Sight to the Blind
After reading the article on the homeless ["Outside People," November 4, by David Theis], whenever I happened to drive down Main Street, I found myself looking for the area of land you described between Rice University and Hermann Park, looking for that man's tree. I found myself picturing the cast of characters you so aptly and compassionately described, and wondering where they slept that night; whether they ate that day; what they did in the cold; whether they were safe. I started carrying loose dollar bills in my Honda to give to the woman and child I used to ignore under the freeway near the Dome. It was not as easy to look away, it was not as easy to make them invisible, it was not as easy to do nothing.
Your article changed me. It changed the way I see.
Approximately two weeks prior to writing her article ["The Theory Assassins," December 2], Rebecca Sherman called me and asked to discuss the two pending defamation lawsuits that I am handling on behalf of some courageous individuals who have put their reputations at risk in order to contribute to the resolution of the JFK assassination conspiracy.
Unfortunately, the result of my cooperation was an article that totally missed the point. Instead of focusing on the level to which some lone-assassin theorists have stooped in attacking the integrity of well-intentioned citizens like my clients, the article dwelled on my alleged obsession with the JFK assassination conspiracy. It is a shame that an opportunity was lost to tell the real story that is the subject of the pending litigation.
First, Dr. Charles Crenshaw's suit does not involve "conspiracy theorists who are suing other conspiracy theorists for defamation." Far from it, since the individual defendants are single-assassin theorists, and the defendants' publications clearly do not agree with the majority of Americans who believe that there was a conspiracy behind JFK's murder. Furthermore, to describe Crenshaw as a "conspiracy theorist" is inaccurate. Crenshaw was an eyewitness to history, and his book JFK: Conspiracy of Silence describes his personal observations of what occurred at Parkland Hospital during that fateful weekend in November 1963, including his observations of the nature and location of President Kennedy's wounds.
Second, this defamation litigation did not result from "intellectual debates" or mere expressions of "points of view" about the JFK assassination. Rather, litigation resulted from the apparent unwillingness of some to maintain an honorable level of debate and exchange. In Crenshaw's case, for instance, instead of merely disagreeing with his descriptions of the location and nature of President Kennedy's wounds, or with the conclusions resulting therefrom, the Journal of the American Medical Association decided to publish an article falsely suggesting that Crenshaw was not even present when emergency efforts were taken to save President Kennedy's life at Parkland Hospital. Then, the only daily newspaper in Dallas published an article (and distributed it to its 800,000 subscribers) accusing Crenshaw of "peddling lies." Talk about a "chilling effect" on free discussion! How do individuals like my clients possibly deal with such massively publicized attacks on their integrity, particularly when such publications have refused to publish rebuttal articles and still have not corrected the record? That is the real story that you missed.
I would like to respond to your December 2 article on television violence ["Violence, TV and Demagoguery," by Mark Jurkowitz]. I think that was a horrible story about the mother who lost her baby daughter, because her five-year-old son caught the house on fire after being exposed to Beavis and Butt-head. But what about the parent's responsibility to oversee what her child was doing and watching?
here is a solution other than depending on politicians: Turn it off! We live in a supply-and-demand society.
Well, you've gone and done it again: Not one, but two consecutive issues of the Houston Press have been published sans the feature which once drew me to (and continues to inspire my) regular readership of your entertaining weekly. It's not that the Press lacks other first-rate features (e.g. Life in Hell, Tom Tomorrow, etc.), but News of the Weird puts us in touch with the really weird people who really populate this really weird planet.
The absence of this vital column for two two-week periods in two months begins to feel a bit conspiratorial. I hold you personally responsible for everything weird that happens to me as a consequence of this deprivation.
The crossword by Eugene Sheffer is my favorite feature in the Houston Press. It was omitted in the current issue and I really miss it. Hope it will be back again next week.
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Lilian E. Long
We've been looking for the past two issues for the Cryptoquip. We do it before we read. Hope it comes back.
Editor's note: Thanks for the input. We're thinking about it.