Missing Darrell: I suppose, like most, I learned of Darrell's assassination ("Slaughtered," by Sarah Hepola, December 16) early last Thursday morning. I was sitting on the foot of my bed trying to wake up when the phone rang...it was a friend of mine calling from Garland to tell me of Darrell's death. I remained glued to the news for the remainder of the next day and a half, heartbroken and in disbelief--another good person lost to the insanity of an urban guerrilla. It just doesn't make sense.

I knew Darrell from my days as a weekend overnight jock for 97.1 the Eagle. I came to Dallas to work for the Eagle as a dedicated fan of Pantera since the summer of 1990. I first saw the emotional maelstrom that was Pantera and later Damageplan in Shreveport, Louisiana, in a club called the Million Dollar Sandpiper. It was two-thirds metal bar, one-third titty bar--the perfect metalhead's hangout. I saw them many times after, and every time I spoke with the guys, they treated me like I was one of them. Darrell was always cool. We shared a drink from time to time when I ran into him out and about. Although I could never call him friend in the truest sense of the word, he made me feel as if he had known me all his life--he had that gift. I don't think he ever knew a stranger. I spent Saturday at the library on a computer reading all the articles and tributes from friends and fans and quietly cried for my "friend." I am sad that I'll never see him again in this life. I am heartbroken he has passed from this world and from us. The only comfort I have is knowing he died doing what he loved and did best--shredding in front of his fans, his friends...to Dime, much love and peace at last.

Dave Clayton

Who's the Victim?

Hundred-percent killer: Through your article I see you are against the death penalty, which is fine ("Life After Death," by Robert Wilonsky, December 16). However, I am offended that you would diminish a heinous and unnecessary murder of a teenage boy who literally "never got to know life before he was to die." Andre was 100 percent the murderer and 0 percent the victim that day. It is sad that Lewis never knew love and sadder that he still apparently does not. He says, "Hopefully, I'll get to tell young people not to go down my road." Well, what's holding him back? I don't see many redeeming qualities in Lewis. Had he come all the way from life with a devil, his father, to preaching about love and faith, that would be a story worth writing. But that a few good lawyers made him a lucky man for now bores me. Andre Lewis still doesn't know if he has "Life After Death." There's no victory in your story, just a circle of wordy, aimless sadness.

Jim Jordan
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Il Duce Miller

A very strong mayor: First, I must say that I am very surprised that Jim signed a petition without reading it ("The Hulk," by Jim Schutze, December 16). I am well aware that if the charter is changed, I will probably be the first or second person fired, but I truly believe that if you don't stand for what you believe in, you will fall for anything.

I am not worried about my job, because I know that my protector sits on high, and if I'm fired from this job, God will make a way. The citizens of Dallas should be worried. If this amendment passes, we may as well stop electing council members. Your council member will not be able to accomplish anything. Neighborhoods will not have a say about what will come into their district. Our individual council members would have to be puppets, or your district would get nothing.

Under this proposal, they should have gone one step further and let the mayor appoint the council member for the individual districts. Your council member wouldn't be able to do anything anyway. Neither would you. If the mayor wanted a development to come to your neighborhood--and let's just say that your area did not support her--she could put all the crap coming to the city in your neighborhood, and your elected official could do nothing. Why would you bother to come down to City Hall? The mayor would be responsible for all the boards and commission members, so they would be her cronies.

The city of Dallas has had a strong mayor form of government, and with it came corruption, favoritism and neglect of certain communities. Why would the citizens of Dallas want to go back to this? Remember, money buys influence, but what will happen to all of us who have no money to purchase this influence? The good old days in Dallas were not when the mayor had control--those were the days of corruption, which is why it was changed. Are we going to let history repeat itself?

Mary Hasan

News Flash!

Steroids in Plano schools: What's wrong with the Dallas Observer? The Dallas Morning News finally did a story on steroid use in the Plano schools on December 14, and it only took them four months after Paul Kix's excellent article ("All the Rage") appeared in the August 12 edition of the Observer. C'mon, Observer--you can do better than that. Only a four-month lead? Your readers have come to expect you to lead the pack with great reporting and maintain a minimum six-month lead on the DMN for stories of consequence. Heck, not only the DMN, but apparently also Newsweek (see "Steroids and Kids," on newsstands now). It's a shame the DMN doesn't go into the details on the steroids story that Mr. Kix provided us. Alas for the DMN, second-rate reporting on a second-rate schedule. Keep up the great work, Observer, and keep it coming with stories that actually matter.

Robert Hannon

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