Monday, March 5, 2012

Panic in Hamtramck

As many people are already aware, this past weekend was the annual Metro Times Blowout. Like previous years, tons of local bands played, and tons of people came out to Hamtramck to hear some amazing live music. Unlike previous years, a group of women were carjacked, kidnapped, and sexually assaulted while leaving one of the venues. The details are all over the news

After terrorizing the women, the alleged attacker, who's name is Tonio Dace, was apprehended by police and the women released. But this does not set my mind at ease. I can barely think of something more horrible. It just so happens that I've been watching a lot of true crime shows lately, and while I am certainly no authority on the matter, I feel very comfortable commenting on this incident. It takes a special kind of assailant to brazenly and violently attack FOUR WOMEN at once. This is not a person I want to see out on the streets any time soon. Frankly, I'm hoping Mr. Dace has a long list of priors that will help make the case that his days as a free citizen are over.

But our justice system is far from perfect, and it really is up to us as citizens to speak out and make a difference. I know my first reaction was wondering what I could do - both in terms of this incident, and to help make Hamtramck a safer place. One of the things I am doing (and you should do) is write a letter to the judge in this case. Let him know how outraged you are by this incident and that the severity of the attack shows how dangerous this person is. This could help impact his sentencing. 

The Honorable Paul J. Paruk
31st District Court
3401 Evaline
Hamtramck, MI 48212

Another thing you can do is just be a good citizen. This is the SECOND kidnapping to happen in Hamtramck in about a week. Although they appear unrelated, it's really scary. I've talked to Hamtramck police officers on more than one occasion and each officer stressed the importance of calling in things you find suspicious. It's a lot easier to just ignore stuff and not get involved, but if something or someone seems off, trust your instincts. The worst thing that could happen is they send an officer to check things out and they don't find anything. Don't just assume somebody else is going to handle it. Think about what a difference it could have made in the lives of these women if somebody saw this guy hanging around ahead of time, thought he seemed suspicious and called the police.

Also, I have no information about this other than the Facebook page, but somebody is putting together a "Take Back the Night Hamtramck" event (or events?). This might be a good way to get involved/show support. Go check that out.

One more thing: I heard about this incident via a friend's Facebook status update. Alarmed, I immediately checked both the Metro Times AND Metro Times Blowout Facebook pages thinking there would be a statement and/or some links to news articles etc. Nothing. And unless I'm missing something, there's STILL been no statement issued by the Metro Times. I have to admit, this pisses me off. Especially since I am aware they e mailed the bands playing on Saturday to tell THEM about the situation. Why no public statement? I'm in no way saying I blame the Metro Times for this, but a statement sure would sure have been reassuring, not to mention an opportunity to express support/sympathy for the victims AND to advocate taking action. If they're afraid of culpability, isn't that what their lawyers are for? I seriously see this as a huge missed opportunity, and please somebody correct me if I've missed their statement. 

Be safe out there.

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