From the Annals of the Death House – In 1982, Texas became the first state to use lethal injection to execute prisoners. The lethal dose was an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol – a barbiturate that is known as a “truth serum” when administered in lesser doses. Texas adopted the lethal injection procedure as a supposedly more humane method of executing those convicted of capital crimes. Over the next few years, 32 other states, the federal government, and the U.S. military all began using various forms of lethal injection to execute prisoners.
Charlie Brooks Jr., convicted for the murder of David Gregory, was the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection at the Walls Unit in Huntsville. Gregory, an auto mechanic at a used car lot, accompanied Brooks on a supposed test drive of a car. However, Brooks took Gregory back to a motel where he was hanging out and shooting heroin with Woody Lourdes and his girlfriend Marlene Smith after engaging in a shoplifting spree. Brooks shot and killed Gregory in an almost absurdly amateurish manner. Lourdes had informed the hotel manager that they had a man in the room who was bound and gagged and that they were going to have to kill him while pointing a revolver at the manager and telling her that he would kill her too if she talked. As such, the crime was easily discovered and solved. Brooks was sentenced to death. Lourdes was also sentenced to death but his conviction was reversed and he reached a plea deal to serve 40 years. David Gregory left behind a wife and young son.
The Texas Capitol Building prominently features a plaque honoring the Confederacy and proclaiming that the Civil War was not a rebellion and not about slavery. As Red has pointed out several times, all one need do is read the Texas Ordinance of Secession – a vile racist screed – to determine that the only reason Texas seceded was to protect its white citizens’ ability to own black slaves. And a lot of folks sure got killed in the non-rebellion that was the U.S. Civil War.
Red and others wonder why this disgusting piece of utter racist bullshit and revisionist history still has a place anywhere in the public space in Texas. Apparently former speaker Joe Strauss and incoming boss Dennis Bonnen both agree it should go. The hold up is likely our Poor Idiot Governor Abbott who is terrified of doing anything that might affect his right wing bona fides. The Texas Tribune has the full story.
In the middle of downtown Waco near the very popular Magnolia Market at the Silos is the site of Waco’s forgotten minor league baseball stadium – Katy Park. The stadium was razed in 1965 and is now a parking lot for MM. Before that, however, it was a major feature in the Waco landscape and hosted a number of teams including the Waco Pirates, a farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a semi-pro team the Waco Missions. A number of MLB Hall of Famers including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played at KP. For more on the story of this historic site, check out the Waco Tribune.
From the Annals of the Plains – In 1873, Joseph Glidden of DeKalb, IL submitted an application to the U.S. Patent Office for barbed wire. Glidden’s was not the first barbed wire. His design was inspired by seeing an exhibit of Henry Rose’s single-stranded barbed wire at the De Kalb county fair. Glidden’s design significantly improved on Rose’s by using two strands of wire twisted together to hold the barbed spur wires firmly in place. The design was also easily mass-produced. By 1880 more than 80 million pounds of inexpensive Glidden-style barbed wire was sold, making it the most popular wire in the nation. Ranchers and farmers quickly discovered that Glidden’s wire was the cheapest, strongest, and most durable way to fence their property.
From the Annals of Equality – In 1919, the Texas House passed the Nineteenth Amendment which provided women with the constitutional right to vote. The Texas Senate passed the amendment on June 28. With the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in August of 1920, Texas women finally had the full right of voting.