Child Support

Cause and affect: I read Nadia Pflaum’s article on Esmie Tseng (“Is Esmie Evil?” January 5). And by sending this e-mail, I am in no way saying the story was bad or not needed. However, I think that you, being the press, believe that you have every right to publish things that people such as Mark Harvey or Ashley say.

In articles such as these, do you believe it is right to quote people without knowing the full truth? When Ashley reads this or her friends read this or when her parents read this, what do you think these people are going to think about Ashley and all the other people you quote in here? I don’t think you understand how horrible you made these people feel by including them in an article about someone killing her mom. The first thing they think is that it’s their fault. You can’t sit here and write these things without thinking first about what’s going to happen when you do. Blame drugs, blame Ecstasy, mushrooms, marijuana, whatever you like. But don’t sit here and write things and blame people for what happened.

I feel obligated to write this because if this was me, I know exactly how I would feel. I would feel like it’s my fault. I just wish that next time, you would think about other people and how it will affect them and their lives.

Kyle Deckman


Editor’s note: Pitch staff writer Nadia Pflaum spoke directly with Ashley Sosebee and Mark Harvey. Both were aware of the nature of the story and understood that their quotes would be included.

Cast the first stoner: I fail to see the point in some of the writing of this article. The whole attempt to demonize the young girl with the “They don’t know what she did last summer” subheadline was very clumsy. The whole part about her drug use was rather ham-handed as well.

Has no one involved with the writing of this story ever experimented thusly? Casting stones doesn’t help a story. I don’t see any malice of forethought in Esmie Tseng’s actions. Nothing that would say she needs to be punished as an adult. I dare say she seems to need psychiatric help more that anything!

In closing, please refrain from publishing ill-thought, confusing stories in the future.

Kevin Lynch

Overland, Missouri

Just a girl: We are doctors, lawyers, business people, educators and housewives who have known Esmie Tseng since elementary school and care deeply about how our community treats children.

Many argue that Esmie committed an adult crime. But according to our society, a 16-year-old is not able to make adult decisions such as voting, buying alcohol or enlisting in the armed forces. In many states, a 16-year-old is considered too young to have sex or even drive a car. A 16-year-old can’t even get into an R-rated movie.

Esmie Tseng is a 16-year-old girl who has spent her entire life trying to do the right things. She is an honor-roll student and part of the Blue Valley North High School gifted program and debate team. She spent 10 years studying piano and won top awards at state championships and college scholarships. Anyone who ever had a 10-minute conversation with Esmie knows, as we do, that Esmie is a very special girl.

We don’t believe society or Esmie is better served by throwing her into an adult prison. We don’t condone what Esmie did, but we understand that Esmie was subjected to intense pressure, stress and unrealistic expectations throughout her childhood. Pressures we cannot even imagine. We believe that everybody has a breaking point. Looking at Esmie, one might truly understand what it means to be driven nuts. There is not one victim in this story; there are two.

We ask our district attorney to keep Esmie’s case in the juvenile justice system for one reason: Esmie Tseng is a child. If there was ever a child in the juvenile detention center whose life was worth rehabilitating, this is that girl. For more information about Esmie, see

Jacob Horwitz and Friends of Esmie

Tip Sheet

No sale: Charles Ferruzza’s recent article about tipping on wine purchases raises another question: Should we tip on sales tax? With sales tax in Kansas City at 7.35 percent, this could add quite a bit to a party of four at a high-priced restaurant.

I will be interested in hearing your readers’ thoughts on this subject.

Don Merker


Good night, and good luck: Keep up the good work, oh ye fearless Night Ranger!

Your work in December capped off another stellar year of scintillating and titillating tales of adventure, excitement and d-evolution of the human condition, otherwise known as Kansas City nightlife. My admiration for and enjoyment of your columns and style have never abated. I could quote from any one of a number of your columns with relish and glee, but suffice to say, my reaction to your writing oft resembles Snoopy dancing on the roof of his doghouse.

So it was exciting to me when, on an off-day last week, I was enjoying some afternoon jazz on KKFI 90.1 while negotiating the holiday traffic and the announcer noted that (his words!) the “lovely Jennifer Chen” would be making an appearance on the Anything Goes show. A rare media showing by the Night Ranger … what a delightful end-of-the-holidays treat!

I may have mentioned before that the NR’s role had always somehow conjured for me the intriguing exploits and observations of Lamont Cranston in The Shadow; but really, your radio interview may be more akin to the idea of, say, KC’s own Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris all rolled into one, making a public showing and sharing what surely would be deep and thoughtful insights into the NR’s creative process. (Please forgive the peripherally creepy reference to you in second person, then third person; it seems to come with the anonymous journalistic parameters of your territory.)

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to your media appearance.

Name withheld by request