Letters #189

MG 189 Letters

Envelope: Klara Lapp, CO

We’re in the market for decorative envelopes to help beautify our Letters pages. If you’ve got an artistic envelope bent, pull out your weapons-of-choice, decorate an envelope with our snail mail address on it, mail the resultant envelope to us, and, if we print it, we’ll give you a year’s subscription to the Mountain Gazette.

Uncle Big Bob

John: I happened across your Smoke Signals article about the Dillon Dam Brewery, “Big Bob and the Beer Math Saga” (MG #180). I really enjoyed reading this story, especially as it relates to Bob Kimble, who was my uncle. Today marks the one-year anniversary of his death, so I had decided to google his name. I landed on your article, and enjoyed reading a little more about him and his life. Thanks for a laugh on a day that I really needed it!

Sharon Wright
Birmingham AL

Forsooth, More Bowden

J.F.: Charles Bowden is sooo good, would love to see more and more from him. Also love your poetry section. Consistently good. Could you eke out more space for it??


Mob(not moab), UT

Colorado Songs #1

M. John: Regarding your Smoke Signals article, “Colorado Songs,” in Jan 2012 Mountain Gazette: You just HAVE to include “Wolf Creek Pass” by C.W. McCall!

Robert Stump 

Colorado Songs #2

Master Fayhee: A listener called me during my radio show last week to mention your article on Colorado songs and suggest the challenge of adding to your list.

I have done so and will be playing a set on air tomorrow, should you care to listen. I humbly will only make three additions, two of note.

Thanks for inspiring a quest.
Here is the playlist for that segment:
1. “Colorado”/Rebecca Zapen/Nest
2. “Colorado Girl”/Steve Earl /Townes
3. “My Secret Place”/Joni Mitchell & Peter Gabriel/Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm
4. “Me & That Train”/Patty Larkin/not sure of the CD … just downloaded it.

Lynette O’Kane,
Assistant Music Director
KDNK radio
Carbondale, CO

Colorado Songs #3

M. John: I’m a 77-year-old mountain dude who hitched from my hometown of Hannibal. Mo. in 1953 for a life in the mountains. I went to work for the Dercums at Ski Tip as a dishwasher, woodcutter and après-ski troubadour. After learning to ski at A-Basin, I taught there from ’54 to ’56, then at Loveland Basin and worked at the Alpine Inn in Georgetown where I was promoted  to pots and pans. I lived in the High Country up until moving to Grand Junction a few years ago. In between, I did some interesting things such as running the ski school in Telluride in the early ’70s, singing in several of the local watering places there and was the MC for the first official Telluride Bluegrass festival in ’74. I went to NYC during the “Great Folk Scare” of the ’60s [as U. Utah Phillips described it] and became well established enough that Dave Van Ronk called me “The best known of the least known.” The thrill of the city paled quickly and I came back to the mountains.

I have several albums of songs I’ve written since I returned to Colorado. Many of them have mentions of life in the High Country and the canyons, rivers and deserts of the great Southwest. Most recently, I did a music video called “Dancing Down the Mountains,” a song that I wrote last year. It has some cool footage, including me telemarking while playing my guitar. It answers your prerequisite of having Colorado in the lyrics. It has been out on youtube since last May and to date has had over 1,600 views. Not bad for a video about an old guy still skiing and singing. Check it out — it’s only 4 minutes and 27 seconds long so it won’t take much time out of your busy day and I really think you will enjoy it.

You can find all of my music on iTunes. Some other specific songs that I think would interest you are on my compilation CD, “Colorado Collection”:

• “Colorado Mountain Song,” which starts with the story of my hitching out West in ’53 and the joy of being here after I arrived.

• “The Ballad of Lady Silverheels.” A tale I know you know well.

• “Wild Stallion.” A song inspired by a dream I had about the life of an aging stallion on the Roan Plateau.

• “The Mountain Bike Song.” As Mark Twain might have said, “A good way to spoil a nice hike.”

There is a direct link to Dancing Down The Mountains on my website; www.johnwinnmusic.com or google it.

Your writing is a constant inspiration to me. Many thanks for all that interesting “palavering.”

