There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “don’t take a stick to a beehive, unless you’re a bear.”

Not that I know many bears or beehives personally, but as I understand it, wild bears sometimes encounter beehives and they just stick their hand in there without flinching cuz they smell the honey. The bees get upset and swarm the bear, but if it’s got a thick enough pelt and is particularly wild and ornery, it ain’t gonna mind the bees much. It might even enjoy chewing a few of the buggers along with licking up the honey. Sweet and spicy! However, if you ain’t a bear, best give beehives a wide berth.

There’s metaphorical beehives a plenty among humanity. Chief among them right now is North Korea. Normally it’s best to just live and let live. We got little to no idea what goes on behind that bamboo curtain. What we’re told by “official” sources has to be taken with a grain of salt, and what we glean from less official sources, while perhaps more dependable or believable than the state government of North Korea itself, often comes with its own agenda and other strings attached. Since the Korean War of the 1950s, there’s been all kinds of insane rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang. Most recently their Leader (burrito) Supreme Kim Jong Un (or various people under his employ) has been threatening to nuke South Korea, Guam, parts of Japan that involve US interests, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Austin Texas. Not necessarily in that order. North Korea formally recommended to South Korea that they evacuate cuz he’s gonna rain hellfire on top them any second now. Just you wait. He’s not kiddin.’ Soon as he counts to three. Two and haaaaalf. Two and three quaaaaaarters..

South Korea isn’t evacuating. They don’t seem to be all that concerned. They know North Korea has been experimenting and testing nuclear devices, as well as missile launches, with mixed success. Even if Kim Jong Un can’t launch and hit the Lone Star State from here, all he’d really have to do to South Korea is put a nuke on the back of a tank and roll it south twenty miles and say boom. They’re right next door, and they’re nonplussed. So if they ain’t all that worried, why are we more worried than they are?

Well, South Korea has heard all this before, from Kim Jong Un. From his father. From his grandfather. This has been going on for over half a century. They’re frankly annoyed by it all, but at the same time no one’s rushing to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. We’re not. They’re not. Know why? Cuz North Korea’s a fucking beehive, that’s why. I mean even China’s a little freaked out over Kim Jong Un this time and they usually at least make a half assed attempt to back North Korea, since it’s one of the few other communist states out there.. okay it’s not REALLY a communist state, but then neither is China really. You can’t have a real communist state so long as human beings are involved cuz power corrupts and absolute power could get you Dennis Rodman in a dress if you wanted. If the golden bear China is backing away from the beehive, you better believe there’s some nasty ass bees inside that honeycomb.

Despite the fact Kim Jong Un claims to have nukes at his fingertips, frankly I’m a little more concerned about a beehive that’s closer to home. Kaufman County.

Y’all probably ain’t heard much about this one so lemme try to give you the condensed version as I understand it. And please understand I’m just an outsider. I don’t visit Kaufman county. In some ways Dallas Texas is as far away and different from Kaufman Texas as North Korea is to South Korea. We’re just slightly more friendly towards one another on most days, though recent months it’s been a might cold between Kaufman and the rest of Texas if not the world.

Back on January 31st of this year, a man by the name of Mark Hasse was killed in a parking lot a block from his courthouse office. He was a Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney. No arrests have been made in this murder as of this writing. It’s still a case under investigation, but if you watch crime dramas you know the first seventy-two hours of any investigation are crucial and those hours were spent assuming it was done by a drug gang or a modern day Klu Klux Klan meets the Mafia group that calls themselves The Aryan Brotherhood. It couldn’t have actually been the Aryan Brotherhood. They had an alibi. Turns out some of the big wigs, who woulda been The Usual Suspects under normal circumstances, were already taken into custody the year before. Hence why they’d have motive to kill the guy who helped put them away. So the working theory was that a price was put on Mr. Hasse’s head, some very clever assassin slash bounty hunter took them up on it and took out Mr. Hasse for the boys currently behind bars.

The murder in question happened in broad daylight, in a parking lot next to a court house, with cops coming and going and nobody saw anything. No witnesses. No evidence that has led to a conviction. The assumption is it was done right under the noses of Kaufman County’s Finest. Musta been one heck of an assassin slash bounty hunter who happens to have ties to organized crime and drug cartels that took down a great man, didn’t leave a trace, and has yet to come forward and claim responsibility. You think the guy woulda claimed some financial compensation from some drug cartel and that woulda leaked wouldn’t it? Naw. There’s honor among thieves and vandals. They’d keep their mouths shut. It’s the perfect crime.

Nary a peep about what obviously happened. Why? Cuz doing so would be like taking a stick to a beehive. The media, being busy bees themselves, swarmed Kaufman the day this happened, and they haven’t been able to do more than wild speculation either. Nobody’s talking. What do I think happened? I ain’t telling you. Why? Cuz I ain’t a bear.

