Fly like an Eagle: I really did enjoy this article, and give props to Jesse Washington for composing it so well ["Speed of the Light," November 23]. I know I have had experiences similar to Doug Eagle's, except nothing detrimental to my body. I am a full believer in the power of your subconscious mind connected to God. I am so glad everything worked out for Doug.
Prescription problems: The Houston Press had an excellent article on the deterioration of MHMRA services for the mentally ill ["Catch Us If You Can," by Brian Wallstin and Margaret Downing, November 9]. It describes the agency's director, Dr. Steven Schnee, as wondering why physicians would not prescribe the newer (and more expensive) antipsychotic medication even when it is furnished free by MHMRA. He failed to mention that he required doctors to fill out a five-page form to get the medication and then wait three to five days for this form to be approved. It may be added that the form was a blatant attempt to conduct research without patient knowledge or consent, and thus was in violation of state and federal rules as well as the Nuremberg Code of Ethics, to which the United States is a signatory.
John Griffith, M.D.
Fig leaf thoughts: I do not believe anyone wants to catch free-falling mentally ill patients. Someone knew Steve Chesser needed help desperately, but money -- the Judas Pass -- was not forthcoming for treatment.
Chesser wanted to manipulate, control, have power. His wife made more money than he did? What a blow to the ego! The Garden of Eden story is not about control and domination. It is about helping mates, love and concern for the other.
Don't kill Penry: Your article about the Reverend Carroll Pickett stunned me ["Final Passages," by Carlton Stowers, November 2]. I cannot imagine having the strength and faith that would allow me to spend the last hours of life with 95 healthy human beings preparing to be put to death by our government. I never had problems in my hospice work, as these were unhealthy humans dying naturally and I viewed my volunteer work simply as a way of giving back to the community. Corresponding and becoming friends with murderers was harder because as I got to know them, they became human to me and have enriched my life. I realized I am no better than they are, simply luckier.
After this article, I read "The Way Back" [by Brian Wallstin and Margaret Downing, November 9], about cutbacks in mental health programs. Bruce Stohr is living proof of what our society is able to accomplish. He needed help, and he got it. He has moved from a "liability" to an "asset" through proper care and his desire to succeed.
These two stories seemed to merge together, as I see the state of Texas wants to execute a mentally retarded man, Johnny Paul Penry. He functions as a six- or seven-year-old child.
Shortly after being paroled for rape, he brutally raped and murdered a young woman who should not be dead. Mr. Penry should not have been on the streets; he was dangerous. Why is it so much easier for us to kill a person than to save a life? Until we accept that we have a societal problem and quit trying to get rid of the evidence by killing people who kill people, it is not going to get better.
By killing Mr. Penry, we will be creating a new set of victims -- the people who love this man -- and accomplishing nothing. This is not justice; this is murder.
Report the abuses: I truly enjoyed Tim Fleck's story on City Councilmen Bert Keller and Rob Todd [The Insider, October 26]. I believe that the taxpayers and hardworking people of Houston should know what our city's leaders are up to. It's a great gig if you can get it. But not so you can abuse the perks of cell phones, county vehicles, free bar tabs and so on.
It all comes so easy to these city officials that they should be reported on. I find the stories very interesting, and I know that a regular citizen of Houston would not be excused or given probation for a DWI.
As for Todd, he should become a model and forget about trying to run the city. Because, you see, he really thinks he's good-looking.
Brit bands deserve better: In the article about the UK band Travis ["Important Imports," September 21], Bob Ruggiero writes that record buyers have not been paying close attention to their album The Man Who. Houstonians are not exposed to many UK/European bands. Are Houston radio stations to blame for the lack of British music? Consider: The latest singles are played only after 10 p.m. on the "bigger, better" Buzz (which seems to be the "same, lame" Buzz). The Mix won't play anything by these bands or, for that matter, any singles that aren't in the Top 30.
The folks at Clear Channel Communications should take a hint and stop simulcasting oldies on 97.1 FM. They should format it to play music they wouldn't normally play on their other local stations. If they need someone to run this station, they can contact me.
Skateboard sage: I no longer live in Houston, but I still read the Houston Press via the Internet. I'm 24 and grew up and lived in the downtown area for 23 of those years ["NoDo Invades, Rebels Skirmish," by Steven Long, October 5]. I remember when downtown started to transform from just a place to skateboard to an actual place to go out for an evening. I like what is happening there. It was a place to go to get away from the Westheimer/Richmond fraternity party.
It reminds me of the book Catcher in the Rye, when Holden Caulfield is at his little sister's school and he sees that someone has written FUCK YOU on the wall. No matter what, if you find something nice or something fun, eventually someone is going to come along and write a big FUCK YOU on it.
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From Walls to Calls
No hang-ups: I use my cell phone all the time ["Hell Phone," by George Alexander, November 16]. I use it at the grocery store, the library (very subdued there, though) and anywhere else I feel like it. If someone does not like my talking on my phone on my time, then fuck 'em.