Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ongoing Drama - Hard Deputy Reads Commissioners' Court

Waco -- It's a summer morning with just enough left of the
dew point in the air and the promise of another day's
relentless and brutal triple-digit heat to come.

It's one of last few heartbreaking days before cotton season
when the crops wilt in the noon-day sun and afternoons drag
by in scorching symmetry, day after seemingly endless day.

In the rococo Italianate rotunda of the old stone courthouse
perched on the side of the bluffs over the Brazos, they
gather for the weekly session of the McLennan County
Commissioners' Court, a ceremony in dour Scots-Irish
pragmatism in which all who draw nigh will be heard - so
long as they stay within the bounds of decency and make
their remarks brief.

Shall it be evermore remembered that McLennan himself came
out of Navarro not long after the Revolution and carved a
huge chunk out of the Bosque, organized his own county where
the Brazos is easy enough to ford and not too boggy on the
banks. And there did the glory that is Texas, her brass
bands and many flags unfurled, grow to proportions in the
millions in which 80 percent of all souls therein reside
within three hours' drive of this very spot.

Freeways, railroads, blacktop two-lane highways and gravel
roads all converge in the neighborhood, nearly the
geographic center of a vast amalgamation of plateau,
prairie, high plains, alluvial lands along the coast and
piney woods in the gradual eastern fall to the Mississippi
drainage basin.

Hub city.

Thither comes the black Scot named Gates, R.S., an
unemployed peace officer, crime scene investigator and
jailer who now works "on call" to solve all manner of
problems of the network, the computer and the printer, day
and night.

He pulls up his chair before the table that faces the four
commmissioners and their Judge, Jim Lewis, to speak his

Handlebar moustache drooping over a thin face, he reads from
his prepared text regarding public safety and the danger at
the edge of town.

There is the perpetual air of the football field lingering
around this man, that pinch-the-blood awareness that he's
out to just plumb knock some dude out of his jock, a
professional affect he has used to great effect against
narcotics dealers, murderers, drunks, rapists and other
assorted bad actors who have passed this way through the
river bottoms, between the rows and fences of Six Shooter

In a previous century, he would be walking on hobnails,
carrying a shotgun across his shoulder, sporting a smooth-
running peacemaker in a shoulder rig, ready to whack out Old
Loud Mouth and his running buddy Tangle Foot and put them
back on the trail with the rest of the saddle tramps.

Today, he's mixed up in the solemn business of Texas
politics as it is played out on the square, the time when
daddy backed the wrong hoss in the Sheriff's race and sat a
couple of them out before he got his hand back in there.

Well, that's the way they play the game out here. It's close
to the bone and very, very real.

This is nothing new. He has been in this chair, hurling his
invective, many times before.

Today, it's a repeat visit to tell the Court about how this
fellow named Benjamin Alan Morrison has been indicted for
almost a fortnight on 8 counts of aggravated sexual assault
of a little girl younger than 14, alleged acts of violence
and brutal domination of a child involving penetration with
a full-grown man's sexual apparatus, and a single count of
continuous sexual abuse of a child, any of which charges
could net the perpetrator a life term in the Texas
penitentiary, if and when a conviction is obtained.

His question: Where is he now? His bond has been re-set at
a total of $450,000 after he was released on June 1 on a
personal recognizance bond involving no exchange of cash
fees, only a promise to have a lien levied against his
"properties and chattels" should he fail to show up in
District Court at the appointed time of his arraignment.

Such a deal.

He obtained his release after his attorney applied for a
writ of habeas corpus and made motion to have him released
due to delay because it had been more than 90 days since his
February 18 arrest and he was still not indicted by late

Gates is outraged. He is here to tell the world that these
men are negligent, wrong, wrong-headed and asleep at the
switch. They have budgeted some $20,000 for electronic GPS
monitoring all along, at least, since the fiscal year 2007,
and judges and attorneys general have slapped the measure
down in favor of incarceration through the steel bars, bricks,
mortar and concrete of the sho'nuff hoosegow, eschewing the
electronic barriers and alcohol monitoring of the GPS system.

His back story is this. He once worked for veteran lawman and
Sheriff Jack Harwell under the supervision of Lt. Truman
Simons a cop with a reputation of doing what it takes to get
a conviction by sheer hard work and thinking faster and
better than the crooks. When Larry Lynch took office after
Harwell's death in office, he resigned. .

Gates' remarks from today are as follows:

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