John Winn

Colorado Songs #4

M. John: From a Rocky Mountain Parrot Head … written in 1980 by Jimmy Buffett: “Incommunicado.”

A verse in the song references Colorado:

“Now on the day that John Wayne Died

I found myself on the Continental Divide.

Tell me where do we go from here?

Think I’ll ride into Leadville,

And have a few beers.”

Tim Payne, Board Chairman,
Cañon City Recreation District.

Colorado Songs #5

Mr. Fayhee: I am disappointed that Merle Haggard got only a mention of his song titles and no lyrical interludes in “Colorado Songs.”

Ever since I heard “Colorado,” it has been one of my favorite songs, especially the chorus: “Have you ever been down to Colo-rado?/I spend a lot of time there in my mind/And if God doesn’t live in Colo-rado, I’ll bet that’s where he spends most of his time.” I once combined that with “Colorado Girl” as I approached Durango from the south on U.S. 550, after a long absence, and lost my mind listening on repeat as I stared down the early-autumn San Juans.

Another song, which you totally forgot to mention, and was on my play list, was Johnny Paycheck’s “Colorado Kool-Aid.” Technically about South Texas, the second stanza mentions one of Colorado’s most-notorious exports: “What’s Colorado Kool-Aid/Well it’s a can of Coors brewed from a mountain stream/It’ll set yer head on fire and make your kidneys scream/Ohhh It sure is fine/Yeah we was havin’ one of them real good times.”

Thanks for digging up all of those songs for those of us who spend a lot of time in Colorado, in our minds.

Adam Throckmorton

Colorado Songs #6

MJF: One of my favorite artists, Modest Mouse, sings appropriately in “Trucker’s Atlas” about unloading his head in CO and continues to rap a bit about other great states such as my home state of AK … although I am not sure if I got off Scot-fucking free. I have enjoyed this ditty whilst driving across the county many times, as I am sure many of your other readers have on road-trippin’ occasions. Take the time to enjoy the song at some point if you haven’t already. Thanks for the words.

Best regards,

Kenneth Rogowski

Colorado Songs #7

Hey, Fayhee: Loved the piece on Colorado Songs! It immediately brought back the lyrics and tune of “If I had a Wagon,” which most of us who were in grade school in Colorado in the late-’60s and early-’70s learned and sang with pride and gusto at our school performances. It goes: “If I had a wagon, I would go to Colorado/Go to Colorado/If I had a wagon, I would/If I had a wagon, I would go to the state/Where a man can walk a mile high … ”

And then it goes on to add verses about driving to Colorado in a Chevy, flying to Colorado in an airplane and landing in Colorado in a space ship (it was popular during the height of the space program), and ends with “having feet hike on, and it’s Pike Peak or Bust/Where America can learn again/Just like Colorado men/How to hold your head up high/Where a man can walk a mile high!”

It was recorded in 1967 by Up with People as part of the “Moral Re-Armament Show” and was written by DB Allen and JP Colwell. KHOW radio in Denver played it every Friday morning. Check out the video on YouTube. And I’m happy to report that some 4th graders in Colorado are still learning this song!

And we shouldn’t forget that Katharine Lee Bates, was so inspired after a trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893, that she penned the words to what is now “America the Beautiful.”

Write on, MJ!

Liane Mattson,
Paonia, CO

Colorado Songs #8

Hi John: I enjoyed your article in Smoke Signals on Colorado Songs and wanted to add one to your list. Richie Furay was the architect of country rock and also founding member of Poco, who still plays in Denver. The song, “You Better Think Twice,” mentions Colorado and our lovely mountains and is a very uplifting tune.

Thanks, peace,

Mark Besocke

Colorado Songs #9

John: In your article Colorado songs, you noted a couple of Dan Fogelberg’s numbers and that he wintered outside of Nederland in the ’70s. He later had a home in Durango. Thus the lyric, “I’m in Colorado, when I’m not in some hotel” from his hit, “Leader of the Band.” On “High Country Snows,” he also wrote an instrumental titled “Wolf Creek.” Finally, on his “Wild Places” CD, the song of the same name notes, “I was walking alone, through the lofty San Juans.”

