I spent several years living on the streets of Portland, as a very young teenager—13-16 years old ["Trafficking Trust," Feature, Jan 26, regarding Portland's new shelter for sex-trafficked youth]. Most of the girls that I knew prostituted to make money. And they did drugs to escape from the reality that they were living. And they had to prostitute to make the money to do the drugs. While there were a few hardcore, fringe girls who had been pulled into a scene that I stayed far away from, we all knew what was going on and who these people were. And most girls knew to stay away from them. But those guys were everywhere, and their 14-year-old salesgirls trying to bring in fresh kids [were] really effective. The offer from a fellow kid to do some free dope and have a warm room for a night is pretty attractive. So two things: First of all, the kids (and it is boys and girls) see the cops as the enemy, as bad guys, because they ARE! They bust them for petty possession and prostitution. They harass them [and] they threaten to turn them in as runaways. When most of these kids are on the streets because they are fleeing from abusive homes, how the hell are the cops helping them? Second: I really hope that this shelter is dealing with addiction. Also, I was really sickened when I read that parental consent was needed to stay in the shelter. Really, if you knew some of the stories of what these kids are running away from....

-posted by kalikill


TO THE EDITOR OF THE MERCURY—In reference to the shooting of Bradley Morgan ["Police Shoot at Man Atop Downtown Parking Garage," Blogtown, Wed Jan 25, regarding the suicidal man with a handgun replica who was shot dead by police]: The history of police shooting people in mental health crises forces ordinary civilians to bear the responsibility of life-and-death situations. Here's an unfortunate, but not unrealistic scenario: A friend having a mental health crisis has what appears to be a real gun and is threatening to shoot himself. Do I call 911 for help and hope someone who is trained to handle mental health issues comes quickly, knowing that the police will likely shoot him before an expert arrives? Or do I try to talk my friend out of it myself, putting myself in danger of physical harm? With the present plan of shooting first and intervening later, I would rather take my chances with my armed friend myself than dial for his executioner. I need reassurance that trained professionals will be given a chance to work with mentally ill citizens before calling emergency services will feel like the right thing to do.

-Lauren Hudgins


HEY THERE, PORTLAND MERCURY COVER ART—You're lookin' pretty badass [Cover, Jan 26, depicting a greasy, longhaired fellow who looks like he's itching for a fight, along with an inset image of him taking the upper hand in said fight]. You look like you want to beat the shit out of me. Yeah, I can tell what you're thinking 'cause [of] the dude (or chick) that made you put your thoughts up there in the upper right-hand corner. You're all like, "Yeah bro, I'm gonna pound your face with this fist right here. This fist I got my face-pounding glove on!" Nice face-pounding glove, by the way. Only need one? Okay, but there's just one problem there, Mercury Cover Art—my hair looks NOTHING like that. Advantage moi, Mercury Cover Art. Oh, by the way, I scratched your Reign in Blood CD.

-Richard Flavor

AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!! NOOOO NOT THE SLAYYYYYYERRR!!! Just kidding. CD? We're just going to rip that shit off of MediaFire... and... hold on... yep, back in business. But just to show there's no hard feelings (and because we think we fractured a knuckle on last week's cover—son of a BITCH does it hurt! That glove is USELESS!), we're giving you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can watch simulated violence from a safe, respectable distance.