In A Heapa Trouble Amigo

January16/ 2000

…. It was bad enough dealing with psychos, methheads, and peeping toms; now Steve Bizzell has “the Alphabet Agitators” in his grill  Yes, this is THE STORY you all knew BobLee would HAVE to discuss.  Our annual rant on Zebra Rage generated the usual backwash …. More downsizing among the local nabobs.

Steve Bizzell doesn’t look like your typical Southern rural sheriff.  As defined by Hollywood “they” tend to be “earthy girthy men” with “big irons on their hip”.  Think Brian Dennehy in Rambo-First Blood or Jackie Gleason in Smokie & The Bandit.   Ham-fisted first lines of defense between decent law-abidin’ folk and them what prey upon decent law-abidin’ folk.  Think Southern sheriff and you think “Yankee speed-trap” and Buford T. Justice suckin’ on a toothpick and sayin’ “You’re in a heapa trouble boy”.

Steve Bizzell, long time sheriff of NC’s Johnston County, looks more like Andy Taylor.  Late 40s, salt and pepper hair, pleasant albeit no-nonsense fella …. no doubt been getting his haircut on the same day by the same barber for over 20 years.   That’s a “barber”, not a stylist mind you.  Steve was born and raised in Johnston County.  Being it’s duly-elected sheriff is pretty much what Steve Bizzell was put on this earth to do.

Steve Bizzell was President of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association last year.  He is well-respected among his peers and by all accounts a darn good man.  I met Steve a few years ago when I did some bidness with the NCSA.  “My kinda guys” don’tchaknow.

Ya kinda sense this nice little commentary is headed towards a KABOOM don’t you?

Weeellll …. About a month ago Steve got a call from one of the not-yet-canned reporterettes at The N&O.  Ms Kristin Collins by name.  Kristin wanted to do a “day in the life of Steve Bizzell” sorta story focusing on the ever-growing issue of “undocumented peoples of Hispanic descent” who are taking up residence within Steve’s jurisdiction.  Steve said “OK”.  That “OK” lit a fuse that has KABOOMED Johnston County to a degree not seen since local femme fatale Ava Gardner brought Frank Sinatra home for Thanksgiving.

Setting the scene ….. Johnston County is Smithfield, Selma, Four Oaks, Clayton, Benson, etc just southeast of Raleigh’s Wake County.  It has been semi-rural agrarian until the last decade.  It’s claims to “fame” have been the aforementioned Miss Gardner, a KKK Billboard at Smithfield’s city limits, Benson’s Mule Days, and America’s highest volume Bojangles beside I-95 in Selma.  Then came. “progress” and urban sprawl infesting Johnston County.  When was the last time that brought tidings of great joy to one and all.  It hasn’t to bucolic Johnstonians.  Where Steve Bizzell was born and raised and is now Sheriff.

Urban sprawl is predictable.  Like water, it seeks its own level and pretty much defies planning and zoning boards and the usual fistfights between “growth – no growth factions”.  Triangle-area sprawl hit Johnston County like a sledge hammer over the past 5-6 years.  But there are still pecosin swamps along the Neuse where Ned Beatty wouldn’t go.  Get my drift!

So in that scene Miss Reporter came to see Mr. Sheriff.  A good Sheriff has keen “people skills” and can smell a rat, a perp and a meth lab.  Apparently Steve’s smeller and his “good sense” were on the fritz as he drove his county with Miss Collins beside him in his patrol car .  Miss Collins is a typical N&O hard-core bleeding heart uber-Lib.  Can you see where this is going?

To Miss Collin’s professional journalist credit, Steve knew the tape recorder was going and that he was “on the record”.  Steve proceeded to put on a performance that Joe Biden woulda envied.  Dreams of a Pulitzer had to be racing thru Miss Collins’ little head as Sheriff Steve opened up.

The full context of Steve’s comments are available.  The phrases “Mexicans”, trashy”, “always drunk” and “breed like rabbits” were the pure gold zingers.  His line “I don’t eat spaghetti.  It’s foreign food.” was so over-the-top that Delaware Joe immediately plagarized it too.  How the local pizza guys and Taco Bells were spared is anybody’s guess.

   Steve Bizzell’s chances of being US Ambassador to Mexico under Prez McCain were pretty much shot before they stopped for coffee that morning.   Missy Reporter took that opportunity to call Editor Drescher to “HOLD THE FRONT PAGE, I got a doozie.”  John Drescher did indeed hold the front page for Sheriff Steve’s doozie.

Steve Bizzell never shoulda agreed to the interview.  Kristin was on a hatchet job assignment from the get-go.  Steve supplied the hatchet and laid his head on the chopping block.  Why he KABOOMED the whole mess with his incendiary description of “undocumented workers of Hispanic origin” can only be speculated and certainly has been.  To paraphrase a classic Lewis Grizzard story about being totally upfront “I don’t believe I’d a told that one, Steve”.

