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The last few weeks have brought untold excitement, first with King Soopers' decision to unceremoniously yank the Independent from their shelves, then to replace it just as fast when angry shoppers/readers, indignant over the loss of their weekly feed, swarmed the stores. Then our world-class city hosted the Texas Seven delegation. The combo, of course, has resulted in some delightful mail from our readers, who, as always, articulate it best.

One reader, Harry E. Dinsen wrote in asking us to pardon his anger, which wasn't directed at us.

"I understand the First Amendment and whatever else goes with it, but on what grounds did King Soopers' super-management have to ban the Indy from their stores?" he wanted to know. (Psst, Harry, the suits up at company headquarters swore their temporary ban had to do with a small ad that ran last year for three weeks, and a drawing inside a Tom Tomorrow cartoon that also ran last year that a few customers complained about.)

Dinsen indicated he understood that some things that appear in the Independent may rankle the reactionaries. So what?

"Don't buckle under to the sensitive types," he advised. "If they can't handle it, tell 'em to keep their grubby mitts off the paper. I like you guys just the way you are. Besides it's the better newspaper in this town, anyway, keeps the people in [the] City administration building and County offices on their toes and looking over their shoulders!"

We also heard from Steve Jorgensen, who reports he just got back from being in Indonesia for two months, and he's cold and has jet lag.

"I am working on my first cup reading up on all the news, when I read about the King Soopers deal. Can't you behave? At least until I finish my coffee?" he asked. Jorgensen's feathers were ruffled, and he got right on the phone with King Soopers.

What had we done? Perhaps superimpose some local politician's head on some naughty image? "I don't even care!" he bellowed. "The fact that they would pull the paper after the tons of crap we are submitted to at the checkout stand, anyway, sounded too much like a personal thing and another swipe at freedom."

Jorgensen wanted more from King Soopers than simply agreeing to return the Independent to the store racks. "I want an apology in your paper from the squid lips who came up with the idea of pulling the paper."

OK. Now that Jorgensen's got that out of his system, he just wants to finish his second cup of joe.

"Can't you just do a nice article on Rev. Jesse Jackson? Or Billy Graham?" he suggested. "No scratch that, I just picked up the Denver Post. I'm going back to bed. Wake me in the spring."

Former Independent editor Tom Vasich e-mailed in, wishing he were here for all the excitement. His imagination was warped as usual, despite the fact that he's gone over to the dark side and is now a PR flack in California.

"Eric Singer? S**t! This moment was made for [KOAA 5/30 anchor] Rob Quirk, who would be screaming at [the Texas Seven] on the phone and threatening to kick their asses!

"You know this [stuff] can only happen in Colorado Springs. I'm sure [Independent publisher] John Weiss will write an editorial about it, saying that the fugitives came to Colorado Springs to get a copy of the Independent at the local King Soopers, and thank God King Soopers let the Indy resume distributing in their stores, or those mean-ass Texans with their loaded guns would have shot up the place, killing 27 people, including [Independent columnist] John Hazlehurst, who was digging through the latest issue of Maxim looking for pictures of naked girls.

"And [Economic Development Corporation President] Rocky Scott will brag that the Springs is still a favored destination for Texas tourists."

It took reader Jerry Newsom, though, to make the obvious connection between George W. Bush's plan to hand out tax dollars to religious groups and the Texas Seven. After all, if the new president's plan goes through, with its dozens of religious nonprofits, including Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs will be able to rightly call itself the Religious Pork Funding Capital of the World.

"Now it all makes sense!," observed Newsom in an exultant e-mail. "The Texas escapees-turned-Biblical-scholars were just planning to get in on the ground floor of Bush's plan to funnel billions into religious social programs!!

"If these guys were able to fool so many people into believing they were upright 'Christian witnesses,' just think how easy it will be for any group to fool the government into funding their causes."

-- degette@csindy.com

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