Yesterday I made the long drive down to Jackson County. I left the house at 6:30 a.m. for the 100-mile drive so I could get my name near the top of the list to sit down and talk with the district attorney.
Everything was going swimmingly - particularly once the speed limit crept up to 75 on the other side of the Fort Bend county line. Though I must admit it is a bit unsettling to be cruising at 80 mph on a highway that is not a limited access road.
Then I cross into Jackson County. I cross the Navidad River - which is still extremely low - and up ahead I see a police SUV from Ganado with its lights on parked on the side of the road. I move to the left and I see another SUV a little ways up the road with its lights on. As we crawled in the left lane I assumed there had been an accident.
As I glanced out to the left I saw the problem. A cow had crossed the highway and was standing - scared to death - in the median.
Shortly after 8 o'clock I parked my car in front of the courthouse and headed upstairs to get my name on the list (I was third) where I was met by my second surprise of the day. Since the last time I'd been down to Jackson County in the spring the door to the DA's office had been replaced by a door with a push-button lock system and a window had been cut into the wall with the plexiglass you'd see at the bank.
Now it didn't take long to figure out why the change had been made. It was obviously a response to the deaths of two prosecutors up in Kaufman County earlier this year. The courthouse in Jackson County doesn't have a metal detector and it doesn't have officers posted at each of the three entrances.
Of course what didn't make sense was the little fact that neither of the prosecutors in Kaufman County were killed in the courthouse. In fact, neither were killed by a criminal defendant in the courthouse. They were both, if you'll remember, killed by a former Justice of the Peace who got caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.