September 19 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

First, let me state that the following is my opinion. My opinion to which I am entitled by the 1st Amendment. I am sick to death with the government and everyone bending over backwards to gun owners. Where are all of the ”responsible” gun owners every time we have a mass shooting? Why do we never hear from them? What I’m going to say next may irritate some folks, but I am long past caring about feelings.

When the 2nd Amendment was written, there were no AR-15s or AK-47s, these weapons of war had not been invented yet. So, there is no way that they are covered under the 2nd Amendment. There is no reason to own one, other than to feel powerful or to increase your own self-importance. It doesn’t take a weapon to make anyone feel safe, that’s done by being aware, by being confident in yourself, by knowing that you are doing the right thing without having to lean on a weapon as a security blanket.

Oh, I know some folks say that they need an AR-15 to hunt with. That’s bull! The .223 round that the AR-15 shoots travels at supersonic speed (over 3000 ft per second) and the cavitation effect will make a lot of the meat inedible. Then, some folks will say that they need it for protection. I doubt that as well. A revolver has 6 shots, an automatic pistol has 10-15 shots, then there are 30.06 rifles or similar hunting rifles. These contain enough firepower to stop an intruder or hunt an animal. Any “responsible” gun owner should know this.

As of September 1, which was the 244th day of the year, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. The GVA defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.

In 2008, regarding U.S. v Heller, Justice Scalia said: it is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever, and for whatever purpose.” I agree with that statement because I really wouldn’t feel comfortable if a neighbor has a .50 caliber machine gun in his living room. Aside from the fact that it’s not needed, what happens when he’s had a few drinks and has to show off his weapon? This happens all too frequently because it’s human nature.

Folks have a title to their car, why not one for your guns? If you buy a car, even through private sales, you get a title and it follows that car until it’s time for the crusher. Should be the same for guns. And, I think the weapon should be insured, just in case it’s stolen. I know that I wouldn’t feel very good if someone stole my pistol and committed a crime with it. Common sense gun laws people. We need them, and we need them now.

I’ve already mentioned all of the mass shooting deaths, but I will close with this –  on September 14, 2019 at a Pee Wee football game in Ft. Worth, TX, a group of parents were arguing about the game when the son of one of the parents arrived with a handgun and opened fire.

A woman had a gunshot to the leg and a bullet grazed a little girl’s back.

Fortunately, no one died. But you have to wonder, how was a child able to retrieve the gun from the home and bring it to the ball field? A young boy shoots at people just because they disagree with his parents? It’s a mind-boggling thing, but it’s also just another incident with a less than ”responsible” gun owner’s gun.

P.S. There was a tweet from a Texas congressman threatening Beto O’Rourke after he stated that he would take AR-15s from citizens via a buyback program. Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted that his “AR-15 would be waiting for you, Robert Francis.” That is a threat, but seems to be the way a lot of gun owners think: threatening people with guns who have a different viewpoint from yours. Now is that the way a ”responsible” gun owner should reply? I don’t think so.

Karen Cantrell



Dear Editor,

The word liberal has been used in a derogatory way towards a certain party – as a whip for the benefit of the other party. The definition of liberal is: lacking moral restraints, or not bound by authoritarianism and open-minded. Individually and corporately, liberal thinking applies to both parties – from a political perspective to a spiritual perspective. To say a certain party is bound by moral restraints and authoritarianism is a fallacy. Human beings are spirit, mind, body and emotions. Therefore, man is unrestrained spiritually and politically, if we are not in denial. If our leaders fail or bypass Congress and our system of checks and balances, which the Constitution is based on, liberal thinking is evident in both parties. The hypocrisy exists when we say liberal thinking only applies to a certain party, and take a stand in our campaigns and elections. Biblical truth is: “He who is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her,” (John 8:7 KJV) which is in reference to the adulterous woman in the Bible, and can be applied to any leader of both parties when it comes to stone-throwing. One last thought, if we are open-minded or liberal in a sense when it comes to the defense of the nation, immigration, or gun control (don’t misinterpret for taking away our 2nd Amendment), we are receptive to arguments or ideas and that define a democracy and not a dictatorship.

Oscar Cobos     
Alpine, Texas


Dear Editor,

Each year, I look forward to strolling through the booths and food delights to the Marfa Lights Festival.  And this year, as in last year, I was strongly dismayed at the numbers of toy guns of all sorts being sold by various vendors.

The toy guns were numerous and varied:  hand guns, assault weapons, sniper rifles and rapid fire replicas of every type of gun I could imagine.  This was very disturbing.

