Letters to the Editor

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Uncle scam: Although I am very disappointed that Westword has not devoted coverage to the fiasco that is the war in Iraq, I enjoyed the one-two punch of Michael Roberts's "Wanted" and J. David McSwane's "An Army of Anyone," in the September 29 issue. Now why don't you tell us about the 1,900 people who were recruited, and died in this pointless war?

Kimmi Mansfield

Future shock: I am a local Colorado National Guard Recruiter. It is unfortunate that there are recruiters out there who violate the rules and regulations we have in place, which are there for a variety of reasons. We don't accept people with mental issues or past cases of depression for the very reason that the military can be extremely stressful and we would not want that person with a loaded weapon in their hand. The same goes for those who have had a history of excessive drug use; "experimental" use is fine. Standards of education do also apply. These few recruiters who lied cared only for their quota, not for the individual person applying. That is an absolute shame.

I am a little disheartened that there were no positive recruiting examples in your articles. I read Westword weekly and understand its political viewpoint, but I wish there had been a story about a soldier such as one I recently enlisted. He had just graduated from high school when his girlfriend became pregnant with twins. He had no job, no prospects and lived in a small town out east where drugs were prevalent. Both of his brothers had ended up in jail for drugs and violence. He didn't want to go down that path, especially now that he would have a family to care for. He contacted me one day, and now he is a soldier with the Colorado National Guard. He is learning to become a mechanic, he was given a $10,000 bonus, health care and the opportunity to go to a four-year college on Uncle Sam's dime. The day he enlisted and I was driving him back home, he almost broke into tears. He realized he now had a future. Although many of your readers do not agree with the military and all we do, it gave this young man a chance at supporting his family.

Colorado also sent almost 1,000 National Guard soldiers down to the hurricane-stricken regions of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. These are the reasons why I joined the National Guard, and why I chose to work as a recruiter. I recently volunteered to go to Iraq; in March, I will go as a helicopter mechanic. I'm going because they need my job there. I'm not doing it for any political reasons, I'm doing it to support every other man and woman who decided to sacrifice to serve their state and country.

I don't care if others don't support those in power, or even the government. But please support the troops.

Sergeant Edwin Wiley

At your service: Kudos to David McSwane! I think he has a great future ahead of him. Westword, keep up the great work.

Diane Cassidy

A Poor Excuse

Sob sister: Although I appreciated Patricia Calhoun advocating to bring back the perfectly fine word "bums" to describe the "unworthy poor" ("We're Not Worthy," September 29), I still fail to see why the "worthy poor" are more deserving of a handout from this city than the "really worthy lower-middle class."

Jamey Stanfield

Shelter from the storm: I enjoyed Patricia Calhoun's story about charity and the homeless people. I moved here last October after Hurricane Ivan. I had been a resident manager for a small condo complex in Orange Beach, Alabama, for three years when the storm hit and the property was condemned. I took the whopping $900 FEMA gave me to rebuild my life and moved to Denver. I searched for a job for weeks with no luck. When I finally found one, the second week I was there, my truck was repossessed. Luckily, I lived close by, so I could walk.

I have tried so hard to get back on my feet, however, I'm still in a hotel room, and that's about all I can afford. I do have family in Tennessee, but they are not able to help. I also have a dear friend there who has graciously offered to let me stay with her until things get better. My question to Westword is, would you happen to know of any service or organization that would help me get a plane ticket to get there? I know Red Cross and the Salvation Army are focused on the more recent hurricane victims. I feel so sorry for them; they are in for a lot more heartache.

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