Gay TCA student no victim: Inasmuch as I am a devout Libertarian, I find all this uproar over the Trinity Christian Academy's dismissal of senior Neal Stephenson just as disturbing as the action itself ("Truth Hurts," by Claiborne Smith, December 23). I am neither endorsing nor denouncing their decision. It was their decision to make. TCA is a private organization and, as such, has every right to determine who can and cannot attend. If they wanted to restrict their membership to blond-headed, blue-eyed, left-handed hermaphrodites, then that is their business. The young man knew the rules and requirements, yet he chose to reveal his non-compliance. He is not a victim. He knew what the ramifications of his actions would be, yet he persisted. This is not about whether or not what TCA did was morally or ethically wrong; it is about their right, as a private institution, to self-determination. What purpose would it serve to make rules and then not enforce them? If they didn't dismiss him, then the next question would be, what other rules can the membership break and not suffer the consequences?
A touching tribute: I sincerely think there was nothing wrong with the beautiful illustration you published on the cover of your magazine of "Dimebag" Darrell (December 16). I was depressed when he passed away, and as someone who lives in Philadelphia, I was depressed that I couldn't attend the funeral. I was able to find some sense of closure when I saw your cover.
I think it was a truly fitting tribute for Dimebag. I don't understand why people think it is inappropriate and a disrespectful thing. There are albums and countless photos of Darrell around. His memory and his legend will live on forever. The time to mourn is very short. I understand your viewpoint (Buzz, by Patrick Williams, December 23), and I agree totally.
Dimebag Darrell, rest in peace!
Just plain sick: I am absolutely disgusted by the picture you printed on the cover of the issue following Darrell's murder. That was in the absolute worst taste and has totally appalled both his friends and family members, me being one of them. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Even though I have been informed that it was a doctored photo, it didn't look that way, and it still looks to me as though someone on your staff took a photo of him at the viewing with a camera phone of some sort. But even if that's not the case, such a morbid depiction of a man who was so full of life is sickening. Couldn't you have chosen a photo that accurately portrayed the man as he lived? I will no longer read your publication as a result of this, and I will encourage anyone and everyone I can to do the same. Dallas Observer, you make me SICK!!
Disrespectful, too: I was surprised and disgusted at the disrespect shown by the illustration of Mr. Abbott in your paper.
What the hell were you thinking? What if it were your mother, wife, son, grandfather, etc. Would you want to see a picture of your loved one in a casket? Your apology was lame, and your reasoning equally bad. For lack of a better term, the decision was just plain stupid.
I hope you think about this incident the next time you and your staff decide to help your readers "feel something of their loss and grief."
Glad I'm not a subscriber.
Sussex, New Brunswick
Bait and Switch
And all I got was this crummy road: The city of Dallas never ceases to amaze me. I looked over the lovely 5.6mb pdf file of the Executive Summary ("Pants on Fire," by Jim Schutze, December 30), and here are the things we don't get until we cough up $700 million more: whitewater rafting, all the hike/bike trails, Stormwater wetlands, "Headwaters" wetlands, "Boardwalks for Nature Observation," River-related Infrastructure (aren't we improving the river?), Natural Lake Amenities, Park Access Roads, West Dallas wetlands, Active Recreation Terraces--two Amphitheater, Concession/Event facilities, or Park Maintenance Facilities.
What we do get: Trinity River parkway. But at least we will have the same access we have now to the river for boats, canoes and kayaks. Considering it's used so much currently, that's great.
Everyone at City Hall who had anything to do with this should be taken out and shot. Long prison sentences would be a suitable alternative.
Is there any way to stop this nonsense?
And no sympathy: As is Dallas Observer custom, your feature article ran many pages and thousands of words. Now I could have missed it given the length, but was anything resembling an apology from Andre Lewis for the killing of Matt McKay in the article ("Life After Death," by Robert Wilonsky, December 16)? Did Lewis express any empathy for the family of Matt McKay?
His teary-eyed attorney certainly did not have any empathy for the family of Matt McKay. He is too busy getting mushy for convicted killers.
I'm no death penalty hard-liner. In fact, I oppose the death penalty and oppose it for Andre Lewis. It just struck when I got to the end of Robert Wilonsky's fine article that it included no comments from the victim's family and no comments from Andre Lewis about how he feels now about the crime.