Sheriff recalls carnage of gruesome crime scene

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.24.50 AMMcLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara

A Parnell McNamara interview is a real-time experience in out-west cowpoke lore.

Colorful yarns seem to sprout from his brow as fully-woven serapes out of the costume department of a John Ford picture, a man with no name double feature – with a hipshot percussion Clint Squint.

And if you pull a notebook, or reach for an audio recorder, he says you can’t do that. No story. Beats all you ever saw.

Here’s an example.

When he was still on the campaign trail, The Legendary asked him for an idea of what getting a crime story from his operation would resemble.

He put it this way.

As a freshly minted 1970 model rookie Deputy U.S. Marshal, fresh out of Baylor and working alongside his brother Mike under his father’s supervision, he worked backing up a federal undercover operative who was making an illegal gun deal with a firearms bootlegger in a parking lot of a drive-in on North 25th Street.

“We were across the street, watching, and the two of them got out of the car to look at the guns. The old boy had the trunk lid up and they were talking when all of a sudden the seller pulled his piece and they got to circling around the turtle and edging each other. Then the old boy took a shot,  and it was all over in just a short.

“When I got there – came across the street – I was just in time to see the gun dealer – shot right square between the eyes – flat on his back, taking his last breath. He said, ‘Oh – my – God.’ And then he died.”

A couple of weeks went by, and McNamara received a phone call from the U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas at San Antonio, the boss man his daddy, Thomas P. McNamara, Sr., the U.S. Deputy Marshal In Charge, reported to. “He wanted to know where my report was. I hadn’t written one.”

McNamara remembered he told the man he didn’t know so much about writing reports, and the man reassured him by saying, “Well, is there anything in the paper, something written about it, a news account they already published?”

He agreed to send him the news clipping. “He said, ‘I’ll write it for you. Everybody’s got to learn.'”

That’s what a Parnell McNamara interview sounds like. It comes complete with a technicolor backdrop in cinematic terms, and there’s definitely a point to the story. In this case, it’s called we’ve all got to be on the same page. Understood.

Shot between the running lights is a hell of a deal, very serious business.

And it goes way, way back – a lifetime of experience. It’s always the same message. That’s my story, but it’s off the record – after you’ve heard the story – and it’s dynamite.

Say what?

Talk about a broken rice bowl. Ooh, la la, and right now.

So when I asked him about the Bandidos v. Cossacks with intervention from Waco P.D., et. al., he shook his head, got that old far-away look in his eyes, and said, “Well…it’s got to be the worst crime scene I’ve ever seen. The bloodiest, just the worst.

“I’m standing there, looking at seven dead men, and off to the side is another one, and they’re all laying in the position they fell in. Then I got to hunting the last one and he had run plumb over to the Don Carlos Restaurant and around to the other side, and he’s laying up against the building there, shot, sprawled out like this…”

He shook his head.

I asked if he could give me that statement on-mic, and he said no. Absolutely not.

Why not?

“It’s not my crime scene.”

Behold, an old-time lawman with a lot of experience at seizure of motorcycles, guns, money – drugs – that once belonged to outlaw 1% clubs, and were declared contraband, because they were used in the commission of a crime, or while the defendant was engaged in organized crime.

It’s just another skirmish in a long-term war.

“This thing is as bad as the gunfight at the OK Corral,” said I.

“It’s worse. That one only got three. This deal got 9, and there are 18 wounded.”

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

 

 

 

 

Of the moving parts of a ‘Murder conspiracy’

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“Well, a knife and a gun don’t need no understanding…” Tucker Peterson, singer-songwriter, “The Ballad of Billy Joe”

Six Shooter Junction – The rhetoric marches across the page, timed to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure; it details why the cops think the gunfight at Twin Peaks was all part of a conspiracy to commit capital murder, all part of an enterprise of organized crime.

 All the affidavits of probable cause, numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 170, read the same, minted from the same boiler plate presented to Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson by Manuel Chavez of the Waco Police Department.