Let’s see if you can figure this out. Bright early work a day morning. Mr. Hasse takes his routine walk from his car to the courthouse. Anyone who knows Hasse well would know where he would be that morning, like every other work day before this one. So would anyone who talked to anyone who knew Hasse well. So would anyone who talked to anyone who also knew Hasse well as well as knew some drug cartel or some prison Nazi gang. I mean, anyone coulda done this, right? We can’t point fingers can we? Nothing to see here. Move along.

It’s a parking lot by a courthouse, and no one saw anything. Policemen are all around the place, and nobody saw anything. No one is coming forward to talk to anyone, cuz Kaufman is a close-knit community. In rural Texas people don’t rat each other out. There are no dirty cops in rural Texas. And if there were, no one’s gonna fess up to it, so you just keep to your own business lest you find yourself stung by a few billion bees.

When someone rarely does speak openly to the press about Mark Hasse, he’s a golden child, apple of his mother’s eye, and a god fearin’ American. Nobody has anything nasty to say about Mark Hasse. It’s like he was an angel and a saint and a snow cone in July all wrapped up in a bow. You don’t speak ill of the dead. I never met the guy, and even I think he was awesome.

Fast forward to about a week ago. Two months almost to the day that Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down by an unknown assailant. District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were preparing for a little get together with friends. Now, normally Mr. McLelland kept guns all around his house, according to people who knew him. He liked guns a lot and he knew he had enemies. He also just believed in protecting his property and family, so there was a gun in every room of his house, near every chair. If he needed one, he knew were they were and in an instant he’d have the upper hand in any extreme scenario you can imagine.

That is, every day except Saturday March 30th. He was gonna have company over. So he collected all his guns in a bag and put them away for safekeeping, cuz he didn’t want his party guests to happen across them. Some people get upset about things like that. I want you to understand the scenario here cuz in light of Newtown and other shootings of the recent past, gun control is a real hot topic right now. This gentlemen surrounded himself with guns. By all accounts and reports he was more than sufficiently comfortable and proficient at their use. Anyone who knew this man well knew it would be extremely difficult to get the drop on him, unless there would be a reason for him to put away the guns. And isn’t it a coincidence that he happened to have been attacked on a day when he put his guns away? Like he did in the past when he was expecting company? Who would possibly know about that? Certainly not people he would welcome into his home. It must be the Aryan Brotherhood. Somehow they have black magic and fortune tellers and aliens from another planet that told them when McLelland would put away his guns so they could attack him. It wouldn’t be someone he knows, would it? That’s crazy talk!

No one witnessed the actual murders except the two people now dead and the alleged assailant. So we’ll never know the truth. A neighbor went to their house because she couldn’t reach McLelland’s wife by phone and they had business to attend to before the get together that evening. When no one answered the door, the neighbor reportedly got concerned and called her son, who happens to be a Kaufman policeman, and when he arrived, he managed to get in somehow and they discovered Mrs. McLelland in the front room, and Mr. McLelland towards the back of the house, presumably he was heading back to where he stowed his guns. Both of them had been shot and left for dead.

I’m an outsider. I didn’t see the crime scene. Everything here is conjecture. I could be totally wrong and completely off base. I’m sure those investigating are looking at every possibility and are just not reporting all their findings because it’s ongoing and they don’t want to give their primary suspects hints that they’re on to them. I’m sure that’s it. It’s not that they don’t want to tell the public everything cuz they have anything to hide. That’d be silly. Right? This is just what I’m observing based on the very limited information being made available to the public. However, I don’t think what I’m suggesting here is more far fetched than say, a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory.

Ain’t any time soon they’re gonna make the details of these cases available to the public. What scraps the media is getting are probably against the wishes of most parties involved. If this was all cut and dried, there’d be more transparency, but it’s not, cuz in rural Texas, Texans take care of their own. They don’t trust outsiders, and the don’t like to air dirty laundry. They’d rather keep things like this hush hush and deal with it on their own terms. However, while the media are sometimes like bees, they’re more often like sharks, and when they smell blood they come a callin’. Me? I’m just picking at the bones left behind.

Again, not a lot of people are talking, and the official word is kinda hazy at best. Then you got fruitcakes who claim to represent surviving household members making public statements they really shouldn’t be making. Being friends with one or two members of a family don’t make you a spokesperson for their entire brood. This ain’t an opportunity for getting free publicity for whatever honor charity you got going. But the crazies come out of the woodwork in times like these. All they do is muddy the waters even further, which only helps the bad guys cuz whoever DID do this, wants the waters as muddy as possible, and wants to keep the smoke screen going as long as possible.

