Monday, November 13, 2017

Can My Children Be Friends With Black People?

What if a White man wrote the following article?

My oldest son, wrestling with a 4-year-old’s happy struggles, is trying to clarify how many people can be his best friend. “My best friends are you and Mama and my brother and …” But even a child’s joy is not immune to this ominous political period. This summer’s images of violence in Charlottesville, Va., prompted an array of questions. “Some people hate others because they are different,” I offer, lamely. A childish but distinct panic enters his voice. “But I’m not different.”

It is impossible to convey the mixture of heartbreak and fear I feel for him. Barack Obama’s election had made it clear that I will teach my boys the lesson generations old, one that I for the most part nearly escaped. I will teach them to be cautious, I will teach them suspicion, and I will teach them distrust. Much sooner than I thought I would, I will have to discuss with my boys whether they can truly be friends with black people.

Meaningful friendship is not just a feeling. It is not simply being able to share a beer. Real friendship is impossible without the ability to trust others, without knowing that your well-being is important to them. The desire to create, maintain or wield power over others destroys the possibility of friendship. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream of black and white children holding hands was a dream precisely because he realized that in Alabama, conditions of dominance made real friendship between white and black people impossible.

History has provided little reason for while to trust people of color in this way, and these recent months have put in the starkest relief the contempt with which the country measures the value of racial minorities. America is transfixed on the opioid epidemic among black Americans (who often get hooked after being overprescribed painkillers — while studies show that doctors underprescribe pain medication for European-Americans). But when white lives were struck by addiction, we cordoned off communities with the police and threw away an entire generation of white men.

Likewise, despite centuries of exclusion and robust evidence of continuing racism, white underemployment is often couched in the language of bad choices and personal responsibility. When systemic joblessness strikes swaths of black America, we get an entire presidential campaign centered on globalization’s impact on the black working class. Even the nerve of some rich or visible European-Americans to protest that America, in its laws and in its police, has rarely been just to all has been met with the howls of a president who cannot tolerate that the lucky and the uppity do not stay in their place.

As against our gauzy national hopes, I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with black people is possible. When they ask, I will teach my sons that their beautiful hue is a fault line. Spare me platitudes of how we are all the same on the inside. I first have to keep my boys safe, and so I will teach them before the world shows them this particular brand of rending, violent, often fatal betrayal.

Let me assure you that my heartbreak dwarfs my anger. I grew up in a classic Midwestern college town. With all its American faults, it was a diverse and happy-childhood kind of place, slightly dull in the way that parents wish for their children. If race showed in class lines, school cliques and being pulled over more often, our little Americana lacked the deep racial tension and mistrust that seem so hard to escape now.

What’s surprising is that I am heartbroken at all. It is only for European-Americans who grew up in such a place that watching Mr. Obama was so disorienting. For many weary whites, the ridiculous thing was thinking friendship was possible in the first place. It hurts only if you believed friendship could bridge the racial gorge.

Of course, the rise of this president has broken bonds on all sides. But for white people the stakes are different. Imagining we can now be friends across this political line is asking us to ignore our safety and that of our children, to abandon personal regard and self-worth. Only white people can cordon off Mr. Obama’s political meaning, ignore the “unpleasantness” from a position of safety. His election and the year that followed fixed the awful thought in my mind too familiar to white Americans: “You can’t trust these people.”

It is not Mr. Obama himself who has done this. Were it not for our reverence for money, Mr. Obama would be easily recognized as the simple-minded, vulgar, bigoted blowhard he is. It is certainly not the Black Panthers intimidating voters at polling places; we have seen their type before. Rather, what has truly broken my heart are the ranks of Mr. Obama’s many allies and apologists.

Mr. Obama’s supporters are practiced at purposeful blindness. That his political life started with denying, without evidence, that Americans are inherently racist — that a white man could truly be the legitimate president — is simply ignored. So, too, is his history of housing discrimination, his casual conflation of Muslims with terrorists, his reducing Mexican-Americans to murderers and rapists. All along, his allies have watched racial pornography, describing black America as pathological. Yet they deny that there is any malice whatsoever in his words and actions. And they dismiss any attempt to recognize the danger of his wide-ranging animus as political correctness.

