Spot the hypocrite
Did anyone else notice the irony here? Even as the Dallas Observer seeks solutions to Plano's problems with youth and drugs ["Bad trip," May 6], the publication places an ad for a head shop selling "body detoxifiers" and "[rolling] papers" alongside the text of the article on page 47.

Paul Nelson
Via e-mail

Thank you for Christine Biederman's article about the overdose death of Milan Malina and subsequent events.

The Malina family's frustration with the actions of the police is very easy to understand, although the root is in political decisions. The sad fact is that these deaths are also a result of our failure to treat addiction as a medical problem.

Where clinics are used to sell heroin to addicts, as in Switzerland today or as in Shreveport from 1919 to 1923, none of the participants died from overdose. Instead, these cities reduced crime, saved money, and were more successful than our prison-based approach for reducing use and addiction.

We in Texas are spending billions annually to build and operate prisons that could be spent on programs that provide treatment or directly benefit our young. We know that current proposals to reduce class size in the lower grades could help to eventually change some of the conditions that make our young susceptible to drugs, yet we are dithering about whether to spend some $250 million more to make it happen, even though the amount is only about 10 percent of what we now waste on the imprisonment of nonviolent offenders.

The Arizona Supreme Court has just reported on the success found in Arizona in the last year by ending imprisonment for simple use and possession of small amounts of drugs and ordering various treatment alternatives. Our priorities are all backward.

Jerry Epstein
Drug Policy Forum of Texas

The Rev's fall from grace
While I agree that Jim "Reverend Horton Heat" Heath deserves recognition as a groundbreaking artist as well as one hell of a guitar player, I remain skeptical of his abilities to pull out of his current artistic nosedive unaided [Dallas Observer Music Awards, April 29].

Let's be clear here: Interscope Records was not at fault for the lousy songwriting on It's Martini Time and Space Heater. I think Heath is buying time with that claim. I refuse to believe Interscope--a label famous for giving artists their creative freedom--would mess with a formula as winning as that on Full Custom Sounds and Liquor in the Front.

Let's not forget that Heath suffered a rather, um, significant setback when he lost Patrick "Taz" Bentley, a gifted drummer and extremely talented musician. This loss is, I believe, a serious blow to the Rev's songwriting and to the overall chemistry of the band. Why does no one seem to take that loss into account? Listen to Liquor. Then listen to Martini Time, made after Bentley's departure. The chemistry is so different, you can smell it. The thundering triplets of Bentley's bass drumming just ain't there. In fact, the current drummer can't even come close to filling Bentley's shoes. Sorry, Dave--gotta call it like I see it.

I refuse to believe that Heath has said all that he is capable of saying. I want him to go back to making the kick-ass rock and roll that made me a fan. I want to like whatever he is doing, but I'm not a fool, nor is my patience infinite. Jim, stop screwing around, get Bentley back in the band, and start saying something original, for God's sake. Please--don't make this music award your last gasp.

Any musician worth his salt knows that ya gotta please the audience. You are possibly the greatest guitarist working in America today, but if you want to keep working, take a good, long look at where you are going. If the next thing you put out doesn't stand up with the material on Full Custom and Liquor, then I think it lends credence to the theory that Bentley was more a part of your sound than you--or anyone else--gave him credit for.

Colin Buckley
Via e-mail

Godless and unloved
I have been puzzled by the lack of national news coverage and police follow-up on the Madalyn Murray O'Hair case ["The case of the headless, handless corpse," February 18]. Why did the authorities wait so long before checking to see whether Madalyn had "really" moved overseas? Does the fact that she was an atheist mark her as an unimportant human being? I wish someone would write a book after adequate investigation, to show what happened and what was done, or not done, about it.

Robert C. Bovee
Via e-mail

More huddled masses
Not to beat a horse to death, but I just spent four hours in line at the INS office ["Huddled masses," April 8]. I arrived at 7:30 a.m., and by noon we were told to come back next week because all the "numbers" were taken. As we were waiting in line, we saw an INS worker leaving and telling a woman, "Sorry, I have to go." There needs to be at least five to seven clerks and not just two for the numbers of people that show up daily.

