Texas politicians turned women’s rights back to the 19th Century


Illustration by Anna Parini

Last summer, shortly after a date to Six Flags Over Texas, a thirteen-year-old girl in Dallas was falling in love for the first time. Her father could see it in the pencil drawings she made before bed. Instead of the usual, precise studies of koi fish and wildflowers, she’d sketched herself holding the hand of a boy in a Yankees cap, and enclosed the image in a pink-and-red heart. In the fall, the girl’s father permitted her to meet the boy, a tenth grader, after school one day a week. This spring, when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, he concluded that one day a week had been too many.

Within a day, his daughter, whom I’ll call Laura, came around to the idea that getting an abortion, soon, might be the best option…

One in four girls and women in the United States will, at some point in her life, seek an abortion. Yet, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, established a woman’s constitutional right to the procedure, the long journeys to oversubscribed clinics that have become a fact of life in Texas will almost certainly become the norm throughout much of the country. Post-Roe, legal authority will devolve to the states, thirteen of which have in place “trigger laws” that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions. Ultimately…twenty-six states are likely to outlaw the procedure. Some pregnant people in the U.S. who will be stripped of the right to legal abortion will go on to have illegal procedures. Others will be forced into motherhood…

And millions of families will find themselves grappling with the same calculations that Laura’s family was encountering this spring: How far are we able to go, financially and emotionally, to terminate a pregnancy? And, when it’s all done and paid for, how much farther down the socioeconomic ladder will we be?

Forcing women and families to make these choices because a shit-for-brains cluster of politicians have the power to impose their will is archaic and historically criminal. That these actions are legal is only further commentary on the backwardness of so-called States Rights. Inevitably enacting laws whose primary function is to take away rights guaranteed in states better educated, more advanced politically. Laws whose roots and reason exist again and again in attempts to drag people back into servitude based on gender and other equally stupid reasons.

“Getaway Car”? Har!


Andrew Boyle photo

Larry Lawton was born into New York City crime. He sold sports tickets for wiseguys, then graduated to bookmaking and loan-sharking. He took a stab at the straight life in the Coast Guard but drifted right back into the arms of the Gambino crime family. His first jewelry-store robbery was a mob-orchestrated insurance job, but the thrill was real, and so was the payoff. By the mid-Eighties, he was knocking over jewelers up and down the East Coast, stealing around $18 million worth of jewelry and other merchandise. In 1996, Lawton was arrested in an FBI raid on charges stemming from a heist in Pennsylvania. For dozens of others, he was never caught.

So how did he get away with so many jobs? Part of it comes down to an old criminal adage: If you’re going to break the law, first follow the rules…

Lawton used rental cars for every heist. “Always. You don’t wanna use your car. You don’t wanna use a friend’s car. You don’t wanna steal a hot car.” Remember, you’re not out for a lurid chase scene—the goal is to melt into the crowd, Lawton says. “If you’re caught with a stolen car, then what?”

Lawton’s friend would rent the car with a credit card and list him as a co-driver. Everything on the up-and-up—almost. “The morning of, you steal a plate, and you usually try to get one [from] around that kind of car,” Lawton says. Swap on the bogus plate and head for the heist. Park just out of sight…

Loot secured, you’re back in the car. As soon as you can, pull over and change back the license plate. Now you’re just some guys in a rental; nobody’s chasing you. “It’s an unbelievable high, better than any drug I’ve ever done,” Lawton says, “because you just beat the system. Once you changed the plate, it was perfect…

I’ve known a couple of successful criminals. Guys who were never caught. I know – they knew – The Man knew who they were and somewhat vaguely what they were doing. In those cases, they never stole anything big enough to merit a full-court press. And that ain’t bad duty, either.

But, RTFA. It’s an enjoyable piece that will educate some folks. Not just about crime. More about manipulating a system that rarely matches science and understanding with crime prevention, apprehending bad guys, putting them away. The last bit counts; but, only on the political scoreboard. Rarely matters to The Man whether or not they got the right guy. Just putting someone inside is what counts in the funny papers.