Florence federal penitentiary since it opened seven years ago. This means 1.1 homicides per year. He also wrote that 94 assaults means "roughly one stabbing or beating victim among every ten inmates." This implies that the prison's population is about 940.

This translates to a murder rate of about 115 per 100,000 inmates. Compare this to a national murder rate of 9.5 people per 100,000 in 1993, and 6.3 in 1998. During the same period, the overall violent-crime rate in the U.S. dropped from 746.8 to 566.4 (World Almanac and Book of Facts 2000). This is nowhere near the violent-crime rate of 10,000 per 100,000 inmates occurring at Florence.

Since the idea that access to guns causes crime is unquestionable, perhaps Westword can print an article about how gun control in prison needs to be made more strict. After all, convicts in prison should be made as safe as the rest of the general population. The anti-self-defense lobby in this country credits strict gun control for Japan's low crime rate. This would easily explain why prisoners in Japan are much less violent than inmates in American prisons.

If people like Joni Brown (Letters, May 25) feel that letters expressing opinions differing from theirs are too violent, perhaps they would feel better living in a Japanese prison, where they would be safe from the dangers of reading something they disagree with.
Robert Racansky
via the Internet

Rising to the top, with a bullet: Once and for all, you self-defending rootin'-tooters waving your God-given rights in everybody's faces, the Second Amendment is for the establishment of a "well-regulated militia," to be mobilized in event of foreign invasion or intolerable oppression by a corrupt government. In this respect, the fringe groups in their Idaho compounds are closer to the constitutional spirit than is the NRA. Not that they are mutually exclusive. So how do you gun fetishists square the Founding Fathers' intent with the right to blow away every criminal, ex-wife's lover, callous boss or obnoxious bicyclist? (See Patricia Calhoun's "Fire Away," in the May 11 issue, and letters in subsequent issues.)

According to your sacred Second Amendment, only the National Guard (active and reservists) should have firearms. And possibly the standing military forces, but only on base or when engaged in combat. And let's allow exemptions for subsistence hunters -- rifles only, of course. Guns are not collectibles any more than nerve-gas canisters or tactical nuclear weapons are. Let's round them up (to the cheers of the rest of the civilized world) and really usher in a new millennium.

P.S. for the "Tyranny Response Team": Mothers and children congregating for peace, or at least a less violent society, are not the Tyrant. Look elsewhere.
James Greenfield

Read Letter Day

Age before beauty: Hey, Westword almost looks ready for the 21st century with that snappy new design. It's much more reader-friendly -- too bad reading will soon be obsolete.
Ray Brachman
via the Internet

Merde, she wrote: Wow! Your new design in the May 25 issue looks great! Easy-to-read fonts and a much better layout on the page. Kudos to the design staff!

And my toque is off to Kyle Wagner. Thank you for her on-target 2nd Helping review of Le Central, "French Roast," in the same issue. I'm sure their loyal customers are screaming bloody murder -- or merde. I used to go to Le Central quite often, but not anymore. Meals are of inconsistent quality, the waitstaff is rushed and inattentive, and even their good bread occasionally arrives cold and stiff. So I say au revoir to Le Central.
Peter Gross

Commercial Break

Radio for spare change: I do station imaging (sweepers, liners, promos) as well as other production duties at 1490 KWAB/ After reading your article (Radio for (Lots of) Change, May 25), I felt I needed to add an addendum to Dani Newsum's statement, "What's the difference between the way people are treated at KWAB versus, say, KOA or KHOW. I didn't see a damn bit of difference."

Dani is incorrect. Or at least we have vastly different opinions. I can speak about this subject with the utmost confidence, because I worked for KHOW/KOA before I worked at KWAB. pays their technical producers better than Clear Channel/Denver. management inspires their TPs, producers and station-imaging people to be creative. My experience offering creativity, extra work, as well as honest, constructive suggestions/criticism at KOA/KHOW was that unless it directly benefited their short-term needs (filling board shifts), they did NOT care one bit what you thought. There is camaraderie among the staff at 1490 KWAB Radio/ that is desperately lacking at KOA/KHOW. The morale of many of their employees is piss-poor.

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