Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 38 of 61
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the government. Counties elect their officers, but elect them to
enforce State laws. Every indictment charging an offense against the
law begins in the name of the State and closes against the peace and
dignity of the State. Every person in the penitentiary was sent there
in the name of the State, not in the name of the county. The State
pays the expenses of the sheriff who arrests him, of the judge who
tries him, and of the penitentiary authorities who keep him. Therefore
the flag in behalf of law and order is raised in the name of the
State. When county officers protest against the State sending her
rangers and her State officials to a county to enforce the law, the
protest is always made for the benefit of the criminals and not the
law-abiding people. If a county were permitted to set up its own
standard for law enforcement, then the criminals could take charge
of some small county in Texas, and have a world of unrestrained lawlessness
all their own. No parliament of gamblers, bootleggers, thieves,
thugs, murderers, and trespassers of the law generally, should be permitted
to establish courts, elect officers, and take charge of any county
in this State. The law should be enforced and respected on every
square foot of Texas soil.
THE BOOTLEGGER IS AN OUTLAWED ENEMY.
The people of Texas by solemn constitutional and statutory enactment
declared that intoxicating beverages should be neither manufactured
nor sold anywhere in this State. In addition to this the
people of the nation outlawed the age-long evils of the whisky traffic.
Prohibition is now a part of the organic law of the land. Therefore
there should be no division of opinion among law-abiding citizens as
to its enforcement. The law must be obeyed. The bootlegger must go.
He is an enemy to civilization. Our prohibition laws should be
strengthened. Officers who will not enforce this law should be removed
from office. Failure to enforce this law weakens all our laws.
Public sentiment must swing away from the bootlegger to the side
of law and order. The prohibition law should be made more effective
and those charged with its enforcement should be made to perform
their sworn duty or get out of office. No officer should connive.with
bootleggers. Our laws should be made, interpreted, and enforced by
THOU SHALT NOT KILL.
Almost everything has risen in value in Texas except human life.
It is our cheapest commodity. We averaged last year more than three
homicides a day in Texas. We have in this State approximately two
hundred homicides a year to each million inhabitants. Italy has
ninety-five to the million; France has seventeen to the million; Germany
has twelve to the million; Canada five to the million. More
people were murdered in Texas, with a population of five million, last
year, than were murdered in the British Empire with a population of
fifty million, during the past twenty years. During recent years,
London, with a population of approximately eight million people, averaged
twenty-four murders a year; while Texas, with a population of
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/38/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .