Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, March 25, 2010
R.I.P., Bobby Cain: I [appreciated] your story on the murder of one of us, Bobby Cain. Bobby was a little off his rocker at times, sure. But he was a harmless, decent man who had enjoyed a so-called "normal" life — complete with a home that he owned and a loving wife — before he became chemically imbalanced.
It's gratifying to know that someone whom society usually considers an upstanding person, Roger Garfield, isn't getting away with blowing our Bobby away.
Though a lot of "citizens" would consider Bobby's dead body just a piece of garbage to be hauled to the dump, he was my friend. And the man who killed him took him away. It's sad for those of us who knew him.
Freddy John, Phoenix
Blow him away, of course: What a surprise — another biased story from New Times! Come on, if a guy like Bobby Cain were coming into our places of business and the cops wouldn't do anything about it, what would any of us do?
Blow him away, of course, if he didn't do as we said and get lost.
These are our businesses you're talking about. The places that feed our families. We cannot let a crazy bum ruin our livelihoods because he's offended that we don't want loitering, or worse, in our stores.
I hope poor Roger Garfield gets off for doing what any businessman in his right mind would have done. He hasn't gotten justice so far.
James Cleveland, Phoenix
A plea for empathy: The abuse or mistreatment of the homeless in this country is nothing new. Ignorance, intolerance, haughtiness, and the sense that one is superior to a homeless person have occurred with everyone alive today. No exceptions.
It's all too easy to sidestep the reasons a person is homeless or considered a transient. Loss of job, sudden trauma, mental illness, drug addiction are possible gateways to living the life that most have nightmares about. Not having a place to call home is a terrible fate.
Not all of us are crazy or drug-addicted or looking for a handout from everyone we see. A lot of us are hardworking, honest, decent, and refuse to smell like swamp-ass no matter what circumstances head our way. We are all equal in the eyes of God.
You may have more money in your wallet or a new car, but that doesn't make you any better then us. We love, we cry, we fear, we worry, we feel — just like you.
Don't look down on us and make judgments just because we are homeless. Use your God-given common sense (most are supplied with this) and imagine yourself in our shoes. Show some human decency and know that we struggle for a better life. There is nowhere for us to go but up. There's nowhere for you who are "better" than us to go but down. You should be on your soft, tanned, well-fed knees praying to your deity that you don't somehow wind up in our boat.
So, next time, instead of ignoring or rolling up your window or locking the front door of your business or talking shit to a homeless person, try saying, "Hello." Or, "I'll be praying for you." Even a genuine smile goes a long, long way.
Aldemar B., Phoenix
No, you can't: So you can't kill a transient who's coming at you menacingly in your own business — after he's been told repeatedly to leave on many occasions?
What the hell's Arizona and the Wild West coming to, friends and neighbors? This isn't the state my great-granddaddy helped settle.
Paul O'Brien, Phoenix
Affect your own justice: He should probably have hunted the old fart down and wasted him — silent but deadly — letting the cops figure it was some local hoodlums who'd killed him.
There is no justice in this world, and you must be clear-headed and fearless enough to develop and affect your own justice upon the world.
Narvel G. Beent, Phoenix
911 fails again: Once again, the 911 system fails to get a police response to a legitimate threat. That's the real story here.
Wake up, New Times! We live in tough times. Can't a person protect his business when other businesses are going under?
Mary Beth Gleason, Phoenix
Garfield's a murderous wimp: From his own words and what the other tenants at the store had to say about his anger problems, Roger Garfield's a lily-livered wimp who planned his murder of Mr. Cain carefully.
The man should get the full 21 years in prison. The jurors should have convicted him on the second-degree murder charge.
Tough guy [state schools Superintendent] Tom Horne should be shown the door by voters if he's staking his career on supporting this murderous wimp.
I've worked with little chickenshits with big chips on their shoulders, and Garfield fits that description perfectly.
I wonder how long it'll be before Harold Fish murders another stranger who scares him.
Teo Bueno, Tucson
What would Joe do?: Would Sheriff Joe have shot this man under the same threatening circumstances without shedding a tear. I say absolutely.
A medal for Garfield?: Don't worry. State Senator Russell Pearce will get Roger Garfield a special bill that allows Arizonans to shoot transients retroactively. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is probably preparing a medal for Garfield.
That's called self-defense: If you have a weapon pulled on you and somebody still is approaching you in a threatening manner, would you stand by idly and do nothing? He may just overpower you and shoot you with your own weapon.
No ex post facto: I hope the state Legislature keeps in mind that the Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws.
Garfield was a good shopkeeper: This article is very one-sided. I frequented the Historic District Antique Mall many times over the years, especially when Roger Garfield was the owner. He's one of the most knowledgeable antique dealers and appraisers in the state.
He's even had homeless fellows in his employment when I've visited, telling me he likes to "help those who are down and out."
It bugs me that this article focuses on only three people in the store the day of the incident, and only people on [the] backstabbing side.
Roger Garfield had a motive: protecting the people in his shop and himself from someone who must have been insane. No one in his right mind would run at a man with a gun unless he wanted to die.
Suicide by self-defense: Interesting article. The Garfield-Cain shooting has limited similarities to the Harold Fish case.
They both sound like suicide by self-defense since the deceased were both mentally/emotionally unstable. For that matter, Garfield sounds like he doesn't have a full magazine, either.
The background of provocation between Garfield and Cain certainly adds to the complexity. As Ray Stern probably is aware, there are two bills now in the Legislature to make concealed weapons legal without training, education, or a permit: House Bill 2347 and Senate Bill 1108.
This is scary, although education would probably have made little difference with Garfield since his act seems premeditated (at least, the article slants it this way).
What is unnerving about the killing by Garfield and the one by Fish is that while the shooters will probably end up walking the streets again, both are financially devastated defending themselves in the legal system.
Putting the burden of proof on a shooter for self-defense doesn't seem compatible with innocent 'til proven guilty.
The article is a severe indictment of both the public mental-health system and 911.
Cain was a danger to himself from people like Garfield and should have been in treatment. Cops would rather the public not take the law into their own hands but acknowledge they can't be everywhere at once.
A similar case?: And how about the man who waved a bat at police in his own home in Peoria who was shot dead with two bullets?
Wife calls police, police enter home, and police kill the man. The cops will, no doubt, get off scot-free while Roger Garfield won't.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.