Children in this country have been found to be suffering from anxiety-related issues as a result of the horrid school shootings, and now the killing has come to El Paso and Odessa. Must we put toy guns in the hands of our children?

My hope is that the Marfa Lights committee will ban the sale of toy guns; In fact, I would hope to see them banned all across our country.

Marjie Erkkila

Fort Davis 


Dear Editor,

To the community of Marfa, especially to the elected officials of Marfa and Presidio County, civic leaders, business community and the boards of the non-profit foundations,

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING when a music festival at least three times the size of the entire population of Marfa is to be situated in desert grasslands a few miles from the city center? Is historical memory so short that no one remembers the grassland fire fueled by strong northwest winds at Chinati that swept from Officer’s Hill through the field next to the Arena and towards the barracks? Does anyone remember why the ritual of the Open House bonfire was eliminated? Does anyone remember the much more recent catastrophic fires in Fort Davis, Cibolo Creek and in between? Does anyone remember the loss of housing and property at those times? Does anyone remember the livestock carcasses and the dazed, singed jackrabbits along the fence lines? Now the threat could be exponentially worse, and unnecessarily so.

WHERE IS MARFA but in the fragile grasslands of the Trans Pecos – the buffer zone between the encroaching Chihuahuan Desert and the Davis Mountains, the very area that harbors the majority of the fauna and flora of the entire area. Why would anyone want to create the additional risk of destroying an environment which exists in a fragile balance at normal times, much less with the big unknown of climate change acceleration?

WHAT IS AT RISK is that long-term livelihoods and important institutions, civic and non-profit, would be sacrificed for short term financial gains. Fear and greed curb the imagination, but think of a town and its institutions under threat, and the cost to the many rather than the profit of a few. Stewardship is more than commercial enterprise.

The article on the front page of The Big Bend Sentinel (Sept 12, 2019) indicated that there would be only one day of community input on this issue, with a decision being made almost immediately after by the county commissioners. The article indicated that Judge Guevara wanted to approve an application for a permit no matter the concerns of the community. If one goes to page 8 of the same edition of the BBS, there is an article about tips for fire prevention to ranchers and landowners from Agri-Life Extension. The entire county of Presidio has been, and is still under a burn ban.

So, what is everyone thinking?

Submitted with acknowledgements to the great Lonn Taylor and the fantastic Carolyn Pfeiffer, who wrote much more eloquently and succinctly.

Fredericka Hunter
Houston, TX


Dear Editor,


My time is short in Marfa. I am moving on to join the confluence of cultures that is El Paso, moving to join El Paso’s mushrooming art renaissance. I came to Marfa in 1996 to save its adobe patrimony that was being demolished by Marfa’s myopic leadership. I came about the time that Tim Crowley came.

That was a time when the October Chinati fest was inconsequential in the consciousness of Marfans. Marfa only was aware of the occurrence of this annual Chinati event by the appearance of unknown folks showing up at Carmen’s, all wearing black. Tim Crowley came and Marfa changed, a change whose nativity flowed not from Judd but from Mr. Crowley. Mr. Crowley spent money, created a coffee shop in which to hang, invited affluent friends to our beautiful but deserted oasis, hired publicists, built our performing arts theater, built a shade structure for local vendors and our famous food truck and continues to provide free space for local vendors on his hotel property and more. Simply and truly, Marfa owes Mr. Crowley our gratitude for making Marfa the mecca that it is today.

I have not always been pleased with Mr. Crowley and he will confirm my displeasure in his demolition of the adobe mill in Presidio. Others have their issues with Mr. Crowley’s behavior.

I am a Certified Public Accountant of 49 years, and have seen and experienced many omissions in my own and my clients’ failures in meeting tax responsibilities.

Thing happen, errors are made. But do not take pleasure in the misfortune of others.

It saddens me to see Mr. Crowley humiliated in the pages of The Big Bend Sentinel. I am certain that amends will be made.

The story of Mr. Crowley’s omissions with respect to his tax responsibilities are the tip of the much bigger iceberg. What are the other tax delinquencies to Marfa? Where is the investigation into the deficiencies in the city’s collection process? We know that delinquencies are hidden. We know that the city is ripe with incompetence while fat wages are being paid of this incompetence. The state of the financial operations is the legacy of years of former Mayor Dan Dunlap’s incompetence, the self-serving management by those without a watchdog.

“For the times they are a changin’.” In the past, Marfa’s dirty linen was rarely, if ever, aired in the pages of The Big Bend Sentinel. The Big Bend Sentinel functioned exclusively as a cheerleader for Marfa. Now, The Big Bend Sentinel is assuming its proper role of a free press, a watchdog, a manifestation of maturation. And Marfa is better for it.

