February 2009

The Other Side of the Story
My sister was one of the victims killed by Nathan Dunlap. I ask you, were any of the family members approached when researching this article ["The Politics of Killing," December, 08]? My opinion of the death penalty notwithstanding, I find it offensive that nowhere in the article was it mentioned the impact that this event has had on countless lives.

Dunlap is not mentally ill, as was determined several times by competent doctors. The "severity" of his past is only coming up during appeal after appeal. There is no credible way to prove that any of it is true, and there is ample reason for his history to be exaggerated. I have met his lawyers, and they seemed very competent. The reason this "past" wasn't presented as mitigating circumstances is that, even if it were a fraction as bad as your article implies, it would be one mitigating factor against 28 aggravating factors. While I'm sure he didn't have an ideal childhood, this is no excuse for the despicable act he committed that night.

Present your anti-death-penalty stance all you want with flowery words and eloquent storytelling. It doesn't change the fact that four people are dead, one will never be the same, and countless lives are forever shattered. I'd love to see a "where are they now" article on any of the victims' families. Do you concern yourself at all with our mental and emotional states? No, we're old news, aren't we?
April Crowell
via e-mail

Patrick Doyle and Natasha Gardner's December article, "The Politics of Killing," was an outstanding collaboration. [Their] writing and research made for a compelling and thorough story. The way it was mapped out made it easy to read and get a grasp on.

I have always been on the fence regarding the death penalty, and considering the hugeness of the issue, I probably always will be. But this article made me rethink a few things. I appreciate being presented with material so engaging that it encourages me to view an issue from a different angle. Good work, guys.
Emily Kingston
via e-mail

Horse Play
As a member of the Friends of the Mustang, it was nice to read Dougald MacDonald's article about the Little Book Cliffs mustang herd ["Horsin' Around," December 08]. Friends of the Mustang works closely with the BLM to manage the range.

Like most government programs, there aren't enough resources to be effective without a group of volunteers to help. I must say, though, that it's a much different experience if one is able to trailer his own horse up there and camp at Low Gap, N. Soda, or Monument Rock, all of which have corrals for horses. Riding though the range is an experience not to miss if given the opportunity.
Carol B. Schultz
via e-mail