Ross Karpelman, occasional DOWN collaborator (as the group's studio keyboardist) and longtime associate of former PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo, has responded to recent comments made by late PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's girlfriend of 20 years, Rita Haney, regarding Anselmo's alleged responsibility for Dimebag's murder.In a posting on the BLABBERMOUTH.NET comment boards, Karpelman writes, "I have been associated with Philip, PANTERA and the many other projects affiliated with these people for a long time. I enjoy reading Blabbermouth for the same reasons you all do... To get the lowdown on what is happening in the community that we all love: METAL! Most of the news on this site is useful, although I couldn't care less about 98% of the bands that are covered here. But some of the 'information' on this site serves as the metal version of The National Enquirer. "I have never felt moved to comment on anything I have seen here. Most of the time I wonder why some people bother to post here, since their comments are filled with so much hatred and inflammatory remarks about people and bands that they know nothing about. "I felt it necessary to respond to this one. "I pass no judgment on Rita or Vinnie [Paul Abbott, Dimebag's brother and former PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN drummer] or anyone else. Obviously being from New Orleans I come from the 'Phil camp,' and therefore might seem to be biased. But really there is nothing to be biased about. "Rita was Dime's girl since they were kids. Since before I knew them (which was about 1989 or so). She has every right to feel the way she feels. She also has every right to say what she wants to whoever she wants. However, there are many inaccuracies to what she says. One that I can personally attest to is the fact that water needed to be thrown in Phil's face to wake him up to tell him of Dime's death. "I am the one who told Phil about what happened minutes after it occurred. My nephew (who lives in Columbus) was at the show and called me right after it happened and before it was on the news. Philip was very alert and was extremely concerned. "In those first few hours we were desperately looking for confirmation that Dime was actually killed. At the time my nephew said he was just shot. "I know this fact is pretty minuscule in the large scheme of things, but this whole thing has gotten way out of hand. There were things said on both sides. No one was innocent. Really, it was lack of communication that caused the breakup of PANTERA. (Well... That, and the drugs and alcohol. ON BOTH SIDES!) No one would talk to each other. "Of course, everyone is entitled to their own views and that is mine, but the bottom line is this... It is none of our concern! Why is this news? Why do people give a shit? Who cares who was at Heath Ledger's funeral? Who cares about Britney's breakdown (although it is funny)? And who gives a shit about this? "Please let it go, Blabbermouth. All this accomplishes is stirring up shit and to give everyone a platform to bash those involved. Everyone is trying to get on with their lives. Post more about DOWN! Post more about HELLYEAH! Or post about the hundreds of other projects these musicians are involved in. This topic is dead and classless. Honor Dime in other ways! Stop dragging his memory through the dirt. If Rita wants to mouth off, she will do it. Do we really need 1000 topics on it? Same with Phil and Vinnie and Rex. Let it die, and focus on Dime's memory and the music that was and is and will be!"