Your forewarning of the last 22 miles of “The Road to Nowhere Drive,” from Marfa to the Chinati Hot Springs, is lacking for even the most adventurous road-tripper [ “Miles and Miles of Texas,” June 2012]. This past April, after years of anticipation, I finally took the drive through Pinto Canyon with a family member. The scenery was phenomenal, unlike anywhere else in Texas, but anyone who heads down the Pinto Canyon Road should be well prepared, taking a day’s worth of water, more than one spare tire (preferably a full set), a satellite phone, overnight bedding, and maybe a meal or two. A high-clearance vehicle is not enough, and as I learned after the fact, even seasoned locals are hesitant to head for the PCR without letting others know where they are going and when to expect them back. On our trip through the canyon in my Toyota 4Runner, we did not encounter high-clearance areas as much as jagged small rocks all along the road, doing in one of our tires and nearly another, which we finally lost to the pavement of U.S. 67 near Presidio, a comparably undesirable place to run out of tread on a Sunday evening. Moreover, we observed no other human life, realizing how quickly and unexpectedly one can become vulnerable to the extremes of nature and isolation. Our fantastic adventure will not be soon forgotten—or repeated.
Paul Anton Schweizer
Texas obviously has many positive attributes, but clearly scenic beauty, as evidenced by the June cover story, is not one of them. Why this list was compiled is a mystery; some of the suggestions, like the 308-mile drive to gaze afar at some rather grim-looking lighthouses, were depressing. I would recommend to the editors that they focus on what Texas is good at—ta cos and executions—and leave scenery to other states.
I wasn’t too surprised that of all the participants in your criminal justice roundtable discussion, Anthony Graves struck me as having the most wisdom (and the most compassion) [ “Trials and Errors,” June 2012]. I also wasn’t too surprised that Kelly Siegler struck me as brash, rude, and even uncaring—her work on the case notwithstanding. “Fearsome” was the adjective that you used to describe Ms. Siegler. I admire your restraint.
There is an uncomplicated solution to the very real issue of indigent justice. Modify the system to appoint two lawyers to the case, both having exactly the same information provided by the investigators. With a solicitor to advise the accused, have the lawyers present the strengths and weaknesses of the case as they see it. Then have the defendant select his defense attorney, and let the other represent the state. The opposing lawyers would have to be in the same pay grade to keep things on a level playing field. If a private defense counsel is hired, then the district attorney can send in anyone he chooses. While I think that Ms. Siegler is wrong about losing not being a problem for the prosecutor’s office, at least the poor folks will end up as a zero-sum game for them and not be fodder for the reelection committee for the DA.
To me, the most meaningful words spoken during the roundtable discussion were those of Anthony Graves, after Art Acevedo said, “Let me tell you, you’re a better person than me—you’re a better man than I am. If I were you, I couldn’t be sitting at this table.”
Graves’s response: “I have to be at this
I thank God he was able to be there.
One heckuva article on Larry Hagman [ “Larry Hagman’s Curtain Call,” June 2012]. I have to believe God sent him on a special mission to earth to test the limits of just how much fun one guy can have in a lifetime.
John M. Massey
I’m an aging, white, moderately conservative Republican with a decidedly antagonistic stance regarding immigration, especially of the overwhelmingly Hispanic illegal variety. I suppose some might even call me a racist, though I maintain that my stance evolves from a concern about numbers rather than colors. Indeed, I’m convinced that overpopulation is anathema to America’s best interests, and were it possible, I’d turn the clock back a few decades and do my best to shut down the border to almost all incoming traffic. But that’s not possible. I have to live in the here and now. America’s complexion is changing, and my fellow Republicans had best accept that reality and moderate their rhetoric and way of thinking if they want their party to remain viable. Surely there must be a compromise, a way of stanching the “brown tsunami” inundating America’s shores without unfairly denigrating our legal Hispanic populace. Either that or, as Paul Burka suggests, the party may indeed come to a crashing halt [Behind the Lines, “The Party Never Ends!” June 2012].
Mr. Burka has overlooked one important fact: the citizens of Texas have consistently voted against their own interests, economically and culturally, for decades. Texans elect conservatives whose only concern is catering to the whims of the rich and powerful. There is no indication this will change.
Norman W. Baxter