Mr. Cope’s Cave: With Intent To Do Whaaaa’?


Yo, Mark. Yeah, you, Mark Patterson. Can we talk?

Hey pal, we have some kind of problem here, you gotta admit at least that much, huh? Really, I’d bet even you didn’t expect this kind of excitement when all you wanted was a darn permit to carry a concealed weapon, am I right?

Well here’s what’s going on—and this is strictly as I see it, okey-doke? It’s about this "rape thing." And hey, I’m not saying for a second here that I think you’ve ever committed the crime of rape. Like, if you were to get mad and sue me, I’d deny I’d ever thought you had done that. And I want to make it clear right here and now that it’s not what I’m saying. And if anyone ever accuses me of calling you a rapist, I may sue their ass for defamation of character. That’s how strongly I feel about it.

But you have to admit, if there was even a remote chance that a rapist, or sex offender of any type, was in the state Legislature, people would want to know about it. Am I wrong about that? And jeez, you can hardly blame them, can you? Were this about some puny little shoplifting issue, or... say... tax evasion, I don’t imagine a lot of those people would give a crap. We didn’t see nearly as much buzz over that Phil Hart creep, did we? And hell’s bells, we still have a county commissioner here in Ada that... but I’m getting off track.

What I’m trying to say is, folks take rape—even the implication of rape—pretty serious. I’d say it’s up there in the top five of crimes, right? And the deal is, I can see where a fella might be wrongly accused of rape once. Now that they have that DNA stuff down to a science, they’re finding out all sorts of guys have been wrongly accused of rape.

But I think what has people talking is that you’ve been accused twice. And in two different cities, by two different women. That puts a whole ’nuther straw in the milk shake, wouldn’t you say?

Now, I understand that you pleaded guilty to something called “assault with intent to commit rape,” and that the Florida judge withheld the sentence, which, under Florida law, is an “order withholding guilt.” And what a good thing for you, eh? Since if you had been found guilty of actual forcible rape, there’s a good chance you’d still be in prison.

But then again, even though you now deny that you did anything wrong—claiming you can't even remember the details of the case, other than your innocence—pleading guilty to “assault with intent to commit rape” ain’t exactly something to sneeze at, is it?

And with two rape-related charges under your belt, unjustified as they may be—I know you were acquitted of the second rape charge, in Ohio—I can’t help but think that you are either: 1) about as unlucky a dude as we’d find outside a Victor Hugo novel, or 2) that you've had some kind of hellacious horrible judgment when it comes to getting yourself a girlfriend.

Or then, there’s always the possibility that—and don’t blame me, I’m only saying what people are thinking—that 3) uh, you know... maybe you assaulted a woman in Florida with the intent to commit rape. And if you didn’t assault a woman in Florida with the intent to commit rape, then maybe you shouldn’t have pleaded guilty to it, you suppose?

I also have to wonder—and I think a lot of your constituents are wondering the same thing—why you’re so desperate to get your paws on a concealed weapons permit. Especially since, according to what we’ve been hearing, any elected official here in Idaho can carry a gun without a permit. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is like saying let’s let some of the craziest, most unstable buffoons in the state carry around all the firepower they want.

But there I go again, getting off track. Ha ha!

Here’s what I’m getting at, Mark. Since you don’t seem to want to talk about yourself much, we know almost nothing of your background. Like, where you’ve been... what you’ve been doing for 40-odd years. Plus, what little back-story we do have seems to suffer from some instability, like how your campaign claimed you graduated from the University of Southern California. You didn’t. Oh yeah, and the time you claimed to be a professional bike racer. You weren’t.

All we can do is guess why you’re so determined to have a gun in your pocket. Surely it’s not simply that you’re one of those guys who likes to go out and plink rats at the city dump whenever you get the urge, and you don’t want to have to drive all the way home to get your plinker whenever you feel like doing it.

But Mark, another thing I’m sure is on peoples’ minds is what do you have against Sheriff Rainey? He’s just doing the job he was elected to do, you know? Which some people might argue is more than you’re doing.

So what is it? Are you really mad at Rainey because 1) unlike you, he’s not one of those dippy tea-baggers who puff up like a Viagra-inflated you-know-what and insist they’ll resist any federal laws on guns that might come up, and that he won’t agree to arrest all the hypothetical ATF agents and G-men who come here to enforce some hypothetical crackdown on firearms?

Or is it that 2) you don’t object to him doing his job, as long as it doesn’t infringe on your right as a Very Important Person... Mister Legislator, Mister Representative... to do any damn thing you want, including something as contrary to Idaho law as carrying a gun despite your record, which makes you ineligible to do so?

Or might it be, possibly 3), that, uh, maybe you’re concerned the sheriff—a law enforcement officer, after all—might dig up something else from your past, your mysterious past, that you’d rather not talk about?

Again, just saying...

And now, I hear you’re considering suing Rainey for defaming you or some such damn thing. That seems a little rash, don’t you think? Suing a man for doing his job? And besides, what would people say if the good sheriff had let you have that permit you’re after with no questions raised, outside the proper legal procedures, and then you go out and do something a fella ought not be doing? That’d make him look pretty darn negligent, wouldn’t it?

So maybe you’d be better off answering some of those unanswered questions about yourself, huh? I mean, rather than suing another elected official. Who, by the way, was voted into office by a helluva lot more people here in Ada County than you were.

Oh, and who has been around a lot longer than you have, by the way.

Oh... and who doesn’t have any big mysterious holes in his life that he refuses to talk about... by the way.

OK, Mark, I think I’m done here. I feel a lot better with that off my chest. I hope you feel better, too. Or will, if and when you decide to talk.