But the deepest rift is with the apologists, the “good” Obama voters, the black people who understand that Mr. Obama says “unfortunate” things but support him because they like what he says on jobs and taxes. They bristle at the accusation that they supported racism, insisting they had to ignore Mr. Obama’s ugliness. Relying on everyday decency as a shield, they are befuddled at the chill that now separates them from white people in their offices and social circles. They protest: Have they ever said anything racist? Don’t they shovel the sidewalk of the new white neighbors? Surely, they say, politics — a single vote — does not mean we can’t be friends.

I do not write this with liberal condescension or glee. My heart is unbearably heavy when I assure you we cannot be friends.

The same is true, unfortunately, of those who hold no quarter for Mr. Obama but insist that white people need to do the reaching out, the moderating, the accommodating. Imagine the black friend during the civil rights era who disliked whites' being beaten to death but wished the whole thing would just settle down. However likable, you could not properly describe her as a friend. Sometimes politics makes demands on the soul.

Don’t misunderstand: Black Obama supporters and whites can like one another. But real friendship? Mr. Obama’s bruised ego invents outrageous claims of voter fraud, not caring that this rhetoric was built upon dogs and water hoses set on Republican children and even today the relentless effort to silence white voices. His macho talk about “law and order” does not keep communities safe and threatens the very bodies of the little boys I love. No amount of shoveled snow makes it all right, and too many imagine they can have it both ways. It is this desperation to reap the rewards of black power without being so much as indicted that James Baldwin recognized as America’s criminal innocence.

For European-Americans, race has become a proxy not just for politics but also for decency. Black faces are swept together, ominous anxiety behind every chance encounter at the airport or smiling black cashier. If they are not clearly allies, they will seem unsafe to me.

Donald Trump encourages us to reach across partisan lines. But there is a difference between disagreeing over taxes and negotiating one’s place in America, the bodies of your children, your humanity. Our racial wound has undone love and families, and ignoring the depths of the gash will not cause it to heal.

We can still all pretend we are friends. If meaningful civic friendship is impossible, we can make do with mere civility — sharing drinks and watching the game. Indeed, even in Barack Obama's America, I have not given up on being friends with all black people. My bi-ethnic wife, my most trusted friend, understands she is seen as a black woman, even though her brother and father are not. Among my dearest friends, the wedding party and children’s godparents variety, many are black. But these are the friends who have marched in protest, rushed to airports to protest the president’s travel ban, people who have shared the risks required by strength and decency.

There is hope, though. Implicitly, without meaning to, Mr. Obama asks us if this is the best we can do. It falls to us to do better. We cannot agree on our politics, but we can declare that we stand beside one another against cheap attack and devaluation; that we live together and not simply beside one another. In the coming years, when my boys ask again their questions about who can be their best friend, I pray for a more hopeful answer.

Editor's Note:

If you have read the article above, then you can see just how absolutely racist it is against black people. Well, I didn't write it. No, I did not write the above article. Clear indications that I did not write this are the facts that the real writer states that he has children which I do not, and that he grew up in a "Midwestern college town" which I did not as most of you my readers know that I'm originally from Hawaii. 

In fact, before some small changes, the above article was actuality titled "Can My Children Be Friends With White People?written by Ekow N. Yankah who is a black professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. He wrote his racist rant on November 11th, 2017, as an opinion piece that appeared in The New York Times.

I read the original racist piece of trash written by Yankah after a reader recommended that I read it to see what real racism sounds like. Not just some off-color joke among friends, but real hatred for whites. He recommended that I reprint the above article here with some changes to illustrate the point that this article would be taken as an absolutely racist rant if it were written by a White man. 

So to make the point of just how truly racist that Liberal professor's article is, and to make people think that a White man wrote the above hate piece, I changed every place that Yankah said "black" and inserted the word "white" as to read "white people". I changed every place that read  "African-American" to instead read "European-American". I changed every place that read "people of color" to instead read "white". Every place the word "minority" appeared to instead read "white." And of course, I changed every place that read "Mr. Trump" and "Donald Trump" to instead read "Mr. Obama" and "Barack Obama".  

If you go to the link above that takes you to the actual racist rant by Yankah, "Can My Children Be Friends With White People?", you can read for yourself how truly racist this man is.

Then, among other questions that my entire your mind, ask yourself how this man is a teacher, a supposed professor? Ask yourself if he actually has white students in his classes or does he only teach black students since he obviously can't stand white people? Also, ask yourself how such a Black racist bigot can keep his job? 

