Guts and Gumption
My compliments and a hearty shout to Brian Wallstin for having the guts and gumption to print the truth about what has really been happening in the Fourth Ward [News, "No Shame," February 12]. The truly sad thing, as he points out, is that this miserable situation didn't have to turn out the way it has. The 20-year (plus) list of people who ought to be ashamed of themselves is pathetically long and says a lot about how much race and class "progress" the city, state (ask the Texas Historical Commission) and country (ask the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation) have made in the last few decades.
Fourth Ward Heartbreaks
While attending a Fourth Ward community meeting held on February 14, I experienced firsthand the heartbreaking misery that Brian Wallstin described in his article titled "No Shame" [February 12].
The anger and desperation of the citizens who attended the meeting were palpable. So too was their resolve to fight the unjust and immoral actions of the people that Wallstin described as being responsible for their misery. I respect Wallstin for his courage and tenacity in cutting through the complex subterfuge and propaganda created by those responsible individuals. The fact that Houston taxpayers are unwitting accomplices to this action is appalling.
What I find especially appalling is that the very citizens who are so adversely affected by this "redevelopment" were not consulted about what they wanted for their own community. If the citizens of Houston allow the displacement of the people of the Fourth Ward, we all stand to lose one of Houston's greatest cultural resources.
Pamela J. Rooney
via Internet, Houston
Medical Miracles, a Two-Edged Sword
I would like to compliment Brian Wallstin on his poignantly heart-rending article on Mark and Karla Miller and their daughter Sidney ["A Question of Life," February 5].
My son Cody was born on February 15, 1992, in Southern California at 30 weeks gestation. No reason was ever found for my water breaking at 28 weeks, but they did manage to stop my labor for an additional two weeks to give my son's lungs a chance to develop. Although he weighed only three pounds, nine ounces, we were incredibly lucky that he only spent a 24-hour period on a respirator and was released from the NICU after a month of absolutely excellent care with only minor, temporary problems.
As much as I adore this beautiful and wonderful gift God blessed me with, I can state unequivocally that if he had been born as tragically early as Sidney Miller, with an equally bleak outlook, I would have made the same decision to request that he not be resuscitated. How unbelievably arrogant it was for the physicians of Woman's Hospital to take such a choice away from the Millers and, in fact, God.
Sidney is obviously well loved by her courageous parents, and I do highly commend these wonderful people for their devotion to their daughter, but there is no justification for Woman's Hospital's damning this child to such a cruel existence. In an age where medical "miracles" have become routine -- often prolonging the lives of people whose only existence is one of suffering -- one cannot help but wonder whether these same physicians would make the same decisions were it their own loved ones whose lives hung in the balance. Whatever happened to the simple idea of humanity?
Word from the Trophy Son's Parents
We believe we must respond to your January 15 cover story, where you inappropriately labeled our son a "trophy son" ["The Trophy Son," by Randall Patterson]. With Patterson's account, it is understandable that many readers of the article have the wrong impression. However, we ask the readers to listen to our side of the story. First, we must note that Kyle pursued both his academic and athletic opportunities with our encouragement. While Kyle participated in sports, he was repeatedly taught that the main purpose of his education was to be an academic scholar first and foremost.
While our case is not about a baseball game, a potential scholarship or money, all the emotion came to a head during a baseball game where Kyle was benched. This incident was one of many. Kyle and other students have been subjected to this coach's abuse. In the situation Patterson focused on, Kyle, along with other seniors, was afforded the opportunity to submit a statement for the class memory book. Kyle was punished for his submission despite the fact that other students submitted similar statements. This act resulted in Kyle's benching, and became the straw that broke the camel's back.
While our situation is by no means as dramatic or as important as that of a child who has been subjected to other forms of abuse, the coach still intentionally sought to abuse his power to the detriment of our son and his teammates. We believe and continue to believe that teachers, coaches and administrators have a special duty to our children to treat them like human beings.
With this goal in mind, we first attempted to go to the school and the district to explain what was occurring. Our pleas fell on deaf ears. With both the school and the district ignoring all our pleas for reform, we brought suit. We are not seeking any money from the school district; rather, we are doing this simply to right a wrong. Our child is out of high school, and our action will not affect him in any way. We did this, as you may imagine, to protect other children from this hostility.
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Also, we believe we need to address Patterson's inaccurate statements. First, the allegations of a "massive conspiracy" and the condoning of violence are ludicrous on their face, and would never have been suggested by me. Furthermore, the allegation that we would say that what occurred was like "someone had died" is not a true and accurate statement. I would never trivialize the loss of a loved one. I know what it is like to lose a piece of your heart. Lastly, contrary to the writings of Patterson, our son is extremely happy at TCU, and he is not living in the past; nor are we. (This lawsuit was filed over 16 months ago.) All our children know that they are loved for who they are, not for what they do.
We have received many phone calls from within the district, the city and even the county from people who are supporting our family and the stand we are taking. Many related their own stories of abusive coaches. To those of you who have offered your support: Thank you!
Scott and Sonja Rutherford
Editor's note: The Houston Press stands by its story.