Now, if this was anyone other than a district attorney and his wife, the first assumption on police (at least here in Dallas) woulda been a domestic dispute. It happens a lot more often than any of us like to admit. One spouse gets upset with the other, shoots them, then becomes distraught over the mistake they just made and turn the gun on themselves. If this wasn’t close to home for the men and women investigating, it would be written off as a domestic dispute, but that’s not what we’re led to believe they found when the police investigated the crime scene. Provided we can believe what the police of Kaufman county would say they found there. And why wouldn’t we? Why would they have a reason to doctor evidence or tamper with the crime scene? They’re salt of the Earth. They all loved the McLellands and Mr. Hasse. Nobody among the community wished these good people ill. Only outsiders and malcontents and villains could have possibly done this. Probably some drug crazed lunatics or Nazi skinhead devil worshippers. Musta been monsters that did this. Couldn’t possibly be one of us.

Though we all got guns.

Though the crazies we been finding out doing mass shootings recently usually turn out to be young white males with guns that on any other day you wouldn’t think twice about. They look like kids in their mug shots and on news footage being escorted to and from courthouses as people question their sanity and try to understand why they did it. We don’t understand. They’re monsters, but they’re also human beings. It’s scary, but it’s evident. We don’t want to believe it’s possible that the McLellands and Mr. Hasse were killed by someone they knew, and perhaps someone they trusted. How else could the assailant get so close? Oh yeah. Those Aryan Brotherhood types are real crafty and smart. That’s why they’re all in prison.

Was the McLelland’s door locked when the first policeman required egress? His mother couldn’t enter the house. Did she not feel welcome to open the door herself or did she find it locked? Did the cop have to break down the door? If so, this means whoever did this was either inside at the time of the murders (meaning it was one of the McLellands) or they had a key and could lock the door as they exited from the outside. If they had a key, wouldn’t that increase the odds that this was someone who knew the McLellands well enough to get a key? Did they take a key from one of the McLellands’ bodies before they left?

These are just some of the billions of questions I don’t hear the media asking, and I don’t hear the investigation answering. Or rather, if they did answer those questions, they didn’t like the answers, and they ain’t talking to outsiders about it. Cuz they don’t trust outsiders in Kaufman county. They like to keep their beehive buzzing friendly like, and they don’t need no bears sticking their hands where they don’t belong. And they don’t need people with sticks poking where they shouldn’t be. They can tell their monsters from their trusted folk. They don’t need outsiders making wild crazy accusations about loved ones and trusted pillars of the community.

So if someone asks me what I think about all this? I say I don’t know, and I just keep on walking, cuz I ain’t a bear. And I ain’t a bee. I’m a human being, but not the monster kind that thinks guns are fun and gee wouldn’t it be nice to mow down a laundromat or something? And I’m also allergic to bullets. Especially the really fast kind.

I been stung enough times in my life not to wanna get dead. Problem is, this cowardly attitude of mine is just what true bad guys who hide among us like. Most of us are well-intentioned and have moral integrity, but there are foxes among the hens. There are monsters among the men. We can’t always tell the difference. I’m no hero. My cowardice is the kind that lets women get raped in back alleys in big cities. It’s the kind of inaction that lets the occasional pedophile priest sneak off with an altar boy. It’s the kind that lets people get mugged. If I heard a scream in the distance, I wouldn’t run towards the sound. I’d probably pretend I didn’t hear it, and quietly turn away from the danger. I’m not gonna stick my neck out, cuz I only got the one head. I wouldn’t even do CPR on somebody for fear of breaking a rib, cuz i don’t know how to do it right. Then he sues me for saving his life?

If we see something out of the ordinary that scares us, we should speak out. We should feel safe enough to speak out, but Whistle Blowers set themselves up for all kinds of trouble, much of which we’re completely oblivious about until well after we’re sinking in proverbial quicksand. At best we’re armchair quarterbacks looking at the Kaufmans or Koreas of this world. At worst we’re sitting ducks. Turning the other cheek shouldn’t mean being afraid to speak out, but I got better things to do than get dead. If I were a hero, I’d run to Kaufman and tell them what they’re doing wrong, and then I’d end up with a bullet between my ears. I’ll pass.

However, if the honest folk of Kaufman County don’t find themselves a fearless, beehive-loving bear right quick, then that fox that’s hiding in their henhouse is just gonna keep eating their roosters and hens. We Texans need a bullet proof bear who walks softly and carries a big stick. I don’t think people of that stripe get made any more. Maybe they died with McLelland. Maybe that’s why he’s dead, cuz he was a hero. OR maybe that’s just what we’re being told, cuz it’s a positive narrative, and someone somewhere decided we don’t need to know the truth.

So when I hear Kim Jong Un threaten to nuke Austin Texas, or extremists in the Middle East chant Death To America, I have to laugh. We got bigger problems here at home. My Bogey Man has a southern accent. The McLellands were shot in their home maybe less than twenty-five miles from here, and that person is still at large. So Korea isn’t what keeps me up at night.

If I leave the beehives alone, I won’t get stung… right?