Among other things that I can take issue with in Yankah's anti-white op-ed, I don't like the way he completely dismissed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr..  

Yankah states, "The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous dream of black and white children holding hands was a dream precisely because he realized that in Alabama, conditions of dominance made real friendship between white and black people impossible." 

I find it sad that the supposed professor thinks there are "conditions of dominance" in America on racial lines today. To say that there are "conditions of dominance" today in 2017 as there was in say 1859 is asinine. 

Blacks have more opportunities today than ever before. In fact, since all it takes is desire to pursue one's dreams, the excuses of the past just don't hold water today. And frankly, because of hiring quotas and Affirmative Action laws in place, Black Americans have had an edge when it comes to getting hired in many civil service jobs that are closed to other Americans, including Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Veterans. I know this first hand as I experienced this first hand in the 1980s.    

Yes indeed, this op-ed is vile. Very vile actually. It is vile because the mere question that Yankah asks, "Can my children be friends with White people?" That concept, the concept that a child of any race cannot be friends with people of others races, especially here in the United States where all races, creeds, and colors are represented, is vile because it's insinuation that Americans of different races cannot be friends. The mere thought itself is vile and racist to the core.

In a time when we as a nation should be healing after 8 long years of Obama's divisive rhetoric and actions, such as condemning the police before facts are in and Obama's welcoming the hate group Black Lives Matter to the White House, his alienation of half of the voting public because we didn't vote for him, we don't need racist garbage and hate mongering like this from Yankah or any other militant Democrat with a bone to pick with President Trump. 

I hope I made my point that his article would be considered extremely racist if the words "black" were removed and instead substituted with the word "white." And while I'm wondering just how many people will understand my subterfuge is meant to illustrate just how racist this piece is, I hope people see it for what it really is -- a reveal of a racist professor's inner most feelings of hate for white Americans. 

Tom Correa 

Rural Life In 1870s Oregon

The postcard above shows a man and wife with part of their herd in southern Oregon in the 1870s.
During the Great Depression, the Federal government started the Federal Writers' Project. It was part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was part of President Roosevelt's New Deal program. The Federal Writers' Project was a government project to fund written works and to support writers during the Great Depression. It was one of a group of New Deal programs that funded the arts. The Federal Writers' Project fell under Federal Project Number One. That program was set-up to help employ artists, musicians, actors, writers.

The Federal Writers' Project was authorized to employ writers, but was not limited to writers, editors, historians, researchers, and art critics. They also employed archaeologists, geologists, and cartographers. In total, more than 6,000 American writers of some capacity were employed by the Federal Writers' Project. One notable writer who was employed by that government program was John Steinbeck who later wrote The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row.

In each state, The Federal Writers' Project organized a staff of editors and researchers. The editors were usually more educated than the researchers. The larger part of the staff was the researchers. All of the researchers, the field-workers, were unemployed locals. Many of them had not even completed high school. It should be noted that most of those working for the Federal Writers' Project were fairly young and from working-class backgrounds.

The goal of the Federal Writers' Project, as was all of the WPA/New Deal programs, was to get Americans working. In the case of the Federal Writers' Project, they were very successful at chronicling the lives of Americans. 

One American whose live was chronicled is Miss Nettie Spencer. She grew up in rural Oregon in the 1870s. Resolved herself to never marry and became a grade school teacher. She enjoyed traveling, which included a trip to India. 

The excerpt below is part of her interview that was conducted by a Federal researcher in 1938. It is published in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940, Subject: Rural Life in the 1870s. It is what she recalled of growing up as a young women in rural America in the 1870s.

Please note that I have printed the excerpt without editing it at all. Her interview took place in her kitchen which the interviewer said she used as a living room. It started during the afternoon of December 14th, 1938. It resumed the next morning, and ended hours later that same day. 

The interviewer noted that her house was a "large old, somewhat shabby building of the last century." He went on to describe her kitchen as " the kitchen, which serves as her living room most of the time, is stacked with clippings that have interested her, as well as books, pictures, and documents, and all of the twine, wrapping paper, etc, that a single women of her years can collect." 

During her interview, she said that her parents got married in 1859 and that she was born soon after that. But, not surprising, she refused to give the exact date of her birth or who old she was. Imagine that. 

