Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Friday, March 23
By Smokey Briggs
TYC, Randy Reynolds, stupid
politicians and a little perspective
Politicians and bureaucrats are amazing creatures to me. Not only do their actions usually indicate a room temperature IQ, but they are also so arrogant as to think the rest of us are just as stupid.
Maybe we are. We keep electing them.
The recent flap at the West Texas State School in Pyote is a prime example.
For several years nobody did anything after a Texas Ranger investigated allegations of homosexual child abuse committed by top-level bureaucrats at the school (which is just a euphemistic name for what is a prison for kids).
Now that the spotlight is on, the rats are running around in every different direction trying to make a little political hay and make double-damn sure that none of the fallout sticks to them.
From newly elected state senator Carlos Uresti to local politicians and upper level bureaucrats everybody has somebody to blame.
First off, let me say that District Attorney Randy Reynolds and I are not buddies. I know the man like I know a thousand or so people by virtue of living in this area since 1999.
The few times we have been in court together we were on opposite sides of the case, and generally the cases were pretty minor deals, since I have only practiced law occasionally since moving back into the newspaper business full-time in 1999.
In the past few weeks the political hoopla over this case has focused on Reynolds and the two years in which he had the case and never took it to a grand jury.
Well, I cannot tell you that Reynolds is blameless here.
I also cannot tell you that he is not.
That’s because, I, like nearly every other commentator being heard from in this deal, I simply do not know the facts.
The speed with which everybody and their brother is jumping on the “Blame Reynolds” bandwagon, however, bothers me.
This week newly elected state senator Carlos Uresti was quoted by AP as saying, “There is no excuse for Reynolds not taking the case to a grand jury earlier.”
Maybe not - but I doubt Senator Uresti has been through the evidence. He is just making a little political hay at somebody else’s expense.
AP has also reported that some legislators are aghast that Reynolds is in essence part-time - and maintains a private practice - a regular practice in rural areas. They plan to introduce legislation to outlaw the practice.
It’s always good to have some Austin twit tell you what you need to do, isn’t it? I wonder if they ever thought that maybe the position is part-time because we cannot afford a full-time district attorney?
Personally, I am not surprised at all that this kind of case gets buried at the DA’s office - even if it’s a good case.
DA’s have very little incentive to put this kind of case at the front of the list under our current system, where funding for district attorney’s and law enforcement in general is found through property confiscation laws.
Gee, we can prosecute Mr. Accused Drug Dealer and take his cool car and his $50,000 to drive and spend as our own, or we can jack around with the WTSS case.
Self-interest, conscious or unconscious, will lead most folks to put the drug money case at the head of the line.
Sad, isn’t it? Cases where nobody got shot or assaulted or raped taking precedence over cases where somebody may have actually been hurt.
But, it is the natural consequence of letting cops keep the spoils of their arrests - just bad business for a society that likes to think itself as being free.
And, let’s face it, good case or not, cases like the WTSS case are a pain to prosecute. Here at the facts: A convicted criminal has accused a person of relatively good standing, of doing something bad. There is usually one witness - the convicted criminal.
That is a crummy case. Check across the state and you will find that district attorney’s do not prosecute cases they might lose. That is why they all boast about their great winning records. Heck, winning is easy when you get to cherry pick your battles.
Are some of the allegations that Reynolds fails to prosecute enough cases true?
I don’t know. I don’t even really care since most of the cases sent to DA’s these days are non-violent crimes where the criminal may have violated a law, but he hurt no one in the process. Those are not “crimes” in my book.
I do know that at least one of the specific cases brought up to the Associated Press as proof of Reynold’s poor performance is not quite the whole truth. Awhile back, a case was brought against a woman in Pecos for voter fraud. She happened to be the mother of one of Reynolds’ investigators. Reynolds recused himself, as was proper, and the state attorney general’s office prosecuted the case. If Reynolds had failed to recuse himself, I would have lit him up like a Christmas tree in this very space.
So, maybe Reynolds deserves to be stoned, but somebody ought to at least find the stones of truth to do the job with.
All he is right now is a convenient whipping boy for a lot of political types trying to make sure their own butts are covered, even if they have to drag Reynolds’ political corpse over their butts for a shield.
And then we have the many politicians and bureaucrats who are now crying for the “school,” and others like it, to be closed down, and new ones opened near large cities like Dallas - “so that there will be a better pool of employees to draw from.”
The obvious charge here is that there are not enough quality people in Monahans and Pecos to fill the 250 or so positions out there.
Funny thing though, it appears that most of the problems relate to the big-city administrators Austin and the TYC hire to run the joint - most of whom ain’t from around here.
So, here’s a thought: Rather than move the school, how about taking some responsibility for your own stupid, bureaucratic, politically correct hiring practices and start hiring and promoting people on merit.
Wow. There’s a thought.
The indictment that really ought to be handed down in this case is a charge of gross incompetence on the part of the entire state government. From the governor, to law enforcement, to the slack-jawed politicians in Austin and their appointed bureaucrats - it is our system of bumbling, abusive government that ought to be before the grand jury - along with any perverts we round up along the way.
This is what we usually get from the state - sloth, inefficiency, abuse of power, coverups and eventually - nothing but more taxes for more of the same.
In the long run, nothing will change. There will still be a Texas Youth Commission. It will still be run by bureaucrats too stupid to get a real job that would require them to actually have to produce something, and satisfy the needs of real customers.
The politicians will still be more interested in the money that goes into their own pockets, either directly or indirectly, than creating a system that might have a chance of working.
What is going on now is just a show.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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