The modesty of Tarrant County residents is known far and wide, but gosh, sometimes you just have to toot your own horn – especially where crime is concerned.

A report released by the U.S. Department of Justice late last month reveals that at the end of 2005 more than 7 million Americans were enmeshed in the criminal justice system, either on probation, behind bars in prisons or jails, or on parole. That comes to one in every 32 people age 18 or older. Here in Tarrant County, where we put real teeth into the law, we’ve got the rest of the country beat by more than 20 percent: About one in every 25 adults here is doing time in prison or jail or on probation or parole. And that doesn’t include our county’s share of inmates in the federal system.

Just to stay humble, however, consider our southern neighbor, Johnson County, where they’ve got one in every 13.8 adults tied up in the system. Their buttons – not to mention their jail doors – must be bustin’ with pride.

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A Boomerang Virus

Static has two perfectly good front teeth, so all it really wants for Christmas is an innovative software package known as Guestbook Spamboo Shoots, which is so cutting edge it has yet to be invented. Hopefully some ambitious inventor will read this blurb and get to inventing, for chrissakes. With this handy device, spammers who flood online guestbooks with ads would have their spam redirected to their own computers, digitally transformed into bamboo shoots, and magically inserted underneath their fingernails, making it impossible for them to ever use a computer again.

“I hate spammers with a passion that you cannot even imagine,” said a local webmaster who maintains sites for several Texas Music bands. He recently removed guestbooks from all of the sites because of the time spent dealing with spam onslaught. “This process is becoming mind-numbingly tedious and time-consuming,” he said in an e-mail to his clients. “The spammers won. I give up.”

It kinda sucks that these local bands won’t be able to read the deep, poetic, and often gripping entries from fans. (Example post: “Saw you jam last night, you were effing awesome dudes!”) But it really sucks when guestbooks at important sites such as are inundated by spam bastards. That web site was created to prompt folks to provide leads to solve the 1974 rape and murder of Carla Walker. A recent glance at the web site’s guest book showed the 75 most recent entries – all entered in the previous two days – were posted by a Viagra salesperson. Retired Fort Worth police detective John Terrell, who helps maintain the site, is disgusted. “I deleted 131 the other night, one at a time. Today I checked it, and there were 90-something on there. It’s a big mess. I get pissed off every time I go in there and do it. There’s got to be something that the internet services could do to stop these spammers.”

Who Bought Whom

With the Weekly sans a Letters page in this issue, Static once again provides a home for orphan corrections, a duty that, like paying parking fines or drinking cheap wine, is unpleasant but not overly painful as long as it’s not repeated too often.

Our Nov. 22 cover story “The Gasfather,” which described how Mayor Mike Moncrief votes on issues involving gas companies in which he has a financial interest, incorrectly stated that Devon Energy purchased Four Sevens Oil Co. Actually, it was Chesapeake Energy that purchased Four Sevens’ holdings. Both Devon and Chesapeake provided more than $25,000 in income dividends to Moncrief in 2005. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.

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