Background on this.
So, Ron Hankins widdle feelings were apparently hurt that someone dared to criticize him, as a public figure, for some comments he made at a public meeting for the Somervell County Hospital District. That person, a woman, wrote a letter to the editor about it, under a pen name, and this apparently upset Mr Hankins so much that he decided he needed to go down to *advise* the Somervell County LEC "there was a letter to the editor from an Annie Mcgee stating some wrongdoing on the complainant's part." The offense, mindbogglingly, was "Online Impersonation", even though the letter to the editor was in the printed newspaper, and wasn't signed, er, by him. In what way did he believe that someone was impersonating him? Was it his magic hat?
The lady who did write the letter, whom I know, and a lot of you do too, told me after the deputy showed up at her door, she wondered if Ron Hankins was going to come to her house once he knew it was she that wrote the letter. Remember, he had no idea who wrote that letter, just that, dang it, someone had exercised their Freedom of Speech rights and he was having NONE of it, he was going to find out who that person was, and get that person charged with a CRIME. What, maybe he would have come knocking at her door so he could chew her out for daring to express an opinon about him? Poor Mr Hankins apparently doesn't have a tough enough skin to be in the public eye if he can't take the heat when a taxpaying citizen doesn't like his opinion. Will Hankins now wander Somervell County seeking out each person that doesn't agree with him so he can find some action to take against those who believe as US Citizens they can write letters to the paper?
Hankins is no longer the county attorney, although this action seems to say that he pines for the Good Old Days, where he has the clout to go after innocent people for thoughts they have in the paper. He is, however, an elected public figure that serves on a board. Perhaps he believes that gives him the authority to go running down to the Sheriff's office every time he reads or hears something he doesn't like. One could almost say that this is an intimidation factor-if YOU know that Ron Hankins was going to go to the sheriff's office to *advise* them about a possible crime because YOU wrote a letter to the paper, would that slow you down from criticizing Mr Hankins next time he does something you find objectionable? Maybe. And maybe that's the point. Why else spend that kind of effort on a friggin' letter to the editor? Mr Hankins also is apparently not well-read, and doesn't realize that people write opinions all over the place about politicians and government officials, and do so freely.
What's astonishing to me is that ANYONE from the Sheriff's Department treated this seriously AT ALL. This is an abuse of police power and a waste of taxpayer resources to spend even one minute or one dime over a letter in the newspaper. At some point the complaint went back to the county attorney's office and was dismissed. OF COURSE it was.
What will be the next outrageous and irresponsible act Ron Hankins does, although it will be hard to top this for sheer nuttiness and audacity? Please don't ANYONE stop writing letters to the editor with your opinions simply because Ron Hankins may not like it and try to charge you with a crime.
P.S. Comment from Chris Bryant re: who would have approved even looking into this in the first place.
According to Sheriff Greg Doyle, all complaints are given to the Andy Lucas, County attorney and it is by the County Attorney decision to follow up with deciding to accept or decline a complaint. I'm not sure if that is how it's supposed to work but that is what was verbalized to me.
Fact of that matter is so that no one has to accept responsibility. The sheriff can point to the County Attorney and the County Attorney can point to the Sheriff. This way, no one loses votes.
P.P.S. Both the letter writer and I wanted to get a copy of the file to see what the heck! Because, in the first place, they had opened a case and it was still open, neither she nor I could get a copy. Then, it apparently went back to Andy Lucas, he saw it was nonsense and closed it without charges. Because it was closed without charges being brought, we ALSO couldn't get a copy of the case in that circumstance. What I got back, though, was a letter from the Attorney General explaining this. Look at this. Rather than *online impersonation* as the sheriff's event log showed, this was apparently *computer fraud*. Huh? In what world it is computer fraud for a person to write a letter to the editor which the newspaper publishes? One can only laugh.