I did enjoy your story, although it had some of those sanctimonious tourist bits intertwined with that self-righteous clap that journo's at the Loaf just can't seem to avoid.
-- Jon Avery, Atlanta
I ain't skeered
I was surprised by the report of "dive" bars in Atlanta where standouts include $40,000 biker clientele and $16 rib eyes ("Dive in," March 18). Most notably, I'm amused by the Phoenix being awarded a four-skull scary factor. Personally, I would characterize the Phoenix as a "Cheers" bar, a place where regulars feel comfortable starting a conversation with newcomers. (Most gay bars feature S&M -- "stand and model" -- posturing.)
The Phoenix is indeed noted for the variety of its clientele, welcoming folks from leather-clad men to transvestite hookers, and everything in between. It's hard to believe the bathrooms receive a bad rating -- the women's bathroom, lacking mention in the dive-bar article, is locked, but inside you will find it painted pink with framed delicate flower prints on the wall. The men's room is small, immaculate and needs no door (I don't think there has ever been one). Of entertaining note is a pair of safety grab bars flanking the urinal.
-- J Golsan, Atlanta
Preparing the young
With so many newspapers around nowadays, I find it very difficult to find something that peaks my interest, let alone an article that I will read in its entirety. One day while working a side job, I noticed an article that caught my eyes, "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11).
Since I'm a police officer with DeKalb County police, I was familiar with the term. I started reading the story, and as I read, I thought as a father all the things that I have been expressing to my young teenage daughter. Things that she should try to avoid -- and older males up to no good is one of them.
I brought the article home and made my daughter read it. I will have to be very honest when I say I did not get the response that I was looking for. After reading the article, she could not wait to tell me about the story and how she would try so hard not to fall for some of the same things that Falicia fell for that landed her where she is right now.
As a police officer, thanks very much for bringing this much-needed story to those parents who think things like this don't happen. As a father, thanks for bringing a story that supports my claim to my daughter that I do have a clue, and that I'm simply trying to prepare her for life.
-- Officer T.L. Worth,
DeKalb County Police Department
How fucking touching
(In response to "Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11.) People who kill people belong in jail. Sometimes that's sad, but at least it improves the chances of predator-blowers like you getting shiny prizes.
-- Tina Trent, Atlanta
This was one of the most shocking and involved stories I have ever read ("Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11). It has everything for a great movie.
This young lady lets the reader know every detail and fact of the matter and it was as deep as an article can be without being there, talking to her yourself. I felt every word of this article and it was so hard because during the time she was on the streets, I had frequented the same strip joints and clubs mentioned in the article. My street running days are long behind me because of the inherent dangers of just hanging out, being a young black male. I can only pray and thank God that I was spared the poisons of street life.
-- Dave Kemp, Rex
I am very interested in knowing the outcome of this case ("Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11). I must applaud you for doing a wonderful job on exposing the lifestyle of so many young girls who are exploited trying to make "quick cash." I hope that Falicia Blakely gets the punishment she deserves for committing such heinous crimes. I don't believe her defense that she was told to do things by her "pimp." There is no justification for her actions and if death is the penalty to be paid for these crimes, then this is truly one defendant who I believe deserves it.
-- LaShun Person, Atlanta
I think that the choices of others and Falicia Blakely's choices set her on a rocky road in "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11). First, her mother and her grandmother shouldn't have suggested she come to Atlanta. It would prove a bad choice for Falicia.
At the age of 16, she should have stayed in school, winter clothes or not. She should have been taking care of her baby instead of messing around with a pimp.
Now she has messed herself up. I think that Falicia should stay in jail for three to five years instead of serving three life sentences.
If the court gives Falicia another chance, I believe that her life would be right this time. You only live life once, as much as I know, but separating her from her son will make her hopeless. I think what she was doing was experiencing how her life would have been had she been loved. And loved by a caring father, a strong one who would have supported her and given her guidance.
I think she should have another chance.
-- Darnetia Fair, Atlanta
Surviving the streets
I liked the story "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11). I think that if Falicia's grandmother had never forced her to come to Atlanta, she would not be in trouble today. I also think the writer, Mara Shalhoup, did an outstanding job reporting the story. A young girl's life was at stake, and she was doing what she thought she should do to survive. If she didn't kill Ray and Doc, she would have been killed or so she thought. All of this and more should at least be considered where her child is involved.
-- Jeffery Crutchfield, Atlanta
I miss Stefan's Vintage Clothing!
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