Kevin Masters

Colorado Songs #10

John: I would prefer a good old-fashioned letter, but, alas, I am at work and only have time for a quick note. Have you ever heard of Tony Joe White? If not, then this is your lucky day. Look for an album called “Black and White.” You will be rewarded with not only a song about Aspen, Colorado, but with one about “Soul Franchise,” as well as a few other outstandingly awesome originals and a b-side of solid traditional covers. If for some weird reason you don’t like the music, you will at least get a kick out of the cover photo.

Cheers and keep up the good work.

Jim Martin

Colorado Songs #11

M. John: What about “Have You Been Down to Colorado” by the Bluegrass Cardinals? Good lyric: “If God doesn’t live in Colorado, he spends a lot of time there.” It’s on YouTube.

Gary Lewis

Colorado Songs #12

Hello to M. John Fayhee! A friend gave me the January issue of Mountain Gazette. This magazine was unknown to me, but Police Gazette came to mind and in thinking it may have inspired the former, I was intrigued. I was given this issue that I might find something of interest in your “Colorado Songs” article. So I might.

I must first say that posting your email at the start of said article and inviting comment shows you have guts. As you say, everyone will be outraged that you left out their favorite song. As for me, I feel your list is fairly complete. I was surprised that you gave mention to the lovely song, “Moonlight on the Colorado,” as sung by Chuck Pyle. I am fond of Mr. Pyle’s work, but feel the best recording of this song is by Liz Masterson and the late Sean Blackburn on their “Tune Wranglin’,” a study of Western Swing in the ’30s recorded in 1987.

There is one song you overlooked that I feel worthy of mention. It is a modification of the popular song, “Home on the Range.” It is a Colorado form of said song titled, “Colorado Home” and written by Bob Swartz and his friends in Leadville, circa 1885.

They made for a fun, rousing piece that I often play to crowds in Colorado. A more complete story of the song was written by my friend Ed Quillen in his Colorado Central Magazine. September 2007. http://cozine.com/2007-september/where-was-the-home-on-the-range/

So overall, you came up with a fine article. One you might consider presenting to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. I think it might pique their interest. Regarding the Mountain Gazette at large, I found the overall articles engaging and fun. I look forward to seeing future editions now that I know of you. Thank you for your article on Colorado Songs.


Rex Rideout

Aloha … Put Up Your Dukes!

Hello Editor: I recently read the unfortunate experiences of Craig Childs and JT Thomas while visiting lava flows in Hawaii (“Rumble in Hawai’i,” MG #187). I have also been the victim of this type of harassment while photographing at the Waikupanaha lava delta a few miles SW of Kalapana. From the description in the article, it sounds as if this same “gang” is responsible for both incidents.

In May 2009, a few friends and I made an early-morning adventure to the lava flowing into the ocean. Instead of walking the 4.5 hours or more from the Volcanoes Park to the lava delta, we poached the view by parking at a public viewing area near Kalapana. It was 1 a.m. or so, and to get to the lava, I confess that we passed a few government No Trespassing signs as we walked down the middle of the road toward the recent lava flows. Once on the flow, no property borders, forests or houses remain. All that is left is the undulating, cooled lava and the remains of concrete pillars, which were once the supports for a large gazebo situated near the sea cliff. Any form or indication of habitable private property has been erased by the new rock.

My friends and I spent the night shooting pictures and video. We even survived a massive lava bench collapse that threw incandescent bees and ash hundreds of feet into the air. As we were getting in position to photograph the lava with the sunrise, three strangers approached. The largest of the men, our “Big Guy,” was well over 200 pounds and stood at least 6 feet or more. He had a slightly olive complexion and short curly hair. He had no facial hair and his facial features and complexion made it obvious he was not 100-percent Hawaiian.

As the man (soon to be a goon) approached, he started asking us where our permits were and how the land (er, desolated lava) we were on was his friend’s and how he was going to contact the DLNR (the Division of Land and Natural Resource police). I asked the goon where HIS permit was, but he kept changing the subject back to us and his right to be there because the sea cliff was his friend’s property. He kept telling us to leave, but my friends and I held our ground. We offered to share our location for photography, but the goon continued to get into our faces as we tried to reason with him.

