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Technical Difficulties

Letters from the week of March 25, 2004

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Please stand by: I am so sick and tired of the recent trend in our country, thanks in no small part to the Middle Ages mentality of our current U.S. leadership, to ignore so many fundamental and individual human legal rights. This KCTV Channel 5 reporter Steve Chamraz is just another sheep in the herd with no grasp of the concept of personal responsibility in the workplace, or probably anywhere else in his life, for that matter (Kansas City Strip, Tony Ortega, March 11).

He creates news stories incriminating people while admitting that "he wanted to know as little as possible" about the actual workings of the organization, Perverted-Justice.com, that he chose to buddy up with. I am guessing Chamraz did not have the option of being a brain surgeon. Hmm ... here's a guy you can trust.

There are few acts more disgusting than those of child predators, but I must say that worms like Steve Chamraz really make me think twice about that. I am fed up with cowards who won't stand up and do the right thing because it takes just a little more effort.
David Zahorsky
Olathe

Sign off: I can't believe Tony Ortega can defend that pervert asshole.

If you read John Doe's message page closely, he was talking to yet another fake underage girl the same day: "He also was hitting on Mr. Meister's young girl account the same day he hit on me." (It wasn't hard to figure out; just match your quotes.) He's an asshole enough to be ready to booze up this young girl and seems happy to meet up with her instead of his girlfriend. So what if he used smiley emoticons? Maybe it's because he was happy that she asked him to bring the condoms.

He asks her sign and says most Aries like older men. He might not have been as explicit, but you can tell what this asshole wants. I'm glad he lost his job; I hope he's forced to become a mall Santa to get his jollies.
Name Withheld Upon Request

High five: Thank you, thank you, thank you. My good friend John Doe got screwed in this deal. He is a lovable guy who wouldn't so much as hurt a fly.

John Doe has many friends, and we were at first stunned and shocked by this whole development. Sadly, we have heard that this has been really tough on him. Before hearing Ortega's story, I was convinced that the only way I could live with myself was to go to Kansas City and try to right my friend's wrong. Now I am confident that a just jury will see the truth.

I have to say I am a nice and very peace-loving guy. But If I ever meet this Mr. Chamraz, he would wish that he never tore apart the life of my friend for profit.
Name Withheld Upon Request

Hit delete: I have to disagree with Dave Schulz (Letters, March 18). I believe the tactics used by Channel 5 were completely appropriate and more about prevention than, as Mr. Schulz says, "creating a crime when there was none."

I think that any sick bastard who would want to meet with a child deserves to get the hammer thrown at him. The intention was there -- maybe not John Doe if what his friend Mr. Kelley said is true -- and intentions, in my opinion, usually lead to actions of some form. Anyone who would harm a child in any way -- especially like that -- should suffer the consequences.

So to the "little pecker who portrays himself as a reporter," as Schulz so eloquently put it, I give you a hats off! Good job and keep it up. You are helping to make the Kansas City community safer and cleaner by getting rid of a few scumbags.
Dusty Ray
Kansas City, Missouri

Key stroke: I read "Jail Baited," expecting an article about an innocent man who had been unfairly targeted by Channel 5 in its recent Internet-pervert sting. Although John Doe may not have been as bad as some of the pedophiles that were caught in Channel 5's sting, one could hardly characterize his conduct as being beyond reproach.

Doe, a 28-year-old man, engages in an online conversation with what he thinks is a 14-year-old girl (called "Teri") for ninety minutes while he is supposed to be working. The conversation may not have been sexually graphic, but the conversation referred to marijuana and alcohol use, and Doe engaged in conversation with this "teenager" about ex-boyfriends. Let's not forget that Doe gave Teri his telephone number and a photograph of himself. Why would a man in his late twenties give his telephone number and photograph to a 14-year-old girl if his intentions were good?

