The State of Texas: July 7, 2015
Image of the Day
How tough are Texas cops? They’ll just walk up to a possible pipe bomb and throw it in a paper bag, because nobody likes a litterbug terrorist.
Intense respect for this Santa Fe, TX cop bagging up a possible pipe bomb just, like, cause someone has to, right? pic.twitter.com/6EPLTuZPxk
— Emily DePrang (@deprangy) July 6, 2015
Straight Loses – A Hood County couple finally got hitched after suing a local clerk for the right, but hell hath no fury like a couple scorned as they plan on continuing with the lawsuit, “a permanent injunction that prohibits Hood County from denying other same-sex couples from immediately obtaining a license,” as well as having the County Clerk’s office cover the attorney’s fees, reports the Dallas Morning News. Attorney General Ken Paxton also appears to be retreating a bit, with “plans to dismiss an appeal challenging a Travis County judge’s February ruling that found the state’s ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. Not that there aren’t more marriage party poopers. “Paxton’s office, however, has not yet decided whether to continue a separate appeal in a Travis County case that allowed two Austin women to get married in February.” As the story notes, the two cases “are among the final loose ends remaining in the legal battle over gay marriage in Texas.” Except, of course, general blustering, which state representative Cecil Bell has taken up. In a touted “major announcement” yesterday, Bell basically encouraged lawbreaking and civil disobedience, calling for “state and federal officials to resist ‘the rancid behavior’ of the U.S. Supreme Court by impeaching justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and ignoring the ruling itself,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Biker Blues – Talk about stopping short. Matthew Alan Clendennen, of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club and the only arrested person to file a lawsuit (so far) in the wake of the Waco shootout at Twin Peaks, announced that he was dismissing his lawsuit against city and McClennan County officials “for procedural reasons only,” reports the Waco Tribune-Herald. But it’s not over just yet. His attorney, Clint Broden, said “he already has amended the original petition once and he wants to amend it again to add Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman as a defendant. Broden said he does not know when the lawsuit will be refiled.” The lawsuit might have been the only way the public might have known exactly what happened, as officials have prevented the release of information related to the nearly 170 arrests made after 9 people were shot dead. Journalists have had no luck getting much new information, and Broden has struggled to obtain video evidence related to his client’s case. Even Twin Peaks’s neighboring restaurant, Don Carlos, wanted to block a subpoena requiring it to turn over video footage from that day to Broden. An attorney for the restaurant called Broden’s demand a “fishing expedition.” And, indeed, nothing’s biting.
Distress Flag – As the South Carolina legislature overwhelmingly votes to get rid of the Confederate flag, the question is: Are Texas’s own rebel relics in jeopardy? “In a letter sent Monday to [Governor Greg] Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus, [five] Democrats in the House and Senate asked for the creation of a task force to consider whether the numerous Confederate monuments, markers, and statutes on the Capitol grounds are ‘historically accurate, whether they are appropriately located on the Capitol grounds, and whether any changes are needed,’” writes the Texas Tribune. Straus’s spokesman said the speaker “would welcome a discussion with them and others about all monuments on the grounds of the Capitol.” It’s great that leaders seem to be willing to tackle this thorny issue, although the proposed group already appears to be about as efficient and powerful as a bureaucratic “task force” normally gets, which is to say completely muddled in its supposed goal. “The lawmakers asked that the task force be made up of business, religious, and education leaders to allow for a ‘serious conversation about how best to honor Texas’ heritage and past—while at the same time ensuring historical accuracy and that we celebrate figures worthy of our praise.’”
See Ya Later, Alligator – The alligator that killed the man with the famous last words, ending the state’s 179-year gator-fatality-free streak, has met his own (boot?) maker. Fittingly, the killing of the gator appears to be something of a renegade act by beer-loving Tommie Woodward’s friends. “A customer at a marina here who only identified himself as ‘Bear’ . . . said he shot and killed an 11-foot alligator he believed was involved in Friday’s deadly attack,” according to the Beaumont Enterprise. Speaking of the quick justice, Bear said “he had to go. . . . That’s what happens when you kill someone.” Call it an act of vigilantism, as no official sanctioned the killing and “it sounds like somebody just took it upon themselves to kill the animal,” according to one Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife official. Apparently, killing an alligator is a “class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500” but there’s no word yet on whether the posse will face charges. One thing is clear though: the gator’s hide “will be removed and sold.”