January 2009

Debating the Death Penalty

I've just finished reading your December 2008 article on Nathan Dunlap ["The Politics of Killing"], and feel compelled to comment. Nathan Dunlap brutally killed those individuals that night in December 1993. Dunlap was convicted by a jury of his peers. He has consumed 15 years of evaluations, legal processes, and multiple appeals. When his several years of appeals conclude, the state of Colorado must carry out the orders of the court. Fifteen years and millions of dollars in itself is a crime against the public. Unbelievable.
R. Alan Johnson Longmont

Are we expected to feel sorry for poor Nathan Dunlap because he is facing a death sentence for the deliberate and cold-blooded murders of four innocent people? Dunlap was given a fair trial, contrary to the misstatements of the reporters. He has also exhausted his appeals without a change in result. Nathan Dunlap deserves to die.

Somehow, the reporters expect us to make a connection between Governor Ritter's unfortunate accident, and the brutal premeditated murders of four people. I wonder if the reporters themselves would use such illogical reasoning if one of the victims had been one of their loved ones.
Ann Jaramillo

I recently read your incredibly well documented and researched story on the conundrum of capital punishment in Colorado. Despite an incredible journalistic effort, I was not pleased with your portrayal of the mental-health condition known as bipolar disorder.

While you do make a distinction between angst-driven teens, who have normal puberty-driven mood swings, and those who actually have the disorder, your portrayal of it is that the main characteristics are mass murders and shoving feces into one's mouth. Of course, you are examining a common trait that these murderers shared, but I believe your article lacks distinction between the various types of severity apparent within the disorder.

I am 19 years old, and I have been diagnosed with the disorder. My symptoms include mood fluctuations without any specific cause or event—like being happy when no situation exists to make me happy or depressed when there is nothing to be saddened about.

I see that I am lucky to only have a mild form while others are in a dangerous mania or depressed state for long periods of time. I'm also aware of the false claims of bipolar disorder from anyone who gets a mood swing. Still, I think your article could have been a little more informative in clearing [up the misinformation that exists]. It was an excellent piece otherwise.
David Byrnes
via e-mail

Colorado vs. Texas

Although the feud continues ["Don't Mess with Colorado," December], there have been some light moments [in the age-old battle between the two states], such as the [now-defunct] Tomato War.

It happened like this: Organizers arranged to buy truckloads of market-reject tomatoes for pennies per pound, enough to fill two or three Dumpsters. Days before the event, said Dumpsters were stashed near the summit of Independence Pass—where it was already dipping below freezing at night—putting the fruit through several freeze-thaw cycles. The containers were then hauled back down to the "battlefield," with what had been salad-sandwich condiments transformed into "live ammo," a perfectly mushy, splattery weapon for throwing.

Every year, the Texans suffered a numerical inferiority, but anyone could join their side courtesy of granted "honorary Texan" status. Every year the result was the same: Outnumbered, the Texans eventually were forced to retreat into their crude stockade named—what else?—the Tomalamo, and make their Last Stand.

As if the safety of numbers was not enough, the Coloradans were not above resorting to blatant cheating. One year, the Texans had to take whatever cover they could find when people from the Colorado side flew over in a Cessna dropping loads of tomatoes. Another year, the Texans suffered long-range bombardment when Colorado rolled up catapults and started flinging tomato volleys. With the battle finished, there were various awards and honors announced. Then, everybody got drunk, or in many cases, more drunk.
J. Molony
Colorado Springs

Celebrating Denver

I know you find it astonishing that 5280 could have flourished, but your latest issue and the article on Denver's 150 years [November] is just one more example of how good writing makes for a very good magazine. From the first issue, 5280 has contained far more than glamour and good eats. It contains good stories about real life. Sure, fancy interior design and glitzy jewelry look good, but what separates 5280 from other magazines are the timely articles. Atmosphere captures news that makes me appreciate the diversity of lives all around me. I was captivated by the narratives of Laura Pritchett, Eli Gottlieb, Andrew Corsello, and J.R. Moehringer. Janis Hallowell reminds me why the highways and tunnels in Colorado make this state such a marvelous adventure destination. I could go on and on. Instead I'll just say thank you to 5280's editors and writers for creating the only magazine I like having in my home.
Cynthia Vaida

I just read your story about the Cooper Theatre. Devoured might be a better word than read. I too grew up with the Cooper. I recall seeing Jaws and Alien there as well as Pink Floyd's The Wall and Altered States . Your story brought back great memories, and I wanted to make sure you knew that Cafe Star on Colfax has some of the original glass from the Cooper in its bar. I didn't see this mentioned in your story; definitely check it out. Thanks for writing about the Coop.
Leanna Clark

I feel compelled to write and thank you for the "Denver at 150" retrospective. As a transplant from San Diego, I am learning to embrace my new home of Denver. All the photographs and articles are extremely informative, and I am eager to visit many of the places included in your pieces. The more I discover, the easier it is to embrace this wonderful city.
Sanae Popplewell

Politically Savvy?

I just finished your article "See Dick Run" [November]. Dick Wadhams is obviously a skilled manager of political campaigns. I don't question his skills. However, the public and media have finally caught on to his unethical tactics. He and his kind of political slandering without regard to truthfulness or fairness have indeed been successful in the past, but that is not what we need or want in the future.
Ben Thompson
via e-mail

Letters Policy
We welcome your feedback. Send correspondence to: Letters, 5280, 1514 Curtis St., Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202. We also welcome your thoughts via e-mail at [email protected] or by fax at 303-832-0470. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Please include your address and phone number with all letters. Names can be withheld upon request.

In December's "Don't Mess with Colorado" we misprinted the name of the Vail Daily. In December's "Riding Out the Storm" we referenced layoffs at Chipotle as a sign of the troubled economy. Chipotle, while experiencing a stock-price decline, has not laid off any workers. In November's "Denver at 150" we misidentified Edward P. Costigan in a photograph on page 105. We regret the errors.