Letters to the Editor
"Killer Instinct," Luke Turf, September 20
I find it despicable that the jury found Michael Tate not guilty of first-degree murder. I have no doubt that Tate was a highly disturbed young man, but that verdict is insulting for a number of reasons. First, the jury determined he was insane at the time of the murder but sane when he agreed to the burglary. Well, if sanity can be turned off and on like that, why not use that as the defense in every crime? Second, Michael Tate showed signs of homicidal tendencies for years and was enough of a threat to be kicked out of more than one foster home. In all honesty, to suggest he might not have wielded the knife seems completely laughable. Third, allowing an insanity defense in the trial of a violent offender does an enormous disservice to the mentally ill community. Most average people have little to no contact with the mentally ill. Hearing about crimes such as this only causes more fear rather than empathy.
The fact is, regardless of why Michael Tate committed this crime, he is still a threat to society and will be until he dies — and that should have warranted a first-degree-murder conviction.
I think that "Killer Instinct" points out the importance of carrying a concealed handgun. Luke Turf describes Michael Tate as having a long history of mental-health problems, which include the belief that Satan talks to him, and speculates that these problems are the result of sexual abuse when he was an infant. While this is certainly a sad circumstance, this is not a factor that has to be taken into consideration when he is attacking you; you just have to shoot him.
I am amazed that you would write such a lengthy article about Michael Tate. I don't find people like him to be very interesting. All that needs to be known about them is that they don't want to die. The criminal may want to pull out his knife and commit a robbery, but he also wants to continue living. When the criminal sees somebody who is alert and calm — which implies gun ownership — the criminal becomes meek and leaves his knife in his pocket. That is how the criminal mind works.
This article sickened me! I honestly believe that the Fitzgeralds were kind and loving parents. Who knew what their son would grow into?
Michael Tate didn't stand a chance in life from the very beginning. He may have been insane, but I find his actions unspeakable and unforgivable. Insanity is not a reason to keep this kid out of prison. He will get what he deserves when sentencing happens.
The saddest part about all of this is that it will happen again. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a safe society. Just look at what Angel Montoya did to a three-year-old this week.
What's with all this juvenile leniency nonsense? Why is Westword giving a platform for these "juvenile" defendants? Or is that the reason why you're giving them a voice, because they are "juveniles"? This may sound like a cliche, but if these "kids" are old enough to commit these crimes, then they sure in hell had better be able to do the time. What does age have to do with killing someone? Will someone please explain to me the difference between a twenty-year-old murderer and a forty-year-old murderer? Because personally, I don't see a difference.
I'm sick and tired of these little bastards committing some of the most heinous crimes (let's not forget Brandy DuVall) and getting a slap on the wrist or someone crying about them being "too young to know any better." I'm perfectly fine with a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old rotting in jail because their parents wouldn't let them stay out late/buy the latest video game/use the car or whatever infantile affront they think is going to be the end of the world. We've heard all the horror stories — how they grew up in broken homes, they were abused, they were abandoned — but we never hear about those in the same situations who are choosing to make a difference.
Maybe next week, Westword can start a five-part series on kids who make it despite their circumstances.
Name withheld on request
"Trunk Show," Michael Roberts, September 13
Michael, that was a nice puff piece you did for Dick Wadhams. Imagine my surprise when he said Democrats were liberal. I am curious if the man who gave us Wayne Allard can move up from a bottom-five U.S. senator to a bottom-ten ranking. At least if Dick's guy gets elected, he will not be voting with whatever the next President wants.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.