I am the product of Catholic grade school, high school and college. My children attended religious education classes. My husband, whose Catholic roots are even deeper than mine, left the church a couple of years ago. I held on because the liturgy and parish community provided so much comfort. But the election was the final straw.
The Kings' views mirror mine exactly. It all just feels so sad. Thanks for letting me know there are others who share my faith.
Nancy McCarthy Snyder
Encieno man: I was surprised to pick up a Pitch last week and find a cover-page feature about an old friend of mine, Brandon Brooks, and co-starring my good buddy Encieno (Tony Ortega's "Oh Come, All Ye Gullible," December 9).
I enjoyed the article. Ortega did a fairly balanced job of telling the story, considering the circumstances. I especially liked the way he intertwined his own personal experiences with another misguided punk youth testing the limits of the Internet and Ebay.
Regarding Encieno, however, he was not Brandon's "partner in crime." He was Brandon's childhood friend. Everybody has those, needs those, and they're not bad things.
Encieno is an upstanding citizen. He did, in fact, graduate high school. Only idiots waste their time pranking 911, and Encieno is no idiot. He's smart, honest, ethical and civil. And he's probably making more money right now than a significant number of Pitch readers out there.
Just because Brandon did a bunch of really stupid shit doesn't implicate Encieno or anybody else. I was disappointed that the article suggested so heavily against Encieno's character right from the start. He really was a decent kid, and he was not mixed up in Brandon's crime sprees. (It certainly makes for good reading, I suppose.)
Derek P. Moore
Kansas City, Missouri
Ortega responds: Encieno was actually very forthcoming about his various crimes, which included making false crime reports by tampering with telephone exchanges well into 2000, a couple of years after he did, indeed, graduate from high school.
The inmate himself: Regarding Tony Ortega's story "Oh Come, All Ye Gullible": The story quotes me as saying, "I am in sex-offender treatment now, as if I have a problem looking at underage girls ... when my real problem is a problem with authority and financial gain.... I just feel that I am in the wrong treatment and I got screwed in so many ways." What I meant by that is I see myself as a person addicted to money. I do not view myself as a sex offender who needs treatment for possessing child porn. I most definitely do not feel I got screwed on my sentence length. I got very blessed with the 10 years that I received. I just feel that the state of Missouri could have put me through a different type of treatment program. Also, yes, I am 100 percent guilty of possession of child pornography, even though it was never my intention to obtain it. I am guilty. However, I am not guilty of the promoting charge.
I did not agree to publish this article to gain any kind of attention or recognition. I agreed to it so maybe society can get a better understanding of what to look out for when they go out on the Internet, so people won't be so gullible and give up information that is so valuable to their lives. After all, this is what got me on my crime spree, because the information was so freely available to me.
My goal when I get out of prison is, of course, to be a law-abiding citizen. But growing up the way I did, with an abusive stepfather, I want to reach out to youngsters who are experiencing similar traits as I was, so they won't grow up being so rebellious against the world. I hope at least some of you out there learned something from the article. I am about to be released soon, and you will hear about me again, but in a positive way. These last three and a half years of doing time have made me grow up, and I am ready to go out and live honestly.
Brandon S. Brooks
Western Missouri Correctional Center
Driving Mac Dre
Dubee us: Much love on the Dre article (Eric Arnold's "Requiem for a Mac," November 25). I have been listening to Andre since before he was locked up. I grew up on his game -- truly a one-of-a-kind legend. The Bay area rap scene will never be the same.
One thing on your article I thought I'd point out -- Dubee wasn't driving the van. Dubee was in the hotel room. Dubee was one of Dre's closest buddies. If I were him, I wouldn't want to be labeled as the driver when I was there. Listen to the Dubee interview (audio) that you can download off Dre's home site, www.thizzworld.net -- Dubee tells firsthand what went down and where he was when shit went down. Thizz or choke on suffa ... one love ...
P.S.: Vibe made the same mistake in its article. Not sure if you used that as a source; guess I'll let them know, too.
RIP, young Andre.