Terry McGahey lived in Tombstone during a time when the local authorities were enforcing the old City Ordinance #9, known as the old Earp firearms odinance, for many years after it had become illegal to do so.
The only change over the years was that the ordinance number was changed from 9 to 5-5-1, other than that it was the exact same ordinance.
Terry McGahey experienced first hand just how Tombstone's hierarchy, with the use of this ordinance and other resources, controlled it's citizenry with an iron fist.
The city believed in making up laws to control their citizens, all while breaking the law in the process.
As a day wage cowboy, he would sometimes pass through Tombstone while on my horse and the marshals department would actually pull me over while on horseback and harass him over wearing his sidearm.
Like most who have worked cattle, a sidearm is not worn while branding or other work on livestock. But in the desert, like in the mountain back-country, going without a gun is not very smart.
At one point, he became fed up with an out of control marshal's office bent on harassing its citizens. He finally told the deputies to either arrest him, confiscate his weapon, or leave him alone.
From that point, the harassment increased until he decided that enough was enough and he fought back.
Using our legal system, just as it was set up for citizens to use to address grievances, he fought city hall and won.
Terry McGahey typifies the American spirit. He exemplifies a Free American, a Free Man, who didn't like being pushed, harassed, and being met with law enforcement who intimidates law abiding citizens rather than garners respect from the community.
It is my pleasure to have published his story here.He is someone who understands and lives the Cowboy Code. Or more aptly, he lives by the rules that John Wayne spoke about in the Shootist.
In character, as John Bernard Books, he said, "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."
I appreciate like-minded folks, so I feel great saying that Terry has agreed to give us an article every other week starting next week.
And Terry, if you're reading this, thank you for allowing me to post your story here. I admire what you did when you took on City Hall and won.