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I am writing you these few lines to thank you and your staff for remembering my daughter on the fifteenth anniversary of her death [“Dreaming of Her,” April 2010]. It was a beautiful story that brought back a lot of memories for my wife, myself, and my family. My only concern was that the cover portrayed Selena with a halo, as if she were a saint. Selena was a very positive and caring person but certainly not a saint, and I want the general public to know that my family and I had absolutely nothing to do with the artwork that your art department did for the cover.
My wife and I, both of us gringo professionals in our early forties, first heard Selena while living in San Antonio shortly before her death. We were invited by a friend to one of her concerts at the last moment. To say we “heard” Selena does not do her justice. It was more “experienced” Selena. Everything about her was flashy and fascinating, and coupled with posthumous myth and legend, her music has became aurally addictive over the years.
Our positive experiences of Selena, although from a distance, have only been enhanced by your coverage, fifteen years later and with better than twenty-twenty hindsight. On so many levels and for so many people, as highlighted by Pamela Colloff’s article, Selena was the real deal, and as our lives are enriched by her legacy, our world is lessened by our loss of her.
Paul Anton Schweizer
The Blame Game
S.C.Gwynne’s article did much to shed light on the Mike Leach versus Texas Tech situation [“Head Case,” April 2010]. However, it failed to address the central charge: Did Mike Leach harm Adam James (and not just his ego) by placing him in a dark room? There’s been much rhetoric regarding a “concussion,” but no one to my knowledge has declared that Leach’s action caused any physical harm. This all reminds me of the old courthouse saw: A defendant was on trial, and the prosecution went to great lengths to impugn his character and otherwise paint a bleak picture of the man. While in deliberations, the jury foreman sent a note out to the judge: “We find the defendant not guilty of the charges, but we want to know if we may punish him anyway?” If all Leach is guilty of is being a boor, why doesn’t the Tech administration just say so?
While we applaud TEXAS MONTHLY and reporter Mimi Swartz for attempting to educate the public and boost awareness about the very real problem of human trafficking in our region, “The Lost Girls” contained a number of serious inaccuracies about the actions and efforts of law enforcement agencies working to combat this problem [April 2010]. Although the Houston Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) was mentioned in the article, none of its members were contacted for comment or to verify the accuracy of certain statements made by individuals within the article. The HTRA task force is a collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together with area social service organizations to identify and assist the victims of human trafficking and to effectively identify, apprehend, and prosecute those engaged in both domestic and international trafficking offenses. Currently, 161 victims of human trafficking have been identified and recovered, most of whom were victims of sex or labor trafficking from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Indonesia. In addition, 18 defendants have been charged and convicted in federal court with international trafficking offenses.
As a matter of policy, the HTRA is unable to confirm or discuss individuals who provide us with confidential information. Protecting these victims and facilitating successful prosecutions against the traffickers who have forced these individuals into modern-day slavery, often while inflicting horrible physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, is our top priority. We take every request for assistance or cooperation very seriously and treat all victims with the utmost respect and professionalism. It would be reckless and unproductive for an agent or officer to do otherwise, and further could negatively affect victims coming forward. It is imperative that victims of human trafficking know that they can turn to law enforcement in America for help.
Assistant United States Attorney
Edward F. Gallagher
Coordinator of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance for Houston and Harris County
TEXAS MONTHLY’s parent company, Emmis Communications, is a corporation whose properties regularly exercise their First Amendment rights—often in the form of editorials written by Paul Burka—to sound off about important issues. It’s odd, then, to see Mr. Burka condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision, which merely extended that same right to corporate entities that don’t possess prominent media outlets among their holdings [Behind the Lines, “Court Attack,” April 2010].
Mr. Burka grouses that “the people who earn their living at politics” (as distinct from those exalted souls who earn their living covering politics, apparently) are already “scheming to maximize the advantages they might claim in the new legal landscape.” November’s Rick Perry—Bill White showdown, he observes, horrified, “could be a free-for-all.” Elections as free-for-alls: Isn’t that, uh, the point?
Mr. Burka’s posturing as a defender of the common man masks his otherwise evident desire to squelch the ability of other companies to express their views to the electorate most efficiently. He opens his piece by quoting from the First Amendment, but it’s not clear he’s ever given it much thought. Read those first five words again, Paul; they’re among the most beautiful in the English language: “Congress shall make no law.” It applies to TEXAS MONTHLY. Why shouldn’t it apply to Texas Instruments too?
Brooklyn, New York