Last night, I picked up a copy of Westword and was browsing through the paper when my eyes focused on those of Eric Scott. A vague memory stirred my interest, and I began to read the article. Because I was waiting in line for a takeout bag and a check, I could only scan the words quickly, but I tucked the paper under my arm and resolved to read the article when I could give it the focus I felt it deserved. There was something in his eyes that I recognized strongly. About a half-hour ago, I began to read.
Like so many others in the Denver public, I was totally unaware that this young man had been murdered -- and that the murder had been perpetrated only two blocks from my home! The deeper I got into the article, the more I remembered that this was the kid I had casually spoken to several times on the street and in the shop over the past years. I did not know him personally as a friend, but I remember him as a well-spoken, sincere and friendly guy with eyes that held my attention. I want to tell you that both the uninspired investigation by the police and the callous attitude adopted by the public administrator for the City and County of Denver enrage me. R. L. Steenrod didn't want to disclose the amount of money Eric's belongings fetched at auction out of "respect for Scott's privacy"? Give me a break!
This kid may have been a pot dealer, he may have died with Xanax in his system, he may have maintained a strangely shaped beard and sported colors of hair not found in nature, he may have ridden a motorcycle and led a ratty, ungroomed, lock-dyed Afghan around on a leash, and he may have led a life considered unworthy of sympathy or note by more conservative elements of our society, but he was a man with a heart, a man with a blessed soul of compassion, and a man who made the difficult personal choices we all make in our lives to pull himself up by his self-sewn bootstraps and try to make something good of his life. As I finished reading David Holthouse's words and brushed away the tears from my face, I understood the truth of my emotion. Twenty-five years ago, this young man could have been me.
I want to thank you for publishing his story. Eric has been shamefully relegated to that pathetic category of men "whose lives don't matter." Had he been rich, politically connected and living in Cherry Hills, you can damned well bet that Earl Taylor and his "crew" would have been arrested, tried and convicted by now. At this point, I don't know what can be done, but I thank you for researching and writing this piece. I hope city officials at least have been embarrassed enough to try to make some amends for the shoddy way this young man was treated...if not in life, then at least in death.
Drive, he said: Regarding David Holthouse's "Bad Boys," in the January 17 issue:
Unfortunately, the guy involved in this incident seems like a hothead, which doesn't work in his favor, but I have to say that I am infuriated almost daily by rude and aggressive or absentminded and distracted driving on the part of the Denver Police Department, in fully marked cars. It's a miracle if they ever signal a lane change; they flick on their lights just to get through intersections; and they drive aggressively, cutting people off and causing near-miss accidents. If they are not driving insanely, they are weaving around on the road, not staying in lanes, and driving in a fashion for which an ordinary citizen would be pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving.
While I doubt there is a vast right-wing conspiracy on the part of the DPD, I do believe that, on the whole, they have very poor driving habits and a cavalier, above-the-law attitude when it comes to how they treat other motorists.
Citizen raising Cain: David Holthouse wrote a mostly fair and accurate story regarding my experience with Captain J. Padilla, with the exception of two points. 1) I never said, "Mullah Padilla went Taliban on my ass." What I did say was, "Mullah Padilla went Taliban on me." 2) Magistrate Paul Quinn admonished me for allegedly making obscene gestures to Mullah Padilla. Yes, the Padilla did make this groundless accusation at the start of the trial, but nobody in the relatively full courtroom could verify that I made any alleged obscene gestures at the Padilla! What is true is that the Padilla did wink and smile at me while the magistrate reprimanded me based on the Padilla's false allegation that I made an obscene gesture at him.