THE HARRIS COLUMN
By SAMUEL J. HARRIS
Following numerous discussions with Geoff Davidian, editor/publisher of this web site, he has agreed to allow me to write a weekly column. I have perceived that many people think Geoff and I are the same page on every issue. This is simply not the case. I adamantly support a free, open, and to the extent possible, an uninhibited discussion of social and political issues. In that sense I am 100% in support of The Putnam Pit's right to write the most intelligent and the looniest articles.
For my inaugural article, I have invited a guest columnist to speak his mind. John Wayne Allen is a Cookeville and Gainesboro attorney. It's hard to say which geographical description is most appropriate. Mr. Allen has chosen the timely issue of Byron Looper vis a vis Bill Gibson. Mr. Allen pulls very few punches - such is the way of one trying to express truth. With only a few additional comments [mine are in brackets], the thoughts of Mr. Allen:
In the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 1998, District Attorney William Gibson announced to the world that Byron Looper had been arrested for the political murder of State Senator Tommy Burks. For Looper -- the embattled Putnam County Property and political nihilist, the arrest was the climax of a two-year period of Sturm und Drang. For Gibson it represented the political defeat of one of his most bitter enemies.
Since Looper's arrest, controversy has begun to swirl around Gibson. Since Gibson's election in 1990, Gibson has been the first column of a veritable crime industry. As district attorney general of the 13th Judicial District, Gibson is the crime boss of the Drug Task Force, the economic crime fund, and a small army of law enforcement agents, certain trade union groups, and other members of the stasi. Gibson is a symbolic figure, but when combined with the other elements of the late capitalist crime industry, the Gibsonistas resemble a group of columns tied together, in other words a fasces, the ancient Roman symbol. [Tell us what you really think; quit holding back.]
[Editor's note: Both Harris and Allen have represented Byron Looper in civil matters but neither of them represents Looper in any criminal matter pending in the courts.]
In 1990, Gibson waged a campaign against lawlessness and rather handily defeated then- Assistant District Attorney Marshall Judd. As a candidate, Gibson was a tough cop who rode into office in a police cruiser and cultivated an authoritarian cult of personality. His strengths were his faith in radical change and his steadfast refusal to compromise with the criminal element.
As the party out of power, the Gibsonistas used terror from below to strike fear in the hearts of the opposition. As the party in power, the Gibsonistas used terrorism from above to maintain control. Like his modern political hero, special persecutor Kenneth W. Starr, [I personally think Mr. Starr has done his duty] Bill Gibson has been a master at criminalizing politics. In his first term of office, Gibson prosecuted the Overton County Sheriff, the Circuit Court Clerk of White County, and a Cookeville city councilman. [With a record like that you would think Bill Gibson would be the darling of political corruption reporter, Geoff Davidian.] These prosecutions were largely baseless. In the case of Overton County Sheriff, Allen Loftis, Gibson offered to chop 397 criminal charges against him if he would plead guilty to the one count of simple misconduct. Like other statist regimes, the Gibsonistas have been able to maintain their grip on power by threatening their political opposition.
As a politician, Gibson is a master propagandist, and his skill at public relations helps to solidify his political power. [Which Bill are we reading about here, Clinton or Gibson?] Clear Channel Communications has a virtual monopoly on the broadcasting industry in the Upper Cumberland. The morning radio talk show is the unofficial Gibsonista spin machine. Likewise the Herald Citizen, a Cookeville newspaper [I must correct the writer - the HC is an advertising circular.], is a Gibson "suck up" rag. Both propaganda organs are owned by powerful outside corporate interests that control the vast majority of the local media market. The local media provides Gibson with the legitimacy he craves. It remains to be seen if his regime can survive the scrutiny of a truly free press.
In the mass media and in his political organizations, such as Parents Against Gangs [Is there a Parents For Gangs organization out there? Equal time if it exists folks.] and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Gibson portrays himself as an enlightened figure, as a man who protects women and children, and as a real champion of victims' rights. In reality, however, Gibson is disdainful of democracy and is the political heir to the totalitarian Enlightenment.
In conclusion, Bill Gibson is the tin horn dictator of a crime empire, and business could not be better. Recently re-elected for another eight-year term, William Gibson continues to be the Fascist specter that haunts the Upper Cumberland.
[Mr. Allen raises some provocative thought. I don't think he respects Bill Gibson as District Attorney. Am I reading too much into this essay? I note that Gibson has engaged in activities that are hauntingly parallel to Looperism.
Mr. Allen comments on the crime industry as an issue that needs to be discussed by the public. The crime industry is all the court, police, and ancillary personnel that profit from all of the alleged crime.
Cookeville is a relatively safe and decent place to live in America. Is this because of the crime industry or in spite of it? Is the crime industry preying on the poor and defenseless, intimidating them through the criminal justice system? How can such a fine place as Cookeville have such a crowded court docket and a capacity filled jail? Some might argue that it is because of the aggressive law enforcement policy of Putnam County that the crime rate is so low. I personally don't buy that theory.
Government bureaucracies eventually adopt a primary mission of self- preservation and aggrandizement. The stated social objective that originally is the impetus for creating the bureaucracy takes a back seat to ensuring that budget and jobs are saved for the bureaucrats. The ability to hand out contracts and jobs becomes a key source to political power. An informed citizenry can check this decadence, but there will be more columns to discuss these matters.]
Samuel J. Harris
[The Putnam Pit invites all readers to respond to this and all columns or articles we publish. To contribute to the regions most open community forum, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Return to The Putnam Pit