Meanwhile in Lufkin... March 2015 Edition

We’re not sure if more strange things necessarily happen in Lufkin than in other small towns, but the person behind the Lufkin Daily News police blotter has a great appreciation for the absurd.

March 20
An especially hungry shoplifter reportedly walked into a Lufkin store, filled a cart with groceries, and walked back out without paying for a thing.

March 19
A man told police he’d like to file charges against a co-worker for cussing at him.

The Cowboys Probably Would Not Sign a Player Who Supports ISIS

Newly-signed Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy is a heckuva pass rusher. The 26-year-old former Carolina Panther tallied a combined 26 sacks in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, leading the Panthers to keep the defensive end from exploring free agency by applying the franchise tag to the player, paying him $13.1 million for that season. 

He didn’t match those numbers in 2014, though, because he spent the final fifteen games of the season on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, a specially-created purgatory for players charged with or convicted of the sort of crimes the NFL would desperately like to distance itself from. And in July, Hardy was convicted by a judge at a bench trial of threatening and assaulting a woman. 

2015 Has Been an Ugly Year for the Treatment of Muslims in Texas

So far in 2015, it has been a scary year to be a Muslim Texan. That fact seems to have come to a head following the shooting of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, who was killed on Thursday in Dallas as he watched the three and a half inches of snow come down—the first snowfall the Iraqi immigrant had ever seen—around his apartment complex. 

R. Kelly's Increasingly Controversial Headlining Slot at Free Press Houston Summer Fest

R. Kelly has written and recorded some of the most beloved songs of his generation. Songs adored for their inspirational content (“I Believe I Can Fly,” “The World’s Greatest”), or their ability to weave clever wordplay in with a dirty metaphor (“Ignition,” “Ignition (Remix),” “I’m a Flirt”), or for their audacious, semi-ironic appeal (“Trapped in the Closet” chapters 1-33), or just for being straight-up sex jams (“Bump N’ Grind,” “Sex Me”). His voice is incredible, he rarely receives his due as a songwriter, and the DVD director’s commentary for “Trapped in the Closet” on DVD features a little silhouette of Kels sitting in the corner, watching the music video while smoking a cigar. 

All of this has always been hard to square with the fact that much of what we know about R. Kelly is awful. He was 27 years old when he married the singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time. (They met when she was 12.) As other media outlets have reported, someone who looks very much like R. Kelly was in a homemade pornographic video committing statutory rape against (and urinating on) a teenage girl.

State Representative Debbie Riddle's Crappy Bill to Police Who Gets to Use Which Bathroom

There’s no shortage of weird bills introduced each legislative session, but the new one proposed by Harris County state representative Debbie Riddle is definitely among the weirder. Riddle’s HB 1748 would criminalize (with a Class A misdemeanor, the same type of crime as burglary and more serious than DWI) anyone who uses a bathroom that Riddle believes he or she is not authorized to use. Specifically, the bill’s language determines who can use which bathroom based on their DNA: 

For the purpose of this section, the gender of an individual is the gender established at the individual’s birth or the gender established by the individual’s chromosomes. A male is an individual with at least one X chromosome and at least one Y chromosome, and a female is an individual with at least one X chromosome and no Y chromosomes. If an individual’s gender established at the individual’s birth is not the same as the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes, the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes controls under this section.

The Casualties of High-Speed Police Chases

Hey Texas, here’s a thing that happened last week in Dallas: a high-speed police chase! Those are always exciting, dangerous, and very stupid, which is why police departments around the country tend to restrict their officers from participating in them. The risk of a bystander being hurt in order to catch someone whose crime is usually not a felony offense is hard to justify. (An average of 360 deaths occurred as a result of chases each year between the 1980’s and 2010, and a third of them were bystanders.) 

Still, when an armed suspect is believed to have committed a violent crime, a high-speed police chase is condoned. Such was the case in Dallas last week, after a man allegedly stole a car at gunpoint and then charged through North Dallas

San Antonio Police Arrest Strippers for Showing Too Much Crack

Strip clubs can be shady places. The dancers have to worry about being ripped off by management, the management has to worry about unruly customers, and the customers have to worry about—er—unexpectedly seeing more of the dancers’ butts than city ordinance allows. Fortunately for the strip club patrons of Sugar’s in San Antonio, a sting operation was in place this week to protect clients from the devious performers who threatened to show an illegal amount of butt crack. 

'American Sniper' Taints the Jury Pool for the Man Accused of Killing Chris Kyle

The last time we checked in on American Sniper, it was merely shattering box office records for films that received their wide release in January. Since then, it’s catapulted to the #5 slot on the annual box office tally for movies that opened in 2014. It’s on pace, by the end of its theatrical run, to compete with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Guardians of the Galaxy for first place, and it is but a few days away from overtaking the Hangover films and The Matrix Reloaded to land second place on the list of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time (behind The Passion of the Christ). 

In Texas, There's No Such Thing as a Transgender Hate Crime

Last week, in North Tyler, a black, transgender woman named Ty Underwood was shot and killed in her car in an apparent homicide. Since the murder, Underwood’s friends have maintained that the killing must have been a hate crime, carried out because of Underwood’s gender identity. But her murder won’t be designated or investigated by the Tyler Police Department as a hate crime. (The department has yet to name or arrest a suspect in the slaying.) Unlike federal hate crime legislation, Texas’s hate crime act doesn’t incorporate crimes motivated by the victim’s gender identity or perceived gender identity.

More Than Forty Dogs Have Gone Missing in Wise County

Pet owners do all sorts of things for their dogs. We buy them jerseys so we can project our love of our favorite sports teams onto them; we get motorcycles with sidecars so they can look super cool riding along with us; we put shameful cones around their heads that they hate in order to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves when recovering from sickness or injury. The pet industry, according to Inc. magazine, is worth $55 billion dollars. We love dogs.

That makes the news out of Wise County—northwest of Denton, in the DFW Metroplex—especially horrifying.

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