PERRY: Criminal stupidity, clown acts, drag queens and the 2018 stories that mattered

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I know it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the White House when he practically straps on a suicide vest every day and tries his damnedest to light it. But so much happened in 2018 that probably didn’t snag your attention because the nation’s capital is regularly on fire.

Here are a few news items you probably missed this year and would be the poorer for it. Allow me to enrich your lives:

• RTD blames tall buildings in Downtown Denver for making the train that runs between Union Station and the airport chronically late and lame. Yup, seems that all those skyscrapers that Denver built in the 1980s, and then again before the Great Recession, prevent needed GPS signals to the train, which runs on a track. Apparently designers failed to notice them when they built the system, which almost daily issues missives warning that it’s late again, broken again, or on the verge of being shut down.

• The ZIP code for lame is in northwest Aurora.

It was there that an Aurora couple successfully robbed a Post Office at Buckingham Plaza, but they were unsuccessful at getting away with it.

The robber stormed into the post office demanding cash and got some, witnesses said. He then began throwing zip ties at the robbery victims and told them to tie themselves up. One woman didn’t know how to work the ties. Wow. Another man took a hand out of one of his when he was ordered to stand up and couldn’t do it without a free hand. Oy.

The couple got busted because there was video surveillance tapes showing them getting into their car and driving away. The mess got worse when they were arrested and denied robbing the bank, saying they couldn’t have because they were busy trying to buy cocaine from another man at the time of the robbery. Life is rich.

A Halloween clown act near Horizon Middle School came to an abrupt stop on Oct. 23 after a young teen was busted for wearing a killer-clown mask and creepily chasing little kids until they nearly wet their pants.

• A Halloween clown act near Horizon Middle School came to an abrupt stop on Oct. 23 after a young teen was busted for wearing a killer-clown mask and creepily chasing little kids until they nearly wet their pants.

The tykes would run screaming all the way to school, petrified for living the clown dream on the way to class.

The principal of the school waited for the clown to act, and busted the teen who thought it was all so damned funny.

Police came and drove the prankster home after telling him how funny it wasn’t, and planned on letting his parents have a turn as well.

I wanna see this kid’s house for Halloween in about 15 years. It will rock.

• Some folks just don’t get that dressed for success thing.

Under the big statewide headline radar this year has been a couple of drag-queen controversies.

Thornton middle school officials were forced to apologize last month because they had scheduled a drag queen to come speak to students as part of a career day at the school. The apology came not because they asked Jessica L’Whor to appear at Rocky Top Middle School and read a chapter from “Horrible Harry,” but because they didn’t forewarn parents she was coming.

Introduced as Ms. Jessica, she talked about how it’s OK to be different. The kids wanted to know about how she dealt with negativity and hate, according to an Associated Press story.

Similarly, a Windsor library has more recently caused a conundrum in their community for inviting two drag queens to come read books and make crafts with kids as a part of a national get-to-know-a-drag-queen program.

The planned Drag Queen Story Hour Program next month is slated to include Colfax VanDam and Vikta Mayyhem. But Windsor naysayers question whether they want drag queens reading to kids in the library and the library officials thinking up such things.

Nobody up there questions when local Trump-supporting politicians make unannounced appearances where children freely roam. Talk about a drag.

What fools these chortles be. Drag queens are a wealth of information and talent for everyone. Witty, punny and infinitely more knowledgeable about women’s fashion and the physics of shoes than just about anyone, they most often have something interesting to say about everything.

More important, seeing something as glitzy as a drag queen in a library or school auditorium offers kids a chance to understand that different doesn’t have to be good or bad, it just is.

Several years ago, my daughter’s middle-school English teacher suddenly started coming to school in drag, prompting serious discussions for a few days about color coordination and wearing boots with dresses.

Class-talk quickly returned to why they had to write so many 400-word assignments.

Neither my daughter nor her friends can recall whether the teacher had his yearbook picture taken in or out of drag. They do remember what a tyrant he was about commas and source citations.

• And my favorite 2018 story comes from Aurora’s new bleeding heart progressives elected to the Aurora City Council, pushing the use of literature as community medicine: Book-club rehab.

“The city is launching a pilot program this fall that diverts some municipal-level offenders to a 12-week program where they read a list of books, one every two weeks or so,” reporter Kara Mason wrote earlier this year.

The idea came from Councilwoman Allison Hilz, who is a fan of a national program called Changing Lives Through Literature. It’s similar to a newer prison program called Words Beyond Bars.

Anyone who’s taken a lit class from a decent prof can attest to how much good fiction and good discussion can, indeed, be life altering.

And for naysayers who always just want to wait for the movie? Studies have shown conclusively that the recidivism rate among those who read as a way to right their wrongs is far less than those who just pay the fines or do the time.

Tough-on-crime curmudgeons? Read it and weep.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook and reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]