Tag Archives: New Mexico

SWAT teams and militarized police forces – An outlet for frustrating human needs

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

I’ve noticed a few scattered concerns on the WEB by people who think the 21st Century militarization of civilian police forces is a bad thing.  Seems to me those complainers aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

Time was when a person with a mean streak, or just a desire  to kill someone didn’t have many options.  He could sneak around and do it and maybe get by with it a while, or he could get drunk and do it, and go to the slammer.  Or he could unhealthily suppress it and go around frustrated and unhappy.

But nowadays there are plenty of outlets for a person with those needs.  Sure, he might spend years becoming a SEAL, a Marine Sniper, or a Green Beret.  But those are really too large and too institutionalized for the local badass who just wants to blow the face off someone without being criticized for doing it.   Municipal, County, or State Police SWAT teams offer a lot easier outlet.  Plus, they’re clubs where all the members have the same goals and can be depended upon to protect one another by keeping their mouths shut if it’s needed. 

For instance, there used to be a cop in Socorro, New Mexico, who was involved in a couple of extremely questionable shootings.  Residents and city officials had all witnessed, or heard about his blusterings, his posturings, his suspected desire to use that firearm as frequently as possible.  After the second shooting incident he was quietly encouraged to find greener pastures elsewhere.

So he applied for, and was accepted to the Albuquerque Police.  Trained for the SWAT team.  Wasn’t long before he got to put a bullet into a suspect and got a lot of praise for doing it.  Short while later they were raiding a drug house and an 80 year old neighbor saw what was going on, thought it was a gang.  Ran out of his house with a flashlight, yelling, and the Ex-Socorro cop stopped him in his tracks.  Turned out the raid was conducted at the wrong address, but the 80 year old was found ex post facto to should have minded his own business.

A year or two later someone was holding a baby over a freeway overpass threatening to drop it into the traffic below.  Ex-Socorro cop plugged him so’s the baby only dropped on the overpass.  Hero again.

I heard over the years he got to kill a number of other people who got downrange of the Albuquerque SWAT team, as well.  Managed to make what would otherwise probably just been a lifetime spent in prison, or sneaking around murdering people, into a healthy, productive life.

People who criticize militarized police forces aren’t considering the needs of the SWAT teamers and the healthy way they’ve dovetailed themselves into the greater good of society.

Old Jules

Should’a done its

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

The last post about creeping cowardice was going to have some of this as a part of it, but became too lengthy so I saved it with the thought I’ve got a while to live yet and might still work it in somewhere.

I believe one of the ways a person might attain valid perspectives about himself and his life events is through hindsight.  Might be the only way.  If a person can look back and seriously say to himself, “I should have done it,” probably he should have done it.

I can’t say that about those two mine shafts because I know even now I’d have done them if I could, and I recognize for whatever reason, I couldn’t.  No ‘should have done it’ hidden in there.

But around 2002, 2003, there’s a should have done it I still occasionally experience a flash of regret about.  Just until my insistence about not to regret anything in my life kicks in to trump it.

There’s an airstrip, or was an airstrip parallel to the old highway running between Belen, Los Lunas, and Isleta Pueblo I used to always swing into when I was in the area.  A number of old airplanes to walk around and look at, wonder about, kick the tires of.  The airstrip was gradually becoming inactive.

But at one end there was an old Cessna 140 tied down.  I’d always go over and walk around, check it out.  Sometimes sit inside it.  Watch the tires gradually lose their air and grass get taller around it.

I asked the guys running a motorcycle shop that used to be an airplane related business about it.  The 140 belonged to a man who lived in the neighborhood adjacent to the air park.  He’d been experiencing advancing dementia … quit flying the plane a couple of years back.  One of them heard he was in a nursing home, and that his wife had died.  The house and plane were in an ambiguous ownership state as a result of complicated family matters.

When I heard that I began to realize that old plane needed to be taken around the patch a few times before it rotted to the ground.  Or before it found its way into Trade-A-Plane and got sold to someone in Alabama to fly off or be hauled off.

I did a lot of planning about that plane.  The battery was going to be dead, and maybe the fuel would have gone bad, but probably not.  Avgas tends to last a long time in a tied down airplane.  But there’s probably water condensed inside the tank if it wasn’t left full.  Water under the gas that would be drained off before the engine started.

I borrowed an air bottle and brought the tire pressure up on one of the trips, checked the oil, got inside and tested the controls.  Everything hunky dory.  Just needed to draw the water off the fuel tanks.  Fuel guages showed one full, one 3/4 tank.  The 3/4 tank would be the one most likely to have water in the fuel tank.

I never made a conscious decision not to take that old bird around the patch, do a few touch and goes.  My bud in Belen,  Deano, died and other matters kept me from going into that area without a special trip.  I suppose it just slipped my mind.

Which didn’t keep it from creeping back into my consciousness for years afterward, including now.  I can tell you today, I should have done it.  The way I know I should have is that I can’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t have.

