Judge's error

When is not obstructing a parade, obstructing a parade? ("Peace and Justice," News, page 9). When the jury is told you do not have to commit the crime to be guilty of the crime. When the jury is told, you are now the pre-crime division of the thought police and can find these people guilty of something they didn't do, that the prosecution didn't prove, if you think they thought about maybe possibly doing something closely resembling the crime at some point in time.

When the jury is told, you cannot consider any failure to disperse, because no one is charged with that, but if someone tries to explain that the police have been given false information, and that takes a minute or two, then it's an intent to obstruct. Not an intent to explain. An intent to clear things up. An intent to resolve a situation nonviolently. No, it's a look inside a person's thoughts, of which there is no evidence possible of what they're thinking, but you, the jury, are painted into a corner from which you can only find them guilty.

All the jury didn't buy it, so they were hung. It's a hollow victory that the prosecution couldn't make its case. They never had one, and the photos proved it. It was proven that assumptions, misinformation and outright lies created a situation that had several opportunities for a peaceful resolution, but no one in authority took the opportunity.

When the excuse is "someone might have thrown a beer bottle," so we stopped, dragged, bruised, banned and arrested the possible victims of this pre-crime thought, things have gone too far for America.

When one cop has to tell another cop to "calm down," as he testified, that's evidence things have gone too far for America.

Mark Lewis
Colorado Springs

Mistreated seniors

I write regarding publisher John Weiss' editorial ("City must call off St. Paddy's 7 prosecution," Aug. 23). I was under the impression that those arrested at the parade were young, motivated activists, doing what I believe more of us could be doing. Therefore, I was duly shocked to find seniors were treated like young people resisting arrest.

An elderly woman being dragged across the pavement? Complete with road rash? Please. Officers, were your mothers at the parade? Were they proud of you that day?

I'd bet dollars to donuts that not one of the seven resisted in any way, outside of taking a seat. Then I pick up the Indy to see a photo of a man in a chokehold escort being taken off the street. Could he not walk off to his arrest on his own?

The police's excessive use of force was unnecessary and very possibly indulgent. I can't believe that this sort of treatment of only a few protesters could be mandated by the CSPD. Or, were individual cops overreacting? Our police aren't sadists, are they? Or, are there a few rogues among the force that need to be culled in this, our 21st century?

The editorial was quite good until near the end, with the idea of not pursuing civil action staring me in the face.

I, for one, also believe these charges should be thrown out. But I cannot imagine not taking these individuals to court for this sort of treatment.

As a bargaining tool to commence healing? It makes no sense to heal from one situation with the condition that one should ignore a serious abuse of power.

I do appreciate Weiss' intention; but, in the case of abusing elderly citizens, I believe it to be a no-brainer to pursue it.

Joel L. Hudgins
Colorado Springs

Let 'em sue

As appalling as the story about the St. Patrick's Day police brutality toward harmless and innocent (older) civilians and the ensuing charges by the city might be, they should not be surprising.

What is surprising is the Independent's "let's all be friends" response. Colorado Springs and El Paso County are probably the most radically right-wing entities in this state, and 9/11 has given them and their police forces an excuse to go after all the people they don't like: Democrats, peace activists, non-whites, gays or anybody who wants to exercise their right to free expression when the opinion expressed is contrary to the local party line.

This kind ofpolitical environment creates the climate in which the police feel justified to spy on totally harmless groups who happen to dare oppose the war in Iraq or commit other such unspeakable crimes. Anybody who attacks harmless, law-abiding and innocent citizens for no apparent reason is a bully, and, as proven by multiple similar prior occurrences, bullies are part of this police force in apparently substantial numbers.

You don't stop this by discouraging the poor victims from taking legal action. The only way to teach these seriously misled people among our law enforcement agencies a lesson and hopefully stop this absolutely unacceptable and probably criminalbehavior is to sue the hell out of them. Maybe that way there is some hope these hideous and tragic violations of our civil rights will stop.

Peter Brebach
Manitou Springs

Sour grapes

What a waste of wordage the sour-grapes piece ("He'd rather be in Armenia," Between the Lines, Aug. 16) on Michael De Marsche! With all the insanity going on in the Springs, you boo-hoo the departure of the Fine Arts Center's president.

Let him leave for Yerevan and focus instead on the brave peace activists who went to court last week. The ACLU was defending them, and you, as our alternative paper, should be leading the charge on the larger issue of free speech.

I don't know the Armenian word for "jilted," but I do know the translation for "sour grapes": tu-tou khaghogh. And further, "peace to all" in Armenian is khaghaghoutiun amenetzook.

