Letters to the Editor

Page 4 of 7

David, please don't stop doing what you're doing. You're a phenomenal writer. Continue to speak to us.

Tim Baker
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Help is at hand: David Holthouse, thank you for your article and your courage. In describing the anger you felt at your assault, you spoke for a lot of people who haven't been able to find their own words. I don't think you'll ever know how many people you've helped.

Laura McDowell
via the Internet

Pray as you go: First, I want to say how sorry I am that David Holthouse experienced something so horrible at such a young age. I'm lucky in that I never had anything traumatic happen to me as a child. But that story really got to me. I guess I can identify with David as I'm 32, I was a newspaper reporter in the area, and while nothing violent ever happened to me, when I was 21, my father was murdered.

It's apples and oranges, for sure. But for a long time I did have to live with a lot of anger and, to a certain extent, shame, as the incident happened around Christmas and was the lead story locally for a few days. For me, there was nothing worse than watching my life unravel on 9News. Needless to say, I had a hard time with it, and as a result, I spent about the next two years getting wasted at bars in Fort Collins and trying to pick fights I knew I'd lose. I was really angry for five years or so, until I went to talk to a priest because I was angry at God and I couldn't take it anymore. (I did a tour of duty of twelve years in Catholic schools and didn't go to church after my father's funeral.) I told the priest what happened to my father, that it was a robbery attempt and that the guy was a habitual criminal on parole, and on and on and on. At the end of my confession, he told me the one thing I never thought about. God gets a bad rap, he said. When people die, no matter what, people will say it was God's will. They don't realize that bad things happen outside of God's grace. That helped.

Then, for my penance, he told me I had to pray to God for the soul of the man who killed my father -- pray for his conversion and his salvation.

I really thought I was going to go to hell for punching a priest. But I didn't, because I knew he was right. I don't go to church, but I pray often. When I think of it, I pray as the priest instructed. I hope some day I'm a good enough person to actually mean it with all my heart. For now I mean it a little more every time, and I'm a lot less angry. The quote from Romans is correct. Revenge is not our job; life is not The Sopranos. But when I read stories like the one David wrote, I can't help but get wrapped up in it. Just for a moment, vicarious revenge is satisfying to me -- but then I remember.

It sounds like David learned to forgive, and for that, I'm glad for him.

Great job. Excellent story. Better character.

John Miret
via the Internet

Tomorrow's Leaders Today

Straighten up and fly right: Julie Jargon's "It Won't Fly," in the May 27 issue, does a grave disservice to the members of the Class of 2004 who graduated on June 2. Yes, the Air Force Academy has garnered national headlines the past year. But the reason the academy's problems with sexual assault and honor capture the headlines is that the American people expect perfection from the men and women at their service academies. And they have every right to do so. The academy is in the business of building leaders of character for our nation and producing the best second lieutenants for the Air Force.

The overwhelming majority of the young cadets at the academy are men and women of exceptional character who have chosen a special calling -- one that may require them to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend those values that all Americans cherish. Many of them may be in Iraq or Afghanistan in less than a year, and those who go to pilot training will be there in a few years. Regardless of the timing, these young graduates will be fighting the War on Terrorism, which promises to be a long and difficult struggle. These cadets were sophomores when 9/11 occurred. Two graduates lost their lives that day, and two more have died overseas in the War on Terrorism. At that time, the cadets of 2004 could have left the academy without a service commitment, but over 900 opted to stay out of a sense of duty and desire to serve their nation in time of war.

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