Unlike the article in Mountain Gazette, no physical violence occurred, but it was close. Fortunately, we had the power of numbers over the goon. I’m a lifelong hockey player used to taking on bullies, and one of my friends is a multi-disciplined, high-level martial artist. Our confidence and the number ratio kept the conflict from escalating. Although the goon had two accomplices, these smaller, and truly Hawaiian-looking, men were always in the background and didn’t seem to want to get involved. I got the impression that they were a bit embarrassed by their friend.

Eventually these men left us alone and we continued to take our pictures. After sunrise, we hiked back to the car where police from the DLNR were waiting. Their daily patrol, not contact from the lava enforcers, brought the DLNR to the parking lot. They took down our names and license numbers, gave us a stern warning and said that, if want to see the lava, then hike the long way from the park. (We most likely avoided a ticket/arrest since we were well prepared with, boots, backpacks, respirators, gloves, etc.).

I mentioned to the DLNR our confrontation with the men at the lava delta. We gave the police a full description of the lava enforcers, since it appeared they would be back for a truck left at the parking lot. I’m not sure what happened later, but I hope the goon and his friends paid for harassing us.

While most Hawaiians have no problem with respectful tourists, there are a few that I have encountered who feel the volcano is for Hawaiians only. They insist that their religion and belief in Pele gives them some special right over all other humans to get close to the lava. I’d imagine in the MG article that the Big Guy’s rant over taking pictures of his mother had something to do with taking pictures of Pele, and not the goon’s real, biological mother. Many Hawaiians also forget that the volcanoes were active long before their ancestors arrived on the Islands, and volcanism will continue long after the last humans are gone.

During our exchange, I mentioned that I’m from Colorado and that I welcome people from all over the world to view my backyard. I said that I don’t have any claim to the Mountains and why should he have claim to the volcano? We are all tourists on the planet, and actions like his will only frighten away other cash-wielding visitors to the Big Island.

Please Check out: www.youtube.com/gravitydude99 for a collection of videos and clips from my volcano adventures. www.gravitydude.daportfolio.com has my stills.

Robert Shepherd

Wheat Ridge, CO

PolySci at 12,000 Feet

Mr. Fayhee: My first letter to your publication. Feel ever free to edit liberally. I always manage to miss the submission deadline for poetry, for your Rivers issue and photos of The Best Dog on the Planet (who is named Dylan and is Hopi, born in Tuba City to the Rez Dog clan, for the Rescue Dog clan) for your Mountain Dogs issue. But something happened yesterday that warrants recording in some public venue, and since I’m sitting beside the Dolores River in the foothills of our beloved San Juans, and the story took place on the Continental Divide at Monarch Mountain Ski Area, your mag comes most to mind.

There was a contingent of soldiers at Monarch this week. I showed up on a Friday, day-six in a row tele-skiing five different areas in a last hurrah with my Monarch pass. The mountain was bedecked in desert-camo fatigues, which I took notice of before I’d even leashed my skis, being newly not-quite-single-it’s-complicated. The kid soldiers on the slopes had minimal cause to shave yet, which was heartbreaking. The guys in the lodge were older — thinning hair, some graying — and wore more of a “been-there, done-that” look, and I’m sure they had been, and had done.

I hadn’t talked much to anyone all week, riding chairs by myself, masticating on life and love. This day I wanted intel. I have a dear friend in the Special Forces who had been deployed to Afghanistan at the age of 50, just after 9-11. I learned from him only weeks after that invasion that not only was an attack on Iraq in the works, but that SpecOps was already there. Inconceivable — what the hell did Iraq have to do with anything? A few months ago, an Iranian handyman named Farhad was building me a new deck. His father was secret service for the Shah before the revolution, and every male in his family had been beheaded. Farhad himself had escaped as a teenager through the snowy mountains of Iran, found asylum in Japan and then America, and will soon have U.S. citizenship. He told me back in December that the reason Obama pulled the U.S. troops out of Iraq early was to have them available for the planned invasion of Iran. What? Three months ago this sounded ridiculous. Now, not so much. A lot of saber rattling lately.

