By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
For Pete's Sake
Karen Bowers's "Mannix Depressive," in the July 5 issue, while well-written, factually on the mark, entertaining and even illuminating in many respects, at first troubled me.
It did not seem to expose R.W. "Pete" Peterson's excesses so much as it may have served him yet one more meal at the publicity trough he so relishes at the expense of the good faith and credit of the many honest, hardworking and responsible investigators he so easily dismisses by word and deed at every opportunity.
The man has made a career of butchering the image of a profession already fraught with the consequences of the imaginative twistings and turnings of the minds of countless mystery writers, who portray us, at one end of the spectrum, as crude, unethical bozos, and at the other as slick, well-armed skirt-chasers. It is a pantheon in which the lonely and honorable Sam Spades and the honest and ethical Ellery Queens get well and truly lost.
We investigators are more than characters in a play, strutting about with assault weapons at the ready against who knows what photogenic threat, a portrayal fondly adopted by Mr. Peterson.
Still, the saddest insult of all is that, by his conduct, Petrson attempts to destroy the blunt but real romanticism that I think helps drive many of us in this old and honorable business to aspire to the nugget of truth in our real lives that both Sam and Ellery in their fictional lives so desperately clung to--a sense of technical propriety which established clear and present bounds beyond which neither they nor their clients could tread.
The good detective story always has been the conflict established by those who served that line and those who crossed it.
Whether or not I can find my butt using both hands, as Mr. Peterson so joyfully prattles, I know where that line is. And it may come as a surprise to Mr. Peterson to learn that I also know that the statute of limitations guiding the district attorney's office in its investigation of his conduct in the Masek case, in which he may face possible charges of burglary and theft, is, in fact, still running, contrary to the quote in the Westword story by Mr. Peterson.
Perhaps, in the end, publicity will turn out to be no match for competence. So, in the meantime, upon further review, by all means hand the man another shovel and some more rope.
I enjoyed Karen Bowers's story on the private eye. It was the perfect story to read while lying in the shade on a hot summer day. What a cast of characters--Pete Peterson sounds like he leads a very interesting life. And I don't care if he's working on his own on the O.J. Simpson case; I'm glad someone is doing the work. I hope he helps the prosecution nail that O.J.
I live to read Westword. I keep an extensive library, and it includes the best issues back to 1985. You enable me to decide how I'll vote in almost every election.
The "Empty Nest Syndrome," in the June 21 issue, moved me to write and congratulate Robin Chotzinoff on her style. I felt I was actually riding alongside Doug Stewart through his worthwhile work. What a trip!
I hope it is not too late to comment on your June 21 issue. Robin Chotzinoff's "Empty Nest Syndrome," about Doug Stewart and his business, Bird Control, Inc., was a real treat. I always like to hear about someone who gave up the daily nine-to-five grind in order to do what he really enjoys--even if his business is "for the birds." From now on, though, I'll be sure to wear a hat at Coors Field--no pigeon souvenirs for me!
In that same issue, Eric Dexheimer's "An Incomplete Sentence," was very well-written, but the story itself was very depressing. No punishment is too harsh for that father. It is beyond imagining that someone could do that to his children.
The Crime of His Life
In reply to Fred Webber's July 5 letter about Eric Dexheimer's "An Incomplete Sentence":
It is very typical stereotyping to make this lame attempt to link homosexuality, gayness or lesbianism to pedophiles, necrophiliacs and rapists. What Mr. Webber and so many others seem to miss in these comparisons is the very distinct difference of mutual consent between adults that is present between two men or two women homosexuals. Consent between two adults is lacking in all these other categories. An adult who takes advantage of a child in any manner is an abomination. Rape is an act of violence. And necrophilia is also missing the vital consent between adults (unless there is some agreement prior to the death of the "dead stuff"). Even those "freaks" into discipline and bondage believe in "safe, sane and consensual," and if they don't have the consent, then it is a crime.
Homosexuality is not a crime, even if a few narrow-minded persons think it should be one. Preying on children is a crime. Rape is a crime. Necrophilia is a crime. Illegal detention or kidnapping is a crime. Assault is a crime. How is it that an otherwise intelligent person could miss such an obvious distinction?