Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • The "charges" against the officer who caused the death of George Floyd were "upgraded" yesterday to a Second Degree Felony under Minnesota law. This will be a little tricky for prosecutors and may end up being a horrible decision. The State now alleges the cop intended to kill Floyd. Previously the allegation was that he he didn't intend to kill Floyd but recklessly committed an act which caused his death -- basically what we call Manslaughter under Texas law. 
    • I kind of love Minnesota's definition of "intentional" though. They define it as the defendant "either has a purpose to do the thing or cause the result." The phrase "to do the thing" is pretty hip. 
    • This "changing" of the charges at this early stage is mostly just lip service and for show. Until the grand jury returns a specific indictment, the naming of the "charge" by police or prosecutors means nothing at all.
    • If a jury convicts him of Third Degree Murder (basically manslaughter) instead of Second Degree Murder, the masses won't care about the nuances of intentional vs. reckless even though a conviction on the lesser charge seems like a reasonable possibility right now. 
    • Minnesota has a more serious charge of premeditated murder which was not alleged.  Impress your friends: There is no such thing as "premeditated murder" in Texas. We don't care whether you thought about it beforehand or not.
  • The Star-Telegram reported a list of home cities of those arrested in the Fort Worth protests, and one of them was from Bridgeport.  It didn't list a name, but I need it. They can be next week's Liberally Lean Protester of the Week.  (With an arrest out of Dallas and Fort Worth this week, Bridgeport has been doing some serious representin'.) 
  • As I was walking the streets of Decatur this morning, I saw this sticker on a street sign pole. I snapped a picture and then looked it up an Wikipedia to get a quick answer.  If you wonder if there's a White Supremacy element in the county, ask the Sheriff's Office if there is a presence of the "AB/AC" -- short for "Aryan Brotherhood" or "Aryan Circle" and hear what they tell you. 
  • The Patriot Front actually is a splinter group from Vanguard America which was a big player in the Unite the Rally in 2017 in Virginia. You know, the "very fine people on both sides" rally. And remember my point yesterday of spotting modern day racists by their coded  language? The motto of The Patriot Front is "Reclaim America." Sound familiar?
  • This will be wild. A new book coming out next week, Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers, might very well lead to the removal of the statue of the Texas Ranger at Love Field in Dallas. Why? It "depicts Capt. Jay Banks, who was 'the Ranger in charge when then-Texas Gov. Allan Shivers sent the Rangers to block integration of a high school in Mansfield and a community college in Texarkana in 1957,' despite court rulings that should have prevented him from doing so."  And a photo, showing Banks leaning against a tree with a lynching of a black man depicted in effigy in the background, seems to back it up. 
    (I'm invoking Fair Use! Fair Use!)
  • Legal stuff which is only Wise County related: I've mentioned before that former Wise County Attorney Todd Durden was raising hell against a judge in his new county of Kinney.  While I was watching a "webinar" yesterday, the speaker referenced the two cases Durden was involved in last year. The title of this Power Point slide made me laugh.
  • Durden update: After this legal fights, he ran against the sitting district judge in a three county judicial district. He lost in the primary in March. There's not a lot people in those three counties apparently. 
  • Military leaders, both past and present, began to strongly push back yesterday on Trump's threats to use the military against Americans. (Did I really just have to write that sentence?) First, the Secretary of Defense (soon to be former Secretary of Defense) says there's no reason to use American troops. Then, former Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis absolutely torched Trump: "I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled . . . .  Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us."
  • The words "systemic" and "systematic" technically have different meanings. I didn't know that until this week. I've always said "systematic." I think this will trick me up like effect and affect. 
  • Coronavirus update. Wise County -- Active cases: 2. (Red alert! A 100% increase in less than 24 hours!) 
  • Coronavirus update #2. Texas -- When the guidelines for states "reopening" were first announced, the standard was supposed to be 14 straight days of decreased new cases before we could enter "Phase 1". Texas has never met that standard. And can someone explain to me, when our chart looks like it does below, the announcement yesterday by Gov. Abbott that we can immediately go from 25% capacity to 50% capacity for darn near everything. And he also said we can go to 75% effective on June 12. Isn't this basically an announcement by him that he believes it was all a "hoax"? Otherwise, wouldn't we be in the strongest lockdown possible right now?
  • More legal stuff: They all look pretty much the same, but every county in Texas had to submit a "reopening plan" to the state for approval for every county funded court (district courts, county courts at law, JP courts). They are all collected here.