Letters

Victimized Again
Referencing D.J. Wilson's article "Talk Radio Takes Aim at the Bad Guys" [News, July 28], I would like to clarify a few points. First of all, the Houston Crime Commission will act as a mechanism or tool in educating the public to insure that legislation is designed to protect the public (if that means locking up convicted felons, so be it). Most importantly, HCC will assist in raising funds to restore the balance of justice for victims of crime. One of the major reasons for this assistance is because, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, for every dollar spent in the Criminal Justice System, 30 cents goes to the defendant and less than one cent is spent on the victim. The public spends about $64 million a year on personal protection, and this is why the private sector must get involved in making Houston a safe place to live and work.

Secondly, I met with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on behalf of several of Elmer Wayne Henley's victims' families: letters and faxes were merely an add-on to show that paroling him would not be in the best interest of society. As you correctly stated, the possible release of Henley is obviously far-fetched. However, Texas has previously paroled about 70 former death-row inmates who had their sentences commuted to life via the U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, I refuse to believe we cannot win this undeclared war and our worst mistake is to say it can't be won. The painful reality is that when crime is someone else's problem, it comprises perhaps the greatest threat to our national security. Businessman and private citizen Dan Patrick should be commended for not just shrugging his shoulders and thinking, "This could never happen to me."

Andy Kahan
Mayor's Crime Victims Director

Drive-by Journalism
D.J. Wilson's puerile attempt to undermine the efforts of the Houston Crime Commission [News, July 28] was tainted by his obvious disdain for Dan Patrick's association with the organization. And Wilson's attempt to label the organization "right wing" by waving a McCarthy-like list of Patrick's talk show guests was nullified by his praise for Dr. Levi Perry's speech at the lunchtime rally.

Though I'm not a big fan of Patrick, I feel that his commitment to victim's rights should be commended. Why hasn't the Rev. Jew Don Boney invited Dr. Perry to speak on Pacifica?

Wilson indirectly accused Andy Kahan of grandstanding -- by "trudging" up to Palestine for Henley's parole hearing. Kahan carried a battle cry for justice to Palestine from the prematurely silenced voices of 20 years ago, the lonely unmarked graves and the forgotten victims -- the grieving families and friends. "Trudging" to a parole hearing is not an uncommon practice for Kahan.

So who's next on this jaded hack's cynical descent to drive-by journalism... the Depelchin Children Center?

Thomas V. Contreras
Houston

Zapping Szatmary
In Peter Szatmary's July 21 review of A Chorus Line [Theater, "That's Entertainment"] he writes, "There's only one thing that threatens A Chorus Line: current events. For though it deals openly with homosexuality, the absence of any reference to AIDS makes it feel a bit dated." I think the author should check up on current events. Maybe he's the one that's a bit dated. Seems to me AIDS and homosexuality aren't a matched set; check your current statistics. He adds, "But since composer Marvin Hamlisch is the only member of the creative team still alive, it's unlikely that the text could be updated." As for updating any old piece of art to fit your notion of what it should say, I think you should stick to reviewing content and spare us your meditations that, in this case, seem rather out of context.

Travis Mader
Houston

 
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