Let’s have us a book burning!

That’s where we’re headed.

Greg Abbott in the 80s

Gov. Greg Abbott told the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday to investigate criminal activity related to “the availability of pornography” in public schools, saying that the agency should refer such instances “for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

It’s unclear why Abbott tasked the TEA to perform the investigation and not the state’s policing arm. The TEA does not employ law enforcement officers, according to state statute, and a spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement confirmed Wednesday that the education agency does not have any licensed peace officers.

Abbott’s request comes two days after he asked the agency, along with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the State Board of Education, to develop statewide standards preventing “obscene content in Texas public schools.

“While those standards are developed, Abbott wrote to the TEA in his letter Wednesday, “more immediate action is needed to protect Texas students” against that inappropriate content, which he said is “a clear violation” of state law.


Any civilian can also go to a prosecutor directly to provide what they consider evidence of a crime, but in most instances the prosecutors would then refer the case to a law enforcement agency to investigate independently before pursuing any legal action, according to Shannon Edmonds, director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.

As for who could be prosecuted under the investigation that Abbott requested, Edmonds said it depends.

Under the state’s penal code, a person commits a crime if they knowingly exhibit or distribute harmful material to a minor, or display it in a reckless way where a minor is present. Harmful sexual material is defined as “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors.” Most violations under that statute are a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

However, the penal code also states that a defense against prosecution is that the material was exhibited by a person “having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification.”

“That’s going to be where the battle may be,” Edmonds said.

You will, I’m sure, be shocked to learn that the two books Abbott initially complained about both had LGBTQ themes and content. It’s just a matter of time before Ken Paxton launches a full-fledged investigation into library crimes, as one of the idiot Republican legislators from Tarrant County is asking for; Paxton has some catching up to do on this front, and you know he never misses a chance to run in front of a parade. And if you think I’m going overboard with the title of this post, well, you have some catching up to do, too. Now please, give me your hottest take about “cancel culture”. I can’t wait to hear it.

(The Bloom County strip embedded above can be seen in full, with a bit of historical context, here.)

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5 Responses to Let’s have us a book burning!

  1. David Fagan says:

    I’m sure Abbot didn’t even read the books, but one guy tried in front of his own city council and got……CANCELED!

    Jacob Engels was ordered to stop reading from “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” When he did not, Orange County School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs had him removed from the chambers.

    Sounds like city council could fall under “a person “having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification.” and they found it unsuitable, soooooo, anywhoooooo….

    2 days and counting…….

  2. David Fagan says:

    Actually, this blog falls under ““a person “having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification.”

    So. Feel free to post excerpts from the book for discussion and, discuss amongst yahselves!

    2 days and counting…..

  3. blank says:

    Now please, give me your hottest take about “cancel culture”.

    “Cancel culture” is based private enterprises attempting to protect their reputations. The above is about government censorship. These are very different things.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    “prosecution to the fullest extent of the law” sounds like a bit of over reach for controversial books, but this, again, like everything else now called “unprecedented” is nothing new under the sun. How quickly everyone forgets all recent history. I remember lots of bannings of the book “Huckleberry Finn,” and I can remember schools debating whether “The Catcher in the Rye” was proper material for study. Among others.

    The US had a racist, crazy president, followed by an unelected president who fell down stairs, had an ill conceived mass vaccination campaign, a messed up evacuation from a foreign country, and raging inflation. Nothing new today.

  5. Pingback: It’s mostly about the gay books – Off the Kuff

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