To obtain a copy of each would cost more than $500 at a cost of $1 per page of certified copy. That’s the only form of copies Judge Peterson will release. He is a retired State Trooper whom County Commissioners appointed following the resignation of long-term office holder Billy Martin, a retired agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Three or more members and associates of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club” and “three or more members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club” arrived in the parking lot of Twin Peaks, fresh from a pushing and shoving, fist swinging, cuss fighting match in the men’s room. There, they “engaged in an altercation with the members and associates of the Cossacks,” where they all “brandished and used firearms, knives or other unknown edged weapons, batons, clubs, brass knuckles” that were used to “threaten and/or assault the opposing factions. Cossacks and Bandidos discharged firearms at one another.”

When members of the Waco Police Department attempted to stop the fracas, they “were fired upon,” so they “returned fire, striking multiple gang members. During the exchange of gunfire, multiple persons where (sic) shot. Nine people died as a result of the shooting between members of the biker gangs. Multiple other people were injured as a result of the altercation.”

All the members of the motorcycle clubs, which are identified in a database compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety as criminal street gangs, “were wearing common identifying distinctive signs or symbols and/or had an identifiable leadership and/or continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.”

That’s putting it mildly.

Bond is set in the amount of $1 million on each of the arrestees. That should net them a minimum of 90 days behind McLennan County bars, the number of days required by the Code of Criminal Procedure for a judge to entertain a writ of habeas corpus for release upon personal recognizance, during which time every law man in 254 counties and 50 states will have a chance to make a pass at them with paperwork and propositions to come clean and do the time.

That’s what you call a heap of trouble. What I mean. Certified. Wrapped up in ledger paper, signed, sealed with genuine sealing wax, and decorated with a little bit of red, white, and blue ribbon.

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

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Twin Peaks Crime Scene preserved exactly as at the time of the gunfight

Crime Scene

 

Hundreds of motorcycles remain exactly where their riders parked them prior to the deadly melee that erupted during a motorcycle club summit meeting over colors, turf, and earning potential…

Waco – Dozens of crime scene investigators, including agents from ATF and DPS, are poring over a crime scene where 9 men lost their lives in a desperate gunfight for dominance and control of crime syndicate income throughout the Lone Star State.

Until a person regards the hundreds of motorcycles left parked exactly where their owners left them before the deadly melee broke into gunfire, there is no real comprehension of what a large gathering of outlaw motorcycle enthusiasts had been assembled on this suburban shopping mall parking lot to address concerns of just who may and may not claim the entire state of Texas as their turf.

Many businesses remain closed, including Cabela’s, Best Products, and Office Depot at the I-35 and Hwy. 6 service roads interchange, where police keep a vigil to prevent traffic from stopping to acommodate gawkers. A lone helicopter circles like a hawk, and as many as 20 satellite trucks, their crews and reporters, are standing by, waiting for the slightest news break.

One interesting aspect of the investigation are the three-dimensional crime scene imaging devices set up on tripods on the sprawling crime scene at the bar and grill where a Confederation of Clubs summit meeting erupted in a gunfight to rival the most savage recorded in wild west days – legendary shootouts such as the gunfight at the OK Corral, or the Lincoln County Range Wars of Billy the Kid fame.

The imaging equipment will depict an ultra-precise shooting diagram of where each shot was fired, its direction, and the impact point of the bullet strike. In days of the past, all investigators and detectives had to work with were chalk lines, twine, measuring tapes, triangles, protractors, pencil and paper.

Security is tight as all media representatives, photographers and producers’ identification is checked and re-checked before they are admitted to the parking lot about 100 yards distant from the crime scene.

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

3D Imaging Device

 

Crime Scene Technicians are using a three-dimensional imaging device to pinpoint the exact locations of where shots were fired, in what direction, and to locate the exact position of the bullet strike…

 

 

Restaurateur’s Statement an ‘absolute fabrication’

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Waco – The police flack’s voice contrasted with the nasal whine of the local CBS outlet newscaster as he called a restaurant operator a liar in a sound byte following the mass shooting at Twin Peaks restaurant.

