I WAS SHOCKED BY THE letters (The Mail, 3/3) in response to “Jimm Altman: The Unheard Music” (“Artifacts,” 2/17). Jimm was my friend. I knew a very different person from the one described in those letters. Besides the usual assortment of human foibles, Jimm was caring, loyal, generous, kind, and courageous. He lived according to principles which had nothing to do with stealing, lying, drug addiction, or any of the other charges leveled against him.

Mutual friends tell me another version of Jimm’s story, one corroborated by facts and people who were with him at the time. Obviously, a few of Jimm’s friendships ended badly, but I never heard Jimm speak about anyone the way some folks have written about him.

There are at least two sides to most stories, and when the story involves the deceased, all sides are best handled with care and respect. I’m just not seeing care or respect or even decency in either the letters or Washington City Paper‘s decision to print them. What kind of person would paint such a vicious portrait of anyone, living or dead? And for what reason? And why malign a gifted artist we lost only two months ago?

Karen Mitchell, Woodley Park

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