Glory to the free press, guardian of our liberties, the watchdog for the masses!

Lineaus Hooper Lorette

Marfa, Fort Davis, El Paso


Dear Editor,

In response to David Moskowitz, Sept 5th LTE, “Trade War Hurting Farmers.”

David Moskowitz, when you look around you, you will find that Trump is actually winning the trade wars with China, and if you look a little bit further into the weather reports over the last eight months you will find that what hurt our farmers was water. Lots and lots of water. They are called floods. It was this year’s massive flooding in the Midwest that hurt the farmers, not some tariff.

Semper Fidelis,

Gregory Romeu

5th Precinct Chairman of the Presidio County Republican

Co-author of the Presidio County Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution


Dear Editor,

This is in response to Fred Gossien’s (Terlingua) rant in the September 5, 2019 Big Bend Sentinel about the Odessa shootings. While we’re on the topic, let’s bring into mention any other shooting that has or is currently taking place in the United States.

In November 1969, my older brother, Michael (15) was mowed down by a drunk driver in a Cadillac. I was 13. I had both parents and three younger sisters plus family and friends (HUNDREDS of friends, couldn’t get them all into the cemetery) … NOBODY banned alcohol, drunk drivers, bars or Cadillacs. We were forced by reality to suck it up and deal with it.

In 1975, I join the United States Marine Corps, and when I came home in early March of ‘76 for 10-day leave, I went to the restaurant/bar where the drunk driver was headed that night, looking for my friends and neighbors, as that was a great restaurant for gathering and had a great chicken menu.

I sat at the bar in my Marine Corps uniform sipping on a cold beer, waiting for my friends to amble in, when all of the sudden, I hear a loud voice bragging, “I’m John Small. That’s right! I’m John Small!”

That was the man that murdered my brother in November of ‘69. Freshly out of 13 weeks of the world’s roughest Marine Corps bootcamp of learning how to kill in defense of our country, I had to suppress all of that training and those emotions so as not to kill the SOB in the blink of an eye.

Instead I approached this SOB and his table of three associates as the restaurant owner’s wife was bringing them another picture of beer, and introduced myself to him in a firm Marine Corps tone, and he did not recognize me. So, I reminded him in the same tone that he was bragging in that he was the drunk SOB that murdered my brother with his Cadillac in November of ‘69.

I asked him who he was going to murder this evening, and then he mumbled something, got up from his table and staggered to the door claiming he was going to drive home. I yelled at him and said that if his keys touched that car, his dead body will be in the parking lot.

I didn’t have any weapons other than myself.

Two years later, again home on leave, I stopped into the same restaurant, got some dinner and spotted John Small Jr., sitting at the bar drinking. Sat down on the barstool next to him, we had a few small words, something about his wanting to bury the hatchet between he and I. He just finished a round of golf and he was getting ready to head home, drunk. I looked at him and asked him if that was the smart thing to do. His facial expression was frozen grief. John Jr. then decided on his own to call a taxi. John Jr. was one of my brother’s good friends.

For well over 200 years this country didn’t write letters to the editor whining about their friends and family being slaughtered. They dealt with it.

During those same 200 plus years this country and its citizens carried their own firearms freely, openly or concealed, their choice.

These days we have way over 22,000+ gun laws on the books. You rant on about all of the responses that people gave in support of guns, yet you failed to tell us, which one of these 22,000+ gun laws has stopped any of the shootings that have taken place in this country since the very first anti gun law was written?

Which of these gun laws would have prevented the murder of over 200+ women and children in Michigan… By our own government?

WHY does the media always allude to “The worst, mass murder IN MODERN HISTORY”? As well as fail to report about the weekend murders in Chicago, or the MS 13 gangland slayings that occur daily across the nation?

I will await your answer to my primary question: Which anti-gun law(s) would have prevented ANY of these senseless slayings?

Better yet, why were the citizens that were in all of these areas of all of these lanes not properly armed to defend themselves, KNOWING that these situations are occurring more frequently in our country?

Especially the recent El Paso massacre, in a military town with well over a few thousand Border Patrol, CBP, County Sheriff, City police and God knows how many other armed agencies as well as civilians?

This is REAL WORLD and if civilization has been dummied-down to the point where they’re going to hide behind a piece of legislation, ink on paper to stop a bullet, then God help us all!

Your answer(s) please.

Semper Fidelis,

Gregory Romeu

5th Precinct Chairman of the Presidio County Republican

Co-author of the Presidio County Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution