You can put lipstick on a bear but it better be knocked out with animal tranquilizers. That is my piss poor attempt at using some old saying a different way. If you get my drift, you might know I am talking about a pig. But I used a bear as a better symbol since the bear is the mascot for the largest Baptist school in the Universe. Yes, I speak of the Baylor Bears.
Two major stories came out of Waco — home of Baylor University — this week. One story was a good attempt by CNN’s Ed Lavendera to show that jack hasn’t happened with the Twin Peaks bikers shooting that happened a year ago this week. I say good attempt because when you have such a case involving so many people and so many lawyers, to say things can become complicated is way overstated. Some nine bikers were killed and nearly two dozen were wounded. The case resulted in nearly 180 arrests, most for engaging in organized criminal conduct. The abnormally slow justice system was shown in the CNN piece to move slower than Interstate 35 on a Baylor game day.
The second major story from Waco is ongoing. It involves a criminal culture among the Baylor football team with several arrests and even more allegations of sexual assault, and perhaps a cover-up either within Baylor, (including the university’s president Good ol’ Ken Starr, who was the special prosecutor in the Clinton-Lewinski affair) or even maybe a cover-up by the Waco Police Department and Baylor, according to some media stories.
I suppose that if these two stories mean anything it is that bad juju is quite frequent down there in the place the 19th century columnist — and no Baylor fan — William Cowper Brann called “Jerusalem on the Brazos.”
Brann was such a disagreeable cuss that he wound up in a shootout with a local Baylor supporter over alleged sexual indiscretions involving housemaids from South America and the Baylor elite. Brann, who preferred to be called by the name of his paper, The Iconoclast, was shot in the chest. He turned around and fired multiple rounds at his assailant, who then fell dead in the door of a local cigar shop. Brann died the next day. As ancient history that it was, the shooting of Brann The Iconoclast, was quite a story way back when as the The Iconoclast, the paper had around 100,000 subscribers.
What happened just outside of Waco in 1993 in which David Koresh and his followers engaged in a gunfight with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents at Mt. Carmel is more recent history, as was the fiery ending to that saga less than two months later. I know some of the individuals, both Davidians and other parties who were there both at the beginning and the end of the siege.
So now we get to more recent history. It was history that happened this century, but it is still history and likewise carries a lesson that should have been learned, although from the news coming out of Waco today shows that apparentl the lesson was forgotten.
I speak of the scandal involving the men’s basketball team in 2003 in which team member Patrick Dennehy had gone missing only to be later discovered dead. His fellow teammate Carlton Dotson was found guilty in his murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison. The missing player set off the scandal in which then-head Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss portrayed Dennehy as a drug dealer to hide the fact that Bliss had paid Dennehy and another player under the table after limits had been reached on team scholarships.
I think this commentary I came across today by CBS Senior Sports Writer Jon Solomon puts the whole sordid basketball scandal in better perspective that I can. I happened to be working then in Waco, fortunately I had limited exposure to the story. If one looks back to these stories of the past — both ancient and the more recent one — one might find a common thread throughout was religion, in some form or the other. That’s not to say religion is bad but I would say religion and pride is poor two-some. One might even say it is as terrible an ordeal as is putting lipstick on a fully-conscious bear.