Let Mr. [William] Harrington [Letters, May 6] stand in line all morning and be told he won't be seen today. Please let him come join us as we lose a day at work, get pain in our backs and knees, and rock back and forth from boredom. Yeah, that'll happen.

Name withheld
Via e-mail

Darlie's defenders
I am extremely disappointed in Ann Zimmerman's article "The cult of Darlie" [May 6].

Most of the people who support Darlie have never met her, including me, the Webmaster of her Web site. Speaking for myself, I know her only through exchanging letters and a few phone calls. I find Darlie Routier to be a very sweet young lady who has been railroaded onto Texas' death row. I created and maintain her Web site because I believe she was unfairly tried and convicted. To me, she is a symbol of all of the injustice that exists throughout this country.

It's a fact that there are many innocent people in prison all over this country. In a recent TV interview, Barry Scheck (of O.J. Simpson trial fame) stated that statistics show that one out of every seven people on death row throughout this country is innocent. That is despicable! And to be labeled as a member of a "cult" because I'm trying to do something to change that is an insult!

The Leeza Gibbons show may not have been the best forum for announcing Barbara Davis' change of heart about Darlie or for Christopher Brown to try to present the new facts he's discovered about this case; however, it was a way to begin getting the word out.

I did not find Ms. Zimmerman's sarcastic remarks about Barbara Davis and Christopher Brown amusing. It took a lot of courage for Ms. Davis to admit she had been wrong; and although there may be a lot of typos in Mr. Brown's book, the important information he discloses far outweighs the importance of misspelled words.

Ms. Zimmerman also stated that half of the audience consisted of Darlie Routier's extended family. I challenge her to prove that!

Linda T. Hutchins
Via e-mail

We read your story with interest, as we have been in contact with Darlie and her family for about one year now. The remark about Darin Routier mentioning his wife's breasts is out of context. We see things differently, since right before that you write that he said he thought it was a rape attempt by the intruders. His comment is most certainly in connection with the rape attempt due to her attractiveness. And finally: Is it wrong that Darin is proud of his wife? Think about it: Everyone would wish his or her partner is proud of him.

Regarding your comment on the misspellings and inaccuracies of the book written by Christopher Brown (we have it ourselves), we should keep in mind that the main thing is the message of the book. An innocent life is at stake here, and the purpose of this book is to make evidence available to the public that has been hidden and manipulated by those who were supposed to uncover it--the police!

We hope and pray that all people will see what has happened here and join us to set Darlie free as quickly as possible.

Berthold and Christine Kynast Moltkestr
Via e-mail

How does the word "cult" apply to your article, except to prejudice people? There is no cult, according to the definition I downloaded from my American Heritage CD-ROM. So why did you claim there is? And you didn't write about one. You obfuscated so much that anyone of normal intelligence would think you had entered into some fourth-dimensional skating contest where you dazzle the paying public with your backbends and quadruple klutzes.

Have you personally visited Darlie Lynn? I seriously doubt it. Why is that? You seem to write about her, yet you know nothing. There is probably a word for that too. Stupid, pointless, and uninteresting are a few that come to mind.

Perhaps you should have followed your daughter's advice and actually gone to another set while in Hollywood. Since I live in California, I could have suggested Melrose Place--they always show the truth.

After seeing Darlie's picture on her Web site, especially the ones of her bruises on both arms, how could it even be possible that she did that to herself? Let's see you do that.

At least Barbara Davis has enough guts to admit her error and complete lack of judgment. You apparently don't. It takes a total idiot to look at Darlie Lynn's pictures, which should have been shown at the trial, to believe for one instant that she did the crime. It takes even more stupidity to allow this to go on and on for as long as it has. Why is that? Darlie Lynn Routier is totally and completely innocent of killing her two boys.

I am not a member of any "cult" of Darlie. I do love her, and I spend many hours and much money to send out cards and letters, with her approval, to the more than 300 people who write to her. At least 100 are fellow inmates throughout Texas.

Bill Rogers
Via e-mail

Editor's note: Dallas Observer staff writer Ann Zimmerman did, in fact, interview Darlie Routier in prison while researching her August 6, 1998 cover story, "Defending Darlie.


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