I’d be remembering that as my last pilot in command this lifetime, if I’d done it.  And instead of a sense of loss when it sneaks into my head, I’d be remembering those touch and goes in a Cessna 140.

Old Jules

The Great Tick Migration – Occupy Texas

Hi readers. I’m reblogging this because the original writing of it was a direct consequence of the events described in the previous post. J

So Far From Heaven

I wrote this when I lived in Socorro, New Mexico, but I’d guess it’s as timely and germane today as it was then.

It’s sad, but they have to migrate: there’s no good water in the Rio Grande anymore.  It’s all sewage passed downstream from Albuquerque and other towns. 
 
This was almost home to them. Their ancestors arrived with the first cattle drives from Texas in the 1880s. But finally they’ve had enough. Lemming-like they’ve decided as one to return home, Lone Star Ticks to the Lone Star State, same as those invading Confederate Texas humans had to finally stagger and stumble home when things took a turn for the worst..
 
This far south they’ve just begun to gather; just started to come out from under the grassleaves, the treebark, stragglers still coming out of the brush. The main migration gathering is further north in the Isleta lands…

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Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

A Communist behind every tree

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Back in the bad old days between the Korean War and the Vietnam War a person could land himself in a peck of trouble for saying he was a Communist.  My granddad was a man crosswise with the world, and one day in a cafe in Dora, New Mexico, a bunch of farmers were talking about the Communists, and Papa announced he was one.  Proceeded to debate the matter with the entire cafe.

Point-by-point.  He didn’t have any friends around there anyway, but doing that didn’t win him any.

Wasn’t long before he had himself a visit from two FBI agents.  Said they’d had a report he was an atheistic Communist.  Which thoroughly pissed him off.

So Papa began studying Communism, began building all manner of reasons Communism was better than representative democracy.  Which he was happy to pass on to my young crosswise-with-the-Universe mind.

Sophomore, or Junior year of high school I entered a class on government being taught by Ira Bogard.  Me being the smartass trouble maker I was, and being generally an outcast, a few days into the semester I answered a question by saying I was a Communist.  Mister Bogard paused and glared at me, then went on with what he’d been saying.

But at the end of class he was assigning the class an essay.  Except me.  He pointed to me and told me to give him five pages explaining why I was a Communist.

I turned it in on time, and a few days later he handed it back to me with questions in the margins:  “How do you explain the Siberian camps?”  “How do you explain Stalin?”  “Why do you say Roosevelt’s New Deal was Communism in disguise?”  5 pages.

This went on the whole semester.  The only essays I wrote were answers to his questions about Communism.  Naturally I consulted my granddad every chance I got, but I also spent a lot of time in the library, even had to visit the ENMU library to get answers to some of his questions.

Hell of a good teacher.  I still smile thinking about him.

Old Jules

Hitch-hiking from Beatnik to Hippiedom

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

When I got out of the Army, summer 1964, I had a lot of ideas about my bright future.  Shopped around the Portales area for a while and found a quarter-section cotton farm I thought briefly I’d buy and become a starving-to-death farmer, which fell through.  Worked meanwhile, for Abe Ribble at his cement operation, and applied for the Peace Corps, knowing I wouldn’t hear from them for several months.

I was hanging out with a number of other young guys who were at loose ends, drinking coffee and walking around town, sitting on benches around the courthouse trying to figure out the meaning of life.  Going out with a waitress out at the truckstop when she got off work at midnight.  A young woman with goals, and confidence that no matter what a man might want for himself, she could mold him into something more to her liking.  Once she got him nailed down on all the corners.

The World Fair was going on in New York that year.  I could feel the walls of Portales trying to close in on me, and the guys I’d been spending spare time with were mostly thinking of themselves as beatniks, to the extend a person could be a beatnik in Portales.  A slight beard and a beret went a long way in that direction.  Sketchpad and a piece of charcoal, or a lot of free-verse poems jotted on cafe napkins were the tools.

So another aspiring beatnik, Stan Sexton, and I, decided to hitch to beatnik heaven.  Check out the World Fair.  Visit a couple of New Yorker weekend beatniks who went to Eastern New Mexico University, but were home in Westchester that summer.

I’ve told elsewhere on this blog about that summer, about sleeping on the Brooklyn Bridge, about catching the freight-train out late-August, jail in Rochester, and eventually hitching, driving the school bus to California, etc.  About all those would-be beatnik women and the “Eh?  YOU don’t believe in free love?” pickup line that always worked.

When I was accepted for Peace Corps Training and headed out of New York I had no idea I was seeing the dying gasp of the Beatnik phase everywhere.  That a year later everyone who was anyone would be Hippy.  That Greenwich Village would be replaced by San Francisco as the center of ‘what’s happening in America’.  Kids would be burning their draft-cards and taking acid trips.  Doing ‘Love-ins’ in the park.

