I will depart from my usual stories about life in the City of Sin to look back at something that happened in a small town in Texas when I worked there at the hometown newspaper.
I remember standing on a street with the Chief of Police in a small Texas town waiting for a bomb to go off while a bomb squad flown in from Houston used a special piece of equipment to take it apart. The moral of this story is not what you would expect but this is how it started. What they found is what this blog is about. I have told this story before but it seems especially relevant today….
Sometimes its a bomb and sometimes it isn’t
By Royal Hopper
One day while at my small dusty old desk at the Orange Leader one of the last real hometown newspapers in SE Texas sifting through piles of news releases. The paper (I don’t remember who got the call honestly) got a call from the office of the chief of police that there was a bomb threat at a local bank. Some genius whose name I don’t remember and wont mention even if I did had tried to rob a bank with what he said was a bomb.
When I stopped giggling I realized they were serious and grabbed a camera and a reporters notepad and jogged out to the parking lot.
I cant remember whether I walked or drove. The scene was a few blocks away from the 1964 vintage mold filled dusty neo modernist box of a news building the Leader occupied back then. When I got there the Orange Police Chief Sam Kittrell was there and the then Orange County Sheriff Mike White was somewhere around. ”
This guy had the misfortune of trying to rob a bank when police officers were nearby. He arrested the would be robber then took a look at the device he had used and decided it looked real. The departments leaders decided it looked real enough to call in an EOD team from Fort Polk an Army military base in nearby Louisiana. The EOD team arrived after a period of time and took a look at the device and decided it looked real enough that they should call in a certified police bomb squad from Pasadena, Texas a good 80 miles or so away.
The Pasadena squad was flown in….took a look at the device and decided it looked real enough that they needed a special piece of equipment from their offices in Pasadena. One designed to tear apart and disarm a bomb with a jet of high pressure water without setting it off.
One of the Orange County Assistant DAs was a licensed pilot and owned or had access to a small plane. He flew one of the bomb squad back to Pasadena got the equipment and flew them back to Orange with this huge piece of machinery weighing down the small plane.
They landed got the equipment to the scene disarmed the bomb with a jet of high pressure water from a distance and then gathered round to see the results of their work ..to see what exactly what this would be robber had threatened the bank in this Southeaast Texas berg with.
What they saw made a lot of people gasp >>>>sigh >>>>> and then perhaps giggle a little ..It was a can of spam with wires attached ..about as dangerous as lunch at a cheap diner….
This robber had committed a federal crime with lunch meat, a few dollars worth of wire and tape and an old tote bag….
This is not intended as sarcasm or politics just to make a point. The people I describe here are professional men and women who are intelligent, courageous, good at their jobs …They did the right thing. Thy were cautious and used the resources at hand to disarm what might have been a tragic o at least dangerous outcome.
I have told this story before but it seems especially relevant right now…. Sometimes the object the bad man has could be a can of spam with some wires attached to it and sometimes it could be a bomb …
Love You Sinners