Letters to the Editor

No glam in span

Re: "Uncovered bridge" (Metro Times, March 7), no offense to Jack Lessenberry, but he should have realized that infrastructure questions, like bridge maintenance and road construction, are "Page 15" material. In-depth stories on such subjects are usually reserved for either the History Channel's Modern Marvels, featuring industrial feats or engineering disasters, or for John Stossel's occasional piece on 20/20 or ABC news on pork barrel projects. It is an unglamorous topic that people will only pay attention to when something bad happens — like the sinkhole under 15 Mile Road (bad) to 9/11 (extreme worst case scenario). Some historians say that the true mark of a civilization is not its glorious statues, but its humble infrastructure. In that case we all have to tip our hats to the men and women of the 1920s: They built one hell of a bridge. —Matthew A. Sawtell, La Grange Park, Ill.


Of human bondage

Gary Younge is certainly correct in his statement that "what masquerades as history is more akin to mythology" ("White History 101," Metro Times, Feb. 28). One prime example is the supposed history of Britain's abolition of participation in the trade in enslaved Africans in 1807. Britons quickly found ways to circumvent the act and its many modifications. Even slaving vessels continued to be built in Britain. A related myth is that Britain abolished slavery in her empire. Yes, the enslaved in the Caribbean were apprenticed in 1833 and freed in 1838, when Britain could not cope with the increasing numbers of slave revolts. However, slavery remained legal in India till at least the 1860s and was not abolished in two of Britain's West African colonies until 1928. —Marika Sherwood, Oare, Kent, United Kingdom


Pipe dream

Re: Your recent News Hits column about the gratuitous coverage of Tara Lynn Grant's murder ("Murder binge," Metro Times, March 7), I wish Andrew Anthos would have gotten the same coverage: Maybe his killer would be behind bars by now. But he's not, he's still out there. I guess a gay 72-year-old man just isn't as newsworthy. Not to be unfair: The newscasts at WDIV, WXYZ, WJBK did have his brutal attack and death on their newscast, but only briefly. And several columnists for both the News and Free Press did do stories on Mr. Anthos. But it wasn't enough: This gentle man — who I saw for years down by the riverfront during the summer, playing his music on a boom box with great sound — never bothered a soul. Now his music has been silenced. Someone didn't like the way he looked. The killer started to harass him on a city bus, calling him a faggot, then followed him off the bus, only to bash him in the head repeatedly with a metal pipe, leaving him paralyzed and, 13 days later, dead.

Andrew Anthos never saw it coming. Is his death not as newsworthy? I certainly think it was, his family and friends think so. Even though I did not know this man personally, I will miss him this summer when I go to my favorite downtown spot: the walkway from Hart Plaza to the Joe. I'll miss the music he played for everyone around him to enjoy. Yes, Tara Lynn Grant died violently, but so did Andrew Anthos. And his life was just as important, not to just his family and friends, but to those of us he didn't even know.

And can somebody please post the composite sketch of his killer everywhere, for everyone to see? We must find this bastard, arrest, convict and punish him. My personal preference would be to use the same metal pipe on him, as he used on Andrew Anthos. —Linda Valerio, Detroit


Bigotry and battery

Andrew Anthos of Detroit isn't Michigan's only gay citizen who has been murdered because of anti-gay bigotry. In 2006, three people that we know of were murdered and one, Sal Vonatti of Windsor, was left with permanent brain damage because he was shot in the head point-blank.

This number almost certainly represents a fraction of the people who have been killed, or otherwise harassed or victimized, because of anti-gay hatred. Why? Because unlike other minorities, victims of anti-gay violence don't just run the risk of more violence for reporting an incident — in Michigan, speaking out can mean coming out, and coming out can get you fired from your job.

If Jewish, African-American or evangelical Christian citizens were the victims of such violence, Michigan's laws would protect them. Nor can other minorities be fired simply for being minorities. Why, then, aren't sexual minorities also protected against hate-motivated violence, and why aren't they protected in our civil rights laws?

I urge Michigan's Legislature to move immediately to add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to Michigan's hate crimes and civil rights laws. —Mark Jeason, Warren


Back in black

Re: "We'll get the airwaves" (Metro Times, March 7), Zenas Jackson "has more swing than a hanged man on a breezy day"? That's wildly inappropriate. Did I miss the memo that said lynching references are now cute and witty? That wasn't the only thing that pissed me off in Brian Smith's band writeup.

In an apparent attempt to create a rock 'n' roll 50 Cent, Smith devoted at least four paragraphs to establish singer Marlon Hauser's "street cred." Blackness confirmed. Why does Siddhartha have to be a "black rock" group rather than a rock band with black members?

Whether it was intentional or not, Brian Smith has effectively robbed five guys of their names, talents and accomplishments. —Dan Keizer, St. Clair Shores


Erratum: The Hadituptoheres photo on page 26 of the March 7 issue of Metro Times was incorrectly credited. It should have been credited to Devon Parrott.

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Metro Times Staff

Since 1980, Metro Times has been Detroit’s premier alternative source for news, arts, culture, music, film, food, fashion and more from a liberal point of view.
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