There’s a steep learning curve for a rookie reporter covering the Texas Legislature.
During my brief reportorial tenure, I’ve sat in the wrong committee meeting for an hour without realizing I was in the wrong room, conversed with a senator while thinking she was a reporter and lost my way numerous times in the Capitol.
Fortunately, my personal journalistic mishaps pale in comparison to other WTF moments that transpired under the pink dome this week.
1) Perhaps most notably, I learned that packing heat is an inalienable right bestowed by God (or at least one of his more bad-ass henchmen) who evidently speaks a heavenly dialect of Texan.
Yesterday, at a meeting of the Senate Committee on State Affairs, state Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) sought to establish himself as the shooting man’s Joel Osteen. During yesterday’s nine-hour committee meeting, where Birdwell’s campus carry bill was debated, Birdwell shot from the hip, telling Austin police chief Art Acevedo that he’d rather be “tried by 12 than carried by six,” inadvertently revealing himself to be a closeted fan of New York gangster rap from the ’90s.
But he went further. Ready access to guns were among those “rights that are granted by God that are ours to protect.”
Biblically piqued, the Observer’s skilled team of fact-checkers—self-aware 1999-model turquoise iMacs that we treat as unpaid interns, in contravention of moral, ethical and union codes, as well as the laws of nature—scoured the Good Book, or at least word-searched the thing, for gun talk. They have yet to find any, but they did find a great deal of corroborating evidence:
2) Returning to the 21st century, we turn our attention to the University of Texas, a hallowed place of learning.
On Monday, The Daily Texan reported that guests at a “Border Patrol” themed frat party partied sartorially by donning sombreros, ponchos and construction worker uniforms with Hispanic names written on them.
Did we mention that lawmakers are working feverishly to get guns into the hands of college students?
3) With fancy Yankee magazines such as the The New Yorker disparaging the Lone Star State at every opportunity, Texans can get a bit prickly about how we’re perceived.
Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), though, doesn’t seem to give a damn.
During a meeting of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, Hall channeled his inner greycoat, telling the audience that he was particularly honored to sit on the committee in part because his ancestors fought in the “War of Northern Aggression.”
Hall is a new member and we’re just learning about his legislative priorities. So far, he’s mentioned the EMP threat, Agenda 21 and now defending the honor of those men who waged war against aggression.
(Incidentally, it was soldiers from Bob Hall’s alma mater, The Citadel in South Carolina, who fired the first shots of Abraham Lincoln’s folly.)
SNAKEWATCH 2015: California has earthquakes and fires, Hawaii has volcanos and tsunamis, Washington state has Killer BOB, Florida has the Florida Man, New York has Wall Street. Texas has something far worse.
— Bud Kennedy (@BudKennedy) February 10, 2015
There’s only one reason they would want to take down our radar systems: They’re coming in by air. Birdwell was right: I’d rather be tried by 12 than buried by snakes. Lock. Load. Goodnight and good luck.