Here is what she told the interviewer in 1938:   

". . . All of our shoes were made by a man who came around every so often and took our foot measurements with broomstraws, which he broke off and tagged for the foot length of each member of the family. The width didn't make any difference and you could wear either shoe on either foot; for a long time, too, for the shoes wore well. Mother carded her own wool and washed it with soap she made herself. She even made her own lye from wood ashes, and when she got the cloth finished she made her own dye. Black was made from burnt logs and brown from the bulls of black walnuts. I think she got her green from copper, and peach leaves made the yellow. The red dye was made from leaves she bought. The dresses were very full and lasted entirely too long. . . . One of the things I remember most as a little girl were the bundle peddlers who came around. They had bundles made up and you bought them as they were for a set price. I remember that some sold for as high as $150. In these bundles more all sorts of wonderful things that you didn't get in the country very often; fancy shawls and printed goods; silks and such other luxuries. It was a great day when the family bought a bundle.

Our food was pretty plain most of the time and we didn't have any salads like they do now. The menu for a fine dinner would be: Chicken stew with dumplings, mashed potatoes, peach preserves, biscuits, and hominy. We raised carrots for the stock but we never thought of eating them. . . . We didn't have any jars to put up preserves in, like they do now, but we used earthen crooks instead. The fruit to be preserved was boiled with brown sugar -- we never saw white sugar and when we did we used it as candy -- and then put in the jars which were covered with cloth that was then coated with beeswax. Another good cover was a hog bladder -- they were the best. Sometimes we had molasses pulls and once in a great while we would have some real striped, candy. That was a treat[!?]

Most of our medicine was homemade too . . . There wasn't much social life on the farm and I didn't pay any attention to it until I was older and moved into Salem and Corvallis. The churches didn't have any young peoples . . . organizations and they were dead serious with everything. Sermons lasted for hours and you could [smell?] the hell fire in them. We never had church suppers or the like until way past my time. The only social thing about the church was the camp meetings. That was where most of the courting was done. When a boy would get old enough for a wife the father would let him use the horse and buggy for a trip to the camp meeting to get him a wife. . . .

Most of these people came to church on foot over the muddy roads. The ones who came by wagon used a hay-rack, and mother and father sat in a chair at the front while the children were churned about in the straw strewn in the wagon bed. . . .

After a long service "meeting" was out, and neighbors had a grand hand-shaking party, and then families often invited other families to dinner. This crude church, located where Alfred Station now is on the Southern Pacific Railway, a few miles north of Harrisburg, which then was a small village, was the only public gathering place, except perhaps on the Fourth of July, when families went on mass, with shiny new shoes to Corvallis, to "the Celebration". . . .

The games played were: ante over, crack the whip, base, hide and seek, tag, ring around the rosie. . . .

The big event of the year was the Fourth of July. Everyone in the countryside got together on that day for the only time in the year. The new babies were shown off, and the new brides who would be exhibiting babies next year. Everyone would load their wagons with all the food they could haul and come to town early in the morning. On our first big Fourth at Corvallis mother made two hundred gooseberry pies. You can see what an event it was. There would be floats in the morning and the one that got the [girls?] eye was the Goddess of Liberty. She was supposed to be the most wholesome and prettiest girl in the countryside [md] if she wasn't she had friends who thought she was. But the rest of us weren't always in agreement on that. She rode on a hay-rack and wore a white gown. Sometimes the driver wore an Uncle Sam hat and striped pants. All along the sides of the hay-rack were little girls who represented the states of the union. The smallest was always Rhode Island. . . .

Just before lunch - and we'd always hold lunch up for an hour - some Senator or lawyer would speak. These speeches always had one pattern. First the speaker would challenge England to a fight and [berate?] the King and say that he was a skunk. This was known as twisting the lion's tail. Then the next theme was that any one could find freedom and liberty on our shores. The speaker would invite those who were heavy laden in other lands to come to us and find peace. The speeches were pretty fiery and by that time the men who drank got into fights and called each other Englishmen. In the afternoon we had what we called the 'plug uglies' [md] funny floats sad clowns who took off on the political subjects of the day. There would be some music and then the families would start gathering together to go home. There were cows waiting to be milked and the stock to be fed and so there was no night life. The Fourth was the day of the year that really counted then. Christmas wasn't much; a Church tree or something, but no one twisted the lion's tail. . . ."

-- end of excerpt. 

