Of all the problems of his own making that plague Kansas GOP Gov. Sam Brownback (like a state economy disintegrating under tax cuts for the rich, vice tax for the poor, and basic government services like public school districts that can’t pay their bills to keep the lights on and can’t pay teachers enough to keep them working) the most interesting problem may be his asshole brother Jim.
Undulating fields of crops and livestock-dotted pastures are the domain of a trigger-happy bully who brags about a political cloak of invincibility keeping him beyond reach of the law in faithfully conservative Linn County.
Adversaries say he has woven a liquor-infused tapestry of fear colored by intimidation, abuse and lies. The saga features stalking, death threats, trespassing, drive-by gunfire, massive explosions, cattle theft, loan defaults, hit-and-run driving and marital strife. Linn County Sheriff’s Department files bulge with complaints about him.
There is trepidation among acquaintances to speak freely, a point accentuated by the number expressing nervousness about reprisal if they were candid. There is genuine fear.
Descriptions of events offered by those willing to speak out converge to reveal a potentially lethal menace. Neighbors allege some in law enforcement responded to cries for help with degrees of indifference or favoritism.
Locals aware of the dynamics shake their head in dismay. In a place where people honor the Second Amendment and revere the self-defense castle doctrine, there is astonishment no one has been gunned down.
Folks in direct path of this prairie hellion pray for an end to what some coined “neighborhood terrorism.”
So far, their nemesis has found no reason to relent.
Not when your name is Jim Brownback and you are a brother to Sam, the most powerful politician in Kansas.
I swear, this story reads like a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child or an episode of Longmire. Farm pigs mauled by dogs, a keg of nails scattered on the driveway, drunken shotgun drive-bys, blowing up stuff in the middle of the night to wake the neighbors, cattle unleashed to devour crop fields, frightened insurance adjusters, and good ol’ boy shitkicker cops that won’t touch the governor’s brother.
Jim Brownback is possibly the second biggest asshole in the entire state, next to his brother. It’s terrorism by a cartoon bully and nobody can put a leash on this guy.
Least of all the governor of the great state of Kansas. What Jim is doing to his neighbors on the Kansas plains, Sam is doing to the entire state.
Bullies all around, doing what they do best, has always been the way.