Doe reportedly gets a telephone call from Teri inviting him to her house for oral sex. He claims that the caller sounded like a "middle-aged black lady." Does it sound reasonable that he would drive to the residence to see if she was or not? Doe went there to get his blowjob from what may have been a 14-year-old girl.

Ortega cites a "Detective" James McLaughlin but does not mention exactly what police agency he works for. This brings up another point: This whole sting was not entrapment, since the investigation only covers police investigations. Private companies such as Perverted-Justice.com can do things that the cops can't. Just because a teenager or child brings up the subject of sex does not mean that the adult male who continues to engage in the conversation has been entrapped. Any adult who shows up at a residence to have sex with a minor, whether they be real or hypothetical, shouldn't whine when he gets busted.
Steve Smith
Kansas City, Missouri


Game Loser
Dire states: Kudos to David Martin for telling us what a bunch of patsies we're gonna be ("What's in a Name?" March 11). It still isn't too late to take the naming rights back.

Katheryn Shields has her back against the wall over the money mess in Jackson County. It is obvious that she has not been doing the right thing for quite some time. The naming rights she's tried to give would probably have gotten her a little help when she ran for mayor. So now that she couldn't run for dogcatcher and win, let's tell the Jackson County Legislature that we aren't passing Bi-State or anything else that includes giving the naming rights away. We better do something to raise some money, because Johnson County's not going to send us any!

Johnson Countians already are kicking it down. For a Johnson County perspective, check out www.Bi-State.info.
Mark Esping
Kansas City, Missouri


High Notes
Rude awakening: I wanted to thank Andrew Miller for his article about Richie Restivo ("Rude Boy, Dead Man," March 4). Nearly everything I've read or heard from newspapers and such has been skewed to make Richie seem like some sort of lousy punk thriving upon violence.

Richie was one of the most genuinely kind people I've ever met, and Miller's article helped expose that. He managed to capture his personality with descriptions and anecdotes that were entirely true to Richie.

Thank you so much for exposing the reality behind the most compassionate rude boy I've ever known.
Natale Collar
Overland Park

That's Rich: I had the opportunity to meet Richie when he was 15. He was working with a local fanzine, and when I met him, he was "an exaggeration of life."

Kindness and a great sense of humor were two of his greatest testaments to the good nature we all have the potential for. To meet such a wonderful person is an honor, and it is unfortunate that his mentality is not common among most people, let alone teenagers.

Perhaps someday we'll all be ready to follow the example Richie set.
Pepe Gonzales
Kansas City, Missouri

Music man: I just finished reading Andrew Miller's article about Richie Restivo. I wanted to thank you for portraying him as the wonderful person he was.

I had the good fortune of meeting Richie about four years ago, and he quickly became one of my best friends. He changed my life more than any one person ever has. He was a truly beautiful human being.

So thank you for this story, because it spreads the beauty of Richie to people who would have never known it.
Sarah Hogan
Chicago


Gut Feeling
Gastric tax: When I read the story about Dr. Timothy Sifers (Allie Johnson's "The Deepest Cut," February 26), it brought back harrowing memories of the nightmare I had been through in early 2002. I had weight-loss surgery with Sifers and suffered from about seven months of life-threatening complications. I had to be admitted five additional times with infections, gallbladder pancreatitis, gallstones and dehydration. My most severe episode was an immense infection that erupted internally and encompassed my entire upper abdomen.

When the ER doctor called Sifers, he told her that it wasn't his problem and he wasn't coming in. I spent several days in ICU and relinquished any contact with Sifers from that point on.
Christine Hicks
Pleasant Hill


Pray Tell
Worship services: Annie Zaleski's article on the Church was exceptionally good ("Protestant Principles," March 11). I've read a number of garbage pieces on the band -- the comments she included from Marty Willson-Piper attest to the abundance -- but her piece was a breath of fresh air. For me, there is the Beatles, there is the Church and then there's everyone else. Keep up the good work.
Benjamin Pennington
Rochester, Minnesota

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