About 100 years ago, there was a fight brewing in Dallas. Back then there was a different type of 9-1-1. When you needed to bring in the big guns, you knew who to call. So the Dallas mayor made his urgent plea for help and was waiting anxiously for the Calvary to ride into town, so to speak. As Captain Bill McDonald stepped off the train, the mayor was elated, but wondered out loud where the rest of em were? "Hell! ain't I enough? There's only one prize-fight!" Those words have become synonymous with the Texas Rangers: One Riot, One Ranger.
This past weekend I had the honor and privilege to speak to over 300 Texas Rangers in Waco, Texas. I was like a kid in a candy shop! Some were not active Rangers anymore, but dont think that made any real difference in their appearance or demeanor. Just like a Marine; once a Ranger, always a Ranger. There is no ex-Ranger.
As I mingled through the sea of starched shirts, jeans and cowboy hats, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. You can always spot a Ranger. Long, lean and mean with a silver star made out of a Mexican sliver dollar and six guns. It was like I was talking to Gus McCray and Woodrow Call of Lonesome Dove. The legends of the greatest law enforcement agency ever known were alive and well. And me, a mere US Congressman, was getting to hang out with them!
The Texas Rangers can be traced back to the earliest days of Texas history, technically long before we were Texas. They are the oldest law enforcement organization on the North American continent with statewide jurisdiction. Stephen F. Austin got a few men together to protect the early settlers from Indians in the early 1800s. They got their name from their primary duty patrol the range and keep the peace. For over 200 years, their purpose hasnt really changed.
In 1835, at the beginning of the Texas Revolution, the Corps of Rangers was established; and in 1847, they officially became known as the Texas Rangers. Twenty-five men under the command of Silas M. Parker were designated to protect the frontier between the Brazos and the Trinity; ten men under Garrison Greenwood were assigned to the east side of the Trinity; and 25 men under D. B. Frazier to patrol between the Brazos and the Colorado. They did what even the U.S. Army could not do protect the settlers from the Indians.
Through the years the Texas Rangers have increased and decreased in numbers and their charges have varied, but their duty has never waivered. During the Texas Revolution, while the Texians focus was on defeating Santa Annas army, the Rangers focused on protecting the settlements from Indians. During the Mexican-American War, they became know as the "Los Diablos Tejanos" the Texas Devils, for their fierce protection of the frontier.
Their storied history can fill pages and pages; their duties and contributions are just too long to list. But, the famous words of Captain Bill McDonald have evolved into the Ranger creed and pretty much say it all: "No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin."
They have been the focus of legend, lore, radio shows, Hollywood movies and t