Letters to the Editor 

A family’s thanks

I am the niece of Kylleen Hargrave-Thomas, and am writing to thank you for your well-thought out and researched article on her case ("Hanging by a nail, MT, April 25-May 1). There have been other articles and promises of other articles and news stories that have been written on this case. None of them have told the case as honestly and compassionately as you have.

I can safely assure you that no one in our family will ever trust the legal system in this country again. That is a sad state of affairs considering my father was a devoted policeman for 25 years.

Thank you for taking the time to write and research this story. Hopefully it will bring attention to her case in a positive light and make future investigators take the time to consider all aspects of future cases and not just pin the crime on the most convenient suspect. —Tracie McKee, traciemckee@hotmail.com, Chicago

Gone to pot?

As a former Michigan resident I am appalled at the police-state mentality that has befallen this once great state. So now the force of the state is going to squash a MS patient (Renee Emry Wolfe) who only wants to tell the world that marijuana is helpful in treating her disease ("Tokin’ trouble," MT, May 23-29). Why is it necessary to arrest her and send her to prison? This is supposed to be a compassionate country yet a person using a natural growing plant is treated much worse than a violent criminal.

It is obvious why this travesty is occurring: The government is addicted to drug money and anything that might end its gravy train is going to be crushed.

Thus is Michigan's version of the Inquisition, the same fanatics, the same suffering, all in the name of the public good. Pathetic! —Dan Scupin, Destin, Fla.

Unwinnable war

Thank you for your coverage of the National Lawyers Guild conference at Wayne State ("War resisters league," MT, May 2-8). The war on drugs is a misnomer. It should be called a war on the people, especially urban poor, African-Americans, Latinos and our children. We need to start looking at addiction as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.

We are spending so much money fighting this war on drugs that we can't afford to provide and adequate number of teachers, textbooks and supplies for our children in schools. There was discussion of canceling summer school for third-graders in Washtenaw County because the state didn't have the necessary funding. This lack of funding is a direct result of the money that we spend on our corrections system here in Michigan; the corrections budget grows, and everything else falls by the wayside.

Our tax dollars would be better spent on drug treatment, schools, after-school programs, Head Start, and programs that strengthen families. Our current drug policies tear families apart, are racially unjust and leave us with no money to spend on programs that would benefit our children.

The war on drugs has failed. Let's try a new approach. —Debra S. Wright, MSW, dswmsw@msn.com, Ann Arbor

Front-line dispatch

I am writing in response to Curt Guyette’s excellent article concerning the abuse of Vicodin ("In Vicodin’s grip," MT, May 23-29). My thanks to him for having something positive and informative to say about methadone treatment. Having spent most of my working life helping substance abusers, I now work in a methadone clinic. I found his article timely, especially given a recent New York Times story concerning a UCLA longitudinal study of heroin addicts over three decades. It provides some good corroboration of his comments on methadone treatment. Keep up the good work. —Tim Volkes, Dearborn

Spread too thin

Congratulations to Ann Mullen for her nice scoop on the Detroit Fire Department/EMS debacle ("Done deal," MT, May 30-June 5). I am now working for the Warren Fire Department but was a paramedic for Detroit in the mid-’80s My colleagues then were some of the finest people I have worked with; it’s a shame there weren’t enough of them to go around. I saw many people die needlessly. It was a problem then and even more so now. Detroit EMS has failed to address the main issue: There are not enough ambulances. Until they add another dozen paramedic rigs, Detroit residents (and visitors) will continue to sustain greater degrees of morbidity and mortality then would otherwise be necessary. Please stay on top of this issue. With enough media pressure, perhaps the powers that be will finally wake up and do the right thing. Let's see some of that casino money go where it should! —Chris Hartman, Warren

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