Clowns creep me out. They always have. Not the rodeo clowns with fun painted faces and red ball noses, but the clowns with masks and fixed artificial smiles, as well as the clowns that paint faces that are intended to scare or horrify. That’s probably a subjective statement, because what may be scary to me might make you laugh or the other way around. I always thought that clowns were meant to be cheerful or goofy, but that has not been the case in certain parts of the country in the last couple of months. When the cops have to get involved, definitely not laughable.
Now, most likely as an unfortunate reaction to recent horror movies, clowns are being used for nefarious reasons. Since the end of August, people dressed up as clowns have been reported luring children into the woods with the promise of money, heard banging on doors, and standing on the road in the dark, looking creepy to passersby. The police are taking the threats/reports seriously, and actively follow up on the leads.
Some schools have banned the use of masks and even face paint for this year’s Halloween celebrations, and many have banned clown costumes altogether.
Target and Wal-Mart have put away the clown costumes and/or masks for this year in reaction to the rise of menacing clown sightings. Their reasoning? Halloween is supposed to be fun, not dangerous, and neither company wants to fuel the actions of some misguided individuals. Other sources for costumes are selling out the clown outfits, however.
The clown craziness continues to make news as people posing as clowns take to social media, with tweets, hashtags, and Facebook pages that make threats, cause school lockdowns, and otherwise create havoc. Parents and school officials alike are perplexed as to the motivation behind the social media attacks, but are taking action to avoid any possible actual harm. Several arrests were made after people reported sightings or crimes involving a clown and they turned out to be hoaxes.
Law enforcement continues to investigate each new sighting, because as one officer said, “This is neither funny, nor cute.” Sadly, one teenager lost his life in a stabbing as a result of a clown related incident.
Stay safe this Halloween and be aware of your surroundings. As always, don’t send the children out alone, even in supposedly safe neighborhoods. A trusted adult should be in sight at all times.
Our town has a ‘no mask’ policy for the younger skeletons and princesses. That’s a great idea, because the little ones are less likely to trip and fall if they can actually see where they’re stepping.
Every year, our community center holds a Halloween party after school for kids who don’t walk the neighborhood. A couple of police officers stop by to help out and show the crowd that cops are the good guys. Some local churches now host gatherings for the families in their congregations. Children hear the hype on TV, see the candy in the store, and want to join in, so supervised parties can be fun in some areas that aren’t really right for trick-or-treating.
Best tip? Make sure the kids look both ways before crossing the street to get to the ‘best candy’ house on the other side. Getting hit by a car tops the list as the most dangerous thing that happens to children on Halloween.
*No clown photos included, on purpose.
Lexi Sobado and I crossed professional paths again while I was working a case that required a bit of psychic know-how. Lexi grew up in Washington D.C. and has special out-of-the-box thinking that earned her a job as a Puzzler for Iniquus. She solves the crimes that put American interests at risk. Known as Lynx on the job, Lexi works with a team, Strike Force, led by the man in Lexi’s life, Striker Rheas.
She had come up from D.C. on a case of her own and Sheila and I put her up for the night. We laughed, shared the usual war stories of law enforcement – the “my gal was badder than your guy” kind. And, then we talked shop for a bit.
My police department was stuck. We couldn’t find a suspect and the trail had run cold. We had solid evidence pointing to him, but he got away before we could arrest him. The case involved a missing husband worth big bucks, ransom money and a frantic family. Enter Lexi. In between munching on one of Sheila’s chocolate muffins, Lexi redirected my thinking on the husband. I’m happy to say that we found the hubby less than a day later. Turns out that the husband was running a scam and wasn’t missing at all. He was hiding out with his new girlfriend and the suspect we had been chasing was in on it. What a pair of bums! I doubt that the wife will be weeping for him while he does his stint in prison.
Lexi has been following Kerrian’s Notebook and she pointed out that I’ve never posted the basic gear that a cop carries around. My bad. So here is Lexi’s contribution to the site. Thanks, Lexi, for filling in a gap for us. 🙂
Typical EDC (every day carry)
The Patrol Vehicle
Modifications might include:
In the Trunk of the Patrol Vehicle:
Other Equipment might include:
Thanks, Lexi! Have a safe trip home. Don’t eat all the muffins at once. 😉
Many thanks to Fiona Quinn for visiting with us again at Kerrian’s Notebook and sharing the great list of every day equipment a law enforcement officer might use. She’s one of our favorite people, so please check out her website, connect with her on social media, and buy her books. 🙂Fiona Quinn is the creator of the Lynx Series, featuring Lexi Sobado.
