The Internet is so full of pranksters that at first I thought it was a news spoof. You know, the kind you see at the checkout counter on the cover of the Weekly World News.
Admit it, you know the Weekly World News. For years it chronicled the fictitious adventures of Bat Boy, the half-bat, half-boy found in a cave in West Virginia.
Bat Boy’s many adventures included leading U.S. troops to hunt for Saddam Hussein and even serving as the secret president of the United States. (I personally saw him as no better than vice president material.)
The tabloid is also noted for such incredible headlines as “World War II Bomber Found on Moon!” and “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby.” (Insert Bill Clinton joke here.)
For the life of me, I thought Bat Boy had taken up residency in Nevada when I read the news that Gov. Jim Gibbons — himself the subject of a number of tabloid headlines — was announcing “preliminary plans to create a Nevada Crime Commission.”
Well, cancel my Enquirer and call me Elvis.
Actually, this isn’t a make-believe story. I double-checked the state’s Web site.
In the midst of the worst recession in generations, at a time Nevada’s unemployment rate is 12.5 percent and climbing, Gibbons announces the creation of a crime commission.
I know what you’re thinking: This is a governor who knows a thing or two about investigations. But let’s not dwell on the negative.
Instead, let’s cut to the official press release, where our crime-fighting governor said, “One of the primary purposes of government is to protect citizens from criminals.”
Hey, pal, don’t blame me if you can’t control the Legislature.
Gibbons continued, “I plan to create the Nevada Crime Commission to explore new ways to reduce crime in Nevada and find real solutions to ‘current day’ crime problems, including mortgage fraud, Internet crime, gang problems, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, prescription drug abuse, immigration issues and more.”
Who will serve on such a commission?
From the official press release: “Governor Gibbons says the Nevada Crime Commission will be composed of law enforcement officers from all levels of government in Nevada, as well as state and local prosecutors, business leaders, community leaders and activists, representatives of crime victims groups, and others.”
Maybe the commission’s first task should be to solve the mysterious disappearance of randy U.S. Sen. John Ensign.
For its next trick, let’s hope it will find out what happened to the governor’s former priority: fighting the scourge of methamphetamine abuse in Nevada.
That multimillion-dollar pet project of first lady-in-limbo Dawn Gibbons vanished faster than Amelia Earhart. (Who, for your information, was spotted on the moon, according to the Weekly World News.)
All this time I’ve labored under the delusion the position of governor was a full-time job. Apparently, there are enough spare hours to dream up this incredibly unnecessary idea.
If memory serves, law enforcement already investigates crimes such as those detailed in the governor’s announcement. There’s inter-agency communication and no shortage of task forces at work every day, to borrow a phrase, finding real solutions to “current day” crime problems.
In a recent editorial board meeting with Sheriff Doug Gillespie, Southern Nevada’s top lawman never expressed the need for a state commission. I’m guessing that’s because the sheriff already has the phone numbers of the state’s top law enforcement members.
The same goes for Steven Martinez, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office. I’ll take a chance and assume the heads of other law enforcement agencies share their numbers, too.
In recent years there has been no shortage of multi-agency law enforcement task forces on everything from drugs and street gangs to human trafficking and anti-terrorism. Some work better than others, but all managed to exist without a commission.
In fact, I’ve never heard anyone in law enforcement express the need for a state commission on crime fighting. Perhaps that’s because they’re too busy fighting crime to sit around talking about it. No doubt they also understand the jurisdictional complexities and information-sharing sensitivities inherent in task forces.
But I have to admit Gibbons will look great in the Nevada Crime Commission’s team photo flanked by the state’s top members of law enforcement. It would almost look like a political endorsement.
Oh, Governor Bat Boy. What are we going do with you?
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.