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Who Do You Know?

Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks, No. 15 in "Who You Know" [Inside Richmond, Sept. 25], has about as much to do with the declining murder rate in the city of Richmond as the author of that blurb has to do with accurate and responsible journalism. … Nothing.

Alice V. Sheridan

Artist Actually Looks Better

Your article about Kelly Kennedy [Arts & Culture, Oct. 2] was pleasant to read and well-deserved; she is a local artist who merits an international reputation. (Her voice on the second set of her recordings, "Wicked Polly," is nothing short of heavenly.) But I have to mention that the morgue-like image of Elizabeth, Kelly's role in "The Crucible," is not [representative of] Kelly Kennedy. Miss Kennedy's Celtic good looks are generally recognized as one of her considerable blessings. Be fair to Style readers and let us see how really pretty this lady actually is.

W. Danforth

How Many Theaters?

In "Lights, Camera, Inaction" [Film, Sept. 25] you write of a time "when Richmond boasted as many as five vibrant movie houses at once."


Let's test my memory. Loews, State, Byrd, Capitol, Bellevue, Westhampton, Walker, Lee, National, Colonial, Grand, Carillon, Venus, Westover, Booker T, Hippodrome. As well as the others in the neighborhoods all over the city.

Roy Burgess

Let's See "Which Addiction"

The week "Which Addiction?" by Lee Carleton appeared on your Back Page (Sept. 25), the Regional Drug Free Alliance met.

His article was discussed by a roomful of people representing those who face the devastation of substance abuse daily. Members of the alliance present at the meeting, work in treatment, education, enforcement and, yes, prevention. Some are former substance abusers and some have lost family members to drugs.

Disheartening doesn't even come close to describing the reaction to Mr. Carleton's dismissing the toll that drug use takes as "distortion" of facts by the "Prohibition Industry" to "pad its case." Worse, he describes as "puritanism" a culture that "distrusts substances that elevate mood and cause pleasure."

Perhaps Debra Barr's daughter, Tish, was seeking to elevate her mood or cause pleasure. But that's not how it turned out. She died on the very evening of her experimentation in her freshman year at VCU.

Perhaps mood elevation was also the original goal of my friend's daughter and her boyfriend who opted to commit suicide in a Midlothian motel with a deliberate drug overdose rather than continue to fight the addiction. They were teenagers.

Perhaps Mr. Carleton should accompany any of our local police on a ride-along when they come upon the bodies (in Richmond alone more than 50 this year) of mostly young people mostly murdered as a result of drug deals gone wrong. "Pleasure" wasn't exactly the result for these victims. Local police estimate that 70 to 80 percent of the crimes committed relate to drugs.

But Mr. Carleton would undoubtedly consider those figures "propaganda."

His convoluted case comparing the United States' addiction to oil as somehow much more criminal than our addiction to drugs has performed a grave disservice to those who are attempting to spare their children from the potential misery of drug use.

Sure, some folks can smoke marijuana or drink alcohol without becoming addicted. But to glorify the use, as he did, in citing Louis Armstrong as a daily user is all some will need to feel vindicated in their experimentation.

And for his plea for legalization? He might want to visit England and observe the results of the recently relaxed laws there.

Oh, but of course the campaign is part of the "dishonesty of the Prohibition Industry," so we shouldn't believe what they say.

Complaining about "our addiction to oil" may be absolutely valid. Complaining about the drug ads that urge you to "ask your doctor" for legal, prescription drugs advertised on television may be valid as well.

But, for goodness sake, please be responsible when writing about the use of illegal, potentially habit-forming and deadly drugs.

Nancy Finch

Board Member, the Regional Drug-Free Alliance

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