The series is available on Amazon, along with the other books and short stories she has written.
Please visit http://www.fionaquinnbooks.com/ for more information about Fiona.
Her fascinating blog can be found at www.thrillwriting.blogspot.com
Want to connect on Twitter? @fionaquinnbooks
Patti Phillips – interior cruiser shots
Wikipedia and Fiona’s website – all others
Our cross country trip to visit sis in Texas wound down with a stop in Waco, about 200 miles southeast of Wichita Falls. The destination was the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum, built to celebrate the storied Rangers and home to several thousand artifacts and impressive bronze statues displayed throughout the complex.
Guided tours are the usual way to see the exhibits, and a movie about the history of this colorful organization is a great way to start the visit. We have been to dozens of historical sites over the years and seen many informational presentations, but none quite like this. The Rangers have had moments that were less than stellar during their nearly 200 year existence, and while the movie generously praises the many successes of the group, it does not flinch from relating the scandals that tarnished their reputation during part of the last century. Happily, varying the organizational style and recruitment techniques since then has worked to make the Texas Rangers a strong law enforcement entity, respected around the world.
A bit of history:
With the blessing of the Mexican government, a colony of about 300 families was created at the Northern edge of Mexico in the early 1800s, with the reputed Mexican goal that it would have a bigger claim to the contested land. This outpost was also supposed to act as a buffer between Comanche territory and Hispanic holdings. However, attacks on the settlement became so violent and frequent that in 1823, Steve Austin (with permission from Mexico) hired a group of men to keep the families safe and protect the frontier from Indians, bandits and other marauders. With that mandate, the Texas Rangers were born. They are the oldest state law enforcement agency in the USA.
In the beginning, the Rangers were mostly farmers, not cowboys, and had to provide their own horses and guns. The newly formed band was battling against the best light cavalry in the world, the Comanche Indians, and had to learn how to fight on horseback, rather than as foot soldiers in the tradition of English linear formations of battle they were used to. I’m more of a stand-and-shoot kinda guy, and have only ridden a horse while it walked very slowly, so the idea of having any kind of accuracy with a rifle while on a galloping animal? Boggles the mind.
The Comanches and other native tribes were determined to keep the settlers from gaining a bigger foothold and fiercely defended their territory. While some Native Americans today dispute the way ownership of the land was handled back then, that area was a political geographical hotbed at the time, with several governments claiming rights to the territory.
When fighting became too intense and/or widespread for the original few dozen men to handle, others volunteered to help or were hired temporarily, and it was possible to serve as a Texas Ranger in the Frontier Battalion for as little as six months at a time. There were spies, scouts, mounted riflemen – as varied as the needs of the campaign at hand. The men were promised $1.25 a day, to be paid when Austin raised enough money. That early bunch was the stuff of novels and movies – larger than life characters, living on the open range as they assisted the army, making decisions on their own, saving lives and keeping the peace, whenever they were called upon to do so.
Texas became a Republic in 1836, then a State in America in 1845, and the role of the Rangers changed as the political climate and the growing population required.
We were surprised to hear how few Texas Rangers there have been. In times of heavy conflict, the ranks swelled to 450, but after funding cuts and being split into four companies statewide in 1901, there were only 80 men in total. A few years ago, the numbers rose to 100, and even now in 2015, there are still only 150 commissioned Rangers for the entire State of Texas. That’s less than one Ranger for each of the 254 counties in the State.
Having said that, there’s a definite air of confidence surrounding each of the Rangers we met. You never doubt that they have the experience, the training and the skills to handle any situation that arises. One of the legends that feeds the mystique is a statement attributed to Capt. Bill McDonald. McDonald was sent to Dallas to prevent a prize-fight from being held. A rowdy crowd was getting out of hand, and when he arrived alone, he told the alarmed mayor, “Ain’t I enough? There’s only one prize-fight!”
In 1935, the Texas Rangers came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety and the Senior Ranger reports directly to the Director of the DPS. These days, the 150 commissioned, active-duty Rangers are divided into companies spread across the State. They are located in Houston, Garland, Lubbock, Waco, McAllen, San Antonio, and ElPaso, with the central headquarters in Austin, the state capitol.
Click on the links for additional information:
Next time: “What does a Texas Ranger do?”
*Photos by Patti Phillips, taken in Waco, Texas