June 2 Letters to the Editor

Hello Marfa,

I want to extend my deepest appreciation for the kind folks of Marfa for my experience in your town the past month while visiting for the Wrong Residency. Buck Johnston and Camp Bosworth graciously hosted me for three weeks as a resident curator/artist, and I am deeply appreciative of the kindness and generosity they extended to me. I’m so thankful for the people I met and the experience this opportunity offered me. Marfa and West Texas is a special place, and I’m so thankful to have had a chance to explore and experience the special place you have in this corner of the state. Marfa is truly a special island, and I look forward to continuing the exchange.

Dennis Nance


Curator, Galveston Arts Center


To the Editor,

Thank you for last week’s article by Sam Karas profiling the documentary by Kieran Fitzgerald, The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez.

There was also an article on the Hernandez death in the August 1997 issue of Texas Monthly written by Robert Draper. I remember a specific paragraph from Draper’s article that went something like this: 

If the military had done even the minimum reconnaissance for the Joint Task Force-6 mission at Polvo Crossing, they could have saved the mission — and a human life. They would have noted that every afternoon between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m., a young man named Esequiel Hernandez, armed with a vintage rifle to protect against predators, would take his herd of goats to the river bank.

Robert Draper visited Redford for his article and immediately understood the folly of the mission at Polvo. He witnessed the daily pattern of life in Redford itself. He noted the terrain. The river and its crossings. The impenetrable walls of rock north and south. He would have seen the well worn paths that guide you home at dusk. Usually.

The military is not trained to observe the flow of life in these small communities, and what happened to Esequiel could have happened to any one of us who walk in the desert or follow a path in the moonlight.

Thank you again for the article,

Zena Zeller




Beto was wrong. When he crashed Governor Abbott’s news conference in Uvalde last Wednesday and said Abbott was “doing nothing” [about gun violence] he was wrong. Abbott is doing worse than nothing, less than nothing.

Abbott, surrounded by over 20 of his favorite lackeys, regurgitated the Republican party line claiming we have a mental health problem while totally ignoring guns. His hypocrisy is clear when you find he just recently cut $211 million from the Health and Human Services budget. That is worse than doing nothing. Then we have the new open carry law. Yeah, any idiot with a debit card can buy whatever gun they want, strap it on and strut around schools, Wal-Marts, churches, wherever, supposedly to protect us from the next psycho to start shooting everyone in sight (assuming they are not actually the next psycho). That law is clearly worse than doing nothing.

Of course Abbott is not the only “pro-life” Texas politician dedicated to doing nothing to keep children from being needlessly slaughtered. Senators Cornyn and Cruz regularly and proudly vote against any and all gun safety regulations. Cruz has a great idea, though, he wants to turn schools into forts with bullet-proof doors. (Is it possible guns and bullets are the real problem?) But what about churches, Wal-Marts, grocery stores? Sure, let’s just fortify the world against all the psycho mass murderers. Great solution. And what about the worthless thoughts and prayers from these same politicians whose inaction allows these massacres to continue?

And we have Uvalde and Big Bend U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales who proudly tweeted last year about voting against two background check bills. How can anyone object to a background check to buy a weapon of mass destruction? Get real, we have background checks to get car insurance, to apply for scores of jobs, credit checks to open a bank account, but not to buy guns? What about inspections to register your car or truck? Is a broken tail light more dangerous than an AR-15?

Full disclosure: I am not against guns, I’ve owned at least one my entire life, buying my first one, a single shot .22 when I was 13 (maybe 12, can’t remember exactly) and was taught how to safely shoot it.

Okay, bottom line here is that Republicans will do absolutely nothing to enact common sense gun safety measures and Democrats will do whatever they can to ensure sane and responsible legislation to, at the very least, reduce the atrocious killings occurring in places like Uvalde, Santa Fe, El Paso and scores of other communities in Texas and around the country. So if you are among those who hate Democrats and anything they propose, then there is only one question to think about: Do you hate Democrats more than you love your children?

Fred Gossien



Dear Editor,

Yet again we are subjected to Republican politicians shedding crocodile tears and oozing hypocrisy over the latest massacre of innocent children at the hands of an American male murderer exercising his Second Amendment “rights.” Republican politicians could not care less about dead children because children and their families do not fill these politicians’ bank accounts with bribe money like the gun industry and its corrupt lobby, the NRA. Republican politicians also know full well that their gun policies guarantee that massacres of American children will happen again and again and again.

Republicans are spewing the latest gun industry/NRA propaganda that it is mental illness that is to blame, not guns. In reality, emotional and mental breakdowns occur among peoples of all nations but only in America do millions have immediate access to firearms when under such derangement. Fists or clubs or knives are incapable of causing mass slaughter in seconds while use of killing machines developed to annihilate the enemy on the battlefield guarantee it. The obscene annual toll of firearm-caused deaths in America is the direct result of the proliferation of weapons in this country.

I await the day that the next community suffering the next massacre of innocents wakes up and runs Republican politicians arriving to put on their fake sympathy show out of town. And only if communities across the nation wake up and vote Republican politicians out of office will there ever be any hope for the safety of America’s children. 

Kent C. Anschutz