William Martin, Katy Vine, and Todd Hido
Let’s be honest: Some readers will see William Martin’s feature on marijuana (“Texas High Ways”) and immediately wonder about his own use. So, for the record, yes, Martin has tried it. “My exposure to it in the seventies was extremely limited—and quite timid,” he says. A Senior Fellow for Drug Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute and a longtime contributor to TEXAS MONTHLY, Martin believes that our country wastes billions of dollars trying to prohibit the use of something that is less harmful than alcohol: “For me, what it comes down to is this: I am offended by irrational, unworkable, and demonstrably harmful public policy.”
Like so many people who followed the story of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, outside Eldorado, senior editor Katy Vine initially struggled to grasp what had really happened last April. Was the state justified in raiding the compound and taking 437 children into custody? Where was the evidence of underage marriages? And why were the families reunited if twelve men from the ranch had been indicted on criminal charges? “The main thing I wanted to know was, Are the children safe?” Vine says. She found some answers after three months of reporting—and a visit to the ranch—that culminated in “With God on Their Side”.
Thankfully, Todd Hido didn’t get too spooked by the chance to come to Texas to photograph our scariest places (“Fear Factor”). The San Francisco–based artist spent ten days roaming around the state, visiting cemeteries, abandoned hotels, and old churches. “The Orviss Vault, in Calvert, was the creepiest spot,” he says. “I walked down a dark path past these tidy graves to get to it. It was like a hole of darkness. And I wondered, ‘Why are those plots taken care of and the mausoleum isn’t?’ It was really a scary feeling.”