According to a Mr. Patel, a managing partner in the operation, his organization has cooperated fully with police during the months of escalating tensions that accompanied Confederation of Clubs meetings held there.

Earlier, Sgt. Patrick Swanton, public information officer for the Waco Police Department, has implied that the department’s suggestion was to insert officers into the club to help quell any disturbance that may have arisen.

He called Patel’s statement, “A complete fabrication.”

In many cities, local officers work in uniform – off duty – for an hourly wage serving operators of clubs who serve alcoholic beverages. There is a good reason for that.

If excessive disturbance calls mar the experience of the operation, an automatic suspension of the beer, wine and liquor permit is mandatory pending a 28-day investigation process by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Few club and restaurant owners in the hospitality industry can stand such an interruption of their business. With police on hand, all such disturbances are handled in a more discreet fashion, one that does not result in reports to the commission.

It is not clear what the exact ramifications of the police department’s offer may have been. It’s all very vague, and access to official statements are stymied by a 10-day rule in which a local government may seek an opinion from the Attorney General’s Open Records Division. There is a fine but very discernible line between history and news.

Other news organizations such as KWTX, whose reporter John Carroll posed the question in an impromptu parking lot news conference, have no such restrictions. Reporters for that organization and the Waco “Tribune-Herald” were given free access to the crime scene as the emergency unfolded. They were able to cross over the crime scene tape boundaries and speak directly to Swanton.

Upon arrival, Swanton warned The Legendary that the potential for “catching a round” in the back was huge, since “We don’t know who is here, whether they are armed, and what are their intentions.”

Intense, to say the least. He later relented, and through an intermediary officer, allowed safe passage to a photo area set up for out of town media approximately 100 yards distant from the crime scene. Nevertheless, as soon as pictures were made, The Legendary beat feet to a neutral corner in a local filling station to file copy and make calls. There’s no place like home. Back to gasoline alley, where we started from, y’all..

Anonymous sources who were present during the violent shooting melee say that when the gunfight erupted, members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, an outlaw organization, were caught in a crossfire between police officers standing by and members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

There is no word yet as to who shot who, or the exact sequence of events that led to gunfire. It is known that more than 160 persons have been detained for questioning, either as material witnesses or persons of interest in the investigation.

The brewing dispute centered around the Cossacks once and future use of a “rocker” on their colors proclaiming that they ride out of “Texas.”

That honor had been claimed in 1966 by the Bandidos as their exclusive territory, constituting what is generally agreed upon in the outlaw biker community as a clear sign of disrespect. They have fought all comers, including the rival California motorcycle club, Hell’s Angels, to retain their exclusive stake holding. A long-standing truce exists between the Angels and the Bandidos. California is the exclusive territory of the Angels; Texas belongs to the Bandidos.

Hence, the source of the friction.

Support clubs affiliated with both the Bandidos and the Cossacks were in attendance at the Confederation of Clubs conference that erupted into a violent gun fight. The confrontation was not unexpected.

It has been learned that Bandidos patch holders who ride out of Waco have a patch with an outline map of Texas on their colors vest, inscribed with H.O.T. – an abbreviation for Heart of Texas, which is referred to in conversations amongst the outlaw fraternity and two-wheel cognoscenti as the “Heart Chapter.”

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

Biker vendetta brewed for months at area mall

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Six Shooter Junction – In the classic sense of the true connotation of the Sicilian dialect, the eruption of gun violence that occurred today at an area shopping mall bar and grill is the culmination of the vendetta in the classic sense of the word.

Bandidos Motor Cycle club is a self-described  worldwide outlaw biker band founded in 1966 with the motto, “We’re the people our parents warned us about.” Their colors are on a field of yellow with an inscription in red embroidered letters on a black background. The central device is a picture of a man in a sombrero with a machete in one hand and a handgun in the other. They affect as a logo the spelling, “Bandidos” instead of the proper Spanish spelling of Banditos.