From quizzing my civilian chairmates, I quickly learned the skiing soldiers were army, made up of units from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, and were on the mountain for “winter conditions training.” I did not get into geopolitical discussions of why this was ominous until I rode up with a 65-year-old retired CSU professor who was also a Vietnam vet. I told him that he certainly had earned the right to voice whatever he thought about a potential U.S. invasion of Iran, and he chuckled a little, “yeah, I do get to have a kind of street cred on this one.” We pretty much finished each other’s sentences about why Iraq and why Iran, and the last word was habitually “oil.”

The next chair I shared with a third-year polysci student from Florida, out on spring break. His university-version of upcoming events was analytical, but surprisingly inevitable. At 20 or 21 years old, he’d been a kid when the towers came down, and he was not so much callous as cavalier about the need for us to invade yet another Middle-East country. He guessed that Israel would strike first and we’d have to go in to clean up the mess. But he was certain from his university-led discussions that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan had not been learned, that the U.S. was still hopelessly naïve about what comes after the invasion, and that it was a shame what would happen to these guys in camo fatigues skiing here today.

Which brings me to an aside: desert camo fatigues in the snow? Really? Please tell me that our guys and girls in the Hindu Kush are not wearing desert camo. Reminds me of the jungle camo worn by the soldiers on the spaceship in “Aliens.” Jungle camo in outer space — really?

Eventually, I rode up with a young volunteer, in his desert camo fatigues, nary a facial hair yet sprouted. So polite, and willing enough to answer my open-ended questions. He talked about how hard it was on the lungs at 12,000 feet, coming from sea level, that he’d never seen snow in his life until yesterday, and how it was important to learn to snowshoe and set up camp in the cold. He said, “Well, we went into Iraq because we thought there were weapons of mass destruction. Turns out we were wrong, but this time we KNOW there are, so we have to go take care of them.” Lord, I wanted to hug the kid and say — no, not “thank you for your service,” but “sweetheart, please be here next year.”

A couple evenings before this, my 12-year-old god-daughter in Avon had been working on a homework assignment on the Iraq war. “We went to war with Iraq because Saddham Hussein threatened President Bush’s dad, right?” I held my tongue and my breath until her mom — a nurse in her late50s with street cred similar to the Vietnam vet’s — answered, “We went into Iraq because of oil, Emma.”

“Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?

… Oh when will we ever learn?

Oh when will we ever learn?”

Here’s to the young soldiers whooping it up at Monarch Mountain in March 2012. I hope to God you’re back next year, and I’ll buy you a beer, if you’re old enough to drink by then.

Suzanne Motsinger
Flagstaff, Arizona

Remembering Cal Glover

Dear John Fayhee: My husband and I have been traveling to Teton Valley for the past seven years. We were drawn to the area because of my husband’s friendship with Cal Glover. They were both in high school together, specifically in the same German class —  Cal would introduce us to all his friends out west in German, quickly adding that they met way back when in Ft. Lauderdale High School, but Bob went north to Massachusetts and he jumped on his motor cycle to head West as a young man of 18 to Yellowstone. If you know Cal, you can just picture him saying this, and in the same breath asking “Where you all from?” and maybe even adding a story or two. His passing was a sad shock to us. Our visit there in February was difficult but glad to be able to see Kim Carlson, his widow, and offer our sympathy to her in person. Reading the Teton Valley newspaper, I saw your notice/website about his writings from past issues and the most recent story about his dog, Toby. I just wanted to tell you it was a fitting tribute to Cal and we so appreciated seeing his collective writing in print.

Thank you for honoring his life by his stories

Celeste Wilcoxson

Pro-‘Arrested Development’

Hi John ! Recently I spent 10 days in beautiful Southern Colo. Stayed a few days in Durango, a few in Pagosa Spgs. Ski’d both & totally enjoyed myself & the wonderful San Juan Mtns! I happened to pick up a copy of Mountain Gazette No.186 and enjoyed several interesting & well written articles. My Favorite was your piece: Smoke Signals — “Arrested Development.”

I can’t tell you how Very Similar we are in our feelings regarding law enforcement and especially the Border Patrol. I won’t go in to all the details, but needless to say, you and I share a lot of common feelings and have had many very similar experiences. Interestingly, pretty much all of my friends feel the same.

