The State of Texas: Invasion Of The Clowns
Plus: Baylor’s Title IX coordinator resigns, a massive bus driver scandal rocks Dallas County Schools, and the Texas Rangers are set to renew a heated rivalry.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’re just trying to accept responsibility and move toward a situation where we can… get back to legitimate activity of being barbers.”
—John Convery to the San Antonio Express-News. Convery is an attorney representing Adrian Gonzalez, one of the owners of the Acapulco Barber Shop chain in San Antonio, who pleaded guilty earlier this week to charges related to his role in a massive heroin trafficking ring. Federal authorities accused the barbershop of being a front for the drug trafficking operation, but Convery claims the shop actually provided haircuts too.
The “creepy clown” craze in Texas appears to be nearing its peak. After a handful of reports across the state last week—mostly anonymous threats made at schools from clown-themed social media accounts that ultimately proved to be hoaxes—clown incidents have popped up everywhere from Beaumont to Amarillo to Odessa and Brownsville. Some quick background: the “creepy clown” paranoia began in August in South Carolina, where kids claimed that a group of clowns were trying to lure them into the woods. That story went viral, and copycats have appeared throughout the country. The clown incidents had been largely harmless since the reports first started, but it’s become a more serious issue in Texas lately. On Tuesday, a student at Texas State reported she was assaulted outside of a dorm Monday night by a man dressed as a clown. The student told police that the man chased her and grabbed her, but she was able to break free and wasn’t hurt, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Police certainly aren’t messing around anymore. In a news release on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Hood County Sheriff’s Office offered the following unfriendly reminder: “To all of you knuckleheads planning on dressing up as a ‘Scary Clown,’ I would reconsider the thought. Because it may be the last thing you ever do in this life.” On Monday, two teenage clowns were arrested after threatening a mother and her young child with tree limbs in a Baytown park. According to KPRC, an officer drew a gun on one of the clowns before leading him away in handcuffs. There have been at last seven arrests related to clown activity in Texas this week alone, mostly for hoax threats made toward schools. Among those arrested were a fourteen-year-old in Livingston, a fourteen-year-old in Houston, an eighteen-year-old Brownsville ISD student, and a sixteen-year-old and another student for separate incidents near Dallas. A man in Atascocita was apprehended by police and taken to a psychiatric ward after chasing two twelve-year-olds for two blocks with a baseball bat Monday night. Police are concerned that clown incidents and hoax threats are taking them away from more important work, and legitimate clowns are worried that their creepy counterparts are hurting their reputations and businesses. “It breaks my heart that people are being afraid of clowns,” Linda Greene, a professional clown in Midland, told KWES.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Patty Crawford, Baylor’s Title IX coordinator, resigned late Monday night, and a few details have emerged that could explain the reasons for her abrupt departure. According to KWTX, an anonymous source claimed Crawford was in the middle of reaching a settlement with the university after she filed a complaint alleging school officials had stripped her of the ability to do her job. From KWTX: “The school offered her a $1.5 million settlement, the source said, but Crawford balked at signing the confidentiality agreement for an additional $50,000, the source said. Crawford’s attorney countered the school’s offer with a request for a total of $2 million, which school officials rejected, the source said.” When the Waco Tribune-Herald asked Baylor about that report, a spokesperson replied that Crawford’s “demand for 1 million dollars [sic] was surprising and her request to retain book and movie rights was troubling, and we can’t explain her motivation.” Crawford’s attorney told the Tribune that she quit because of “Baylor’s efforts to impede her ability to fully perform her Title IX responsibilities,” and that she “wants to make sure her story is told so the public knows what is really going on at Baylor.” Crawford herself has been quiet since quitting, but she is scheduled to appear on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday to talk about her resignation and Baylor’s sexual assault problem.
School bus drivers in Dallas County are in big trouble after an investigation by NBC DFW uncovered a massive ticket scandal. According to the news station, the county announced on Tuesday that 13 school bus drivers have been fired and 229 suspended without pay for up to nine days after NBC DFW unearthed records showing that more than 480 traffic citations were issued to school bus drivers since 2014, including some incidents when bus drivers were caught on camera dangerously running red lights and speeding past other school buses that had their stop arms out while loading or dropping off students. The number of bus drivers suspended or fired amounts to about ten percent of Dallas County Schools’ drivers. According to NBC DFW, the drivers were never held accountable by the county, which spent $80,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay the traffic fines. The are so many bus drivers in trouble that the county school agency says it’ll have to stagger the suspensions to avoid “causing chaos” for the bus system.
The Toronto Blue Jays won Tuesday night’s American League wild card game, so they’ll advance to take on the Texas Rangers in the Division Series, renewing an extremely heated rivalry. You may remember (and if you’re a Rangers fan then you’ll certainly never forget) that last year’s playoff matchup between the two teams ended after Toronto’s Jose Bautista crushed the deciding three-run homer in the seventh inning of the final game of the series, then followed the big swing with an even bigger bat flip, grinding salt in the Rangers’ wounds (Texas had led the series two games to none at one point). When the teams met again this season in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor clocked Bautista with a big right hook. It’s no secret the Rangers have been gunning for a playoff rematch. “Of course, it would always be nice to face the team that beat you the year before and beat them,” Rangers short stop Elvis Andrus said Tuesday afternoon, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That would be a lot sweeter.” The series opens in Arlington on Thursday and promises to be exciting. USA Today called it a “dream matchup,” while Sports Illustrated says we can “expect another classic brawl.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Life in Texas’s colonias BBC
An employee at a jewelry store in Conroe pulled an AK-47 on alleged armed robbers Breitbart
A seventeen-year-old girl in Houston is turning heads with her talent for playing the blues Voice of America
“Baby Parade” is a real thing in Liberty County Houston Chronicle
Texas might soon break an uncharacteristically long streak of not executing anyone Texas Tribune