John Colson: Hit and Run |

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

I recently got a note from Pitkin County Sheriff candidate Rick Leonard complaining about newspaper coverage of the recent Squirm Night political forum, the second note he’s sent me of that sort. Now, I don’t live in Pitkin County any more, having fallen victim to the downvalley migratory impulse, but I have an interest in what goes on here. Hence, my response, which I share with the readership for no particular reason other than my own hubris and my feeling that some of you might be interested.

To Rick Leonard: Let’s be clear. I have nothing to do with what is reported by another reporter or another paper, So, trying to tar me with that particular brush is futile, at best.

Concerning your feeling that we are “all in the tank,” well, if you mean we consume a little too much liquid anesthetic from time to time, I must admit that I have been occasionally guilty of same. That, however, was on my own time and my own dime, not while on duty as a reporter, so it really isn’t anyone’s damned business, yours included.

I am kind of sorry that we haven’t had a chance to meet and talk, since I really wanted to hear more about your apparent belief that being a candidate for sheriff does not in any way mean you have to obey the law.

I refer to your response to my question about your blatant use of the internationally recognizable Hunter S. Thompson/Tom Benton artwork in the Fourth of July Parade.

In case you’ve forgotten, your contribution to the parade was to ride a motorcycle sporting a sign on the back seat with the famous HST star, double-thumbed fist and peyote button, but your name where Hunter S. Thompson’s once was inscribed, if I recall correctly.

I chased you down that day and asked how you came to get permission to use the logo, and your response to my question was the snide remark that you violated the copyright and stole the logo, something you were sure HST would have done himself.

Now, it could be that you don’t consider copyright infringement a crime, which is an interesting example of selective applicability of the law, and one we might discuss some time, one bar stool to another.

As for your remark that Hunter Thompson would have done it, I wouldn’t be too sure. He was a fairly cautious dude when it came to matters of intellectual property rights, at least those that he felt were legitimate and deserving of respect.

The only thing I know for damned sure is he would not have appreciated your theft of his artistic and intellectual property, nor would Tom Benton.

In fact, if either of them were alive today, you’d probably be in court over this. Let me amend that – I am absolutely positive you’d at least have received a summons to explain yourself in front of a judge, if not anonymous notes, in block letters cut from newspaper ads, warning you to cease and desist or face the vengeance of the just.

The fact is, I must say, that meeting you has not been terribly high on my list of things that I must do or die. Anyone who could be proud of such a shoddy display of political fraud – the implication that you are walking in Hunter’s shoes – either completely misunderstands the community he’s landed in or is too arrogant to care. You clearly feel no shame at ripping off a cherished icon, and you seem blind to the fact that your use of this particular icon will not exactly endear you to the very voters you seem intent on attracting.

And, since I don’t live in Pitkin County any more, or vote there, such a meeting would be wasting not only my time, but yours.