When I read Christine Biederman's piece "The Jones Boys," I thought to myself, "This is something I'd expect to see in The Dallas Morning News. The Observer is really slipping."

Then I remembered: April Fools!
Mitchell Crenshaw
Via e-mail

How ironic. You published Christine Biederman's laudatory story on Rader, Campbell, Fisher & Pike the day Paula Jones' lawyers fell flat on their faces.

Ms. Biederman seems to have been completely unaware of the legal weaknesses of the frivolous Jones case. So what if Bill Clinton exposed himself and propositioned Paula Jones? As Judge Wright pointed out, the allegations do not amount to sexual harassment.

Numerous lawyers have said this all along. All of the sleaze dredged up by the pious, well-scrubbed hypocrites at Rader, Campbell, Fisher & Pike was just a sideshow. Their flimflam distracted Ms. Biederman from seeing that these boys were taking a bogus case to court. It did not fool Judge Wright. More ethical and more competent lawyers wouldn't be found within a thousand yards of the case Rader and Campbell were trying to make.

Paula Jones' previous lawyers, who reached a $700,000 settlement with the President, knew what they were doing. They made a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a case. Jones, flattered by her newfound right-wing friends, didn't have the smarts to take the deal and run.

Charles Barton

White Bluff's goat slaughter
Thank you for your informative article about the goats that were slaughtered in the White Bluff Resort area south of Dallas, as reported by Muriel L. Sims in the March 26 issue of the Dallas Observer ["The goatslayers"].

Indeed, as Edwina Gibson stated, "if you don't like being around critters, why the hell would you move to the country?" Has our society gone mad? As quoted in the article, "These goats were obviously making a nuisance of themselves..." How can an animal native to the area in which it is found be a nuisance? I would like to suggest that the people who moved into the region were more inclined to be making a nuisance of themselves than the animals were. The goats were there first!

There were alternatives to killing the goats. One of the residents, Mr. [Dick] Van Tyne, did some research and planted his garden with the kind of vegetation that goats found unpalatable. Why couldn't Mr. [Bryant] Aiken and Mr. [Jerry] Jones do the same?

And what kind of a game warden is Kenneth Holder? He sympathized with Jones and Aiken, saying that if he had been in their situation, he would have shot the goats as well. He stated, "you have bunny huggers and tree huggers--they want to protect everything that's out there." This is a game warden? A man who is supposed to protect our wildlife? Why in God's name wouldn't we want to protect everything out there? This is our environment, our planet, our world. Is he totally callous?

Isn't it a sad commentary when no so-called laws were broken by killing the goats? Why should deer and other wild game be protected by a governmental agency but not goats? If anyone can tolerate the image of a mother goat being brutally murdered and her two innocent babies left to die, then I suggest you should move out to the White Bluff Resort and become a neighbor to Jerry P. Jones, a retired trial attorney at the prestigious Dallas firm of Thompson & Knight, and Bryant Aiken, a dentist from Cleburne. They will ensure that no goats, or any other animals for that matter, will bother your property.

Annette Lambert
Via e-mail

Editor's note: The Dallas Observer has received numerous letters protesting the slaughter of 20-25 feral goats by two White Bluff residents, Jerry P. Jones and Bryant Aiken. A sampling of these letters is printed below.

I was sickened and dismayed to read this article. I've owned goats and a variety of other livestock over the years. Yes, buck goats do stink, but the does and kids do not. Yes, they eat shrubs--but as some of the neighbors did, why could these people not use sensible landscaping to lessen the problem?

I've worked as a paralegal for a number of years, and I see a lot of attorneys with the attitude that they're bigger than the law and can do what they want because they can manipulate the system. Unfortunately, this attitude carries over into their private lives as a little-god complex. If it doesn't suit them, change it, and anyone else's opinion be damned.

There were other options available--if these people had contacted any goat rancher or legitimate animal-control or rescue organization, they could have found help. It is unconscionable that the local game warden has so little empathy or respect for animals. Was this, by chance, a political appointee?

Valerie McCready
Via e-mail

What is wrong with you people? Did it ever occur to anyone to ask for help to remove the goats? There are many goat breed clubs as well as humane societies. What a senseless waste. God will forgive--but I'm not sure I can.

Lis Bishop
Via e-mail

It is sad to read about what can only be considered irresponsible actions of those who chose to slaughter those goats in the fashion they did. Goats can become a nuisance when not confined to an area where one does not want damage done. This is something that the owners of the land holding probably should have considered.

