the eyes of texas – and the rest of the world – are upon you

A thirty-eight year old man accused of murdering five neighbors in Cleveland, Texas was captured in a smaller Texas town called Cut and Shoot that was less than 20 miles from where the crime happened after a massive four day manhunt by a collection of law enforcement organizations.The man lived next door to the victims which included two women aged 21 and 31 respectively, a 25 year old woman and her 9 year old son, and an 18 year old young man. According to the 9 year old’s father, the neighbor walked into their home armed with an AR-15 rifle and began shooting after an altercation between them over a crying baby in his home and the neighbor’s shooting practice in the next door yard.

According to data published by Caroline Covington on July 28, 2022 in the Texas Tribune, Texans purchased more than 1.6 million guns in 2021 which was about 1 gun for every 14 adults in the state. Concurrently in 2021 the Texas legislature passed new laws allowing the open carry of handguns without a license to carry those guns under certain conditions per information provided by the Texas State Law Library. The Wild, Wild West of Hollywood westerns in the 1940s and 50s had returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear but the guns of the 21st. century were more powerful, more accessible, able to kill innocent people much quicker than the ones used in the 1952 Gary Cooper film High Noon.

When Pretty and I had a second home on Worsham Street in Montgomery, Texas from 2010 – 2014 we drove through Cut and Shoot whenever we made one of our countless thousand mile trips between South Carolina and Texas. During that time we used the Cut and Shoot post office as a sign we were almost to Conroe which meant we were less than an hour from Worsham Street. Even our dogs sensed the two day drive south and west was nearing the end when we slowed for the small town speed limit and stopped for several red lights there.

Now the name Cut and Shoot is infamous as the town where the Cleveland mass shooter was captured. The little town that got its name from a fight between two (who’s suprised?) religious groups, the home of ostensibly the only person with any claim to fame (professional heavyweight boxer Roy Harris) would achieve notoriety as the place where a middle-aged man with an AR-15 who killed five of his younger neighbors in Cleveland was found hiding in a closet in a house there.

I really don’t care if the people killed and/or the killer were shades of black, brown, white, or mix-ish; what I do care about is that somebody somewhere had an AR-15 rifle and a temper. Everyone has a temper to some degree – even our fifteen month old granddaughter Molly gets mad when she hears the word No, and she feels free to act out by throwing whatever is in her hand to the ground as hard as she can.

But not everyone has an AR-15 rifle, and in my opinion not everyone should.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to the eyes of texas – and the rest of the world – are upon you

  1. We wonder what’s up when there isn’t news about a shooting in the US on any given day. AR-15 rifles are perhaps required by the military but can’t see why anyone else requires one. We’ve had a shooting over here in the past few days. Luckily it stands out.

    Liked by 1 person

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