Their 1% status is that of members of society who have lost all means of a normal adjustment to the community, having sacrificed each option one by one through conviction for felonies, incarceration, bad paper military discharges, and arrest records that extend throughout their lives. In a long-ago article, the lobbying organization, the American Motorcycle Association, labeled such outlaw bikers at the 1%.

Their motorcycles, women, colors and in fact, their entire estate is the property of the club, having proven their loyalty over a lengthy and torturous process known as “prospecting.” Patch holders serve at the will and pleasure of the officers. They are expected to earn and to kick up a portion of their earnings to captains. All else is labeled “club business.”

They have long sought a viable chapter located in Waco, only to be frustrated by decades of resistance from law enforcement, the  courts – at one point, even, the National Guard. Various attempts at “patch overs” – a kind of friendly corporate takeover – with other clubs have ended in failure. The Bandidos have not been able to establish a local chapter in Waco, or any other McLennan County community that lasted for more than a few weeks.

For months, the Bandidos, who have no local club house, have been holding meetings at Twin Peaks, a bar and grill chain featuring large-busted waitresses in skimpy costumes with a location at the Central Texas Market, I-35 at Hwy. 6.

An affiliated subordinate club, Los Caballeros, is organized in Waco to serve the Bandidos by “riding bitch” as a sort of subsidiary or secondary group that operates in league with the larger organization. Many of that club’s members would like to some day become full patch holders in the Bandidos.

A similar club, Cossacks, have formed a Waco chapter and have made repeated forays to the Twin Peaks meetings in order to taunt the Bandidos with complaints of where they have parked, remarks about their old ladies, and other provocative behavior.

Scimitars

With law enforcement estimating that members of as many as five motorcycle clubs wearing colors were observed in the parking lot where the gunfight took place, there is little doubt that matters came to a head today in this central Texas city. Either it was a summit meeting gone wrong, or a confrontation that shattered the calm of a late Spring weekend afternoon.

No one is quite sure what, exactly, caused the fist fight between the rival clubs that spilled out into a parking lot in the early afternoon hours of Sunday, May 17, and then turned into a gun fight.

It’s like the CIA or the Mafia. You don’t know; you don’t want to know. The result is that so far 9 persons have died, an additional 16 are hospitalized with their wounds at an area hospital that is closed to trauma and the public,

State Troopers who are stopping, identifying, and turning back hundreds of bikers who have journeyed to Waco following the fight, are manning roadblocks throughout central Texas; and affiliated bikers are contacting wives and girlfriends with advice about which route to take on errands, to work, and shopping – just like ultra-violent Mexican border towns in the grip of cartel violence.

Police spokesman Patrick Swanton blamed the violence on the Twin Peaks management in remarks to television broadcasters. He noted that the police gave the management the option of allowing officers to take up positions inside the restaurant to quell any violent reactions by the patrons. The management spurned the offer.

So, the cops waited outside for the violence they predicted.

More than 160 bikers have been detained for questioning as either material witnesses or persons of interest.

Police are advising everyone to avoid the area, to stay home and stay safe, after demanding that shop owners in the mall close their places of business about 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Just like similar rivalries stretching back in time as far as Tombstone and the OK Corral, or the intense vendetta between the professional Dallas gamblers Henry Noble and Benny Binion during the forties and fifties, the cops have settled down to wait while the outlaw bikers kill each other off.

Banditos gun down Cossacks in raid at Twin Peaks restaurant, Waco

Twin Peaks

Correction: The conflict between the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and the Cossacks M/C was not an attack by one side. It was a result of a long-standing level of tension over the identification of the Cossacks including a bottom “rocker” on their colors that says “Texas.” Following a Confederation of Clubs meeting at the restaurant, a long-standing feud erupted into gun violence.

UPDATE: There are now 9 confirmed dead victims of the gun attack.

Waco – An uncomfirmed death toll of 7 and an unknown number of wounded resulted when members of the Banditos Motorcycle Club entered Twin Peaks, a restaurant similar to Hooters, guns blazing.

