I've enjoyed reading your newspaper for a number of years--until now. Since I do have certain firsthand knowledge regarding the accident that killed Dana Wells, I now know that innuendo and fantasy are the stuff of which some stories are made ("For Reasons Unknown," David Holthouse, February 11). I am Miles Graci's aunt. He's lived in my home for 19 years.
Miles neither owns nor has he ever carried a gun, but perhaps the constant threats would be a reason to invest in one. Miles has never done any drug stronger than marijuana, no drugs are welcome in our home, and he won't even speak to druggies on the phone. He has no patience for them.
The big car chase down Cactus Road and "fishtailing" at 24th Street and Cactus are not that mysterious. Miles' car broke down (the reason he had to buy another one) again and Dana and Shawn Thomas were giving him a ride home because he had to be at work at UPS at 3 a.m. Dana was driving in the curb lane heading west, but he had to get into the far left lane to turn onto 24th Street--south--to get Miles home so his mother could take him to work. We live south of Cactus on 24th Street. No big mystery. Actually, the "rumor" we heard was that Dana was probably trying to move over to turn left, and the car on his left wouldn't let him over. No detectives ever spoke to us--or they'd have figured this one out pretty quickly.
Our family has grieved over the tragedy of Dana's death. We've even tried to understand the two-plus years of strange behavior that tries to blame the two other victims.
We cannot speak for Mr. Thomas. He was more Dana's friend, classmate, etc., at Gold Dust Elementary. They were actually a year older than Miles, who did not attend Gold Dust Elementary and met them at Shadow Mountain High School. And as for Mike Gibbons, he was younger than these boys, he lived down the street from Shawn Thomas, and Miles never knew him--and, I'm told, he didn't even know Miles' name during the deposition. So, while it makes interesting reading, there was no drug deal and nothing going on between these people except possibly stupid young men menacing each other as young men do. And, Miles isn't so silly or stupid to ever be involved with gangs. He's a little too independent for that--and no more of a groupie than any of Dana's friends that you quoted in your article.
As for Miles, he had no medical insurance at the time of this accident in which he was not the driver. His legs were so severely broken that the paramedics who worked on him were surprised that the doctors were able to save them. The rods were just removed this past summer. He still walks with a terrible limp and a lot of pain that will remain with him throughout his life. As for the amnesia, he spent many hundreds of dollars going to a hypnotist to try to regain the memory of this accident, and regained very little. This is not unusual.
Remember Princess Diana's bodyguard? After all the money in the world being made available to regain his memory of the accident, he could not. I know people who were in accidents and they do not remember them even after 20 to 50 years. I'd be happy to give you their names.
And, in closing, this article just helps to stir the pot in these young people's memories. They think that threatening Miles or his loved ones will somehow bring Dana back--there's the tragedy. I only hope that no more tragedies and broken bodies and hearts result from all this one-sided, barely factual article.
Editor's note: New Times stands behind the story. Contrary to her claim, a detective did speak to Miles Graci within days of the wreck. As for the assertion that the piece was "one-sided," New Times made repeated efforts to contact Graci and Shawn Thomas and their attorney for comment prior to publication of the article. They chose not to.
We are writing in response to the article titled "For Reasons Unknown." We went to school with Dana Wells, and while we do not profess to be his greatest friends (because we weren't), we knew him well enough to say that he would never have gotten himself into a situation like this.
He was one of the most mellow humans we've known, and never once had we seen him be confrontational. In fact, just the opposite. He was the type to avoid a fight, if anything.
It really sucks to think that the two individuals in the car with him are still saying that they don't remember. Pretty convenient memories, if you ask us.
We feel deeply saddened for Dana's mom, Gloria, his sister Christine, his stepfather, Max, and his closest friends.
All we can hope is that maybe someday Miles and Shawn will remember, or maybe their conscience will get it out.
David Holthouse did a great job with a terrible story. I was a friend of Dana's, and reading it was an extremely painful reminder of a difficult time for a lot of us. I am lucky enough to know the Cavalera family and know that their love for all their family and friends runs deep. Dana was also very generous with his love and his friendship. Maybe too generous, sometimes, but as we all know, there are many people who will do anything to feel like they are part of something "cool." I'm sure that there is a lot more to Dana's death than we will ever know.
If any of us who cared about Dana and his family could do anything to bring closure to this tragedy, I'm sure that we would. Unfortunately, the only people who really know what happened do not deserve to breathe the air that they now deny Dana. I miss Dana every day. I miss my friend and I miss sharing this world with him. I feel lucky to have known him, and I'm sure that many others do as well. I just think that we need to let him rest in peace.
I went to Shadow Mountain High School, and although I was not close to Dana, I remember him and some of his friends quite well (we had many mutual friends). He was always very nice to everyone, and I know he will be extremely missed. I want for his family and friends to know how very sorry I am that this has happened. I hope Dana's loving memories will always live in their hearts.
I would like to thank David Holthouse for having the courage and compassion to write on such a tragic and twisted scenario involving the death of Dana Wells. It is my hope that the force generated by this writing will bear upon the conscience of those involved in Dana's death.
Dana was well-liked and respected by me and everyone who knew him. It is a damn shame that it had to happen.
Chris (Zahn) Pekor
I am writing in reference to M. V. Moorhead's film review "The Year of Dying Dangerously," appearing in the February 11 issue. Moorhead makes the claim that one-half million Hungarian Jews perished at the hands of Adolf Hitler. I have read many accounts of World War II, and I know of no reputable scholar who any longer concurs with this claim.
M. V. Moorhead responds: According to The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (Macmillan, 1990), the initial Jewish population of the region then regarded as Hungary was 825,000. Of those, the minimum that died in the Holocaust was actually higher than half a million, more like 550,000. The maximum estimate is 569,000. Aaron Breitbart, senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told me that some of these were Czech or Romanian Jews, so I suppose if a person wished to hair-split, the claim could be made that they weren't culturally Hungarian, though they were regarded as Hungarian citizens at the time. So if you meant that the figure I cited--which I found in the press materials for The Last Days--was a lowballing of the magnitude of the murder, you're arguably correct. If, however, what you're hinting at is the usual revolting fantasy that the Holocaust is some sort of fabrication, then we (and by "we," I mean "sane people") have a different idea about what constitutes a reputable scholar.
After reading Thom Gabaldon's article titled "Radio Daze" (February 11), I am at a bit of a loss for words. Could it be possible that New Times was "talking trash" about KASR, the Arizona State University campus radio station? Gabaldon writes "we all know what a sad nonentity ASU's radio station is." Perhaps there is some other radio station on the ASU campus that I am not aware of, but the one that I know is very much an entity.
KASR-AM 1260 won New Times' Best of Phoenix for radio stations in 1990. Since then, we've increased our broadcast range, increased the number of hours of programming, and just recently began broadcasting on the Internet at www.asu.edu/kasr. It also dismays me that New Times couldn't even be professional enough to print our call letters or our frequency.
Nowhere else on Valley radio will you hear the diversity of music that is available on KASR. We have more than 65 CDs by local artists in rotation. We don't delegate those bands to an hour or two on Sunday night; we actually play them throughout the week. KASR's many specialty shows are also a highlight of our diversity. Monday morning brings you the Valley's only all big-band and swing show called AM-Mayhem. Monday night you can hear more than eight hours of punk, pop-punk and metal music. On Tuesday and Saturday nights, the Example radio show programs live hip-hop DJs and MCs. We have numerous sports talk shows and live play-by-play action of most ASU and some professional sporting events. These are only a few of the many "specialty shows" currently on KASR, but the list does go on.
KASR-AM 1260 can appreciate real criticism, if we're not doing a good job, but merely trash-talking us for no apparent reason doesn't reflect very well on the professionalism of your publication. We exist, and we broadcast, and we more than fill the void--we do more than all the other stations combined.
Next time Thom Gabaldon decides to write an article about the Valley airwaves, he should do a little more research to find out what else is "right under our noses."
Benjamin Overbaugh, station manager
Your article regarding Loi Nguyen ("Pride and Prejudice," Paul Rubin, February 4) is rather disturbing.
Many Asians, Vietnamese in particular, arrive in the United States with an aggressive, take-control attitude. There's a tendency to "push ahead" in stores and public places of entertainment.
It's quite natural today for young whites to resent the influx of foreign students, and their continuous lack of communication in English. There's already the feeling of "being ganged up on" by whites in relation to other minorities.
Why does Thunderbird give special consideration to any foreign student? Why the innuendo that expecting English to be learned/spoken is an act of malice on the part of whites?
Yes! This is the United States! But today expecting a nonwhite to be an American is almost an act of apology.
We lost 50,000-plus men in Vietnam, many of whom were white, many of whose sons and daughters could be in Thunderbird High School. Maybe the schools should consider this as part of "sensitivity training."
It's the foreigners who need to understand this, and the fact, right or wrong, the arrival of the Vietnamese is like looking the "enemy in the face."
Why is Gloria Ybarra of the Attorney General's Office not taking into consideration the attitudes of non-Asians? Is it because she's racist? And against whites? How can anyone be part of the Attorney General's Office with such allowable malice? Perhaps the white community needs to unite in demanding her ouster.
Incidentally, I've never seen an article suggesting racism when the aggressors are minority and the victims are white. Why is that? Is it because in today's "politically correct world" there are no "white victims"?
Kurtis C. Wolf
Take a Bowie
Regarding "Glam Fab" (Dewey Webb, January 28):
What a waste! Who gives a rat's ass? That article only told us that Angela Bowie is the world's biggest wanna-be. Who gives a damn? Is her only claim to fame a brief marriage to David Bowie? What a crock. Who cares? Surely you have more topics than this lame article!
Betty G. Perri
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.