I AM THE MOTHER OF THE MURDER victim referred to in Mimi Swartz’s article “Congressman Clueless” [February 1996]. A few weeks after my son was killed, I called Mr. Stockman to request the removal of my son’s name and the manipulation of the facts of his murder from Mr. Stockman’s House Resolution 2393 to repeal the Brady Law, but he never got the point. He was interested only in defending the bill. I never mentioned if I was for or against his bill, only that I wanted my son’s story out of it, because it was irrelevant. (During a robbery at the liquor store where he worked, my son was shot in the back without warning and would have had no opportunity to defend himself even if he had had a gun.) But Stockman never “got it.” He was hostile, rude, and, yes, adolescent. The conversation degenerated to such childish remarks from him that, baffled and angry, I hung up in frustration. For instance, he said to me in a sarcastic tone, “Oh, so next time, when someone gets shot in the front, then you don’t care about that!” When he said someting was a “mute” point, I told him it was moot. He replied that he talked different because he is Southern. (How I wish I had known then that he is from Detroit.) After telling me that I didn’t sound Southern, even though I told him that I was born and lived most of my life in Louisiana, he offered, “Well, it’s not as far south as I lie.” And the point is? And has he looked at a map lately?
Barbara Coleman
Cincinnati, Ohio

I AM TRULY AMAZED THAT WE, THE constituents of the Ninth Congressional District, elected this ninny to Congress. Before his election, the man hadn’t even held a steady job in his entire life. He may be the laughingstock of the Republican party, but we are the laughingstock of the American voters for having elected such a buffoon.
J.J. Gallegos
email submission

THANK GOD FOR STEVE STOCKMAN. He and the other Republican congressmen are trying to salvage what’s left of this country after forty years of rule by Jack Brooks and his liberal democrat cohorts. The main thing they have left is an unfathomable debt. Does clueless Mimi have a clue how to pay off a $5 trillion debt?
Wayne E. Flowe
Missouri City

IF STEVE STOCKMAN’S SUCCESS story …from homeless person to college graduate to congressman …had been lived by someone other than a conservative Republican, Texas Monthly would have showered him or her with deserved praise. Your readers, I suspect, would have appreciated far more a genuine up-by-your-bootstraps article, even if it went against the liberal grain.
Lamar Smith
Congressman, San Antonio

Town on Trial

I WOULD NOT ARGUE EITHER PRO or con whether DaRoyce Mosley deserves the death penalty [“Does DaRoyce Mosley Deserve to Die?” February 1996], but I do object to writer Skip Hollandsworth’s inflammatory insinuations regarding Kilgore’s racial attitudes. Hollandsworth wrote that a Confederate flag flies over the police department. He didn’t say that it flies in front of city hall along with others in the six flags of Texas. Hollandsworth quoted a former classmate of DaRoyce’s as saying blacks and whites in Kilgore keep their distance from one another. This comes as news to those of both races who serve together on the school board, in the police department, in the Ministerial Alliance, and in classrooms as well as in other places of responsibility, and who work together at various jobs and have friends in common. If Hollandsworth wishes to learn how many responsible blacks and whites get along in Kilgore, he should look beyond the patrons of Katie’s.
Winston Gardner

THE GREAT FAILING TODAY IS that no one wants to take responsibility for his own actions. There are plenty of very poor, disadvantaged white people in Kilgore and throughout East Texas, but they are not all bigots and they don’t commit cold-blooded murder and blame it on the rest of society. DaRoyce Mosley made choices that destroyed not only his life but the lives of four other people as well.
Eugene W. Porter

WITHOUT BELITTLING THE main point …the tragedy of the reversal of a positive course by a young man …the critical social issue of wanton and freakish imposition of the death penalty by prosecutorial descretion deserves attention. The U.S. Supreme Court condemned earlier death-penalty statutes because they were applied in an arbitrary and capricious fashion. While it is most spectacular and pernicious in cases such as Mosley, which involved cutting deals with multiple defendants, prosecutorial descretion continues to result in an arbitrary and capricious application of the death penalty.
Steve L. Hurt