February 11 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Letter from the Marfa Clinic

Having the privilege of participating in a mass vaccination drive in our town was exhilarating. Midland Memorial Hospital offered a chance to some 500+ residents of our area to receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this past Tuesday. Our clinic partnered with the City of Marfa, who hosted the event at the Marfa Visitors Center. The City of Marfa, Presidio County, the Rio Grande Council of Governments and the Marfa Independent School District provided volunteer staff to help with both scheduling and administrative support over the past 10 days. Tuesday’s vaccination event was a true example of a successful group effort and we would like to thank everyone involved.

Charged with the task of bringing in “1B” qualifying vaccine recipients, we produced a highly choreographed schedule for the day, offering eight appointments every five minutes from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. to residents who drove to us from as far as Presidio or Terlingua. Midland Memorial Hospital staff, our partner dispensing the vaccines, decided to accelerate the vaccination process, bypassing the schedule and enlisting walk-up participants on a first-come first-serve basis. The supply of 500 vaccines was exhausted by 1:45 p.m., well before the end of our 3:15 p.m. scheduled appointments, leaving about 50 who were scheduled without a vaccine. No excuses are being made; this is what happened. There are many individuals who are rightfully upset. The Marfa Clinic is sorry that this occurred. By scheduling vaccine participants, we made a commitment to those individuals, and while we have no definitive solution at the time this goes to press, we will endeavor to orchestrate a solution for this mishap.

Don Culbertson PA-C



Dear Editor,

Why does this small town newspaper RARELY publish news from Marfa ISD? You do not cover the school board meetings or if you do, you do not print what happened. Where are the stories on the Shorthorn sport activities? Most small town papers cover their local school sports.

The Dispatch and the Avalanche always have something in print while you do not. Why not??? Students and athletes love to see their names in print and articles are cut out by them, their parents, or more frequently, their grandparents.

Why is nothing published concerning upcoming school board elections??? Just curious!!!!

Bernie Kelly



Dear Editor,

I find it patently absurd for there to have been a scheduling system for the recent COVID vaccination event at the Marfa USO building if it was never to be honored. Personally, as a member of category 1B, I would have gladly showed up early had I known that this would become a first come first serve event à la Fort Davis vaccinations. Instead, I was turned away by a police presence as I arrived for my duly scheduled appointment and watched as biohazard containers were carted away in front of me.

This callous disregard for protocol substantiates an undermining of faith in area public health systems and services at a time where – frankly – nobody needs that due to the crisis.

The entire point is to provide equity and access to those at risk. I can’t help but wonder the conditions of others who were passed up. In my mind this is inexcusable, and is doubly so if the officer who told me that this occurred due to Midland/Odessa staff wanting to “get home early.”


Lauren Klotzman



Dear Editor,

After finishing the story about Tom Arthur’s conviction trial, I had every intention of doing what everyone else was going to do: mutter, “Well, that’s what ya get, ya creep,” finish my biscuits with jam and never think of it again. But I’m a professional artist. I’ve kept myself alive for the last 20-plus years by selling pictures I create and writing things down. Cases like this put me on edge.

All art comes from the same place. No matter what it is, who made it or where it came from: SOMEBODY had to abandon their body, take up the spiritual spade and pickaxe, go through that portal inside — the one that goes to the World of Fantasy — find some of that precious ore that might be of some worth in the Real World, then return to the material plane with as much intact as possible.

Sometimes you bring back lead or fools gold, other times, it’s an emerald the size of a tangerine. You never know; but there’s no other way to get good art.

Good art is like funky cheese. The expensive, gourmet kind: creamy, fragrant, buttery deliciousness with veins of stinking, awful mold shooting through it all. Making it a bit disgusting if you think too hard about it — but it wouldn’t be the same without it. When you have cheese that’s all sugar, all cream and no mold, you’ve got Walt Disney cheese. Basically, it’s cake frosting. It’s a lie.

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that the profane and forbidden are potent factors in art. Many great artists use their skill and talent harnessing our attraction to these dark elements to great effect. When these great artists go through the portal, on the way to the mine to collect their horde of ore, they go by way of private helicopter to the happiest of hunting grounds. In route, these artists may look out the window and see the wretched, toiling in dank crags on the outer fringes of the mine, scratching out tiny specks of low-grade ore that will become ugly, little sex stories (involving babies, murder and all kinds of rot). These artists may shake their heads and wonder, “Yeesh, these damned freaks make me sick.” Then get on with it. They know there’s no getting around it. Whether for demented thrills or the quick buck, you’re going to have creatures like these splashing around in the sewers of creation looking for anything they can use for their own ends.

Personally, I don’t believe art is Good or Evil. Only the intention of the creator is worth examining and, even then, it’s only a matter of taste. One artist wants to enrich the human condition; while others seek gratification and don’t care if people get anything out of it. They want to use art as a sex toy. Let them. It is ALL art: Good or bad, effective or ineffective; it’s up to the viewers and readers to decide.

Governments and prosecution lawyers, on the other hand, have different aims entirely.

I wasn’t on that jury. I haven’t seen any evidence against Tom Arthur. But if FBI agents found footage and/or photographs of ACTUAL children being abused in Tom’s possession, there would be no need in blowing 90 years worth of dust off these obscenity laws. It would’ve been a very different case — and far shorter, too.

Drawings and stories, folks, are ink smears on paper. If people are killed or raped in a story or drawing — nobody gets hurt. Hustler magazine prints illustrated comics where young girls are sadistically tortured (or so a little birdy tells me). Are the sobbing, pleading subjects of these comics over 18 years old? Is that a silly question? The crimes depicted in these comics couldn’t be shown in any other way than through a creative medium because they are scenarios in a fantasy. Anything else would be a crime.