Steve and his deputies make their living staring down shotgun barrels, fending off hawkbill knife attacks, walking into dark houses hiding methed-up psychos,  and approaching vehicles filled with dangerous felons.  They even had a nutjob behead his infant daughter earlier this year.  “Progress” has brought some serious lunatics to Steve’s county. ….  Kristin Collins makes her living (for the time being) with a tape recorder and a computer.  Different worlds collided on the back roads of Johnston County last month.

You can write the rest of this.  The N&O runs the whole gory mess above the fold and the full spectrum of enraged opinions belched forth.  Hard to say who threw the first grenade but the “Carrboro crowd” was near the front of the line.  Academic dweebs who have never seen Johnston County except from the window of their Priuses on Hwy 70 on the way to da beach were in full hizzy fit.  Before you could say “organize a forum” or “candlelight vigil” or “cinco de mayo” or “fajitas el carbon”, the hizzy fitters were, of course, demanding “the head of Steve Bizzell on a platter by noon”. …. You want fries with that?

And here acome the Johnston County good ol’ boys and gals rallying to Sheriff Steve’s defense.  They duly elected him numerous times and they kinda like his no-nonsense approach to thwarting the evil-doers in their county.  Albeit his choice of words did cause many to quote Brother Grizzard’s line above.  “Damn Steve, how do ya really feel.  Maybe he was a bit earthy but he’s our Steve.  Bless his heart.”

Here come the Alphabet Agitators led by (TAA DA!) – The ACLU and their Destroy America First crowd.  Every “Hispanic” with a shirt, tie and too much time on his hands formed some sorta “Trashy Drunk Mexican Rabbits Have Feelings Too” coalition, applied for $$$ from the General Assembly and joined the chorus to disembowel the overly-expressive law officer.

To date the Johnston County Commissioners are backing Sheriff Bizzell not so much because they liked his choice of words as it is they despise the outside agitating busy bodies from the other side of The Triangle.  Johnston County and Orange County are separated by about 30 miles and in every other way imaginable.

Being a “provocateur” in my own right, I enjoy seeing dweebs get their panties in a wad.  Wadding those panties for’em is part of what I do here.  I’d a told Miss Reporterette that I was too busy to talk with her but suggest she visit The Outlet Mall in Selma and check-out the deals at Liz Claiborne.  No good was gonna good from dealing with her.  A lotta bad did.

The Immigration Issue is going to be resolved right after we resolve “Abortion”, “Civil Rights”, “The Environment”, “The Middle East”, “Poverty”, “Wall Street”, and Carolina’s lack of a running game.  The last time “all sides agreed to rationally discuss solutions” on ANYTHING was for three days after 09/11/01.  Then Ted Kennedy said “it’s Bush’s fault” and we went back to throwing rocks at each other.  I’m walking down Life’s 14th Fairway.  I carry a rock with me.  You want to light a candle and hold a forum?  Be my guest.  I’ll write a column about it.


  The annual “Blame The Refs” season is in full swing around the ACC with our own Kenanites taking the first jump off the high dive.  That gambling crook in the NBA and the “oops, me bad” Ref in the Bronco-Charger game insured plenty of “see they’re all crooked” fodder for the “we’d awon except for ____” conspiracy crowd.  No one has a solution of course, or really wants one.

“Kill The Ump” has been a part of American sports since Bill Klem “never called one wrong”.  In Europe and South America they take “kill the ump” quite literally.  Fueled up on Internet-meth we’ll kill one over here before too long.


   The aforementioned N&O continues its jettisoning ballast program.  Longtime “as Liberal as I can possibly be” cartoonist Dwayne Powell and Alibis & Excuses Editor Ted Vaden are the latest to “go part time”.

Without Jesse Helms to ridicule, Dwayne was reduced to trying to make Sarah Palin’s down syndrome baby look funny.  Ted, who we have had numerous congenial e-chats with, will hang around on his own time and play Go Fish with Jim Jenkins until Jenks boxes up his personal effects too.


In addition to Ol’ Blue Eyes, 

what diminutive Hollywooder did Ava Gardner marry?


   Ms Havisham’s wedding dress caught fire from a fireplace spark.  Her injuries from that accelerated her demise from “pinning away”.  I was pleasantly surprised how many of you have knowledge of “the classics”.  Baby Boomers Still Rule!

   The current Financial Crisis is quite real.  Enuff “blame” to paint every prominent politician in America regardless of “side of the aisle”.  CYA harrumphing is not the solution but it is all our current antagonists know how to do.

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