By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Just when you thought folks couldn’t get much worse, a person or persons in Texas are using a modern reconstruction of an ancient weapon to mess up drivers in Texas’ Smith County. Police have been finding dozens of “caltrops” strewn along Interstate 20, about 100 miles east of Dallas.
Says internet resource Wikipedia, a caltrop is “made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base (for example, a tetrahedron). Historically, caltrops were part of defenses that served to slow the advance of troops, especially horses, chariots, and war elephants, and were particularly effective against the soft feet of camels.”
In the current Texas nastiness, the caltrops are being fabricated of rebar, as is used in concrete work. Earlier this month, more than 30 of them were found on the interstate in just a week. This week, local news organizations report more of the tire-deflating devices were found. It’s particularly disconcerting to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. They posted this information on their Facebook page: “This device is a tire deflation device and is a prohibited weapon by the Texas Penal Code. A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells a tire deflation device. This offense is a state jail felony.”
The caltrops are about three inches in size. Someone went to a lot of effort to make them: They are welded and sharpened at each point, then painted black. Apparently there’s little that a motorist can do to protect themselves against these spiteful tools. The highway department has increased highway cleaning to try and scoop up any new caltrop placements. Aside from that, there’s little to be done, other than avoiding that stretch of roadway.