Texas Monthly Article by Robert Draper
I really enjoyed this assignment. I have worked with Robert Draper since the mid 90’s on several important stories including the killing of Ezequiel Hernandez, Boquillas, Mexico, and Terlingua.
Robert wrote the introduction to my first book, Big Bend Pictures.
Borger is a very interesting town. It is north of Amarillo, in the panhandle I guess. It is a working and production community. There are cotton farms, wind farms, cow farms, and oil.
All of the Texas essentials.
It seemed to me that it is a hardworking class community of people who live modestly.
Outside of the town there were beautiful vistas.
I pursued the Munn family to let me make a formal portrait.
I sent them letters, my book, and emails, and though Mr. Munn was cordial, he never did grant me a sitting. I told him I did not care what his political beliefs were, my job was only to show that they were a close knit family.
I wish I had gotten to do that because my only images of the family were taken in Washington DC as they were arriving at the courthouse.
About an hour before, courthouse security had cordoned off the press, barricading us back about 30 feet from the door.
It was two TV crews, and myself the only still photographer.
When I saw the family, I went around the blockade and got my shots. I was Ron Galella and they were Jackie O.
After sentencing Tom Munn came out of the courthouse and was waiting for the other family members, again I asked if we could do a family portrait, and again he said no.
Later that evening in DC we were invited to attend a vigil at the Washington DC jail. It was insightful. I came away thinking that these people have drank all the Kool-Aid, and there is no discussion about it.
I believe in their eyes, we were the liberal press, and the enemy.
When Robert told a participant there he was from the New York Times, I thought it might come to blows. I kept my eyes on the situation, and had his back. Fortunately, it deescalated.
I also came away with the belief that I do not understand politics. That, us against them mentality does nothing to help our country. I propose that all the Democrats and all the Republicans lay down their swords and daggers toward each other, and put our country first.
To read Robert's story copy and paste the url below.