We’ll Be Dammed
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“Go With the Flow” was interesting and informative, but Charlie Llewellin’s description of the Devils River erred in stating that this is the one river in Texas that’s never been dammed [May 2010]. I am sure that many old-timers and not-so-old-timers in Del Rio and Southwest Texas recall Lake Walk and Devils Lake and the two dams on the Devils River that created them. These beautiful lakes and the dams are now submerged by Lake Amistad.
Mountain View, California
EDITORS’ NOTE: You are correct. Both the Devils Lake Hydro Plant dam and the Lake Walk Hydro Plant dam were completed in the late twenties. We regret the error.
The cited efforts and quoted remarks of Cynthia Dunbar, Patricia Hardy, David Bradley, Barbara Cargill, Gail Lowe, and Terri Leo indicate that, if possible, they would bring back the Inquisition to rid Texas of all heretics [“The State Board of Ed’s Final Exam,” May 2010]. Without that option, however, they have settled on exercising mind control over our youth through their self-righteous manipulation and distortions of history and science in our school textbooks. Their fiduciary role is to advance education, not indoctrination. As is usually the case regarding representatives who flagrantly abuse their responsibilities, our ultimate problem is not with these board members but with the people who elect them.
Typical of your liberal rag to mostly only quote Republican reps in your State Board of Ed quiz. I can’t believe Dems didn’t say stuff as equally stupid.
R. M. Seaberg
Fantastic story on the validity of commonly accepted forensic methods of crime solving [“Weird Science,” May 2010]. Sounds like dog-handler Keith Pikett used a scientific method that would inspire the team on Mythbusters. This is the kind of journalism you can’t find on the Internet or in newspapers nowadays: well-researched, in-depth, and beautifully yet fairly crafted.
Carrie S. Campbell
Charlotte, North Carolina
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
As a Daughter of the American Revolution who sometimes gives talks about Cynthia Ann Parker, I want to express my appreciation of the fine article by S. C. Gwynne [“Last Days of the Comanches,” May 2010]. I am a Texan who grew up in Brownwood. My Scottish grandfather died of complications from an arrowhead wound received from a Comanche brave during a buffalo hunt. Central Texas abounds in historical accounts of Comanche atrocities, even though we were not at the center of Comanche territory. I was always fascinated with Cynthia Ann Parker’s story, which I consider a great American tragedy. She was captured twice, first by Comanche and second by her own Anglo people. Few people seem to realize what an important figure her son Quanah was, and I am grateful for Gwynne’s enlightening comments. Quanah was perhaps Cynthia Ann’s greatest legacy, because he emerged as the most influential Comanche of the reservation era. Through his leadership, peace and friendship between Comanche and whites became a reality after more than a century of hatred and war.
Charlcie Joan Morrison Zavala
S. C. Gwynne begins with a primitivist fiction: that Colonel Ranald Slidell Mackenzie’s soldiers were camped “at the edge of the known universe.” The unspoken assumption here is that things are unknown unless known by Euro-Americans, when the Comanche, in fact, knew the region quite well. Soon, Mackenzie and his men find themselves “deep in Indian territory,” except that it was all always Indian territory. Lastly, Gwynne concludes by writing of the “final destruction of the Comanche nation.” This will be surprising news to the 14,557 enrolled Comanche, whose national headquarters is in Lawton, Oklahoma.
W. Jackson Rushing III
It is rare that I ever find fault in the Texanist’s rulings, and usually they are of such small consequence as to be no more than just a friendly difference of opinion [May 2010]. However, in the case of Hice v. Adams, your ruling simply must be overturned by the high court of common knowledge. Anyone calling an SUV a “truck” is a tool. And not the good kind of tool that one would pull from the bed of his truck to help a stranger in need. Rather the kind of tool that thinks great brisket is cooked in an oven. That ends a description of a great steak with the word “sauce.” If you have to fold down a row of seats to haul home sheets of plywood, it isn’t a truck. If you can’t haul a fridge upright because of a roof, it isn’t a truck. A Toyota 4Runner has no less cargo space than a Toyota Sienna, and we are all in serious trouble if we allow a loose interpretation of “truck” to slide down the slippery slope and someday include minivans.
Has the Texanist been to East Texas lately—oh, say, in the past hundred years? Lufkinites don’t drawl—they twang. Big difference.
I shed no tears for Jeff Skilling [Behind the Lines, “Enroncore!” May 2010]. Mimi Swartz suggests his sentence might be too harsh. I suggest she review the sentences common embezzlers receive in our state courts. His “time” is of a piece and is appropriate. As for the suggestion that he did not receive a fair trial in Houston: What hogwash! Notorious murderers are tried in middling towns across America regularly, with no change of venue. Are we to believe that the court could not find twelve impartial citizens in the third-largest county in the country? She is certainly on point, however, when she sees the moral degenerates of Enron replicated and amplified on Wall Street. We as a nation seem to learn—and remember—nothing.
Robert H. Baker