Jail, Coffee, Drunk Driving and Insidious Racism?

Tales of Jail

A lucky one: I just read your article in the Houston Press about Monte Killian ["Jail Misery," by Randall Patterson, November 19]. I was a guest of the Harris County Jail from Friday, October 9, through Friday, October 23 of this year. I was there for my second DWI. The first was back in 1991.

Anyway, I am HIV-positive. In good health. I told every Harris County sheriff and jailer during my processing that I was HIV-positive. During my 14-day stay, I never received any of my medication.


Harris County Jail

Killian's story and mine are not the only stories out there. I just happen to be lucky — my last T cell count was over 900, and my viral load was undetectable, back in July. Killian apparently was not so lucky.

I heard several similar stories during my stay, like the one about the inmate who came down with PCP. He was in the infirmary, then transferred to what they call a "rubber room" his last day in the infirmary. When the jailers put him in the rubber room, they confiscated his commissary bag. He had a pair of glasses, acceptance letters from outside agencies for when he was released, along with food and other personal items in the commissary bag. The commissary bag was lost. I know this because while I was there, this inmate and I became friends, and I helped him write grievance letters in order to get his personal items back. He never did.

Hey, I will be the first to admit I was wrong. I got a DWI. However, one of the things that aggravates me most is that I am a taxpaying citizen. I own my own home. During my processing in, my processing out and my time there, I watched employees of Harris County Jail sit and do nothing for hours. Your taxes, my taxes and those of every other homeowner in Harris County pay for these people to sit and do nothing.

In your article you mentioned Killian's processing in. I left court at approximately 9:30 a.m. on a Friday morning to begin processing in, and never made it to a cell till around 2 or 3 a.m. the following Monday. I was pulled from the cell to begin processing out between 9 and 10 p.m. on a Thursday night and never walked out of the building till 3:15 p.m. the next afternoon.

Name withheld by request

Coffee Culture

Brew better: Having spent the majority of my adult life in Seattle and 13 years at Starbucks, I was happy to read that Houston is becoming a focal point for coffee ["City of Coffee," by Robb Walsh, November 12].

Your article makes clear that Houston is a big player in the industry and discusses how it falls short in the development of a "coffee culture." Houstonians need to recognize what it is they have here and take advantage of it. Coffee was a pastime enjoyed by many for centuries that has been sadly eclipsed by mass production in this country. Starbucks has demonstrated that you can have good coffee on a "mass scale," but truth be told, one can do better by brewing his own. All people need to understand to make great coffee is three things: type of bean, roast and grind.

Armed with a French press, anyone can taste what is brewed by cultures all around the world. Your article makes clear that Houston has the experts to guide consumers to a rich and flavorful experience. They just need to know how easy it is.

John Smyth

A Drunk-Driving Death

RIP, Makaylin Angel: I understand that some people are pulled over for no reason and so on, but the majority of these people are indeed drunk and pose a huge threat to everyone that is sharing the road ["Getting Off," by Mike Giglio, November 5]. Don't get me wrong — I think we all deserve a fair shake, but this story comes to us at a time when there was a horrible drunk-driving death.

On Monday, November 2, a beautiful six-year-old whose name is Makaylin Angel was killed by a driver whose name is Larry Womack. She had no chance as this monster drove his SUV around 60 miles per hour and hit her. He has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

He had three previous DWI charges, so by this you start to wonder whether these lawyers have their morals in the right place. I understand Tyler Flood has not tried any serious accident or death cases, but could this death have been prevented if this monster was instead in jail? This family just lost a beautiful girl, and here we have a story about drunk drivers getting off. We all deserve a chance, but the next chance a drunk driver might get is to have an accident and kill you or your loved ones.

God always bless Makaylin Angel and her family in their time of mourning.


Blind Spot

Online readers comment on "Was Blind But Now I See," by Melissa Anderson, November 17:

Wow, insidious racism? This is how you characterize this deed that dwarfs your pathetic, cynical, trite "contributions" as a journalist for a snarly weekly paper?

Are you reviewing The Blind Side here, or is this just your commentary on a "Good Christian Materialist Southern Whitey" and her evil scheme to get rich by taking in poor black kids and having movies made about her?


Sounds right: Your review describes just what I suspected this movie must be like. Didn't know it was based on a true story. Wonder if he approves of this film?


Cynical review: I consider the person who wrote this review to be quite cynical. Don't try to define my views of what you consider to be racist. Keep your bitterness to yourself, and I, as a woman of color, will hang on to hope, filled with genuine love and kindness. I can't wait to see this movie, and I respect Sandra Bullock as a wonderful actress and deserving of this role.


Atrocious: This is one of the most insightful movie reviews I have read in a long time. Very ballsy and right on point. Keep up the good work, and don't be intimidated by any negative response. The story was gracious, but the movie was just atrocious garbage.


The definition of "insidious": proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects. The movie is based on a true story, right? Does that mean that taking a homeless young man into your family and helping him to end up with a fulfilling life and a wonderful career is harmful? It's hard for me to imagine that your comments are criticizing something else.

You should be ashamed. Actually, no, your editors and your employers should be ashamed. There is a difference between being edgy and being racist. You are a racist. And you should be embarrassed.



In a recent article on the Lawndale Art Center exhibit "Moonlight Towers" [by Olivia Flores Alvarez, Night + Day, November 26], we mistakenly identified the artist as Austin Kleon. In fact, the artist is Andy Mattern.

The Houston Press regrets the error.


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