An hour later, as a helicopter kept a constant vigil over the parking lots at the Central Market Place, located at the intersection of Highway 6 and I-35, Waco police spokesman W. Patrick Swanton told media and citizens alike, “Y’all need to go home. We have no idea who is here and whether they are armed.” He emphasized the threat of further gunplay as officers made people back far away from the scene of the crime where victims and witnesses were quarantined by officers from DPS, local police and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department.

Yvonne Reeves

Yvonne Reeves learned from her husband Owen, a member of the local chapter of Cossacks Motorcycle Club, that their son Chain perished in the gun attack.

One sad vigil took place as Yvonne Reeves, mother of a member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club of Waco, learned from her husband Owen, who was still stuck inside the restaurant awaiting questioning by police, confirmed that their son is dead, a victim of a gunshot wound fired in anger that claimed his life.

I have no idea where they took him, she said of her son “Chain”

…Where would they have taken him?” she cried, as she called members of the family on her cell phone to come to Waco in this time of grief. “Listen, you stop that pickup truck and park it. I can’t hear you,” she yelled at a relative in a plaintive voiced touched with hysteria.

Merchants in the immediate area were requested to close their places of business because of the public safety risk posed as rumors flew mouth to mouth in the crowded parking lot where thousands of people milled around to see what would happen next.

One prevalent rumor was that hundreds of bikers are headed to Waco – among them members of the targeted local chapter of Cossacks.

Cossacks M:C

No information is currently available about arrests or the apprehension of suspects. None of the victims have been officially confirmed dead by authorities.

– The Legendary

 

The Battle of Bastrop in the torrents of Spring

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The old brewhouse at Bastrop, now closed for some reason…

Bastrop, TX – In a re-enactment of a little-known tradition often decanted by certain German-American-Texian beer drinkers and hell-raisers, the talk turned to the very obscure event of the Texas Revolution known as the Battle of Bastrop.

In those days, there were no roads, no maps, and most important, no bridges. Travelers had to make do with the best they could do, and that was sometimes to just wait and watch during the early spring days of 1836.

A crowd of dudes from Tennessee were on the their way to the Alamo to join forces with the ill-fated band of brothers who held their fatal rendezvous with eternity at that lonely outpost that would become the Shrine of the Alamo – in San Antonio de Bexar.

Like most folks, they were lost when they stopped in to talk it over at Bastrop, the dubious redoubt of the Baron de Bastrop, an absentee landlord with disputed claims on his royal title.

Nevertheless, they were seeking information on the best way to continue their journey to the Alamo when they were directed to seek the advice of the alcalde, a stolid German burger with a brewery operation in full swing.

Naturally, he asked them if they would like a cold beer. Yes, it was a tradition – even during those troubled early times.

He had not heard of the unfolding events at the Alamo, or anywhere else, spots such as Washington-On-The-Brazos, and what have you. Different outfit. No dog in that fight. He listened with interest as the Scots-Irish bunch from them old Kentucky Hills of Tennessee got stoned on his brew and became voluble.

When, a week later, they had made it back to their knees and were plenty hung over, he had told them exactly how to proceed with the easiest fordings in that time of swollen creeks and raging rivers choked with the torrents of Spring.

When they got to the Alamo, the Mexican army was busy burning the bodies of the martyrs who had perished in the siege. The rest is history.

And that, dear hearts, is how the alcalde won the Battle of Bastrop. He got them wild-eyed boys seventeen kinds of drunk – and patiently waited them out.

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

 

Bomb training at school scares, angers mothers

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Waco Police conducted explosives training at a condemned building on the N. 23rd St. campus of St. Louis Catholic School

Waco – Explosions shook the buildings at a North Waco parochial school so violently that ceiling tiles fell and sent teachers and students scurrying for cover.

Though police made advance notices in local mainstream media, many parents – and most teachers – missed the news.

“My kids were terrified by the bomb like sounds next to the school. Part of our school’s roof got jacked up, really,” said a mother who requested anonymity because of her professional career. “At least tell the parents- most of the teachers didn’t even know. They thought it was Space X.”

