Letters: Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Letters to the Editor

They’re All Death Rows

To the editor: Regarding “Hospital of Horrors” (Oct. 19, 2005): Someone tell me this Halloween horror story of medical mistreatment in prison isn’t true! How is this being allowed to happen in America?

It’s time to end the terror by changing our intrusive, big-bully policies, both foreign and domestic. The monetary costs are staggering and the human suffering unconscionable.

Colleen Minter


To the editor: I sit here with tears in my eyes — reading Betty Brink’s story about Linda Fenton was like pouring salt on an open wound. I know exactly how her mom felt when she sat by her dying daughter, who was shackled to the bed, as if two guards were not enough to keep a comatose woman from fleeing. You see, my own son met the same untimely and unfortunate death at the hands of the Bureau of Prisons.

My son — Isidro Aviles, inmate No. 33404-054 — told me and many others, years before his death, that he would never leave the prison alive. Because he had so much to live for, especially his three beautiful young daughters, I did not think that anything could happen to him while in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

Well, how wrong I was. Not only did my son die mysteriously, but when I received his death certificate, it said that he was a white male. How can an African American woman produce a white son, a dark-skinned one at that?

It is time that someone starts exposing these prisons for what they are. They are all death rows. When young, healthy people go to prison for non-violent crimes and come home in body bags, there is something terribly wrong. It is beyond tragic what they are doing to our families. When is it going to end?

Teresa Aviles

New York, N.Y.

To the editor: Thank you for doing the work that went into this article on the federal women’s prison hospital and camp. My brother is in his 15th year of imprisonment and will be 63 before his release. Getting sick is such a worry for all these prisoners. And then there’s the mental anguish of worrying about sexual assault, which weighs on men and women alike. A public discourse is necessary and overdue. Thank you.

Nora Callahan

Executive Director,

November Coalition

Colville, Wash.

Truth Hurts

To the editor: Great op-ed piece by Tracy Everbach about Bill O’Reilly (On Second Thought, Oct. 26, 2005). Nothing hurts like the truth, and his nickname for the show — “The No-Spin Zone” — is quite ironic. On Monday, a speaker from my organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, was on Bill’s show for a big seven minutes. Norm Stamper is a retired police chief from Seattle who wrote a book called Breaking Rank, and one of its chapters is devoted to calling for an end to drug prohibition. Of course, O’Reilly chewed Stamper up, not allowing him to speak and interrupting whenever Stamper actually had a chance to pitch an idea.

What do college students think of this kind of reporting? My daughter, who’s a sophomore at Syracuse University, tells me that most college students get their news from The Daily Show on the Comedy Central network. Now, that says something about the media, huh?

Mike Smithson

Syracuse, N.Y.

Spooned Out

To the editor: OK, OK, I get it — you guys don’t like The Arcade Fire. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think they’re the greatest thing ever to hit the music scene either. But how can I respect this opinion, when Fort Worth Weekly is still hung up on those Bands on the Run winners, Flickerstick?

I mean, c’mon guys, really? Aren’t they a little old hat? I think their 15 minutes of fame was over about four years ago, and I’m getting tired of seeing that frontman at all the local bars. So when you say, “if they deigned to actually search for good new music instead of allow it to be spoonfed to them from Pitchfork and satellite radio,” what are we supposed to do? Isn’t all music “spoonfed”? Just like your article (“All the Album’s a Stage,” Oct. 12, 2005) about some marginally talented local producer guy who thinks he’s artistic and smart because he has shaggy hair, plastic Rivers Cuomo glasses and a two-part record about some sad, sappy relationship he was in. (Puke!) I think the spoon you put in my face is full of shit.

But way to go, Theatre Fire, by hooking up with Drag City. Maybe you could get a message to Dave Berman and tell him to get his ass to DFW ’cause we want some Silver Jews! (except all that new Tanglewood Numbers crap), and tell him Malkmus can come, too.

Ryan Doss

Fort Worth

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