So happy with the way Texas Triangle is coming together. We should start shipping next week.
Pre-order your copy of HERE:
Beer and Photographs (and Soth/Zellar) tonight in Austin! 7pm at the Harry Ransom Center.
More info HERE.
Can’t be there? Pre-order your copy of Texas Triangle:
Execution of Jerry Martin. Huntsville Prison, Walls Unit. Huntsville.
It was good that God kept the secrets of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.
—Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
At six p.m on December 3rd, Jerry Martin was strapped to a gurney at the Huntsville Prison and administered a fatal dose of pentobarbital, a drug most commonly used to euthanize animals. He became the 16th Texas inmate to be executed in 2013, and the 508th since the State reinstated capital punishment in 1982. Martin was a “volunteer” in the parlance of the death penalty movement; he had waived all appeals and was prepared to die. “He’s rational, and he knows what he’s doing,” John Jasuta, one of his attorneys, told me the day before. “We respect his wishes, yet It is with great sadness that we stand by.”
The street directly in front of the prison’s main entrance was cordoned off with police tape, but a small group of onlookers —no more than a couple dozen— gathered in a parking lot on the corner. It was a quiet affair; there were no signs, no raised voices, and no overt signs of demonstration. The group received nothing in the way of attention from prison staff or the media, and the execution took place without any official notifications or announcements. The veterans in the group knew that the execution was proceeding as planned, and on schedule, when a procession of witnesses were herded from an administration building and up the main steps of the prison shortly before six. By this time Jerry Martin’s youngest brother, Dustin, and a niece and nephew had joined the vigil in the parking lot.
Ten members of Martin’s family had made the long drive from Celina, Dustin said, and only a handful were allowed inside to witness the execution. “The world isn’t a black-and-white place,” Dustin told me. “My brother made some big mistakes, but we love him, and he’s not a bad man.”
Dustin Martin learned of his brother’s death when a group of people started filing back out the front door up the street shortly after 6:30. “There’s my big brother John and my sisters,” Dustin said. “I guess that means it’s over.” He and his niece and nephew hung around for a bit longer, crying with and embracing strangers, and then they headed out to meet up with the rest of their family and claim Jerry Martin’s body.
"We’ll take him back up to Bonham and put him next to my dad in the cemetery there," Dustin said.
Cory and Justin. Bull riders. San Antonio.
"We’re brothers with different fathers. We go someplace different pretty much every weekend to try to get on a bull. I suppose it looks crazy, but it’s just something that gets in you that’s hard to let go of."
Texas City, “The town that would not die.”
It was intellectually impossible for the Westerner to adopt a sense of the sacredness of life, because the evidence of his senses and his reason proved there was no such thing. On the Pleistocene Plains, nothing, neither man nor beast, had any inherent right to life.
—T.R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. 1968
In 1947, a French ship containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer blew up in the Texas City port, touching off a series of explosions and massive fires that destroyed much of the town. The blasts were felt as far away as Galveston, and killed 581 people. More than 5,000 were injured in what is still regarded as the largest industrial disaster in U.S. history.
Kameron and Joseph. Houston.
"I’ve been riding horses all my life. My family had a farm out here back in the day, raised hogs and cattle. It’s changed a lot over the years, but I still keep my horses right up the road. This is my grandson, Kameron, and he just got his own horse, so it looks like he’s going to be a rider too. I come up to this bar on Fridays to fry fish for the regulars."
Reveille VIII, Texas A&M mascot. College Station.
Revellie VIII is the latest in a line of Texas A&M Mascots that stretches back to 1931. Her predecessors are buried in a cemetery near the north end zone of Kyle Field, A&M’s massive football stadium. Reveille is the highest-ranking member of the University’s Corps of Cadets, and she has her own cell phone and student I.D. card. A Mascot Corporal —who is required to be with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week— shares a dorm room with her and accompanies her to University sporting events and Corps functions. Reveille’s Mascot Corporal is chosen every year after an arduous two-month tryout.
Sophomore Parker Smith, who is handling the Reveille duties this year, said, “The tryouts are quite the ordeal, but this is a huge honor. She’s obviously a big deal in our outfit. The rules are that I can’t leave her alone for even one minute, so she goes everywhere with me —class, dates, and home for the holidays.”
Cadets are required to address Reveille as “Ma’am,” and tradition holds that if she barks while in a classroom the class must be immediately adjourned.