Quick, Call Out the SWAT Team!

21 08 2012

I was on business in Joplin, Missouri, a small town of about 50,000 people-larger than Mayberry and no less sophisticated. Following the recommendation of the plant manager at the business where I was working, I went to a restaurant right on Main Street in the heart of town. I was fortunate to find a parking space at the curb right in front of the restaurant.


“We got laws around here, fella.”

As I was leaving the place, I started my Hertz rental car and was just about to pull out into the slow-moving traffic when I heard a siren on an emergency vehicle headed my way. I stopped and waited and within seconds a beat up, rusted- out Ford Bronco came rushing by at breakneck speed. He must have been doing 60 miles per hour right through downtown Joplin. Right on his butt was one of Joplin’s finest. But no sooner had he passed when another police car, siren blasting, came by, followed by another, and then another, and finally another. Five police cars were chasing this desperado! There couldn’t have been a better time to knock off a bank or convenience store because half of the Joplin police force was flying down Main Street.


Well, you know what they say…, “curious minds want to know.” I have a curious mind and was anxious to find out what this guy had done. Did he just rob a bank? Was he an international spy who had just stolen the recipe for Bojangels French fry seasoning? Or perhaps he was a kidnapper with his victim tied up in the back of his Bronco? Or maybe he stole the Bronco! What crime could this desperate criminal have committed that was so serious it put nearly every cop in Joplin on his tail in a high-speed chase?


I got to my hotel and turned on the TV. Too late for the evening news, I decided I would sit up late enough to catch the 10 o’clock news. Now before you gen-Xers ask why didn’t the geezer just go on-line to find out, let me say that this was several years ago and not only did I not own a computer, but the Internet was just coming into public use. So, anxiously I waited until news time and as I expected, this was the lead story. Now I’ll finally be able to find out why this criminal was likely to be sent to the big house.


This was the most exciting event to occur in Joplin since the opening of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Imagine my disappointment when the news commentator said the guy was wanted for passing a bad check. What did he do, pass this bad check with a spear gun? Was this a million dollar check? It was probably just a check to the IRS to pay his income tax. I guess they take their money pretty seriously in Joplin, huh?




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