Yesterday, Coloradans were outraged when Democratic Governor Hickenlooper cast aside the wishes of Nathan Dunlap’s victims’ families and granted him a “temporary reprieve” from his death sentence for slaughtering four innocent people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese 20 years ago. Given the visceral reaction to the announcement, we have to admit even we were surprised when a reader tipped us off that Governor Hickenlooper had attended one of Denver’s most prestigious dinners last night, and partied with Denver Broncos players past and present.
We can hardly blame Hick for wanting to attend. It is, after all, one of the most anticipated events of the year in Colorado, usually honoring a great contributor to the Colorado community, and exceptionally well attended. Among the nearly 2,000 attendees last night, were the Bronco’s four Hall of Famers and numerous other Broncos alumni. Attendees even had the opportunity to take a photograph with Vince Lombardi trophies. But, this isn’t about the people who were there, or even the event itself.
During yesterday’s press conference, Hick noted that this was a difficult decision for him. He said, “We heard a variety of sides and obviously this has weighed heavily on me for over a year now.”
Perhaps the decision weighed so heavily that he needed a reprieve himself. But, when do the families, some of whom spoke out against Hick’s decision, get a reprieve from their grief over their missing loved ones? Here is what the family of victim Benjamin Grant said to Hickenlooper prior to his announcement: “Sit back, make no decision, allow the one that 12 people made after listening to all the evidence 17 years ago stand.”
With Hickenlooper’s decision ignoring the pleas of the victims’ families, we have to wonder, how did the families spend the night last night? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t toasting Denver’s finest.