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Re: Larry Gabriel's "Trouble in mind" (Jan. 28), I could trade war stories with you — that's what I call living in Detroit now. It's like a war: the haves vs. the have-nots! What is so amazing is the people running for mayor are not addressing this issue at all. There aren't many of us responsible homeowners left in the neighborhoods, it seems, and the ones that remain are sitting ducks for the criminals. The squatters move in, get all utilities free (illegally) and they wait patiently while we all go to work to steal our goods and violate our privacy. We've had many break-ins on our block. The police either never come or they come a day late. I have told my husband that it's time to go. We both were born and raised here, raised a family and watched our block go from award-winning properties to rat holes. I know crime is everywhere but my goodness — at least you'll get efficient police response! So I'm saying good riddance to Detroit. I give up! —K. West, Detroit
Let them eat lead
The tragedy of the bakery shooting ("Shut down," Feb. 4) could have possibly been averted had employee Malik Hakim taken advantage of Michigan's Concealed Pistol law. Unarmed shop owners and employees remain sitting ducks for Detroit's punk predators. When word hits the street that the good guys are firing back, crimes like this will diminish.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the police have no obligation to protect you, but have also ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual, not collective, right. Rights that aren't exercised will atrophy. —Joseph Corlett, Lake Orion
The real dirt
In your listing for The Dirty Show (Night & Day, Feb. 4), I and 100 percent of my crew feel you have insulted our patrons.
We expect a crowd of nearly 100 people over our four days, and to cast aspersions on all of them — with your cheap shots and belittling adjectives — is unfair and for the most part untrue.
I have been studying pornography for years and have yet to see the stereotypical "man in a trench coat" anywhere in the real world — porn theaters, adult bookstores or The Dirty Show. I believe these trench coat wearing men do not exist anywhere with the exception of cartoons in men's magazines (a practice I believe was abandoned in 1981 due to it no longer being amusing). Soccer moms? Metro Times staff looks like soccer moms. Were they wearing self-embroidered sweatshirts that said "My Kid Is a Hockey Star at Suburban Elementary School" or did they simply spill out this information to you at the show? Perhaps a testicular sack reminded one of the athletic prowess of a child?
What I believe is you have not been to a Dirty Show; I don't think any of what you wrote was actually observed, but made up. (So do not submit for Pulitzer). Everyone I talk to seems to think that freaks come out of the woodwork to attend. But the definition of freak varies upon the personality of the person who is observing — because the guy in the cowboy hat and fringe jacket looks kind of freaky to the glamorous drag queen, and the perfectly normal human being looks freaky through the eyes of the human pincushion.
We have come to realize it is what is on the inside, not what is outside that makes most people attend the Dirty Show. And the attitude seems to be live and let live.
But you have simply said, we (the entire Metro Times staff) do not really care for the Dirty Show — and think the nearly 100 people who will attend our tenth annual exhibition are a pretty sucky bunch. Their crime? Enjoying an art exhibition that you obviously do not approve of. Our crime? Loving too much. —Jerry Vile, Impresario, The Dirty Show, Detroit
(Editor's note: But, Jerry, we do love The Dirty Show, personally know at least a couple of soccer parents who've attended and wouldn't rule out wearing our trench coats. And lest any reader miss your irony, we note the actual attendance is well north of 100 on any night that we've been there.)