Texas Outlaw Writers Newsletter: Things are Heating Up Edition

In what could be the most 4th of July thing (at least symbolically) ever to happen in this country, a "mass shooting event" occurred at a community parade in Highland Park, Illinois this last week. Seven dead, over two dozen injured. Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy was left an orphan after both of his parents were hit.

According to ABC news, his father died shielding the toddler. He was pulled out from under his dad's body and eventually given to his grandparents who are 'not doing well.' "Every time a car pulls up to the driveway he says "Mommy and daddy are home.""

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.     -The D of I.

I don't want to dwell on this awful yet predictable story (our writers may have something to say in their articles.) Mainly because of tragedy fatigue. It's been barely two weeks since the last child was buried from the Uvalde massacre. Now in a community outside of Chicago, the undertaker will once again be busy.  Five of the fatalities were seniors, and then the parents of the young child. Many more will spend weeks recovering in hospitals and physical rehab clinics.    

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. -US Constitution Preamble

This week, I'll take this time and space to thank you readers for supporting our efforts here. We have gotten good feedback from you, and we've had a great deal of fun having an outlet for our creative energies. Thanks especially to those of you who support us financially. Our subscription numbers are still modest, but we have a dedicated following. Thank you for your support, and thanks for forwarding the newsletter and/or the pieces that you like.

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Speaking of good content, we have a jam-packed issue this week. We're still missing John Nova Lomax (c'mon John, get yourself well, we miss you!) but we have no less than two guest contributors this week!

MichaelV returns with a piece he started while hiding under the bed, comforting his nervous pup on the Fourth of July.
In the face of that day's tragedy, among other recent/current events, he wants to reassure us (!) that it's been worse, a lot worse. He doesn't necessarily mean that as talk to soothe our fears, but hopes it motivates a few folks to fight, hard, to reclaim the America that we grew up in.

Fourth of July Reflections | Texas Outlaw Writers
“Stop your non-productive whining. Yes, there has been a series of giant steps backward. It is NOT, as thousands of tweets would have you believe, “the lowest point in our nation’s history” nor “the end of our republic” nor, for that matter, is it the worst of anything in our American past.”

Bill Jeffreys has worked in print, radio and TV news. Several of us "did time" with Bill at KHOU where he had the City Hall beat for years. But for the last decade or so, he's been teaching high school kids the trade. As part of that, he finds himself editing the school yearbook. All those photos, captions, stories... what does it mean, anyway? Bill grabbed his pen and recalls his graduation.

The Paycheck Syndrome | Texas Outlaw Writers
After the ceremony, the Speech and Debate teacher finds the boy and congratulates him. She gushes. It was the best performance he ever gave and beautifully written, she said. He remembers this forever.

This week Roger Gray travels back in time to the 19th century through a wormhole that was the Texas Republican Convention in Houston. The platform reads like an Alex Jones wish list and the only saving grace is that the Democrats will manage one just as silly next week.

Texas GOP Repeals History | Texas Outlaw Writers
The Tx Republican Party platform reads like a cross between a QAnon website and cocktail napkin scribblings by Rudy Giuliani and Phyllis Schlafly after a three-day bender. But fear not, the Democrats are prepared to put together their own platform. Bet you can’t wait.

Yours truly threw his hat into the ring this week and contributed a piece. As much as current events are overwhelming,  I can't bring myself to comment this week on recent tragedies. There's no longer enough time to even recover... and that's for those of us on the sidelines. It's almost unbearable to consider the pain that so many individuals, families, and communities are going through these days.

What should have been a fairly routine task turned into a distraction, though. It was fairly absurd, and not inexpensive. But none-the-less, a distraction. You see, I Upgraded My Cell Phone.  

I Upgraded My Cell Phone | Texas Outlaw Writers
Cell phone upgrades happen at the crossroads of funeral planning and new car buying.

James Moore's reflections on the Fourth of July holiday involve a couple of guys who thought the country was worth fighting for. One was the last surviving member of "The Band of Brothers." He passed the day before Independence Day this last week at 97. The other guy was his own dad.

What Does America Want? | Texas Outlaw Writers
“Bradley Freeman was a 19-year-old freshman at Mississippi State University in Starkville when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a paratrooper. He knew that America was worth fighting for. Freeman, who passed a day before July 4th, would be the last of the “Band of Brothers.” ”

Wildfires, drought, and climate change in general keeps pushing us toward environmental catastrophe. Myra Jolivet sheds light on a new threat: tree poaching. What used to be a fairly rare crime (usually confined to collectors nabbing rare species or homeowners illegally taking a couple of landscape elements,) is now a huge problem that is occurring all over the U.S.  Many of the trees targeted take years to reach maturity. The thefts wreck the soil, destroy habitat, and can change the balance of a given ecosystem. Myra also reminds us that there is a spiritual element to a healthy, beautiful forest.  

Poachers: Crimes Against Nature | Texas Outlaw Writers
“It is mind-numbing when you consider the creative and depraved ways, we humans underappreciate the environment that nurtures and sustains us. Blame it on a lack of education or a lack of conscience, or unmanageable greed, these acts against nature will lead to our ruin in one way or another.”

It's 108° this afternoon in the State Capitol. Put your head in the pool or a nearby lake. Stay hydrated. Keep that door closed, you think I'm paying to air-condition the entire neighborhood???
Get yourself back inside the house as soon as you can - before you spontaneously combust.