She seems nice

If you'd like a vision of the Constitutional Paradise espoused by militia loons and rightwing super patriots like Richard Mack, founder of the "Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association" (CSPOA), which insists that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement authorities allowed by their Very Special Version of the Constitution, take a look at this extensive Texas Observer report on one such sheriff. Pamela Elliott was elected sheriff of Edwards County, Texas, in 2012, and quickly set to enforcing the Constitution as she understands it -- hanging out with a local militia group, monitoring local Democratic party meetings, intimidating political enemies, and making clear to school board members that they'd better vote out the current school superintendent. In 2014, during the Bundy Militia Jamboree in Nevada, Sheriff Elliott and the leader of the Edwards County Militia jointly "put out a standby order for volunteers" to head to Nevada to support the Bundoids if it came to a shootin' war against the feds.

In other words, she's creatin' a true law 'n' order paradise where the people with the guns and the badges -- or at least the guns -- get to make the rules, exactly as the Founders wanted it. In August 2014, Elliott sent virtually the entire Edwards County Sheriffs' Department -- about thirty in all, plus a mob of local supporters of Elliott -- to surround a meeting of the county Democratic Party's executive committee in a private home. Elliott even attempted to force her way into the meeting to keep an eye on things, since she claimed the Texas attorney general had told her the private party meeting was subject to Texas's Open Meetings Act.

Rachel Gallegos, the former mayor of Rocksprings, told reporter Alex Hannaford,

"[Elliott] held her boot in the door and I told her to have him call me — that if he said she could be there I’d let her in,” Gallegos says. “And nobody ever called me, of course.”

Caroline Ramirez, who dropped her husband off at the meeting, described the crowd outside as an “angry mob.” Later, she would state in a written complaint submitted to the attorney general, the secretary of state and the district attorney that she “was shocked that [Elliott] was in uniform but wasn’t doing anything to control the crowd, keep the peace, or protect them or us. She seemed to be encouraging the mob. I wanted to call someone, but I had no idea who I should call if the head of our law enforcement is part of the problem.”

In a separate complaint to state officials, Ms. Gallegos wrote, “I can no longer assume that our Sheriff and her department will act as Peace Officers. I need some guidance as to how to protect myself.” But at least after a month, she heard back from an attorney in the state A.G.'s office, who advised her that no, a meeting of a party's local executive committee isn't covered by the Open Meetings Act. Turns out that's one of those freedom of association things. But that wasn't the real point, anyway, suspects Gallegos: she believes Elliott brought out the sheriffs' deputies and patrol cars in force to influence the vote in an upcoming judicial election. The Democratic candidate, Ricky Martinez, was expected to win, but the Republican, Souli Shanklin, was allied with Elliott, so why not make good use of local law enforcement to send a message?

Gallegos says law enforcement outside her house could have influenced the vote by making people in town think the Democrats were up to no good, or even doing something illegal. Martinez ended up losing, with 46 percent of the vote.

And then there's Elliott's war with School Superintendent David Velky, who angered her by not accepting her generous offer to ensure the school was in touch with juvenile corrections authorities. Velky says Elliott took "an intense disliking to me," and said that she recently flagged down two members of the school board while driving through town and informed them, while in uniform, that they really needed to vote against renewing Velky's contract. “I try not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I concluded this person either has some innate dislike for me or mistrust,” Velky said.

Jeeze, so paranoid. Why is he so worried about a local citizen expressing her opinion on how to improve the schools, simply because she has a patrol car, a badge, and a gun? Velky also said he felt intimidated by the presence of the militia leader in the audience at a school board meeting:

“I believe the plan is to get rid of me and certain board members in order to take control of the school. I think they want control over the hiring of the teachers and staff members. I think they want to be able to bypass the procedural safeguards of the law — to arrest people without the grand jury; to bring charges without consulting the district attorney; to decide who is on the grand jury.”

Pfft. All because of a little bit of very assertive participation in educational affairs?

Here's how paranoid those silly Democrats in Edwards County are: a group of them met Hannaford in what they described as a "safe house, and several would only speak to him anonymously, out of fear that Elliott and her supporters would come after them. That seems pretty nutty, and what are they hiding anyway?

During the 2014 elections, Elliott deployed deputies to stand in polling places and look very carefully at all the Latinos who were voting, but that was only to ensure the security of the vote, probably. And once the county clerk called the sheriff and asked her to withdraw the deputies -- at around 3 PM, after voting had been going on all day -- she did. What's the big deal? Again, listen to that paranoid Rachel Gallegos and her wacky take on the sheriff's effort to keep the polls safe from -- well, she never said what, but maybe an ISIS attack, why not?

Gallegos says she spoke to elderly Hispanic friends who didn’t vote because they were scared off. “They just said ‘Oh, they’ll come after me; they’ll go after my children, my grandchildren, it’ll just cause trouble,’” Gallegos says. “The elderly are easily intimidated.”

Romana Bienek, the city secretary who was working at City Hall on the day of the 2014 midterm election, corroborates Gallegos’ account [...]

“When I called the sheriff’s office and spoke to the sheriff herself … she said it was really none of [my] business. She told me to write down the people’s names and phone numbers and that she’d talk to them. I said ‘Fine,’ and that was it.”

The local Republican party chair insisted there was no voter intimidation at all, and that the deputies were only there to protect the poll workers, since sometimes the volunteers are there until late at night. So we guess it only makes sense to have an armed deputy standing around all day scrutinizing everyone.

There's a whole lot more in the Observer's story -- go give it a read. And just imagine what a wonderful place YOUR community could be with a strong Constitutional Sheriff to keep order.

[Texas Observer via RawStory]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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