Friends in high places; Blood and gutlessness; For shame

Friends in high places

Because Mr. Schutze so unfairly concluded what my intentions were as they related to a political contribution to Ronnie Kendall ("The art of the touch," April 13), I feel it is necessary to write this letter. I'll preface my comments by noting that I am proud of my political involvement and wish that more citizens participated in the process, rather than fewer. I'll continue to support friends and causes in which I believe with my time, energy, and money. Articles like Mr. Schutze's, however, are certainly discouraging.

In direct response to Mr. Schutze's accusations, I would appreciate the editor adding the following facts for readers to review:

1. I was not attorney of record in any case in Judge Kendall's court in January 1997, when the contribution was made.

2. Of the few cases our firm has had in Judge Kendall's court, Mr. Schutze failed to mention that the only case our firm tried to conclusion was in 1999. Both parties waived a jury and tried it to the judge. Our client requested damages of several hundred thousand dollars. After more than a week of trial, Judge Kendall found against our client and awarded no damages.

3. Mr. Schutze did, in fact, leave a voice mail for me, threatening to print his ill-conceived comparisons to the Lipscomb case involving bribery. I returned the call as soon as I retrieved the voice mail message and left a message on Mr. Schutze's voice mail indicating the impropriety of his comments. I invited him to call me back; he did not do so. Perhaps I should conclude that it was a better story without the facts.

4. Ronnie Kendall is a friend of mine.

5. I do not believe that Judge Kendall would change his position for a $1,000 contribution or a $1,000,000 bribe.

Mr. Schutze writes the entire article implying that the political contribution to Ronnie Kendall was a bribe. In a one-sentence paragraph, he rather disingenuously indicates that's not what he really said. I strongly suggest to both Mr. Schutze and the Dallas Observer that reputable journalism requires taking the time to check the facts so that the act of printing libelous articles is avoided.

Debbie D. Branson

Jim Schutze responds: I left multiple messages for Ms. Branson during the week I reported and wrote my story. On one occasion, I talked to a woman at her office who said Ms. Branson was there but taking other calls. A week later, as my article was going to press, I received Ms. Branson's phone message, which said she'd been out of town and just got my message. Because Ms. Branson called so late, I was able to represent the contents of her message only by including the line, "Literally minutes before this story went to press, I picked up a phone message from Debbie Branson saying, 'Your conclusion is absolutely inappropriate.'"

Blood and gutlessness

Give me a break.

The whole American Psycho review ("A cut above," April 13)? I mean, you guys are just a step away from the Enquirer now.

Cutting off women's lips while they are still alive? Do you know anyone who has been a real victim of this type of violence? I mean, because it's so nice of other people to have the privilege of not knowing this type of violence up close, so they'd have the spineless and gutless nerve to mock it and profit off of it.

That distance must be very comfortable. It must be nice to be that far away from it. Some people cannot afford it. Really, you positively reviewed something barely a step above a snuff film. Congratulations.

Do you have a soul?

And yeah, Bret Ellis deserves a whole lot of understanding and pats on the back for surviving all his bad press ("The redemption of Bret Easton Ellis," April 13). I'll remember that the next time I speak with a shelter worker or survivor of this type of violence. Because I so foolishly thought they were the ones who were deserving of the real attention.

How crazy I was. It's the ones making their life an outright hell on earth that deserve all the glory and attention. So good of you guys to set the record straight on that one. What's next? An article on those poor, sympathetic, misunderstood Klansmen glorifiers that have endured so much bad press? Or maybe those poor Nazi sympathizers that got so much bad hype?

Really, what new category of the misunderstood psychotic are you going to glorify next? Are you going to insult those who endured slavery and genocide next? Or would that be crossing the line to you?

Or is it just OK because it's about killing women and prostitutes?

Via e-mail

For shame

Mr. [Rob] Patterson, thank you very much. There is no better compliment I can receive than being called a "dumbass" by such a wonderful individual as yourself (Previews, April 13). I guess I am your worst nightmare. First, I was one of those dreaded "frat boys" once upon a time. Second, I drink beer. Third, and worst of all, I am a huge Pat Green fan. Let me guess -- you were the kid in school with no friends who had no fun.

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