By the time I got back to Portales to spend my time waiting for the Peace Corps India X training to begin in Hawaii the world had begun a sea-change, though it didn’t know it. 

But at least some of the pressure was off in Portales.  The waitress had found someone else with better prospects for a bright future.  Cotton farmer, he turned out to be, if I remember correctly.

Old Jules

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

The illusion of progress

Escape route 2.51Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Sol’s having to fight his way through a lot of haze this morning.   The residue of patriotic zeal, most likely.  I’m not seeing it in the western sky, so I’m guessing someone between here and Harper managed to set the world on fire with a Chinese firework, or Chinese-manufactured US flag waving in the wrong dry grass.  But the Far Departments in this part of Texas know how to deal with such things and likely they’re used to them.

Incidently, for those interested, the Invader Cat turns out not to be defunct.  Re-emerged a couple of days ago l0oking sleek and fat, minus the damaged eye and skull on that side.  Treating himself as though he’s part of the program here.

Meanwhile, Tabby’s still refusing to enter the RV, though she’s being sociable enough, otherwise.  I picked up some more un-flavored Chinese sardines at Dollar Tree in Kerrville early in the week figuring to try luring her into accustoming herself to it.  If that doesn’t succeed, I’ll have to resort to starvation as the next instrument of persuasion.

It’s time I began feeding them all in there, anyway, if only to encourage the Invader Cat to go back where it is someone’s feeding him.

Went to the laundry in Kerrville while I was in town, which was novel and uplifting.  Nice way to get clothes clean, when you think about it.  Sat around in there watching the odor of unwashed clothing being replaced by a white tornado turned sideways.  Listened to people discuss how hot it is, how dry it is, and got a bit of reading done.

Went around to the various oil-change and lube people and found the ones with the best deals for oil changes and lubes at the moment have doors too low to allow the RV inside.  Even WalMart.  But there are a couple of the QuickLube, JiffyLube types of places I haven’t tried yet.

Before I left here I loaded up the RV with belongings to be taken to storage in Harper, which is the illusion of progress I mentioned at the beginning.  I’ll have a number more of those trips before I hit the road.

Swung by one of the side streets lured by a sign, “FRESH PEACHES” while I was in Harper and ended talking chickens to the lady selling them.  Nice coming across someone who likes chickens as much as I do.

There’s an old RV behind a house near Harper about the same vintage as this one, looks as though it hasn’t been moved in years.  I looked at it through binoculars to see whether the ladder was intact [the one on this one’s going to have to be replaced], then knocked a while at the door.  Finally left a note asking whether they’d be interested in selling the ladder.

If they get back in touch with me there’s another item or two I might also be able to buy off that one…. another piece of the illusion of progress.

But sometimes progress manages to be just marching in place.  I’m hearing from Rich and Jeanne that the hot and dry out west is severe enough to justify stalling until something breaks with the heat and moisture.  New Mexico and Arizona are either in the process of burning, or getting ready to burn.  I’m not crazy about putting the kinds of stresses on the tires and drive-train going across pavement hot enough to fry an egg on will provide.

Maybe in a few weeks it will be more inviting.

Old Jules

Speaking of KENM, 1450 on your radio dial circa 1955

This is Monet George talking to you from KENM, Portales, New Mexico.  The peanut  basin of the nation.  And we’ve got a little song here for you today.

The theme song for the station was “My Adobe Hacienda.”

Lord how I hated that song.  They played it at every opportunity.

But they also loved, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People,” which didn’t exactly describe the local population except in fantasy.

Helped them feel better about themselves than they had any business doing.

“Doing What Comes Naturally” actually fit them better and, believe it or not, they liked that one, too.

I suppose “Buttons and Bows” would have resonated with any but the most stalwart souls in Portales, New Mexico, circa 1950-60, and it sure as hell got plenty of play.

Those were the days of “Knock knock” jokes, and the favorite joke around there was, “Knockknock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Kilroy”  “Kilroy who?”  “Kill Roy Rogers!  I’m Gene Autry’s fan!”

KENM was a Gene Autry Fan.

WWII vintage folks ruled the world then.  If it hadn’t been for “Tennessee Waltz”, Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Fraulein” I expect KENM would have had long silences trying to figure out what to play.

Old Jules

Reincarnation – Life after the evidence locker

dodge powerwagonWhen I came across this picture on the web a while back I was fairly certain I recognized it.  I believed and still believe it’s the truck belonging to the man and wife wood cutter couple murdered in Catron County, New Mexico while I was working Fox Mountain.  An incident I described in loving detail in the Adams Diggings book.  They were found several months later, a bear having dug them up where they were folded yinyang style into a 4’x4’x4′ grave in an ancient ruin site.

Damn I love that truck.  Nothing sissie at all there.  A guy could drive that thing around just about anywhere he might wish to go.  It’s been pre-disastered so the odds of anything bad happening in it would be nil.