However, the actions of those who chose to shoot those goats was totally irresponsible and very inhumane. At the time of year that they chose to shoot them, probably most of the females were heavily pregnant or had recently kidded. There were several options that could have been considered. In the article, it was mentioned that a penning area was set up but did not work. Had the pen been left there with feed, over a very short period of time the goats would have come in on a regular basis. After a few days, they could have probably rounded them up. Homes for these goats would not have been difficult to find. Texas is the largest state for large commercial goat herds. The problem of goats that become feral is not a new story; this has happened in other parts of North America. Often, either Fish and Wildlife or the SPCA has become involved. The use of dart guns could have been considered.

One of the parties who was responsible for this action was a lawyer, and he should have known that there were several options to consider. I hope that the community will give a more humane consideration to the remaining goats.

Susan Barker
Longfields Goat Dairy
Abbotsford, British Columbia

The goats are a nuisance only to those who attempt to impose North Dallas exotic landscaping onto a relatively harsh, rocky Hill Country environment.

I have been a homeowner at White Bluff for a number of years, and it never ceases to amaze. Visitors come down from Dallas or Fort Worth, ooh and ah over the limestone bluffs, rolling hills, huge live oaks, wild goats, deer, turkey, bluebonnets, and paintbrush. They purchase a lot, then totally clear it of all native vegetation and build a Coppell Special home. They plant geraniums, azaleas, St. Augustine, and pansies. Then they are astounded when the goats and deer partake of the feast.

There is nothing growing around our house that is not native, and goats are not a problem. If one doesn't like wild flowers, cedars, mesquite, wild goats, deer, and turkey, then what is the attraction of White Bluff?

Sam Leake
Via e-mail

I think what these two fine citizens (yeah, right) did was wrong. I raise dairy goats, and I would have been willing to help in any way I could have, or found someone close that could. There are a lot of responsible people out there, but these two fools are not. This really makes me sick. Taking the lives of defenseless animals just because they ate their shrubs. That is sick. Why didn't they contact the local animal shelter?

Diane Himler
Via e-mail

I think that the useless carnage of the wild goats was selfish, arrogant, and disgusting. One would think that supposedly educated, intelligent people would attempt to find a solution that would be in the best interests of everyone involved. Such blatant disregard for life and lack of consideration for their neighbors are reprehensible. I say, "Move back to the city!" You obviously have no consideration for and no business living in the country. I have the deepest admiration for the individual who was willing to find vegetation that the goats found less palatable...This is learning to live in harmony with your environment.

Pat Evetts
Via e-mail

I am not a tree hugger or bunny lover. I am, however, not in favor of the inhumane slaughter of any animal. This act is appalling to me and anyone who cares about animals. These goats should have been rounded up and disposed of humanely. Don't we have laws to deal with this sort of situation?

Carolyn Eddy
Via e-mail

[Jerry] Jones and his accomplices ought to be arrested for murder. His behavior was outrageous and deserves the harshest punishment. What a fraud this man is! He presents himself to the community as a fine, upstanding citizen while he secretly slaughters beautiful, helpless, harmless creatures who only ask to be allowed to exist. These horrific crimes he commits because he is too lazy or thoughtless to take the time and effort to figure out what kind of shrubbery he should plant. He epitomizes stupidity and selfishness. Hang the guy! That method of execution is definitely more humane than that he chose to inflict on others.

Carol Kominski
Via e-mail

I thought dinosaurs like those stupid men had gone the way of the dodo. I am absolutely disgusted at the behavior of all involved--especially the people who stood by and let it happen. Stay in the city. Please do us all a favor--don't try country living unless you are willing to blend with the environment and enrich yourself as well as add to the environment around you.

Debb Bos
Via e-mail

After reading the article, I was amazed of the cruelty. I personally raised several breeds of goats, and I am not a bleeding heart. I know the difference in livestock and pets. I have forwarded this article to dozens of goat-people professionals to read the act of cruelty committed by these so-called human beings.

Darlene Watkins
Via e-mail

I truly appreciate and respect your paper for printing this story about the goats at White Bluff. It seems hard to find news sometimes. While I do not consider myself a bunny hugger or tree hugger, I look at this story from the perspective of the "human nature" involved vs. society as we know it today. The people involved in shooting these animals are as much victims as the animals themselves. That is a very long story in itself.

Maryetta Ables
Via e-mail


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