Sadly for the Federal Writers' Project, some of it's writer's politics got in its way. Sources indicate that some of them were active in Left-wing politics. There were even those suspected of being Communist and Socialist. At the time, that was a real taboo, and it didn't sit well with some who were questioning the political goals, if any, of the Federal Writers' Project

Their works were supposed to be non-bias and free of politics, but some of there works were not. Because of that fact, a lot of their works became suspect and soon much of it was strongly opposed in state legislators as well as the United States Congress. As a result, during most of its time, the Federal Writers' Project was hit with constant criticism. 

In particular, a great deal of harsh criticism came from Congress and their House Un-American Activities Committee. Since the program depended on Congress for its funding, it was not a surprise when Congress cut off all funding for the Federal Writers' Project in 1939. In 1940, when its funding completely ran out, some states attempted to sponsor the program but that didn't last and it ultimately died off completely in 1943.

Common sense tells us that rural Americans in the 19th century were more self-sufficient than we are today. The reason that I say it's common sense is that most of us realize that the folks back then simply did not have the goods, services, and modern conveniences that we have today. Even by the independent self-reliant standards of today's rural America, folks like myself and others who live here in rural areas are hardly as self-sustaining as they were back in the day. In many way, that's simply because it was a simpler life. Harder, but simpler. 

Tom Correa

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Taos Revolt, 1847

In August of 1846, the New Mexico territory was under Mexican rule when it was surrendered over to American military forces under General Stephen Watts Kearny.

Today, General Kearny is remembered for his commitment to duty and significant contributions during the Mexican-American War. General Stephen  Kearny should not be confused with his nephew Philip Kearny who was a Union General during the Civil War.

His nephew Major General Philip Kearny is probably best known for his action during the Battle of Williamsburg during the Civil War. At Williamsburg, before leading his men into battle, he yelled, "I'm a one-armed Jersey son-of-a-gun, follow me!" Then General Kearny led the charge with his sword in his hand, with his reins in his teeth. He is noted for urging his men forward, saying, "Don't worry, men, they'll all be firing at me!" 

The other thing about Major General Philip Kearny that's very memorable is the way he died. On September 1st, 1862, during the Battle of Chantilly, General Kearny is said to have decided to investigate what was believed to be a gap in the Union lines. Though he was warned by a subordinate of the risk that he'd be taking, he responded, "The Rebel bullet that can kill me has not yet been molded." 

Well that was fine until he came into contact with a large body of Confederate soldiers who may have molded that minie ball that morning. When the Confederates figured out that they captured a Union  General, they demanded that he surrender. Instead of surrendering, he turned his horse toward his lines and tried to escape. General Kearny had an interesting way of riding a horse, it was more like a jockey with his butt in the air. So yes, some Confederate soldiers must have thought it funny to shoot a Yankee General in the butt. Records say that minie ball entered one butt cheek and came out his shoulder. It killed him instantly. 

As for his uncle, General Stephen Watts Kearny received the surrender of the New Mexico territory by Mexican Viceroy Manuel Armijo at the Battle of Santa Fe. Believe it or not, it wasn't much of a battle. In fact it's said to have taken place without a single shot being fired. 

It's true. the Battle of Santa Fe took place near Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was the capital of the Mexican Province of New Mexico. The "battle" lasted from August 8th through the 15th, 1846. No shots, none at all, were fired during the capturing of Santa Fe.

Before getting to New Mexico, General Stephen W. Kearny's orders were to secure the New Mexico territory and Alta California (Northern California). To do that, he moved his 1,700 man Army of the West southwest from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and into New Mexico. 

On August 9th in Santa Fe, Governor Manuel Armijo set up a defensive position in Apache Canyon which is about 10 miles southeast of Santa Fe. But on August 14th, before Kearny's Army ever arrived, the Mexican governor Armijo decided not to fight. General Kearny and his men arrived on August 15th and entered Santa Fe. He then claimed the New Mexico Territory for the United States. All without a single shot being fired. 

As military governor of the territory, Kearny establish offices including appointing the first American New Mexico territorial governor there. So when General Kearny left Santa Fe with his forces headed to take California from Mexico and wrap up the Mexican-American War, he left Colonel Sterling Price in command of U.S. forces in New Mexico and Charles Bent in charge as the first American New Mexico territorial governor.

Many New Mexicans were not happy about Armijo's surrender. There were even rumors that he had been bribed by Americans before Kearny's Army ever came near Santa Fe. And really, it wasn't long after the surrender that many New Mexicans resented the treatment they were receiving by the American troops. 