Cybercrime concerning the sexual mistreatment of children is a massive issue; I don’t make light of it. My point is that some distinction should be made between crime and the creative act. And I question whether the peddling of charcoal drawings and fiction make one as guilty as the most unscrupulous pornographer. Art is similar to virtual reality in that the brain can’t tell the two apart. Often, what feels real also seems real; that’s why the line between fantasy and reality can blur and we find ourselves reeling in the haze. But stifling the creative act is wrong and unhealthy. Like speech — one shouldn’t be silenced just because you don’t like what they have to say.

Marshall McCorcle



Dear Editor,

The Very Idea

According to what I’ve read, the prevailing conditions of our time are very similar to what our predecessors faced following the election of Abraham Lincoln. A significant number of the citizenry refused to recognize him as the legally-elected president and proposed civil war as the solution. It did, in fact, resolve the conflict between separatists and unionists but it failed to reconcile the root problem of the conflict, white supremacy, the very idea!

It seems to me that we have been headed for this moment in history for a long time. I believe the underlying cause of the past four years is yet another wake up call for humanity which we will not be able to ignore though, as is always the case, many will attempt to do just that, and many others will continue to advocate white supremacy, the very idea!

I am put in mind of Gandhi, Mandela, and King Jr. All three of them had the courage to stand up against white supremacy and all three achieved partial success using only nonviolent methods. I say partial because, despite bringing new light and hope into the world, they were unable to apprehend the culprit, white supremacy, the very idea.

The idea of supremacy seems to have pervaded every culture of which we have any historical knowledge. It has such an incredible shelf life due to the fact that, for the most part, humanity continues to nurture supremacy, white or any other color, religious or national ideology, the very idea!

We have seen horrors of this line of thinking over and over; a line of thinking birthed from a profound ignorance. There have always been so-called “leaders” who exploit that ignorance for the sole purpose of their own agendas, and they do not hesitate to promote violence as a means. The favored method of ensuring things go their way is to sow the seeds of distrust among the people through rumor, conspiracy theories and outright lies. It is quite easy to sell their ideas because so many people share those ideas and long for a leader who will validate their darker inclinations. (Nazi Germany is a perfect example of this dark phenomenon.) The resulting violence has taken the lives of untold millions of people, a great many of whom are innocents caught up in circumstances not of their making, and has yet to bring an end to hatred, fear and war, yet we continue to fall back on it as it if it were inevitable, which it is not; it is a choice. Violence will never end violence. Supremacy cannot be attained, the very idea!

It is time for healing and for standing in opposition to violence in any form against any of God’s creation. It is time to eliminate the idea, not those who live by the idea. It should be obvious by now that we humans are incapable of finding a way to accomplish this task so crucial to the advancement of ourselves, or even to our survival. We must finally surrender to the Divine, our higher power, the creator, the universe, or any other wholly inadequate label we have attached to the great Mystery. The Mystery runs the show, not us. Our ongoing attempts to control serve only to interfere. Look around the world at the ego-driven chaos we have created all the while seeking to lay the blame on anyone or anything but ourselves. Political parties point fingers at each other, religious groups all claim exclusive understanding of the truth, ethnic groups decry as inferior anyone outside their particular ethnicity, and never recognize that it all stems from greed, fear and hatred; traits that appear nowhere in creation outside of human beings, the very idea.

We are at a crossroads, not only here in the fractured Union of the States, but in the world at large. We are desperately in need of a revolution of consciousness. The only way this can come about is through the individual. We cannot wait for “the right government,” the “right” leader or “sufficient” laws for the world to be ready, or a miracle to make it happen. Making it happen will be the miracle. Each man and woman must look deep within themselves and look honestly at their thoughts, words and actions and, just as important, teach their children to do the same. Most people will be quite surprised to find out they are in fact not as free of racism, hatred, judgements and unforgiveness as they believe themselves to be. (I know I was shocked when I realized the truth of who I actually am.) It is, unfortunately, the condition of humanity. The ego relentlessly defends itself, deftly convinces one of the truth of any fantasy one choses, and invariably leads to delusion about oneself and others. The good news is that one does not undertake self-examination alone. We are all guided, those who are committed to living in accordance with their chosen religion know this through faith. Others may interrupt their own knowing as intuition, while others may see it as coincidence. Of course, there are vast numbers of us who think it’s all smoke and mirrors, and to think there is a power greater than humankind is absurd and only for the meek and weak minded, but even they are guided whether they believe it or not. It is crucial to understand this in order to realize God’s love is unconditional. It is freely given to all. If God gives without judgement, how are we to justify doing less? We are all one, the very idea.

Larry McNeill



Dear Editor,

Election integrity is important to me. Our right to vote is what protects our freedom. Voters must be able easily to vote and to trust in the integrity of our election system. Texas lags far behind other states in making improvements to the election system.

It is past time for our Texas legislators to support legislation that will ensure a safe, secure and more accurate voting experience. Voting should not be difficult and should be fair.

In particular, it is time for:

-An electronic voter registration system that can be tracked and easily updated.

-A stronger ballot-by-mail process, including simplified forms, required ballot tracking, and expanded times and places for hand-delivery.

We need to vote efficiently and to be sure our votes count. County election officials are dedicated to fair elections and they need our support. Please urge your legislators to vote for meaningful improvements to our election system.


Genie Mitchell

Fort Davis