July 2009

Horsin' Around

When I first saw Blue Mustang ["Crazy Horse," June] I thought that it was an awkward, no-eye-contact "thank you" from the Denver Broncos, maybe for paying for Invesco. It certainly seems Broncos-themed. It's dumped in the middle of nowhere like the city didn't really want it, like that ugly statue of Rocky Balboa that Sylvester Stallone tried to stick to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. So as I drive by it, I usually think of Pat Bowlen. And maybe I've told a lot of visitors that it was a gift from Pat Bowlen himself. Is that really wrong? And maybe that story gets a little more colorful each time I drive by it, like originally it was supposed to go in front of the City and County Building, but, uh, residents complained and it was really embarrassing to have to turn down this really awesome gift, and it got dumped out here and we all kind of feel bad for treating Pat the way we have after all he has done for us. Told properly, this story leaves visiting relatives feeling awkward and maybe less chatty. We should all make up crazy stories about Mustang so that maybe someday it will make sense to someone, because what it is, where it is, makes no sense right now.
Matt DuPree
via e-mail

I agree with Rachel Hultin's position, as stated by Nick Arvin, that Blue Mustang is deserving of a location where it is more approachable by the viewer. However, I find it interesting that Hultin's nuanced, sophisticated opinion on the sculpture only emerged after she learned that it is possible to make oneself famous for being an "idiotic philistine." The position that she initially stated on her Facebook page was that the piece should be removed from the airport because she finds it mortifying, offensive, and unwelcoming, not because it is unapproachable. How fortunate that her husband is a professional author so that he can revise and explain her position for her.
Jennifer Brown

Locked and Loaded

I read with interest Mr. Gottlieb's personal exploration of his feelings about guns ["Gunland," June], and his attempts to both resolve his own ambivalence as well as further understand those who are gun owners. His perspectives are illuminating, and there is no question that anyone who is so uncomfortable with guns should not own one. However, what comes through clearly is the ultimate shallowness of his reasoning that justifies his decision. He lists three reasons for not keeping a gun in his home, two of which are relevant to his lack of competence with weapons. But his lead reason is the clue to the absence of substance in the article: guns are too loud. On that basis, one can only wonder what his attitude is about airplanes, or even children. As nearly as I can determine from the thrust of his conclusion, you should not be allowed to participate in a sport that provides pleasure, camaraderie, or is "too loud." My sympathies to him for such a bland, colorless existence.
John Fechenbach
Highlands Ranch

Mr. Gottlieb's piece on the American gun culture was more of a soft anti-gun stance than a revelation. He loaded many of society's ills on a bunch of macho white guys who can't control their fascination with the power that weapons bring them. I—and millions like me—was raised in a household with guns, and I am nothing like those caricatures portrayed in "Gunland." I like to hunt and occasionally target shoot, but I don't feel any throbbing of manhood when doing so. Firing a pistol evoked hate and violence in Eli and apparently he was disturbed enough to become light-headed and disoriented for hours after, which says a lot about his theme. He took note of Europe's disdain for an America "armed to the teeth," but failed to reveal that the most deliberately armed country in the world is Switzerland, where every able-bodied man from 18 to 55 has a military weapon in his home—provided by the government to create a defense militia. Because their society doesn't thrive on the mayhem that is America, their murder and suicide rate is very low. I would call his attention to the District of Columbia where, with the strictest gun laws in America, the murder rate is the highest in the land. When Australia recently confiscated private weapons from its citizens, crime rates rose sharply. Guns at home do deter crime; without an armed citizenry, criminals have no fear of invading because they will—right or wrong—always have guns. A disarmed America is a vulnerable America.
Alan E. Deegan
Highlands Ranch

Real Estate Realities

Bravo to 5280 and Luc Hatlestad for a great article ["Your House is Worth More than You Think," May] about the neighborhoods in Denver that are continuing to do well in the real estate market. So many people are under the impression that all real estate is dropping in value, including Denver's best neighborhoods, which simply isn't true. I just listed a house in Potter Highlands, had an offer in two days, and then had a bidding war. The Denver market is really hot right now. Busting the real estate myths was also a needed piece—it's good for people to hear it from someone other than their Realtor!
Jennifer Grauer
via e-mail

Runner's High

Mr. McDougall's featured excerpt from his book Born to Run [May] was an insightful, impassioned, and I think a very accurate synopsis of the career-long quest of Dr. Joe I. Vigil for knowledge in the art of distance running. As a former college runner for Dr. Vigil and only one of many who consider Coach Vigil a father figure, I can attest to his lifelong pursuit to find what is good, right, and worthy in the nature of man. Coach, through his genuine passion for knowledge, teaching, coaching, and mentoring, has always been a brilliant example of what American distance running should be founded upon— integrity, honest commitment, and pure enjoyment in the simplicity of running...and what it does to us. Maybe Mr. McDougall is right that American distance running's decline over the past couple of decades has been because it is not a commodity that can be purchased, like almost everything we as a nation find value in.
Tim Terrill
Colorado Springs

Food Police?

Patrick Doyle presented two articles in the May issue: "Green (Quarter) Acres" and "Life According To Chris Adams," a local gardener. These submissions spoke of dissatisfaction among people "tired of being cut off from where their food grows," and highlighted examples of Denverites interested in growing their own food.

What Doyle failed to report is how Congress will be voting in the new legislative session to eliminate all community gardens, urban farms, organic farms, independent family farms, and—yes—even your own backyard vegetable garden. Sponsors of the bill (HR 875) for federal takeover of our food supply and encroachment into your backyard include Colorado's own Diana DeGette, who was also featured in May's "The Whip," boasting how she will "adopt any tactic—negotiation, browbeating, or ego massaging—to get what she wants." I urge everyone to do their own investigative work on HR 875.
Cynthia Cerny
Castle Rock