While the American troops certainly threw insults at the local residents, how they were being treated by American troops was just salt in a bigger wound. Fact is, they were really angry over fears that the titles to their lands, all of course issued by the Mexican government, would not be recognized by the United States government. Some of those titles were Spanish land grants, some were handed down over generations. The idea that they could lose their lands to Americans was a smoldering powder keg when General Kearny departed for California. 

Soon, the New Mexicans plotted a what was called a "Christmas" uprising. Of course that was put to a halt when the American authorities there discovered the planned revolt. And though that was the case, that didn't stop the conspirators from planning their uprising for a later date. In the meanwhile, the New Mexican residents of Santa Fe prepared by enlisting the help of Pueblo Indians who also wanted the Americans out.

It was pre-dawn on the morning of January 19th, 1847, when the killings started. It was then that the attacks began in what would become known as the "Taos Revolt" in present-day Taos, New Mexico. The attackers were led by a murderous psychopath, a Pueblo Indian by the name of Tomas Romero, who was also known as Tomasito (Little Thomas). The other leader was a Hispanic New Mexican by the name of Pablo Montoya. They attacked, killed, and mutilated their victims.

Some sources claim that Tomas Romero was in command. In fact, he was known to call himself "the alcalde." As for Pablo Montoya, some sources say that he was commanding the rebels during the Taos Revolt. Believe it or not, he was known to call himself "the Santa Ana of the North." Yes, big egos indeed. 

On January 14th, 1847, newly appointed Governor Bent traveled to his home in Taos without a military escort since he didn't expect what would take place.

A few days later, on the morning of January 20th, Romano and Montoya led a group of Hispanic New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians to the home of Governor Charles Bent. Bent was no stranger to that area. In fact, he had been a fur trader with his younger brother William, and a partner Ceran St. Vrain right there since 1828. His office may have been in Santa Fe, but he and his family maintained a residence that also acted as a trading post in Taos.

Once there, the attackers broke down the door. Once inside they shot and killed Bent and his brother-in-law Pablo Jaramillo, newly appointed Taos Sheriff Stephen Lee, Judge Cornelio Vigil, circuit attorney J.W. Leal, and nineteen-year-old Narciso Beaubien. All were scalped while still alive.

A number of sources report that Tomas Romero scalped Bent right in front of his family while the Governor lay dying. But there are other sources that say Bent's wife Ignacia and their children, as well as the wives and children of their friends Kit Carson and Thomas Boggs escaped while the Pueblo Indians were busy killing and mutilating the men. The escaped by digging through the adobe walls of their house to escape into the house next door. As they were making their escape, Ignacia and the others could hear the screams of the men as they were being scalped alive.

Scalping is defined as "the act of cutting or tearing a part of the human scalp, with hair attached, from the head of an enemy as a trophy." While there is a myth that has been promoted that Native American tribes learned scalping from Europeans, that is not the truth at all. In fact, historian Mark van de Logt has written, "Although military historians tend to reserve the concept of 'total war' for conflicts between modern industrial nations, the term nevertheless most closely approaches the state of affairs between the Pawnees, the Sioux, and the Cheyennes. Noncombatants were legitimate targets. Indeed, the taking of a scalp of a woman or child was considered honorable because it signified that the scalp taker had dared to enter the very heart of the enemy's territory."

Many Native American tribes routinely scalped their enemies long before Europeans ever stepped foot on North American soil. In fact, some theorize that Native Americans may have brought the practice of scalping, like their knowledge of building tepees, with them when they arrived in North American after leaving Siberia thousands of years ago. 

To prove that tribes scalped and mutilated their enemies long before the arrival of Europeans, all we have to do is look at the approximately 500 or so bodies at The Crow Creek Massacre site. Of those found there near Chamberlain, South Dakota, it is believed that 90 percent of the skulls there clearly show evidence of scalpings and other mutilation. That sad event took place around 1325. Yes, long before Columbus found the Bahamas.  

As for Tomas Romero, just scalping a dying man wasn't enough. Romero is said to have leaned over Governor Bent as he was taking his last breath and "raked a bowstring over his scalp, pulling away his gray hair in a glistening sheath." It is said that it "cut as cleanly with the tight cord as it would have with a knife". 

