By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Get it? Implicitly or explicitly, this is the chief's deal. The people with the "bitch" and "whore" signs are his brownshirts. The cops, gosh and darn and give us a break, don't want to get caught in the middle. Whether the police know explicitly that the chief set this up or just assume it, their perception, conveyed grudgingly to Wolens in front of me, is that they can't do much for him because if they do they will get into trouble with the chief.
The rule of law has been suspended here this morning. Suspended by the attackers. Suspended by the cops on the scene. Suspended by The Dallas Morning News, which had people at Miller's house before I got there and deliberately reported not one word of this for several days until they had no choice. The rule of law was suspended in the gutless silence of the Dallas establishment that said nothing for days.
Price was out there calling Miller a bitch and a whore and making sex jokes about her in front of her kids to settle a host of personal scores, including payback for her March 1991 D Magazine story, "The Hustler," in which three unnamed women were quoted accusing Price of rape. But Price also was in front of Miller's house with the implicit permission of the establishment in Dallas. You will never convince me otherwise.
I spent most of that afternoon on the telephone. In one of those conversations, I found myself chatting with a politically astute person who happens to have the ear both of the rich white guys downtown, on some issues, and of the black political establishment that works for them.
I said, "I can't believe Price doesn't understand what he's doing with this stuff."
"He's electing Miller mayor."
I explained. Nobody knows whether Miller will run for mayor the next time the job opens in 2003, but she has given broad hints that she will. If she does, her biggest hurdle will be the perception that she's a liberal, maybe because she's married to one, maybe because she used to work here. (I don't know why people perceive the Observer as liberal, unless it's that Dallas thing where "liberal" means any kind of iconoclasm or pot-stirring, whether truly liberal or libertarian conservative. As far as I know, we just try to tell the truth and sell newspapers.) Miller's dramatically growing base of support over the last two years has been in conservative North Dallas, perhaps because of her close association with North Dallas council member Blumer, an extreme social conservative, and maybe because Miller has earned a reputation for Ayn Rand-style individualism in an atmosphere of cowering conformism.
Whatever. Nothing helps her distance herself from the bleeding-heart thing better than having John Wiley Price beat up on her.
I explained it. Long silence on the other end of the phone. Quick goodbyes.
I have good reason to believe that my two-bit theory was relayed to some decision-makers in or near the Price camp and that Price, whom I have always considered politically smarter than his white handlers downtown, saw the wisdom in it. I think it's why they called off the protests--not because Bolton or the mayor or Olympics booster Tom Luce or Belo/Morning News chairman Robert Decherd or any of those fine fellows ever recognized the sheer un-American immorality of what was going on in front of Steve Wolens' house. I think the idiots called it off because it hadn't occurred to them sooner that there would be a backlash and that the backlash would work for Miller, not them.
And here is the last point, which was supposed to be the first one: This is all about those children. Or your children. Or your parents. Or you.
If they can suspend the rule of law at Wolens' house, they can suspend it wherever and whenever they choose. Don't think for a minute it can't be you next. From what I've seen, this police chief gets mad at people very easily.
It made me sick to stand there, watching a man try to reassure and protect his kids, and what he's really doing, in a very quiet way, is begging. Cajoling. Wheedling. Asking for the protection of the law.
But the protection of the law is just not there for him.
I don't pick mayors. But I'll tell you one thing. Terrell Bolton is dead as police chief. He cannot continue to be the chief of police after this. Whatever happens after he leaves, I don't know. But we all need to take a major reality check. There is no way this man can continue to be the chief of police.
He needs to go, sooner rather than later. It's not about Miller or Wolens. It's about those kids and the rule of law.