‘MAXIMUM JOHN’ WOOD, JR. U.S. DISTRICT COURTHOUSE
San Antonio – The first thing a visitor to the John H. Wood, Jr., Courthouse is the Judge’s name emblazoned in giant letters on the huge buttressed pre-cast concrete cylinder.
The last thing one sees upon his exit is Maximum John’s solemn oil portrait, mounted at eye level, staring a person down as they walk, just to one’s left whilst treading between the velvet ropes to the automatic doors that give upon the Plaza of the Americas in Hemisfair Park, a world’s fair attraction in 1968, later converted into a convention center, sports complex, and federal judicial mall.
Wood succumbed to an assassin’s rifle bullet at his home one morning when a hit team hired by an El Paso drug lawyer facing a lifetime of prison over his drug dealing convictions acted on the vengeful order to kill him.
The building was originally a rear projection cinema theater of kaleidoscopic and panoramic mind-blowing proportions that resembled nothing so much as a cybernetic storm of images thrown against the wall at blinding speed to forecast a future of ultra-modern controls through computers, the technological innovations of the space race, and head-long confrontation of the burning issues of the day – urban decay, traffic congestion, pollution, civil unrest and outrightly riotous conditions, religious and ethnic observances of custom and ceremony – a whirlwind of blazing images that challenged the mind to a virtual media massage.
The audiences stood to view the extravaganza; they were encouraged to hold on tight to waist high railings to prevent vertigo should their sensory systems be overcome with the scattergun and rapid fire overload.
Since the entire project was meticulously managed by President Lyndon Johnson, the building contractors were most experienced in highway, bridge and dam construction. Concrete and steel forming architecture suggestive of the space race and the advent of satellite communications were the dominant themes – and their appearance, built in that hallowed year, 1967, was – well – far out. Out back of beyond and bide a wee in never never and the Village of Oz – massive, heroic, and predictive of an entire melding of North and South Americas into one cohesive hemisphere of free trade.
Yeah. For instance, the IBM pavilion featured keyboards where one typed in name, date of birth, and the physically descriptive items and was treated to a calculation of just how many seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months and years one had lived, how many times one’s heart had beat, how many breaths one had taken, and based on height and weight, how many calories had been consumed and expended by the bod.
Space, time, its description in future terms to the ordinary man needing to be brought up to speed, set in the midst of a massive military training, convalescence, and debarkation point for airmen and soldiers in need of a bright weekend spent with loved ones on their way to the war. Johnson was selling, pitching it hard, the entire enchilada. NAFTA, something that dove-tailed neatly with the next administration or two until the big wigs got it together, a borderless economy and coldly calculated present predicated on a future and a past controlled by the bean counting actuaries and their interpolation charts.
Times change. Today, it’s a grimly angular and drab no man’s land of barriers, security gates, fences, restricted parking areas, surveilled by cameras, patrolled by guards – just another part of the gulag, a way station on the prison industrial complex, cradle to grave.
The recent host city to the Final Four of March Madness in the NCAA basketball tourney, the watchword of late is, “The road ends here.”
Here, former Bandidos President Jeffrey Fay Pike and Vice President John Portillo are facing numerous counts of racketeering charges for operating an ongoing criminal enterprise involved in murder, extortion, dealing, prostitution, extortion, and a laundry list of predicate offenses committed in combination with a busload of witnesses who have entered pleas of guilt and are awaiting their allocution and sentencing for their self-admitted criminal convictions.
According to the one and only reporter who covers the proceedings, the defense counsel cross examine them under the same theme, every time. How many points are you getting in return for all this?
A sojourn of Tuesday to Friday turned this scribbler into a world-weary bureaucrat.
One interesting lead pursued and stymied by the red tape of the proverbial federal case: FBI Special Agent Schuster testified that in his estimation, the motorcycle enthusiasts of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents, and cooperating organizations such as the Legislative Strike Force of the U.S. Defenders and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists have something in common with the Fee-Bees.
They operate pretty much the same way when they go to the Hill to try to win friends and influence people. At least, that’s what folks say Schuster said.
A quick check with the District Court Deputy Clerk – a lady named Priscilla who is as nice as pie and very helpful – the Court Reporter would call and let us know how to obtain confirmation of quote.
Ms. Alee – not sure of the spelling – left a message on the Legendary Answering Machine that said Schuster testified over three days, totaling 469 pages of transcript. They will be ready at the earliest in 30 days, and at a cost of $3.65 per page, the total bill to learn what the agent said is only – I have the envelope – $1,711.85.
It’s shame it doesn’t match the drapes.
What does all this have to do with Twin Peaks?
It was at a joint meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents that the massacre of 9, wounding of 20, and the mass incarceration of nearly two hundred took place, resulting in one trial that ended in a hung jury – and none of it has anything to do with the RICO case against the Bandidos or the predicate offenses thereunto appertaining, saith the judge.
How did they put it in 1968?
Oh, yeah, I remember now. “Different strokes for different folks, different ways on different days. What every big woman need and every little woman want. More man to love.” Or something like that, straight out of the ashen atmosphere of Detroit.
So mote it be.
- The Legendary