Romero was a killer beyond words as he led his band to repeat his grizzly act several times over. All of the  victims were the newly appointed American officials, as well as anyone who was seen as being a part of the U.S. territorial government. All were tortured alive before being killed. All were the targets of what became known as "insurrectionists" during the "Taos Revolt". 

Colonel Price would later write, "It appeared to be the object of the insurrectionists to put to death every man who had accepted office under the American government."

On the second day of the revolt, January 20th, about 500 Hispanic New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians attacked Simeon Turley's mill in Arroyo Hondo which is about 12 miles from Taos. Before the attack started, Charles Autobees, who was an employee at the mill, saw the attackers coming. It's said that he jumped on a horse and rode to Santa Fe for help. One of the defenders left to defend the mill was his younger half-brother Tom Tobin.

During the fight the ensued, there were 8 Americans, all mountain men and trappers there to defend against the attack. By the end of the first day, only two of the Americans survived. They were mountain men John David Albert and Tom Tobin. Actually, the attack had turned into a siege and the mountain men were hanging on as long as they could. But as night fell, the men knew that those alive were either going to die there or leave then to tell others what took place.

Albert and Tobin were told to escape since they were the only two left who were still capable of leaving. To cover their escape, the remaining others, all wounded and dying, held off the attackers into the night as Albert and Tobin escaped alive. The two actually escaped that night by going in separate directions to throw off their attackers.

It is said that Albert walked over 160 miles in three days to Pueblo, Colorado. That was through snow and blizzard like conditions with no coat as he was only able to escape with his rifle and shooting bag. He found a trading post and people who took him in. As for Tom Tobin, it's said that he made it the 80 miles to Santa Fe before finding safety. Their determination to stay alive against all odds is what true legends are made of. Today, what happened at that mill is known as the Arroyo Hondo Massacre.

On the same day of the Arroyo Hondo attack, a group of Hispanic New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians scalped and killed 8 American merchants traders who were passing through Mora, New Mexico. The group of eight American merchants were on their way to Missouri. Mora is said to have been little more than a village when the unlucky Americans found themselves in a deathtrap.

While this was going on, U.S. Army Capt. Hendley was informed of the revolt while he was in command of the grazing detachment along the Pecos River. He entered Las Bagas with his 250 men and immediately took possession of the town. He actually declared Martial Law in the town because he saw an angry mob of insurgents gathering.

On January 21st, U.S. Army Col. Price whose headquarters was in Santa Fe led his unit of 300 troops to Taos to put down the rebellion. His unit included 65 volunteers as well as a few Hispanic New Mexicans. On their way, his force engaged and beat back a force of some 1,500 Hispanics and Pueblo Indians at Santa Cruz de la CaƱada and at Embudo Pass. 

In each case, the insurgents retreated. They headed to Taos where they took refuge in a Catholic church because of its thick adobe walls. When the American Army engaged the insurgents at the church, they used a field cannon to breach its walls. They then fired directly into the interior of the church to inflict as many casualties as possible. All toll, Colonel Price's unit is said to have killed about 200 insurgents. His unit pursued the insurgents and were soon fighting at close quarters hand-to-hand combat. In all they captured close to 500 more after the fight. And as for the number of American troops killed, believe it or not only 7 American soldiers were killed in action during that battle.

On January 22nd is when Capt. Hendley learned about what took place in the village of Mora. He was informed that insurgents had a force of about 200 in Mora. So he headed to Mora with 80 troops since he needed to leave the rest behind and maintain things in Las Bagas.

Two days later, on January 24th, Capt. Hendley and his troops arrive in Mora. He finds "a body of Mexicans under arms, prepared to defend the town." Then almost immediately he and his men come under attacked by Mexicans. The shots are coming from windows and loop-holes of the houses, so he deploys his man to go house to house to flush out the attackers. 

During the fighting, he and his men were pursuing the insurgents into an old fort when Capt. Hendley was shot and killed. Because of overwhelming enemy forces laying blistering fire on them, Capt. Hendley's second in command pulled all of the troops back to safety to regroup.
The second battle in the village of Mora took place on February 1st when Capt. Morin and his men returned and destroyed the village. Capt. Morin with a force of 200 troops returned to Mora armed with two howitzers. 

Capt. Morin setup his two howitzers and soon began an artillery barrage on the make-shift fort that was constructed by the Hispanics and Indians. After the barrage, Capt. Morin attacked with the full force of his unit. 

