Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: Calling all Colorado crackpots

From the penthouse to the doghouse -- or is that the big house? Yesterday, a new Pew poll ranked Denver number one as the big city where people would most like to live.

Apparently it's already tops among crooks who can't think straight -- much less shoot straight. Yesterday, Tharin Gartrell, one of the crackpot meth-smokers who concocted a Bodyguard-inspired scheme in a southeast Denver hotel last August to kill Barack Obama -- who they thought was staying at the same hotel -- was sentenced to just fifteen days in jail and six months in a halfway house for possessing methamphetamine. None of the conspirators were charged with making threats against a presidential candidate.

In explaining his decision, then-U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said that Gartrell and his two pals were "a bunch of meth heads" who were incapable of carrying out any kind of scheme. But they were an easy choice as Shmuck of the Week.

A federal grand jury wasn't as forgiving toward Timothy Gutierrez, the twenty-year-old Cortez man arrested on Tuesday for threatening to kill Obama and blow up the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis. Gutierrez surrendered to the FBI in Durango yesterday, putting Colorado back in the national news.

Gutierrez is slated to appear in court this afternoon. Gartrell's two buddies will be sentenced next month.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun