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Letters published September 1, 2004

Grieving mother shares her story: In response to the statement "Mom should be son's cellmate" made by Dennis Sweeney [Letters, July 28]: I am Timothy Holt's mother. After reading the letters in Scene last month, I decided to respond to the letter from Dennis Sweeney and to those of you who think that you know how you would react if your mom were raped, drugged, and pushed out of a car.

How could you possibly know how you would react, unless it actually happened to you? It amazes me that so many people found some sort of entertainment and pleasure in reading about these tragic and painful moments. My son killed a man because he was stuck in a moment of pain, anger, and confusion. Without thinking about the future or what the results of his actions might bring to himself and to others, he pulled a trigger. My son was wrong, and he'll pay for that the rest of his life.

Dennis Sweeney, you think I should be my son's cellmate? I raised all five of my children together, and they all shared the same rules and were brought up in the same way. My oldest son has finished the police academy and is waiting to serve as a Cleveland police officer. He's a good husband and father, and owns his own home. I have two daughters who are married and raising their own children, plus holding down jobs. My youngest daughter is in her second year at Kent, studying to be a teacher. Yes, Mr. Sweeney, Timothy was a troubled teen and sometimes made bad choices. I'm sure I made mistakes as a parent that I regret and I'm sorry for. What parent can say they never made mistakes?

Pat yourself on the back, Mr. Know-It-All, because I am my son's cellmate. Through every second of every day, I am with him. I relive every moment of that night and what that man did to me in almost every dream. When I visit my son and I'm kissing him goodbye, I can't help but picture that man's mother as he was dying, when she gave her son her last kiss goodbye. I see the pain and tears in my son's eyes as he relives and talks about that day, and as he faces what the next 25 years of his life will be like. How he wishes that day never happened.

I constantly go over every moment of that horrible night and the next morning, trying to figure out what I could have done to change things. I called the police three times that morning, but because of a dispatcher's mistake, the police never came. I was drugged, scared, and confused; I had no way of knowing what my son was about to do when he left that house.

Yes, Mr. Sweeney, I am my son's cellmate. So I ask you, what exactly was it that I did to deserve this life sentence?

Sue Koltiska

Put yourself in his shoes: I'm writing in regard to readers' responses to an article written about me ["In Hot Blood," June 23]. I was disturbed that Dennis Sweeney thinks my mother should be my cellmate for how she raised me. He also stated that I was a drug-dealing bully. I don't know where Mr. Sweeney received his information, but the irony is, Mr. Sweeney does not know my mother or me.

I don't feel like a victim, and I know that I have to pay for what I did. I truly am sorry for my actions and wish I could take it all back. As far as the drugs and other false statements you made, I have not touched any drugs since I was a teenager.

I pray that you never have to face the same guilt and rage that I did. You just might be surprised of what you are capable of "In Hot Blood."

Timothy Holt
Lorain Correctional Institution

Cons From the Pros
Disenchanted doc decries deceit:
Your story on Dr. Henry Heimlich ["Heimlich's Maneuver," August 11] indicates that he has never been well and/or that he is a conniving, deceitful, and unethical scientist.

After reading how he took credit for Dr. Dan Gavriliu's surgical procedure and the methods Heimlich uses to advance his ideas, I believe he hasn't ever developed anything worthy or original, including his "malariotherapy." Perhaps unknown to many is the fact that in the past, prior to the antibiotic era, people were infected with malaria because the spirochete that causes syphilis cannot live at the high body temperatures which malaria causes. He may have dug this up from historical medical journals or books and appropriated it, and without any scientific proof that the above mechanism may affect the HIV virus or cancer cells, he is irresponsibly advocating a deceitful, risky, and potentially lethal therapy for their cure.

I believe that the high spheres [of influence] in our scientific and medical community have irresponsibly allowed the sub-diaphragmatic thrust for choking to be defaced with the name Heimlich.

Physicians and scientist should not, when an article like yours falls into their hands, have to experience the frustrating feeling of having been deceived into believing that Dr. Heimlich and his therapies passed scientific and ethical scrutiny, when it seems they did not.

The sudden and inevitable realization that one may have been unknowingly revering an endorsed charlatan does nothing but cast doubt on the sanity of our processes.

Roberto Dávila Jr., MD

Field worker wasn't fooled: I read your piece on Dr. Heimlich with great interest. Having worked in the EMS rescue field since 1974 (I became an EMT at age 16), I can really relate to this side of the story.

I remember Dr. Heimlich trying to hawk one of his books at the Clinical Conference on Emergency Care in Orlando in the early '80s. My ambulance partner and I walked by him, and we looked at each other with amusement and disgust. After listening to people like the late Dr. Peter Safar of Pittsburgh and Dr. Ron Stewart and others speak on emergency medicine, I know that the real field folk would see through his disguise. I knew that a guy running around trying to push his book to a bunch of us who did not make many bucks just did not seem right. Given that the myth has perpetuated itself over all these years, it is good that you have written this.

Neither was I surprised to read of Ellis and Associates backing Heimlich. After working as a safety professional, I became used to very soft science and blown-up stories of success, when safety and/or medical folk wanted to sell their products to entertainment-industry clients. And they bought it.

Chet Lloyd, EMT
Rockaway, NJ

Gotta get the facts to support gut feelings: Great article. Thank you for your excellent history, which illustrates the importance of evidence-based recommendations for health-care advice.

Dr. Donald J. Gordon
San Antonio, TX

Abuse of Power
Judge's court is divorce limbo:
I have a friend who is in the same situation with Judge Celebrezze ["Feed the Machine," August 18]. He filed for divorce two years ago and has had numerous delays. Celebrezze's nonchalance regarding delays and completing cases in a timely fashion is unjust. The stress of going through a divorce has been equated with losing a parent, yet Celebrezze couldn't care less. When my friend's attorneys reminded him that a recent delay was the 12th one, his remark was "They're not going anywhere."

Why a judge doesn't have to answer to anyone is a mystery. In this country we can impeach a President, yet we can't get rid of a judge who deserves to be thrown out. A person who has the power to waste years of people's lives should have some responsibility, integrity, and compassion. Obviously, he has none. Sadly, Celebrezze probably read your article during one of his many court cancellations!

Scott Sikon

Dream On
Crap-talkin' fan says don't diss his band:
I'm sorry, but I thought the people writing for this paper had a little bit of taste or at least knew what they were talking about. The Yes/Dream Theater concert [Nightwatch, August 18] was great. If anything, they should have split the night instead of having Dream Theater open.

Phil Freeman, I'm sure on some planet you probably might know a thing or two about music -- or the sound of your own mouth spewing out garbage -- but on planet Earth, people push the boundaries of music to challenge, entertain, and possibly stimulate the cerebral cortex (something I am afraid you are lacking). Dream Theater, as always, was amazing, and if anything, Yes should have been opening for them. Sorry, Phil, time to think about a new career. Perhaps sewer maintenance is a possibility; it's more in line with the crap you write.

Chip Maggio


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