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Paul Ruffins’ piece on biking in Northeast D.C. (“Finding Hell on Wheels,” 9/29), like his previous Washington City Paper piece on hazing in black fraternities (“Greek Tragedy,” 6/18/99), gives witness to an important perspective on D.C. too infrequently heard in your newspaper. However, I must admit discomfort with his implied dichotomy between ostensible economic motivations for crime—rooted in systemic factors—and noneconomic motivations—rooted in individual character. I suspect the motivations for criminal behavior are far more complex and require far more nuanced responses than either job programs or incarceration. Still, I suspect Ruffins’ hint that this is how our law-abiding citizenry will reduce the problem is sadly accurate. His reluctant law-and-order voice from the black bourgeoisie is one that seems to be growing in our city, and I applaud your paper’s efforts to give that voice a forum so that the community can wrestle with it. Let’s see more.

University Heights