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LET’R RIP

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More Questions, Few Answers



The article on Lew Perryman (“A Danger to Himself and Others,” February) would have been more appropriately billed on your cover as how the system failed Lew Perryman and the community.

The very real and devastating illness manic-depression and other major mental illnesses like schizophrenia ravage the lives of literally tens of thousands of people in metropolitan Dallas. As Mark Donald’s article describes, most are no more violent than the rest of the population. However, Donald’s view that “only the wealthy can afford to remain manic-depressive for very long” would be altered by a visit to the Austin Street Shelter in downtown Dallas. Conservatively, over 2,000 people who live on our Dallas streets and in our homeless shelters suffer from these illnesses.

Saying Lew Perryman’s community “enabled him to stay crazy” is like saying the community enables a person to keep having cancer. Yes, Lew Perryman is fortunate to have a caring family, friends and money available for his treatment. But in the end, in spite of a loving family and resources, Lew Perryman was still alone with a terrible brain disease, and he took a life.

Two families grieve in a way that most of us will never understand.

MICHAEL M. FAENZA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION

OF GREATER DALLAS



So you think Lew Perryman beat the system. My opinion is that the system beat him.

Having already been diagnosed with a mental illness, he could have fulfilled the qualifications for involuntary commitment, in compliance with the Texas Mental Health Code.

Why was no action taken when the police, informed by his family of his deteriorating condition, found him in his yard waving a shotgun around? Why did the police not call in the Dallas County Mental Illness Mobile Crisis Unit?

Perhaps without knowing it Mr. Perryman chose the only possible way to get the help he needed. A terrible price for Deanna Smith, her family, Lew Perryman and his family to pay. Maybe in that sense he did beat the system. I still say the system is beating him.

BETTY PLOG

DALLAS



My sister-in-law, Betty Lu Williams, has lived with the constant sorrow and stress of a manic-depressive son for almost two decades. She and her husband have done everything in their power to provide long-term psychiatric care for her son, but their efforts were constantly thwarted by the Texas legal system.

They have done numerous things to help Lew but these positive and kind things were never mentioned. Has Mr, Donald ever been associated with a mentally ill person? If he has not, he has no idea of the frustration and grief involved for all parties.

Would D Magazine consider a follow-up article which examines the Texas mental illness statutes and use the power of the press to help change these laws?

JOHN A. HAMMACK

DALLAS



You win! You have the quote I have been waiting decades to hear! For years I have been outraged at a legal system which focuses on mercy to criminals at the expense of future victims. Violent criminals threaten the lives of innocent men, women and children, and our courts put them back on the streets because we don’t have enough beds in the prisons. Our city sees 500 murders in one year, yet our society still stands in horror at the thought of capital punishment. And I have always thought. “How would that judge, who so calmly gives sentences to violent criminals that are like a little slap on the hand, feel if it were his wife or his daughter who was the victim in the present case or the future victim?” Well, you gave us the answer in your article on Lew Perry man who murdered my newspaper carrier. Judge John Marshall says himself: “If the chance presented itself. I was going to try and kill him to save my family.”

P. A. AMIELSON

DALLAS



Dallas vs. Austin, Round 2

Regarding “The Reluctant Dallasite” (February) by Jim Shahin: Let me change a couple of words in one paragraph.

“Austin isn’t even an easy place to visit. When a friend told me his mother came for the weekend, I asked where he took her. He said Sixth Street, which he, himself, couldn’t stand because of its ’planned fun’ ethos. Of course, he said, he could have also gone to the Charles Whitman tower, but, he asked, why?”

Look, I love Austin-the food, the music, the people. And I love Dallas for all of those reasons and more. I really get tired of hearing how “real” Austin is and how phony Dallas is.

I was at the Armadillo World Headquarters-those were good times. But it’s just a city. Dallas and Austin are both great- neither is “cooler.” One, however, is my home. I stay because I love it.

“BUGS” HENDERSON

GARLAND



My thoughts: Why would D Magazine waste three or four pages on such a meaningless and critical article that was so negative toward Dallas?

Who really cares what [Jim Shahin] thinks of Dallas? Dallas does not have any campaign going to try to impress or please outsiders.

You have a choice. Go back down there if you want to. I do not believe many of us would miss you very much.

JOHN KING MYRICK

GRAPEVINE



I moved to Dallas from Chicago in 1979 and I’m still puzzled by the city.

For a city that seems to want to be considered as cosmopolitan, it’s anything but that. From what I can determine, the city’s direction is largely in the hands of a power clique made up of a relatively small number of people who must have the collective IQ of a doorknob. From a cultural standpoint, Dallas is years behind almost any other major city in the U.S. If it weren’t for the winter weather, I’d be back in Chicago in a flash.

GENE G. RANDOLPH

DALLAS



The Bottom Line

Enjoyed Chris Tucker’s “farting Shot” for February in which be begins to recognize that there is very little Art.. .without some Business to support it.

If the demise of the Times Herald has caused D Magazine to confront the Real World… it’s passing was not in vain.

RON CHAPMAN

DALLAS



Principal Woes

I cannot help but wonder when the last time Maureen Peters (“Success vs. Stress.” February) was in a high school. Maybe she is too busy listening to the woes of teachers to be aware of the stress on principals. The job of a principal is to run the school in the best way possible to benefit the students; Maureen Peters needs to quit focusing on petty gripes, and start contributing to the educational quality in this area.

JOAN CURTIS

DALLAS

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