In a candid, curbside interview, Sgt. D. Adams said, “We conducted explosives training. We announced it in the media yesterday (Wednesday, May 13).”

The explosions caused some minor damage to a building that is ready for demolition.  “That’s why we used that location,” Sgt. Adams said.

But the damage included some minor disturbance and ruffled feathers at an occupied building next door, where children were attending classes.

That has some mothers of children who attend St. Louis School in an uproar.

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Tales of Vernon’s Texas black statutes told anew

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Self-portrait of an honory outfit: R.S. Gates, Minister or Irritance

Ostentatious – Gates observes that Captain Bubba Colyer of the McLennan Sheriff’s Office looks unhappy in the lectures the penologists’ legal expert is giving on public information law.

“He just sits there and fiddles with his phone,” he observed. “He looks like he’s sulking.” Colder is the top kick in the Criminal Intelligence Division of the Sheriff’s Office.

He probably is sulking, if first impressions count. Colyer flipped The Legendary off during a discussion of whether I could have an affidavit of probable cause. His boss, then Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon, insisted I could. Tampa Willis, the Records Supervisor, said I could not.

Bubba just made dead sure The Legendary knew how he felt about the controversy. Roger and Receipt, Bubba. We still standing by, here.

Today’s lesson, according to Gates, involves what the State of Texas, interpreted by a top lawyer in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice office of the Inspector General, thinks is meant by “prompt” production of records.

John West told the class, “There is no immediate obligation for you to do anything.”

This is what the law says. Is there much doubt what the public officials who are being trained are to make of all this? Think about it.

Sec. 552.221. APPLICATION FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION; PRODUCTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) An officer for public information of a governmental body shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer. In this subsection, “promptly” means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.

“He (West) said promptly might be legislative intent, but it is not practice. First in, first out. One request took him a year and a half. Really hating this guy,” Gates said by cell phone.

More to come later today, as we of The Legendary keep you posted on exactly how your local government officials are trained by the people who lock up the criminals as to how much, when and how you are allowed to know about what is what and when is when, much less who is who.

– The Legendary

 

AG’s open records class: public who seek info are called “Bozo the Clown”

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McLennan County Minister of Irritance at Attorney General’s public information act training session with two Sheriff’s Office officials

Austin – Two top officials of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office joined 122 classmates from all over Texas to take a day and a half class to learn how to deal with public information requests. Tuition is $250 per pupil.

Criminal Intelligence Division Captain Bubba Colyer and Records Supervisor Tamma Willis listened to a Mr. John West, who is an associate with the Office of General Counsel of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, regale the class with his estimation of those who seek public information from local and state government agencies.

He calls them “Bozo the Clown,” according to R.S. Gates, a Legendary reporter for this blog who is also in attendance.

According to Gates, all participants were encouraged to write an opening statement on their application form about their perceptions of the provisions of the Texas Open Records Act, Section 552 of the Texas Government Code.

West encouraged them to write their belief is that they have up to 10 days to make information available. “I don’t care if you don’t even look at it for five days.”

Obviously, the fine line between history and news just got a little broader, inscribed in more bold relief. The law actually says they have as custodian of record a 10 day period in which to seek legal advice if an opinion from the Open Records Division of the AG’s office is necessary before making a decision to release or not release requested items of information. That’s for people who get that kind of treatment.

Others, more favored by the system, receive faxes or e-mails automatically, it seems.

Reporting from the classroom, Gates commented, “This training is 10% about complying with the law and 90% about keeping information from the public.” He said Mr. West told the class, “You can play the game.” He is devoted a lot of time explaining the concept of a “representative sample” of requests and responses, and how to deal with them for maximum suspense control and length of time it takes to receive a reply.

Such a deal.

Gates will update his reports throughout the training program to let Legendary readers know just how their local and state officials are trained to take care of requests by “Bozo the Clown” when Bozo wants to know just how things are done and where their tax dollars go.

And the floggings will continue until morale improves.

– The Legendary