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Remembering Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson

Remembering Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson

Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson died this past June 15. He was 80 years old. For almost 30 years he served the state as a Texas Ranger and you can read about is life in the two great books that he wrote, “One Ranger” and “One Ranger Returns.” Following his retirement, Joaquin ran an investigation & security company and also served for many years as a director of the NRA.

Ranger Jackson and I became friends back in the 1970's when a North Texas car theft investigation took me to Jackson's area of South Texas. After I moved to Southwest Texas and was elected a county sheriff, Jackson and I worked a number of cases together, including a manhunt in the canyons along the Pecos river for a man who had brutally murdered his girlfriend. Having spent a good deal of time with Joaquin Jackson, I can safely say that he married the only person that he was ever afraid of.

Like a lot of us, Ranger Jackson favored the 1911 pistol in .45 ACP caliber. His constant companion was a Colt Lightweight Commander with Mexican silver & gold stocks on it. In addition to that, he always had a Winchester Model 94 carbine, with an 18-inch barrel, close at hand. If things got really bad, Joaquin also had a Remington semi-automatic shotgun and a selective-fire M-14 in the trunk of his car.

What I really enjoyed about Joaquin Jackson was the fact that, for all of his adventures and dealings with criminals, he never lost his sense of humor. He loved life and you just naturally laughed a lot when you were around him. 

He was also a very strong supporter of a citizen's right to own firearms. We worked in an area that had, and still has, quite a number of gun owners. That never bothered Joaquin. He knew that those same gun owners were there to help us and all we ever had to do was to call on them. Later in life, he was led down the primrose path by a reporter and was hornswaggled into making statements that sounded like he didn't think that citizens ought to own an AR-15. I can assure you that he did not truly feel that way and he learned a valuable lesson about talking to the press.

Joaquin Jackson was a friend, a family man, and a Texas Ranger. Above all, he was a Texas Ranger, the kind that the folks in our state are so proud of. Finally, he was my friend and I miss him.

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