I have lived in southern AZ (Tucson) for 40 years, and in the last few years, the Border (where I used to trek and explore backcountry and camp a lot!) has been ruined by BP! There are so many things wrong with this. Your article covered nearly all issues, very well. Additionally, I will add that gun trafficking Into Mexico has been enabled by “border police.” (I forget the name of the incident, but it was in the news). Also, the most horrendous murdering along the border was actually done by that deranged Minuteman (Anglo) crew that broke in and killed that family down in Arivaca.

I am much more nervous & afraid of meeting BP than I am the occasional “illegal(s)” along trails or backcountry roads.

Thank you for your writing and your work putting out a top-notch publication.

Peter Ianchiou

Anti-‘Arrested Development’

Sir: Had to respond to the “Arrested Development” column in Gazette 186. Wow. I mean … wow. I guess nobody likes to give up their freedom unnecessarily, but really …
Let’s see: You admit to disliking law enforcement even as a kid because you engaged in “recreational windshield smashing” and they presumably stopped you. Not a single word about how the folks whose windshields you smashed felt about it. I suppose now if some young punk does some recreational windshield smashing on your personal vehicle, you wouldn’t have anything to say about it, right? Since any kind of infringement on a kid’s desire to wantonly destroy other people’s property is just, like, the man being all heavy and stuff.

But, okay, what you did as a kid was totally cool, and nobody should push you around and tell you to stop destroying other people’s things. Hmmm. But then you get your panties in a twist about living in an area with lots of drug smuggling going on, and having to be waved through checkpoints. I had to reread the piece just to be sure I understood. You object to being waved through checkpoints, or, at the absolute most, having to answer the simple question “Are you an American citizen?” This you equate with living in “police state.”

Deep breath.

Would you like to know what it’s actually like to live in a police state? The cops don’t just wave you through a checkpoint. They stop you and demand money. Or they haul you off to pokey. Then they demand money. And that’s if you’re a white American, ergo privileged. If you’re a local, it can be much worse. They are most definitely not “courteous and professional.” And Lord help you if you write a public column, or even private letter, describing them as “zygotes” or “midgets.”

I might agree with the all-cops-are-pigs line if you could describe behavior like, oh, a dirty cop who breaks taillights like some redneck Southern sheriff from the ’50s. Then you might have a point in your screed. But as you say repeatedly in your column, the police you by your own admission were “messing with” were nothing if not courteous.
When folks treat you respectfully it behooves you to return the favor. If you want to carry a chip the size of Texas on your shoulder, well, that’s your right. But while you do it, you ought to be da** glad you’re living in America and not an actual police state. I thought the Mountain Gazette was a fun, funky, independent paper. This one column just made me a future non-reader.


Lawrence Pearlman

Pro-‘Arrested Development’

Dear Mr. Fayhee: Like many of your other works, “Arrested Development” packs a punch with refreshing lack of inhibition, factual accuracy and entertaining prose. While I largely agree with your portrayal of modern law enforcement, I submit that the problem is much worse in scope and severity than unpleasant traffic stops and intrusive questioning by “pimply faced” tweenie cops near the Mexican border.

From forest rangers issuing parking tickets at trailheads to TSA strip searches at the airport, the number and variety of uniform-wearing, gun-toting agents of the law is at an all-time high. In spite of state and federal budget crises, there’s seemingly no lack of money to wage war, abroad or domestically. But our military-like buildup is not limited to our Southern border. For example, that notorious hotbed of crime and illegal immigration, Fargo, North Dakota, recently acquired bomb-detection robots, digital combat communications equipment, Kevlar helmets and a $265,643 armored truck with a rotating turret. Google it if you dare. At roughly 100,000 Fargoan souls, that’s $2.65 for every man, woman and child spent on one police truck. Sure, it comes with a gun turret, but, aside from Fourth of July parades, what the hell are they going to do with it in Fargo? This isolated example is representative of a nationwide trend. If this stuff can happen in Fargo, well, so go Billings, Boise and Bend.

Though I might sleep easier knowing that the streets of Fargo are safe from wayward Canucks, I’m deeply concerned about America’s troop withdrawal from two wars. While the thousands of returning combat soldiers have honorably served our country, they are going to be largely unemployed and possessing of a skill set centering around warfare. Because we’ve been an occupying force in Iraq and Afghanistan the past 20 years, today’s soldier is also highly trained in traditional police functions including detective work, interrogation techniques, crowd control and arrests. Thus, since 9/11, cops have been trained & armed like soldiers and soldiers like cops, and it’s a safe bet that many returning vets will seek a career in law enforcement.

