CHUCK NORRIS STANDS FOR JUSTICE, truth, and right in his portrayal of Walker in the series Walker, Texas Ranger. To many, he is an excellent example. Perhaps a hero. Mr. Norris is an acknowledged master in tae kwon do. However, he and Texas Monthly fail in firearms literacy and safety [“The Texas Twenty,” September 1996]. Any responsible individual vaguely familiar with firearms knows: You never place your finger near the trigger until you’re pointing at a target you want to shoot. The cover photograph illustrates dangerous firearms handling.

You may say I’m being too critical. Allow me then to contrast your cover with a photo I noticed in the Tuesday, September 17 USA Today, which shows a United States soldier on patrol in war-torn Bosnia. His trigger (index) finger is clearly outside the trigger guard pointing straight ahead—and he’s in a war zone!

As a law-abiding citizen and responsible firearms owner, I’m asking you to not engage in the unsafe portrayal of firearms. This is a personal and a corporate responsibility. Unfortunately, many people today harbor negative perceptions toward firearms. Images such as the September cover photo only exacerbate this situation and further deteriorate rights for law-abiding owners.

To all who look up to Chuck Norris and Texas Monthly, the right example to set is safe and responsible handling procedures.
Richard Mourer
Round Rock

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW YOU COULD JUSTIFY putting Michael Irvin in an issue that pays tribute to, among others, a man who uses his fame to deliver an anti-drug message (Chuck Norris), positive African American role models (Kirk Franklin, Harriet and Harmon Kelley, Anthony Mark Hankins), and an athlete who actually does possess many of the qualities of a true sports hero—role model (Michael Johnson).

As your cover states, you profiled “the most impressive, intriguing, and influential Texans of 1996.” Irvin impressive? No. Intriguing? In a Joey Buttafuoco kind of way. Influential? Unfortunately.
Anne Haluska

WHAT’S SO IMPRESSIVE AND INTRIGUING, and influential about a married man who parties with topless dancers and pleads no contest to cocaine possession? You really blew it by including Michael Irvin on your list. Better luck next year.
Heather Williams
Lake Jackson

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME EXACTLY WHICH CATEGORY MICHAEL IRVIN FITS INTO: (a) impressively stupid, (b) intriguingly arrogant, or (c) influentially bad?
Sherillyn Magee
Flower Mound

SHOW MICHAEL IRVIN FOR WHAT HE IS: a drug user and a coward.
Marc Gray

IF ATTORNEY GENERAL DAN MORALES is so concerned about recouping money that Medicaid has spent on our people, why isn’t he going after the fathers who are ordered to carry insurance on their children [as part of child support] but refuse to do so, therefore leaving it up to our government to provide medical care for the children, in the form of Medicaid? When does the government plan to go after the fathers to recoup that money?
Nanci H. Krauss

CHERYL HOPWOOD IS INFLUENTIAL LIKE A BULLY IS INFLUENTIAL on the block. Or, perhaps, she merely chose a bully to fight for her, but she did nothing to be proud of. If the outcome of Hopwood v. Texas is a more fair system for people of all colors, that result is yet to be seen, and it cannot be predicted on the basis of the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision. If, indeed, a better system is implemented, it will not be because of the efforts of Cheryl Hopwood; it will be because of the creative responses of educational institutions that have to operate under the prejudicial and shortsighted principles of Hopwood v. Texas.
Dennis Medina

CHUCK NORRIS “INTRIGUING”? We don’t think so. Michael Irvin “influential”? We hope not. And the “most impressive” Texan in national politics the odious Tom DeLay? How come, when Dick Armey and Bill Archer are just as reactionary? Oh, yes. You have panegyrized them in other issues. At least your magazine is proof that not all media are liberal.
Tom Walker
San Antonio

AS A MEMBER OF THE ADVISORY BOARD of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute at Port Aransas and an admirer of oceanographer Tony Amos, I was thrilled that he was honored as one of “The Texas Twenty.” Mr. Amos also runs a hospital-hospice for baby and wounded sea turtles at the institute. He does this work with the blessing of the university, volunteer help, and a shoestring budget supplied by small, random grants and private contributions.
Edith Mcallister
San Antonio

WHEN “THE TEXAS TWENTY” WAS PUBLISHED, I was disappointed that one name was left out. This Texan stands a little taller than the rest. In a day of few heroes or positive role models, he is the real deal. He embodies all that is positive of the Western lifestyle and the cowboy tradition. His name is George Strait.
Frank Addington, Jr.
Winfield, West Virginia

Church Offering

THE ARTICLE ABOUT OUR CHURCH, Great Hills Baptist Church, was factual and honest [Religion: “In God We Bust,” September 1996]. I was not aware that being five feet nine inches tall is diminutive, but such is the license of the author. I would like to apologize again to anyone who was financially hurt by our church’s bankruptcy. Losing $6 million almost destroyed us.
Harold O’Chester
Pastor, Austin

I THOUGHT YOUR ARTICLE ON THE FINANCIAL DILEMMA of Great Hills Baptist was fair; however, the motive of the pastor should have been considered.

Harold O’Chester’s desire for more space is to accommodate those whom he hopes to bring into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I have found that this motivation coupled with righteous living tends to bring on trouble, not a life of ease. Perhaps the difficulties at Great Hills Baptist could be looked upon as a blessing, not a disgrace.
Nancy L. Dorr

Skin Problem

WHEN MY “TEXAS TWENTY” ISSUE ARRIVED, I was delighted until I read “Needlemania” [Lifestyle, September 1996]. Did some hungry tattoo artist pay you to print that? As long as I can remember, Ihave believed that only trash allows his or her body (the magnificent temple God created for housing one’s soul) to be desecrated by a tattoo. This simple story may prompt many immature people to ask for and get a tattoo that will mark them as cheap and irresponsible and a long way from being respectable.
Frances M. Albright
Monroe, Louisiana