Letters from the week of March 5 

Feature: "True True Blood," February 19

Bloodsucking Friends

Peter Rugg's story on local vampires was so captivating. I have always been intrigued with vampires, and I believe I have only met one whom I know of: a friend I met in high school (2000), and he loaned me a book that he used for referencing the different types. This was a great article — I followed everything really well, like I was right next to Peter during his adventures. Hope to read something again soon from him!

Kristen D. Gibbs, Mission

Blood, No Gush

Peter Rugg did a thorough job researching that article. I'm always happy to see people who can investigate the vampire community without either sensationalizing or gushing. Good job.

Shaylon Stolk, Amherst, Massachusetts

Feature: Third-Annual Sex Edition, "Red-State Sex," February 12

Legitimate Argument

David Martin's article on the futility of abstinence education brought up an important topic, but I have a different slant.

"Right to life" forces stress adoption as an alternative to abortion. The truth is more complex than that. Our culture, especially in its red-state versions, is more obsessed with premarital sex than saving babies. In reality, evangelicals still shun those who go between any sheets that are not sanctioned by their church beliefs, be they gay, unwed or extramarital.

I have fought this attitude toward illegitimacy all my life. Missouri still will not allow me to know who my original parents were, despite my being in my 59th year. The opposition to allowing access to adoptees' original birth certificates is led by an alliance between the Missouri Catholic Conference and the southern Missouri right-to-life contingent.

No matter how much they cloak their arguments in homage to fetuses, their driving force is the need to keep us bastards in our places as inferior to children born in wedlock.

As a product of my original parents' transgression of the puritanical code, I am expected to observe the taboo against finding my own medical or genetic heritage. Society lent me a conditional legitimacy: According to my adoption decree, "said child shall hereafter be deemed ... as though born in lawful wedlock" — just as long as I didn't question the legal system in which I had no say.

I agree that unintended teen pregnancies are not the ideal way to bring children into this world. Best to teach contraception — but wouldn't it be better to aid those parents than condemn them?

Robert Haight, Harrisonville

Feature: "The Man Behind the Murals," June 26, 2008

Painting Large

Carolyn Szczepanski's June 26, 2008, article on the muralist Alexander Austin was a wonderful, caring piece of writing. I am the co-author of Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals. I was so impressed with the Martin Luther King Jr. railroad trestle mural (1994) that I included Alexander's image with a very select group of famous muralists in the book. I will be in Kansas City the end of April and look forward with great interest to see his impressive new mural.

James Prigoff, Sacramento, California

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