Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My recent blog about the Belton Police was perhaps a bit hard on these public servants, but it’s tough to forgive them for letting my poor demented neighbor go when he was stopped for a minor traffic violation. They had been alerted to his disappearance several hours before, and had a complete description of him and his vehicle. The poor confused man could have driven off the road in some remote place and died. We were all lucky.

The police have a tough job except, perhaps, for the one in my small hometown when I was a kid. We only had one policeman. I’m not sure he ever arrested anyone and I don’t recall him even turning the siren on in his patrol car. He did have a uniform and carried a gun. He drove around in the car, and that was probably enough of a deterrent to make everyone behave. The sheriff and a couple of his deputies did most of the tough work in those days. There wasn’t that much for them to do. Narcotics weren’t a problem. The only addict we had was Paregoric Slim who was completely harmless. None of the schools or businesses required police protection. The teachers at school were permitted to paddle and served as their own police force. To my knowledge there were no burglaries. No one even locked the doors in those days.

We did have some great outlaws in my time. I was born the same year that the famous Bonnie and Clyde were killed. I think they made several visits to my hometown. One of the kids in my class was even kin to Clyde and he was a celebrity. Bonnie and Clyde only robbed small businesses and service stations but killed a few cops along the way. They were finally ambushed and gunned down by Texas and Louisiana lawmen on a remote road in Louisiana. The Texas Ranger, Frank Harner, was the guy who tracked them down.

Bonnie and Clyde were real celebrities. About 20,000 people attended Bonnie’s funeral. Even John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd send flowers for Clyde’s service that was also attended by thousands. Later a movie was made about these two, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. I still have nightmares about a carnival exhibit I was allowed to view when I was a kid. The exhibit was the wax figures of the famous duo, riddled with bullet holes and covered in blood. I have thought about that exhibit a lot through the years and it is probably one of the reasons I didn’t pursue a life of crime. Maybe that’s why my mother let me view that piece of horror. It cost a dime to see the exhibit but it was well worth the expense.

Today, I fell pretty safe on the porch, thanks to our Salado Police. I think we have two of them now and they even have a police car and a pickup with sirens and Police written on the door. They serve as a backup to my Daisy air rifle that I have loaded and ready to pop the deer or anything else which dares violate my sanctuary.


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