Reader lauds Texas politician in light of Confederate monument removal
First of all, thank God for John Cornyn, Steve Bannon, Darren Blair and Jerry Patterson, among others. Jerry Patterson is the Texas Land Commissioner who among other things, was described in the May 2008 edition of Texas Monthly as a “concealed-weapon carrying, tobacco-dipping, canvas-death-trap-flying maverick whose management (style) has ticked off everyone from Rick Perry to the Sierra Club. The other people Patterson ticked off were U.S. Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and state senator John Whitmire.”
(In my case, anyone who pisses off Rick Perry (the ex-Texas-governor who tried, desperately, to enrich himself at taxpayers’ expense by rigorously attempting to push through a huge interstate “corridor” which was unneeded, unnecessary, and prohibitively expensive) is very definitely a good friend of mine – although we’ve (so far) never met!)
According to Mr. S.C. Gwynne, the reporter who wrote the article, the GLO, that Texas Land Office that Mr. Patterson represents, “essentially a Texas realtor. INFO ONLY: “The canvas death trap is a very (!) tiny, single-engine private aircraft, manufactured by stretching canvas across wooden boards.” Mr. Patterson indicated to Mr. Gwynne that he chose the aircraft because “It could land almost anywhere.” He proved this by landing on various beaches, on occasion, while visiting state lands there. With 12 years in office as of 2008, Mr. Patterson had established a reputation as an unusual sort of politician, according to Mr. Gwynne. He had been a Republican state senator from 1992 to 1998, and authored and rammed through landmark legislation to allow Texans to carry concealed weapons, borrow money off the equity in their homes and, according to Senator David Sibley, Patterson was seen as a “completely fearless” legislator.
Sibley further stated that when Patterson thought something ought to be done, you could not go away and convince him to stop doing it. As a Marine, Patterson was trained to, if someone shoots at you, you turn toward where the shot came from, charging and shooting your gun. Patterson, Mr. Gwynne pointed out, is a Marine Vietnam veteran who flew F-4 Phantom fighter planes as a radar intercept officer for 15 years – five on active duty and 10 in the Reserves – and retired in 1995 as a Lieutenant Colonel. In 1997, he defied the Republican party leadership of Texas on a bill that would have made eight-liner gambling machines illegal. This was, at the time, known as Gov. George W. Bush’s bill but Paterson opposed it because of what he saw as inconsistencies. At that time, to vote against the bill was seen as “pro-gambling” and therefore very dangerous. Patterson is a passionate advocate of the Second Amendment. (Getting to the heart of this letter, quoting Mr. Gwynne: “As the great-grandson of a soldier who fought for the South (Patterson) honored Confederate Heroes day in January 2008 by purchasing a Southern soldier’s correspondence for the GLO” large archives of historical documents.
In 2000, after plaques commemorating the Confederacy were removed from the Texas Supreme Court building, Patterson filed a legal brief supporting the Sons of Confederate Veterans in its campaign to restore the monuments. He hands out Land Office decals bearing the image of the Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederacy. He wears NRA caps, dips Skoal, and likes to tell people that he carries a loaded pistol with him at all times. When asked by an interviewer from the Houston Chronicle in 2007 how he reacted to people who contend that it is not appropriate to celebrate Southern history because of its link to slavery, he replied: “I celebrate the U.S. flag. Under which atrocities my Lai occurred or under which a genocidal war against a whole race of people, the American Indians, occurred. I still celebrate the American flag because I am able to distinguish between the good and the bad that occurred under that symbol.”
Patterson conversely sponsored legislation in 1997 that established the Juneteenth Commission which eventually led to a commemoration on the grounds of the Capitol that celebrated the freeing of slaves in 1865. Unlike most politicians, Patterson says exactly what is on his mind, which explains why he has the reputation as someone who shoots first and asks questions later. According to Mr. Gwynne, Patterson is an avid reader and can hold forth in minute detail the history of Texas, the Civil War, and anything to do with his hero, Robert E. Lee (!). His other hero is former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock.)
He is married to a much-younger woman, a 37-year-old (now about 46) Austin attorney with whom as of 2008 he has twin 4-year-olds (now about 13). He has two grown children – a 32-year-old son (now about 41) who served as a Marine helicopter pilot in Iraq, and a 34-year-old daughter (now about 43), who’s an attorney working in Kosovo.
<NOTE; From most of the preceding, which indicates Mr. Patterson’s belief system, you can see why I felt that his outlook on life was (and is) very current, in view of the events taking place in the United States at this time.>
Randall J. Iwanski