Foot in mouth
I knew I’d say at least one stupid thing in that interview. In the article “Underground Triple Threat” (Metro Times, May 14-20), I tried to describe Hamtramck’s combination small town/ big city vibe by saying “everyone here knows you, but they might try to rob you.” My closer friends know enough to chalk that up to my (alleged) sense of humor, but it’s sticking in my craw — it’s a pretty crappy thing to say about your neighbors, really. I don’t mind poking fun at Hamtramck’s quirks and foibles — there are lots of ’em — but for the record: I certainly don’t suspect my grocer, barber, librarian, bartender, the families on my block or most of the rest of the people I encounter here of being potential criminals. Nearly all the Hamtramckans I’ve had contact with since moving here have only been friendly and gracious. So to any fellow Hamtramck folks who took my remark as an insult, my apologies.
Also: I was nominated for two Ignatz awards in 2001, but the convention where the awards are decided was cancelled due to the Sept. 11 attacks, so no one actually won anything that year. —Sean Bieri, Hamtramck
Race & music redux
All types of people come in all types of packages, including people who are open-minded, intelligent white individuals, have an interest in soul music and thriving relationships with black people. I’m sorry if Noah B. Stevens doesn’t believe people like that exist, but I am one of them (“White people, black music,” Metro Times, May 7-13).
I’ve had friends and boyfriends who are black. My role model, the woman whom I could only hope to resemble slightly someday, is black. I have as much respect for her, and have learned as much from her, as my own mother. I’ve never not approached someone because of the color of their skin. I am proud to possess this characteristic; I want to be a kind, impartial person. Soon I will be a teacher. I am confident enough in myself to believe that I will personify justice in the treatment of my students, as I have with any human being I have ever encountered. I hope that my example can help restore your faith in white people who listen to black music. —Kendal Ann Lamarand, Ypsilanti
A bad hire
It amazes me that Ron Bargman was ever able to build any kind of business with the mistakes he made in hiring Rick Stover (“When crime pays,” Metro Times, May 14-20). He hires the man without checking his references and lends him $14,000 without doing a credit check because Stover was a really good talker and “interviewed well”? I can’t help thinking that if Stover had been an African-American or any other person of color, Bargman would have checked him out more thoroughly. Perhaps then he would have saved himself this major headache. It sounds like Bargman got exactly what he deserved by not being a more astute businessman. —Sharon M. Stanford, email@example.com, Detroit
Crime & punishment
In regards to this passage: “Faced with limited resources, a priority has to be given to putting murderers, rapists, and drug dealers behind bars, she contends. In addition, sentences such as the one handed Stover make it possible for victims to be compensated for their losses.”
How often are murderers, rapists and drug dealers after money? Isn’t an attempt at getting someone else’s money what starts most crimes deemed worthy of investigation in the first place? Is the system putting a value on crimes and judging who the worst victims are, and prosecuting from there? Who is to say that Bargman’s losses are not as detrimental or as scarring or as debilitating as anyone else’s, just because the loss is monetary? And how is Stover supposed to pay anyone back, since he cannot work because of his “back problems”? I don’t suppose the courts would hire him, so why should anyone else?
I’m relieved to see the criminal’s name in print and hope that other small-business owners read this article. —Jessica Hancock, Westland
Editor’s note: For more on the story, see “Embezzler off the lam."Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org