Going Postal 

Seeing both sides
I have been going to Dragon*Con for over a decade and have been following the scandal over Ed Kramer from afar since it broke. I found your article to be one of the most comprehensive on the subject I have seen to date ("The wizard of Dragon*Con stands trial," Jan. 30).

While I get the impression that you, as so many others, are already convinced of Ed's guilt, I at least appreciate the relatively thorough coverage of the subject.

I haven't formed an opinion about Ed Kramer's innocence or guilt. I do feel, however, that if many of those who are making accusations were put under the same microscope of scrutiny, they would not come out smelling like roses. I seriously doubt that any smoking gun will be presented at the trial.

I also noticed that your article made no mention of the way Ed has been treated in prison. That information, which is readily available, should be worthy of a little attention.

-- Bill Langston, Cookeville, Tenn.

Injustice abounds
(In response to "The wizard of Dragon*Con stands trial," Jan. 30): The article covers a lot of bases, and other than the writer's barely concealed contempt for every one of the participants and the sci-fi fandom world, addresses the situation fairly objectively.

Unfortunately, I think the writer missed more interesting and newsworthy stories. Here's a guy who was arrested and charged based on a single anonymous phone call. If the police have any proof of his guilt, they do not seem to have shared it. His initial release from the jail was revoked after what seems clearly a case of mistaken identity, where, again, a single call reporting Kramer near someone young put him back in jail. It's horrifying to think that people can be jailed because of innuendo. While imprisoned, he was severely injured in a riot. Nobody believes prisons are safe places for the inmates, but this injury is reported as unimportant. Finally, there's a minor mention of Gwinnett's problems with its jury pool, as if to say, yeah, and he's going to wait even longer for a trial, like this was a long line at the movie theater. The man has waited over a year-and-a-half already.

If we believe in the concept of justice, then the delays, slurs and injuries Kramer has suffered waiting for a fair and speedy trial are abhorrent. CL has material here for three stories about the system itself being flawed, but Scott Henry put all of his research and work into a story which is not nearly so much about Kramer's alleged crimes as it is a covered chuckle at what deviants and freaks all these sci-fi geeks must be. We may believe in the idea of "innocent until proven guilty," but all this story does is help to convict Kramer in the eyes of the public.

-- Grant Goggans, Alpharetta

Missed point
I am writing to add a little information that was not included in Scott Henry's in-depth piece concerning Ed Kramer's upcoming child molestation trial ("The wizard of Dragon*Con stands trial," Jan. 30). While Scott states that Dragon*Con's current CEO, Pat Henry, "has worked hard to distance Dragon*Con from Kramer's legal troubles," he neglects to mention that a benefit was held for the Ed Kramer Legal Defense Fund at the last Dragon*Con, which took place over Labor Day weekend. To quote from the TrekTrak website:

"On Monday, Sept. 3, 2001, TrekTrak hosted a charity auction to benefit the Ed Kramer Legal Defense Fund during Dragon*Con 2001 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel. Hosts included Battlestar Galactica actor Richard Hatch, actress Jenny Wallace, SF writer Brad Linaweaver, Dragon*Con's Star Wars Programming Director Cathy Bowden and TrekTrak Director Eric L. Watts. The auction, along with private donations during the event, raised thousands of dollars for Ed's on-going legal expenses. Thank you for your support! TREKTRAK SUPPORTS THE ED KRAMER LEGAL DEFENSE FUND."

-- Nancy A. Collins, Atlanta

Random picks
As my subscription to Rolling Stone continues to pile up in the corner unread, I just wanted to say thanks for putting so eloquently my exact thoughts on the current state of music criticism (Vibes, "The deafening buzz," Jan. 23).

Every "critic's choice" I purchased this year quickly found its way to the used bins at CD Warehouse. I've had better luck picking new music with the close-your-eyes-and-point method lately than listening to the likes of David Wild (or, God forbid, Kurt Loder) tell me what's worth my 15 bucks.

I think a small group of music critics should form a writers' collective, so that the poor masses, for a small fee, can pay 'em to review discs that won't necessarily see the Billboard Top 50. If I could just trust 'em to give me an honest opinion instead of lauding whoever's bought the most ad space, hell, I'd join.

-- Dustonia Call, Gainesville

(In response to Karen Abbott's Flipside, "Should suburban commuters be taxed if they work in Atlanta?" Jan. 23): You are a moron. Stay out of the business world, you would only be dangerous. Suggesting we suburbanites take responsibility for the phenomenal fiscal mismanagement recently revealed would be as irresponsible as putting you in charge of a classroom full of third-graders.

Companies who set up shop in the big city probably also pay something known as a water and sewer bill. This should compensate for whatever toilets their employees/visitors may flush. Maybe you should consider a career in the deregulated gas industry so you can hook up with people who had similar brilliant ideas as yours.

-- Catherine L. Cavallo, Alpharetta

Marketing, smarketing
Idea: How to save MARTA. Smarketing. Smart marketing. Toy trains, robots, skyscrapers. We could get Lego to design an entire city, replete with arguing City Council members and ambivalent residents. Then we could smarket an entire set to the kids around Atlanta. A cartoon follows and action figures. Everything middle-class kids want. Cereal.

Image: Saturday morning. At the breakfast table, kids of all races eating MARTA Flakes or "MARTEES." On the cover: Robots. Athletic Robots? Roboletes maybe.

For the girls, smart dressing, TRL-loving Roboteens. "ROBOTEENS ROCK!"

We should probably make overweight robots as well -- Heftybots, since it is smart marketing. And for those kids with zero attention span: flashing lights and plenty of sounds, just like MARTA!

Smarketing MARTA not only solves current economic woes, it insures hordes of consumers predispositioned (qualitatively convinced, if you will) to using that great mover of people: MARTA. Maybe they are bringing their hard-earned currency to spend in the city while watching their favorite Roborock Group or Professional Robowrestler. After all, it is the South.

Smarketing. Smart marketing. The cure for MARTA, for sure.

-- Phil Kovacs, Peachtree City


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