As for the mushrooming police population, consider it a federal jobs program like the CCC of the 1930s, but with PTSD thrown in. I say this with no disrespect, but out of common sense and legitimate concern. I’m sure that some of these men and women will make fine police officers. Many, however, will have not only discharged their weapon in the line of duty, but taken human life in combat. On the other hand, very few cops ever discharge their guns directly at another human being while on the job, let alone actually shoot and kill one. The prospect of a new generation of hardened combat vets filling our swelling police ranks should concern us all.

On a more mundane level, the very nature of police work has changed radically in the past 20 years, and for the worse. Increasingly detached from the people they supposedly protect, cops no longer help old ladies navigate crosswalks, drive Otis to the Mayberry jail to sleep off another bender or even perform basic crime-solving. Such fuzzy-bear love is a waste of good money. Police cruisers are now profit centers on wheels whose captains are expected to meet predetermined quotas of money that is poured back into the system in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Though your editorial is limited to encounters with cops, most people who don’t work in or around the legal system typically don’t appreciate the fact that cops are but robotic minions to the Darth Vader of law enforcement, prosecutors. These hyper-religious, politically motivated, self-righteous, suit-wearing, briefcase-toting, demigods, who are promoted on the basis of successful and high-profile convictions regardless of truth or justice, have been given god-like power by the United States Supreme Court in the form of “prosecutorial immunity” for all deeds and misdeeds committed in the course and scope of employment. Completely immune from their often-miscreant behavior, prosecutors answer to absolutely no man and certainly not the people they purportedly serve.

The methods by which prosecutors do evil include the obfuscation, distortion and, if all else fails, complete fabrication of the facts, suppression of evidence, lying, engaging in nefarious legal tactics, advancing absurd interpretations of the law and basically doing most anything to obtain a conviction upon which their financial, social and political lives depend. To make matters worse, the vast majority of prosecutors are non-elected, government employees, no different than a city building inspector, but with the power to destroy another’s life. Prosecutors’ actions are all too often motivated by their religious beliefs, personal agendas and the delusional belief that they have the omniscience of god. But absolute power combined with absolute immunity will corrupt any human.

Unfortunately, your statement that we are declining into a “police state” is a fait accompli. Good luck to us all.

Brad Purdy,
Boise, ID

7 thoughts on “Letters #189”

  1. Who the fuck is Robert Shepherd? Oh, a white guy lucky enough to live in America and have enough bucks to travel. This is stunning: “While most Hawaiians have no problem with respectful tourists, there are a few that I have encountered who feel the volcano is for Hawaiians only. They insist that their religion and belief in Pele gives them some special right over all other humans to get close to the lava. I’d imagine in the MG article that the Big Guy’s rant over taking pictures of his mother had something to do with taking pictures of Pele, and not the goon’s real, biological mother. Many Hawaiians also forget that the volcanoes were active long before their ancestors arrived on the Islands, and volcanism will continue long after the last humans are gone.”
    Check it out, sucker. You have no idea what it is to be a colonized people, to have sacred sites turned into tourist or gonzo opportunities, to know (not just believe) that connection with place is critical for one’s and the place’s well-being. Educate yourself. Go to Matador Network and read “What’s the Big Deal About Snow-making?”
    On another, yet similar note, does anybody know where to get the bumper stickers that say: Is your dick as little as your truck is big? Or something like that. ms

  2. ho hum.
    that colo. song thing may never die.
    & come on M.S. — robert shepherd had an interesting pertinent addition to a prior-point.

    1. This is a pretty piss poor reivew. 3/4 of the reivew is just bashing the Colorado. I think a reivew, whether the reivewer likes or dislikes the product, should be objective, and highlight both good and bad features. Also, his definition of cramped must be pretty askew, because I (6’4 ) sat in my friends new crew cab Colorado and felt like I might as well be in a full size. Besides that I drive an Isuzu Hombre (rebadged S10) and even that offers me plenty of room!

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