Eric Benson’s dispatch from Reynosa in the February issue revealed yet another disturbing consequence of the cartel violence that has swept through the border towns. As the crime syndicates have become more powerful, they have infiltrated Mexican newsrooms and intimidated journalists, going so far as to dictate what can and can’t be written. One result has been the rise of citizen journalists, who have taken to social media to document the ongoing violence. Benson has since extended his reporting for an exclusive story on texasmonthly.com called “Breaking the Silence.” He interviewed five reporters based in the Valley about their experiences over the past decade and revealed the difficulties they face as well as the urgency with which they work. Says Enrique Lerma, a correspondent for Univision, “Every day there is a shooting. Every day somebody is being found shot execution-style. Every day. So nothing is changing.”
Gripes of Wrath
It appears that the editorial staff of texas monthly is wandering ever farther from the path of credibility. January’s issue depicted a degrading caricature and critique of Wendy Davis, perhaps the first meaningful challenge to the conservative monolith that is Texas government in decades. That trivialization of a real and hardworking champion for positive change after fourteen interminable years was followed in February by a silly cover story about how, deep down, every Texan wants to own a ranch, implying somehow that this anachronism reflects the “real” Texas [“Land Ho!”]. The third affront to intelligence was the Pollyanna tone and content of Erica Grieder’s article about the Legislature [Behind the Lines]. Contrary to her prediction that our lawmakers will come together for the common good, holding hands while they boldly push forward for more amenities and services for Texans, I anticipate that any budget surplus will immediately give rise to calls for more tax cuts, primarily for the wealthy and corporations. My own way of dealing with the frustration and backwardness is to keep my expectations low.
Andrew John, San Angelo
Your wonder at finding a “refined French restaurant” in Fort Worth once again raises the question of whether texas monthly will ever get over its naiveté and condescension concerning Fort Worth [“Where to Eat Now 2015”].
Harold Rich, via email
Eye, the Jury
[In Michael Hall’s “The Reformer”] Judge Cathy Cochran stated: “We had no idea [eyewitness testimony] was so unreliable.” She apparently was speaking of her work after 2000. With all due respect to Her Honor, eyewitness identification had been discredited as reliable evidence many years before she became involved in her own reform efforts.
Chief Judge Henry Quintero, Sixth Judicial District, New Mexico
I just finished reading “My Brother’s Secret,” by W. K. Stratton. If there is a more beautiful, touching, honest, and heartfelt personal story about the life and death of a loved one from AIDS, I’d like someone to tell me. Thank you, Mr. Stratton and Texas Monthly.
Frank T. Francisconi Jr., New London, Connecticut
Wow. Great read. Thank you for sharing Dale’s story.
Nicki Stacy, via Facebook
Magnificent and heartbreaking.
Rudy England, via Twitter
It’s hard to judge Mr. Stratton’s old man by his supposed unwillingness to accept things he didn’t understand and possibly didn’t even know existed. He obviously worked hard to provide for his family, and as much as Mr. Stratton’s brother’s dying is a tragedy, so is the old man’s losing a son and realizing that he hardly knew him.
El_Guapo_01, via texasmonthly.com
Dear Texanist: I’m a born, bred, and lifelong Wisconsinite who began his regular sojourns to the Lone Star State ten years ago, when my oldest daughter started her postgraduate studies at Texas A&M. It was shortly thereafter that I subscribed to your fine magazine. As one of those back-to-front magazine readers you admire so much, I always read your advice column first (and foremost). What struck me is that from the first time I read your answers to others’ queries, the words hit my ears in the voice of the late Waylon Jennings—just as he sounded when narrating the old Dukes of Hazzard series. Delightfully so, Jennings’s voice still brings your words to me month after month without fail. Tell me, is that how you talk? Or am I just the happy victim of too much Shiner Bock?
Mark Peterson, New Glarus, Wisconsin
Flour to the People
Courtney Bond delivered an imperfect recipe for biscuits and gravy [Vittles]. Substitute Pioneer or White Wing for “all-purpose” flour in the recipe for both components, and those of us south of Austin might try them out. Or not. We might just eat biscuits for breakfast at the Guenther House. Biscuits and gravy were not invented here, but they were perfected here.
Bill Larson, Universal City