Monday, May 7, 2012

Yesterday and Today

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz, oh yeah, & my wife Sue.

Yesterday and Today

The Mini Van

Traffic Jam

Rush Hour

On December 8, 1883, five men held up the Goldwater and Castaneda Store in Bisbee, leaving behind four people dead, including a pregnant woman. The vicious robbers included Daniel "Big Dan” Dowd, Comer W. "Red” Sample, Daniel "York” Kelly, William "Billy” Delaney and James "Tex” Howard.

When questioned, some of the outlaws began to indicate that John Heath knew more about the crime than he should have. Soon, the authorities brought Heath in and began to question him. Under pressure, Heath "fessed” up to having prior knowledge of the crime and many believed that he probably master-minded the whole affair.

All scheduled to be tried, except, Heath requested a separate trial and was given it. Furious Bisbee citizens awaited the outcome of the outlaws involved in what became the "Bisbee Massacre.” On February 17th, the trial began for the five killers and two days later, the five men sentenced to hang on March 8, 1884.

Heath’s trial began on February 20th, where he admitted to being the mastermind of the robbery, indicating that the others lacked the intelligence. However, he adamantly insisted that the killings were never a part of the plan and that he was in no way responsible for the actions of the other five men. A coward at heart, he even admitted that when he heard the shots fired, he hid behind the bar of his own saloon. The next day, Heath received a life sentence at the Yuma Prison; convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Though Heath was obviously relieved, the citizens of Bisbee were furious and determined to do something about it. Early the morning of February 22nd, a mob of some 50 men, led by Mike Shaughnessy, descended upon the Tombstone jail and dragged Heath from his cell into the dusty street. At the corner of First and Toughnut Streets, they looped a rope over the crossbeam of a telegraph pole, as Heath continually claimed his innocence. The vigilantes were not listening.

In his last moments, he said. "I have faced death too many times to be disturbed when it actually comes."
The rope began to pull him skyward, he cried out one last request.
"Don't mutilate my body or shoot me full of holes!" 

Public approval of the hanging reflected in the verdict of the coroner's jury.
"We the undersigned, a jury of inquest, find that John Heath came to his death from emphysema of the lungs, (disease common in high altitudes,) which might have been caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise."

Source from © Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, January 2010. Synopsis by DMK.

There is no dispute, the West was a wild and lawless time; this wouldn’t happen now, right?
There should be a concern how dangerous times of today are taking on an eerily similar tone. In an age of “civility,’ mob rule is creeping in. A price on someone’s head broadcasted on all networks, the process of law demanded, done now. What is fair, I am for “fair,” can someone define “fair?”  

A floating target can again stir the mob. Just sayin’. I am not choosing a side in a certain story of late.

Is there an opportunity that my Granddaughter can stand and witness that which bystanders witnessed on the corner of First and Toughnut in 1884.

We need to be careful in this turbulent time.

“By ignoring a lot of American culture, you can write interesting stories. Unfortunately, if you were writing about America as it is, you'd be writing about a lot of people sitting in front of television sets.”
Richard Russo


Yesterday and Today

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