The State of Texas: June 15, 2015
Retro-crooner Leon Bridges, the best thing to come out of Fort Worth in quite a while, is finally debuting his first album of soulful goodness. The album includes Bridges’s hit singles, which have already become de rigueur for that special date night that ends with candles and a bubble bath. For those who don’t want to wait until evening, however, NPR has a “First Listen” of the whole thing.
D-Town Takedown – Violence in Dallas momentarily captured the country’s attention when a man shot up the police department’s downtown headquarters just after midnight Saturday, before eventually being blown away himself. After his attack, James Boulware fled in a van to a nearby Jack in the Box, where he exchanged fire with officers before finally being taken out by a sniper. Afterward, his van exploded after a bomb robot approached the vehicle; apparently Boulware had made several pipe bombs. The Morning News, of course, was all over the incident, with witnesses saying, “It was literally like watching an action movie in real life.” The emerging profile of Boulware is not a comforting one. According to his father, Boulware’s “struggles had been especially intense since April 2013, when James was charged with assaulting his mother.” Following that attack, he fled “to an East Texas town where schools were locked down out of fear he would attack them as ‘soft targets,’” according to Yahoo News. What followed was general decline as Boulware lost custody of his children and began skipping on his “medications.” Oddly, much of the attention has not been focused on the unhinged man, but all the gear used. Boulware’s van was no ordinary ride, but a “‘Zombie apocalypse assault vehicle’ with ‘gun ports’ capable of ‘drive-by mow-downs’ and full armor and bulletproof windows ‘just in case someone might try to take this bad boy from you,’” writes USA Today.
Hells-ish Angels – To the likely disappointment of media everywhere, the twentieth annual Republic of Texas biker rally, which attracted about 40,000 people, went off without a hitch. Both organizers and police had said they weren’t going to do anything different, despite the Waco shoot-out a few weeks ago. In related, and more interesting, news, Waco police are finally offering details about the incident that left nine dead. On Friday, Waco police chief Brent Stroman said, “Three officers opened fire during the deadly Twin Peaks biker melee last month, firing a total of 12 shots,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “So far, 44 shell casings have been found at the scene, according to police, and 32 of those recovered casings came from weapons from the suspects. The casings don’t include those from suspects’ revolvers, from which casings must be manually ejected.” It seems everyone is still trying to figure out how to best handle the shoot-out’s fallout. Today, the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association will host a three-day meeting in Waco (scheduled before the shoot-out). In addition, the Chronicle has an interesting piece about the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting Saturday, “the first of the bimonthly gatherings since Waco,” including a look at famed biker lawyer Joey Lester.
San Antonio Surprise – Everybody loves a good upset, and San Antonio saw one Sunday when Ivy Taylor, “a Brooklyn-born city planner who has never run for partisan office[,] beat a nearly lifelong San Antonio Democrat in the race for the top job in the liberal-leaning” city. The Texas Tribune has a great breakdown of how former state senator Leticia Van de Putte and her Democrats, er, broke down. One Democrat consultant’s analysis is being widely circulated, probably because it’s just so darn succinct: “At the end of the day, we needed 3,000 Democrats to get off their asses and go vote, and they didn’t.” Van de Putte, once queen of the hill, is now very publicly 0-2. But it’s not all roses for Taylor. As the San Antonio Express-News notes, Taylor faces a “fractured council,” and “accused of being vindictive and holding grudges, Taylor is at odds with a portion of the council.” That said, Taylor’s victory includes some other notable points. “She made history in this election, becoming the first African American elected mayor in the nation’s seventh largest city. She’s also only the second woman elected mayor here.”
Open Season – Aaaand it’s official! Come January, if you wish to sashay down the street visibly armed to the teeth, you may do so, because Texas. On Saturday, less than 24 hours after a man tried to turn the DPD’s headquarters into Swiss cheese, Governor Abbott was at a Pflugerville shooting range, signing the much-discussed open carry bill into law. “By signing these bills into law,” said Abbott, “Texans can be assured that their Second Amendment rights will be stronger and more secure than ever before.” He also said something about the Constitution and the “genius” of the founding fathers. Up next for Texas freedom and such is the campus carry bill, which, like open carry, Abbott has said he will most definitely sign. Is there a university shooting range in Texas?