Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Thursday, August 13, 1998
By Jerry Curry
Like the rest of the nation, I am appalled and concerned
about what the reported crime wave among the young is doing
to the already frayed fabric of what passes for civilization
in the late 20th Century. When we say young, we mean young.
Kids no more than 12 years old are hired killers for urban
gangs because they're juvies and nobody does anything to a
juvie who has earned his bones. Kids are whacking their
mommas and daddies. Kids are holding up banks in the Pacific
Northwest. Kids throw other kids off high rise buildings to
see how high they'll bounce and have no sense of concern at
all when they die. Kids go into schools and start shooting.
I have no answers to any of this. I don't think anyone does.
It's too easy and it also is wrong to blame all of this on
parents. Two parent households mean both parents must work
just to buy groceries and pay the utilities and rent despite
the reported economic boom in this country. I suppose the
economy is booming for some, certainly not the majority in
my little section of reality.
Four or five decades ago, I thought I was a real hellion. I
worked at it and what I did was not my momma's and my
daddy's fault It was mine. But my youthful sins seem merely
indiscretions compared to the mayhem and despair modern
My youthful sins were many and I will touch here only on a
few of the most heinous: All of these incidents occurred in
my prepubescent or pubescent years.
- Smoking grapevines. I stopped that one day when I realized
Jughead also smoked grapevines. I would never emulate
anything Jughead did if I could avoid it. Any running back
who will not follow his blockers is beyond redemption.
- Swimming sans jeans in the creek that came from Hogan
Spring. I stopped when Mr. Bryant's bull waded into the
creek one day and I let him have the creek - quickly. In my
haste to make way for the bull, I left my jeans on the bank.
When I slithered through the bush to try and retrieve said
trousers, they were gone. Mr. Bryant's bull apparently ate
them. I found my daddy by the barn. He, after a few comments
he considered to be funny, promised never to tell my momma.
Daddy went into the house and got me another pair of jeans.
- Beating up Jughead the second and third times in one day
and then suborning perjury. It was not a sin to beat him up
the first time. His father, mortified a star running back
with all-state capabilities could be beaten up, screamed at
him and sent him back to challenge me after our first
encounter. So I beat him up the second time. His daddy sent
him back. I beat him up a third time. By this time I was
beginning to feel guilty and knew I was not going to heaven.
When Jughead's daddy sent him back a fourth time, I looked
at Jughead and told him I wasn't going to beat him up again.
I told him to go back and tell his daddy he had beat me up
and I would support his story, which I did.
- Stealing a comic book (Vault of Horror. If I had it today,
I would be able to retire after selling it) from Cooper's
Drug Store. I was caught by Mr. Cooper, who immediately
called the county sheriff who immediately handcuffed me and
hauled me into court before my granddaddy, one Mac Martin,
who was the judge. Granddaddy sentenced me to six months at
hard labor in his garden and I served every second of it.
Chain gang prisoners didn't work as hard as I did but the
food was better, I suspect, than you got at your average
prison farm of that era. Grandmother was a pretty good cook.
I never stole again.
- Locking Albert Otten in the outhouse. Albert Otten worked
on our place, mostly plowing. Every day after noon, he
would go to the outhouse. I locked him in.
After a while he began to yell and the outhouse began to
shake. I left. I think my daddy eventually let him out. But
I don't know that. Albert Otten might still be there.
Task force hopes evaporate
Last week it appeared something actually was going to happen
in reestablishing a task force to coordinate regional law
enforcement efforts against illicit drug smugglers. That
appearance of sanity vanished. It vanished in the
gamemanship following the meeting in Monahans among West
Texas law enforcement command officers, members of Gov.
George W. Bush's staff, assorted elected officials, and a
few confused citizens. Law enforcement officers were ready
to move forward and resurrect the assault on illegal drugs
in the Permian Basin and the Trans-Pecos.
Dope war politics, this time in Ector County, with a likely
push from Austin, rages. Politics has stepped into the state
grand jury room in Odessa. Information is being presented on
allegations of fiscal improprieties the governor's staff
cites as the reason federal funding was denied the defunct
Permian Basin Drug Task Force. Knowing a good prosecutor
can convince most grand juries to indict a saint for
criminal conspiracy, any indictment resulting now most
assuredly is suspect. After an 18-month investigation by
the FBI and Rangers, nothng substantive was found. If there
had been, it would have been in a grand jury a year ago.
There's more. Ector County commissioners, who had been
considering being the host of a new task force, have been
told the only control they would have is to be blamed if
something goes wrong. Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele and his
fellow sheriffs, Monahans Police Chief Charles Sebastian and
his fellow police chiefs can be excused for being a little
Meanwhile, the dope flow increases daily.
Governor voids stupid law
At least in Texas, if no where else, the multitude of stupid
laws enacted by equally stupid legislators over the years
can be curbed if said stupid law is causing hardship and
there is a governor whose IQ is at least in the high
double digits. Law allows the governor to suspend a stupid
law in times of disaster and emergency. Governors.
Democrat or Republican, do not often do this But it
happened last week. The governor suspended enforcement of a
stupid law because of the continuing drought.
Under the Texas Transportation Code, it is unlawful to haul
hay more than 150 miles from home unless the hauler has a
Drought devastated pasture forces ranchers to buy hay
from outside their immediate areas. Gov. George W. Bush
apparently realizes this necessity and has issued a
proclamation suspending enforcement of this particularly
Of course, intelligent farmers and ranchers already were
breaking this stupid law but it is nice to know the
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.