Texas named its counties for a lot of horrible people. Mathew Ector is one of them

As memorials to slavers and other Confederate heroes have been removed from public and otherwise challenged in recent months, a common complaint is that, by doing this, we’re forgetting our history or erasing it.

In my home county, we still have the historical marker its namesake:

Created February 26, 1887 from Tom Green County organized January 15, 1891, named in honor of Matthew Duncan Ector 1822-1879. Member of the Texas legislature a confederate officer and outstanding jurist Odessa, The County Seat.

Indeed, Ector (his first name was actually spelled Mathew) was a Confederate brigadier general and later a Texas high court judge. As a jurist, he’s most notable for re-affirming racist marriage laws after Reconstruction.

In 1878’s Charles Frasher v. the State of Texas, presiding judge Ector wrote:

Continue reading Texas named its counties for a lot of horrible people. Mathew Ector is one of them

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Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear

The other day, the Odessa American reported on the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute’s event on policing, and as reported, the featured guests said some troubling things.

First, both outgoing Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson and Odessa Police Chief Tim Burton suggested folks ought to comply with whatever an officer tells them to do in order to protect themselves.

Now, women in the audience might not feel completely comfortable following that advice if interacting with former police officer Salvador Becerra during a traffic stop or former deputy Alfred John Herrera once in jail.

Or maybe that’s not fair. Only rarely do peace officers sexually assault people they have in their custody.

Continue reading Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear

No taxation without majority representation

In light of certain gubernatorial comments and the aftermath, I was trying to think, what exactly justifies secession? The answer to that is pretty simple, namely sufficient force to be able to do it, but rhetorically or ideally or whatever, when does it become OK to start the conversation on breaking away from the larger country? More frankly, when does whining cross over into the territory of legitimate grievances?

Actually looking at the American Revolution, for example, you’d be hard-pressed to say the British were really all that mean to their American colonies, especially compared to the colonies the British possessed in other parts of the world – or even how the Americans treated their own slaves.

Continue reading No taxation without majority representation

Everyone is permitted to vote, but it isn’t always beneficial

By the time Nov. 4 comes and goes, the 2008 election may prove to be the most popular in American history. Even in Texas where the national races should be safely checked off for the Republicans, there’s more excitement than usual.

I worry this isn’t for the best.

Continue reading Everyone is permitted to vote, but it isn’t always beneficial