Off Target

Sentence suppressor: There is something fishy about Mr. Terry Anderson ("The Shootist," by Glenna Whitley, August 19) receiving only a 36-month sentence for possessing numerous automatic weapons and suppressors, some without serial numbers and none registered. This sentence is so far below the provisions of federal firearms law that I suspect that there were other forces at work to protect him.

Federal law provides that conviction is "punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine." And these provisions are applicable to each weapon. I do not claim to be an attorney and was not present at the trial (although I would have liked to have been), so I cannot comment on what resulted in such a reduced sentence. I can only assume that there is more to the story than was printed in the Dallas Observer.

H. Vinson

Foul Taste

Whiner: It is obvious to me that Phil Romano has sipped some bad whine offered up by some lawyer ("Eat My Briefs," by Mark Stuertz, August 12). His actions and mouth have given me a bad dose of acid reflux. Can I sue him for that? Now I know where NOT to refer guests for dining in Dallas.

Via e-mail

Playing dirty: I have never eaten at Il Mulino, nor do I know its owner, Mr. Phil Romano. But I do not blame Mr. Romano one bit for filing the suit against The Dallas Morning News. It is pretty obvious from the heart of his allegations that the reviewer, Ms. Griffith, WAS trying to besmirch his restaurant in order to divert customers and sales over to her friend. It is wholly inappropriate for her to bring a competitor along with her to review the food of ANY restaurant. At a minimum, she should have been severely reprimanded for her lack of judgment, and the News should have alerted the public to the fact that Griffith was accompanied to the restaurant by a person whose interests are adverse to the success of Il Mulino.

Elizabeth W. King

Bunch of freeloaders: I have been in the "gourmet food" and wine business virtually my entire adult life. I learned a long time ago that any jackass with a No. 2 pencil could be a food or wine critic and that actual knowledge of their subject was an optional requirement. While I have encountered food and wine critics who are both knowledgeable and professional, the vast majority at the "local" level are nothing more than a bunch of freeloaders.

My own favorite horror story is from a time when I was managing a restaurant and our local food guru interviewed me and actually asked me, "Well, is this a cabernet or a sauvignon?" This particular critic had a writing style that can best be described as resembling a fifth-grader plagiarizing from the World Book Encyclopedia.

My suggestion to news organizations who employ "critics" is that they devise tests to see if they actually possess even rudimentary knowledge of their subject and, more important, prohibit them from accepting freebies of any kind. Critics should pay for their own meals, as should their guests.

Art Dean
Palm Desert, California

Editor's note: The Dallas Observer's restaurant critics make anonymous visits and pay for all of their food.


Taking responsibility: I had the fortune to coach Taylor Hooton the summer he committed suicide, and I am appalled that anyone could insinuate that a baseball coach would make a kid do this ("All the Rage," by Paul Kix, August 12). When a teacher tells you to pull your grades up, that doesn't mean the kid should go and cheat; no, it means work a little harder and improve. In football you hear it all the time. A baseball coach is with a kid for maybe an hour or two a day. Maybe the parents should take a little bit of the responsibility on their shoulders. I am a graduate of Plano Senior High School, and yes, there were people on steroids, but it was not a huge percent. There were obviously more than just steroids that led to this tragedy. I think it is great what the Hootons are doing to prevent steroid use, but there needs to be no finger-pointing at coaches or administration for this tragedy.

I am only a summer/fall coach and not paid by PISD but am a volunteer, but I was around the kid and the coaches, and the baseball coaches are not the type of people to by any means recommend steroids. There is an effort in the weight room you can make to become bigger. A needle is not the answer, and in my heart, I think if Taylor could still say anything, he would not blame anyone but himself.

I am just a 22-year-old kid who liked the kid and loved the kid while I coached him; he was a competitor and a great person in the dugout but an average pitcher, and according to the conversations we had, he knew that. I will cherish the times I had with him, but he made a mistake, and that's part of life, but unfortunately it took his. People need to realize the effects of steroids, but also people need to stop pointing fingers in the wrong direction and 'fess up to the problem themselves!

Matt Garver

An exceptional boy: I am Emily Parker's mom. I thought the article was great. We adored Taylor! He was an exceptional boy who got caught up in something that was way out of his league. It was really intense and emotional to read it. That's what it takes to make an impact on these kids. I hope that it will reach some of these boys who just don't think anything will happen to them.

Christie Parker

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