Natalie Minasian Schlabaugh
Colorado Springs

Jilted writers

The articles about the sudden resignation of Michael De Marsche were unfairly harsh. The writers sound like jilted lovers. Yes, perhaps De Marsche did charmingly convince a lot of people to invest in the addition and restoration to the Fine Arts Center, yet he brought in a lot of new members who are now invested in the museum.

That is what a reputable city museum needs to attract visitors and to support it especially since this city doesn't give it tax money support.

It is a beautiful, light-filled building and now has the feel of a "big-city" museum where I am drawn to return to often. We need to thank De Marsche for his vision and high energy to see the project through to completion. Like a baby bird kicked from its nest to be on its own, now we too can fly.

Carol Ettenger
Colorado Springs

Up on Cripple Creek

Thank you so very much for the refreshing bit of Cripple Creek history that Deb Acord provided ("Upping the ante," cover story, July 19). The entire article is so well-written, presenting a balanced account including past and present issues facing Cripple Creek.

Acord's ability to contrast what Cripple Creek was like pre-casino days to what the city has gone through and accomplished since, gives the reader a perspective seldom offered. Indeed, today, historic Bennett Avenue retains the 19th century brick buildings, while the street and much of the town have benefited from a new infrastructure including sewer, water and natural gas. And, as Acord points out, the city went from a "low six-figure" annual budget to today's $16 million budget. Staggering? Indeed.

Because of this, Cripple Creek benefits, improves and moves forward. Acord's piece is sprinkled throughout with thoughts from those in favor of and against the changes. Valid points should bring open debate. Just as Cripple Creek's founders brought it into the 20th century, today's leaders are bringing the historic town into the 21st century.

Sure, mistakes have been made. There isn't a city in America that hasn't survived without trial and error. Reading Acord's article, real progress is being made that includes, not excludes, the history and fabric of the town, an opportunity to showcase all that the south side of Pikes Peak has to offer.

Build it, and they will come. Tourists love history and attractions. This will lead to further commerce. Yet to achieve this, Cripple Creek must retain its historic character. If the city does this, it will succeed.

Linda Wommack

(Note: Linda Wommack is the great, great grand-niece of Robert "Bob" Miller Womack, who found gold in the Cripple Creek area in 1891.)

Christian truths

I feel sorry for Dwayne Schultz, who has problems with Christians ("Religious questions," Letters, Aug. 16). Nowhere in the teachings of Jesus is there any mention of convert or die. Yes, there were the Inquisitions, witch trials and Crusades, but did Jesus say to do those things?

Those people didn't practice Jesus' second commandment, "love your neighbor as your own self," and you can't hold all Christians accountable for those transgressions. Jesus only said to carry a sword in self-defense after he left this world, but while on this earth he only wanted his followers to shake the dust off their sandals of any inhospitable place outside their borders.

As for Hitler, he wasn't a Christian; he locked up Christians, homosexuals, gypsies, as well as Jews. He studied all religions for any way to rule the world.

Debbie Brown
Colorado Springs

Defending Rudy

After reading the regurgitated article about Rudy Giuliani ("What you should know about Rudy," News, Aug. 9), I became fully aware of how disappointed I am with the Indy. That article was riddled with quotes out of context and stooped as far to attack a man for his dealings with the most tragic event in the United States.

Josh Johnson begins with pulling a paragraph from a speech about cleaning up the streets of NYC and pinning the label "The Iron Fist" on it as if to imply that Rudy will oppress us like some type of tyrannical dictator.

But if the editor of the Indy, Ralph Routon, was actually doing his job, he would have done some research and realized that Rudy was talking about taking NYC back from the mob and rapists who roamed the streets. This he did with incredible success.

Then the writer had the audacity to actually drag us all through that painful memory of 9/11 to trash Giuliani. Many mistakes were made as in any extreme situation, but Rudy did his best and it's over now.

I don't suppose the same could be said for the senator of NYC, Hillary Clinton. Where was she?

Then Mr. Johnson implies that Rudy has ties to the drug world because of an affiliation to the "shady" individuals who make the drug OxyContin.

The makers of OxyContin are Purdue Pharma, not some "shady" cartel. Purdue Pharma is a legitimate maker of pharmaceuticals and they make other things like over-the-counter stool softener.

Why would the Independent print such a sheet full of lies and garbage? It is one-sided, unbalanced and fully the opinion of someone who has no credentials in politics.

Just give us the freakin' facts and not slanderous tripe written by an imaginative hater seeking to further a personal agenda.

Chris Rush

Colorado Springs


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