The State of Texas: January 6, 2016
Texas politicians respond to Obama’s gun campaign, and Aggieland loses another sports bigwig.
Signs of the Time
Six days into the state’s new open carry law and things have been pretty dern quiet. But as people on Twitter are showing, that doesn’t mean businesses, which have been pulled into the culture war, haven’t had to expend words in clarifying their position. Expect to see even more signs like these in the near future.
— Gardner Selby (@gardnerselby) January 6, 2016
Texas By the Numbers
Quarter-bet — Odds according to Top Bet, an overseas sports booker, that Johnny Manziel will join the Cowboys: 1-to-1. Wager that he’ll join the Houston Texans: 15-to-1. The St. Louis Rams: 4-to-1 odds.
Texas Flood — Total rainfall for the state in 2015: 41.39 inches. Rank among record years: First. Previous record: 1941. Amount of rainfall: 40.22 inches. Third place year: 1919. Rainfall: 39.45. Year state began tracking rainfall: 1895.
Our Cold Dead Hands — On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced a major effort to increase gun control across the nation. Like Obama himself, Texas shed a tear and pledged to do everything it could. Kidding. The exact opposite happened, of course, when Texas politicians fired right back. Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was “ready to fight back,” according the Austin American Statesman. And our governor, too, had some Clint Eastwood-y words, saying, “Despite the president’s latest attempt to undermine our liberty, Texas will take every action to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, as eloquent and nuanced as ever, called Obama’s effort just “more propaganda.” Basically, the reaction in-state was exactly how you’d imagine it. “Texas Republicans said the president is making the wrong move and clearly exceeding his authority,” while “Democrats locally and nationwide disagreed and cheered on the president’s effort,” writes the Fort Worth Start-Telegram. It seems every Texas official from national representatives on down had some sort of opinion. Lamar Smith suggested a return to the good ol’ days of being tough on crime, which has
always never worked out. Even our great presidential hopeful Ted Cruz got in on the action. “We don’t beat the bad guys by taking away our guns. We beat the bad guys by using our guns.” For those wishing to discuss the issue more over some brisket, don’t forget: famed barbecue place Brooks’ Place is offering a 25 percent discount to customers that actively support (read: come packing) the new open carry law.
Rock and Hard Place — Austin is having some serious issues with (probably) juvenile troublemakers. “After the total number of Interstate 35 rock-throwing incidents that began in 2014 reached 50 over the weekend, Austin police said they still haven’t identified suspects in any of the cases,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. “The latest incidents happened early Sunday, police said. A family who was going home in a cab suffered minor injuries when a rock came through the window about 12:30 a.m. on I-35 near the Braker Lane overpass. About 15 minutes later, police were called to I-35 near Cesar Chavez Street when rocks or a piece of concrete broke through the windshield of another vehicle.” What is it about Austin and petty acts of violence that go unsolved (looking at you Governor’s Mansion fire of 2008)? To be fair, it’s pretty hard to track down suspects who seem to act completely at random, though authorities do say they think the cases are “linked.” Police “initially believed the rocks were being thrown by a person or several individuals standing on an overpass onto the highway below. Now, they say the rocks are coming from a moving car, likely traveling in the opposite direction to the victims.”
Gigged ‘Em — What is going on at Texas A&M? It’s like no one wants to be there any more. On Tuesday, Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced that he was stepping down from the position after about three years on the job. Hyman will stay on until a replacement is found, but as the Houston Chronicle notes, his move is somewhat surprising. The announcement came just days after Hyman offered public support for A&M’s football coach, Kevin Sumlin, saying that “we’re looking forward to the future.” As the Dallas Morning News‘s Sports Daily accurately wrote, this is what you might call a problem. “The expanding exodus from A&M in recent weeks also includes former starting quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.”