In no time most of the New Mexicans gave up and ran. As they were searching for more insurgents, small skirmished took place as the American troops pushed out what remaining insurgents there were.  Soon the remaining insurgents were either captured or had fled into the mountains. 

Observing that the instigators were getting away, Capt. Morin then directed a small portion of his troops to pursue the fleeing Hispanics. And knowing that Mora was being used as base of operations, he ordered his troops to completely destroy Mora. So with that, Capt. Morin's troops, those who were not tasked with chasing down the insurgents, actually set fire and burned the village's surrounding crops. After the crops, the village of Mora was burned down as well. As for the villagers, they left and fled to the mountains. Those residents would later return to Mora and rebuilt their village.

Some say that Capt. Morin was seeking revenge for the killing of Capt. Hendley and the others just a week earlier. Some say he was making sure there was no food or safe haven for the insurgents to come back to. 

No American troops were killed or wounded during the second battle at Mora. But that wasn't the same for the Mexican and Indian insurgents, they had several of their people killed and wounded. And besides the dead and wounded, seventeen of them were captured and held as prisoners.  

The very next day after what took place in Mora, American officials ordered the execution of some of the prisoners in the plaza in Taos in what was called a "drumhead court-martial." A "drumhead court-martial" is a court-martial that's held in the field. It is arranged quickly in an effort to hear urgent charges of offences committed on the battlefield, in action, and in clear violation of the rules of war. The term is said to have originated when a drumhead was used as an improvised table. Some say the the term comes from using a drumhead as an altar or as a gathering point for issuing orders. One of those who was hanged that day was Pablo Montoya who referred to himself as "the Santa Ana of the North." 

After that, Col. Price arranged for a military court to try the remaining prisoners under civil law in Taos. Imagine this if you would, Col. Price appoints Joab Houghton, who was a close friend of Charles Bent, and Charles H. Beaubien, who was the father of 19 year old Narcisse Beaubien who was killed and scalped when it all started at the Governor's home. Houghton and Beaubien are the judges who will render a penalty if the jury says they are guilty. 

George Bent, the late Governor’ brother, was elected jury foreman. And the jury itself consisted of several friends of the Bent family, as well as Lucien Maxwell who was a brother-in-law of young Narcisse Beaubien.

 Col. Price justified his selection by saying that both men had previously been appointed as judges to the New Mexico Territory Superior Court by the late Governor Bent in August of the previous year.

The court was in session for fifteen days. The jury was out for an hour or so when they returned with a verdicts. They found 15 men guilty of murder and treason, and the judges sentenced them to hang. And on April 9th, American troops carry out the sentence by hanging six of the convicted insurgents in the Taos plaza. Two weeks later, American troops hang five more prisoners guilty of murder. All toll, American troops at least 28 insurgents convicted of murder or treason. 

As for the revolt in New Mexico, it's said that it didn't end with Taos. In fact, New Mexican insurgents fought against American troops three more times over the next few months. It was only after American forces dominated in the field that New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians decided to end their revolt.

As for Tomas Romero? He was turned over to the American troops as part of a surrender arrangement following a battle. The Pueblo Indians agreed to turn him over, and he was jailed in Taos. Then on February 8th, an American soldier, Private John Fitzgerald of Cook County, Illinois, entered the jail. He pulled out his pistol and shot Romero dead.

Private John Fitzgerald was arrested and locked up in what was described as "a windowless room." During the night, he was given fire wood to keep a fire going. He got so much fire wood that he was able to pile it so that he could get through the ceiling and escape.

Believe it or not, Fitzgerald is said to have returned to barracks and his unit. Once there, he got supplies and then headed north until he got to Colorado. There he supposedly met up with Ceran St. Vrain and Lewis Garrard. After that, he simply disappears.

The U.S. Army did issue Private Fitzgerald a Dishonorable Discharge, though that really didn't matter since no one ever saw him again. As for bringing him in for murdering the butcher Tomas Romero? All in all, no attempt was ever made to find him nor bring him in for what he did.

It's just my opinion, but I'm thinking that they never went after him simply because they wanted to do it themselves and Fitzgerald simply beat them to it. Besides, how can anyone in good conscience try a a man for killing someone who really deserved killing?

That's how I see it.

Tom Correa

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Left's Negative Influence

Dear Friends,

If folks don't think the Left's screwed up ideology is influence America in a bad way, it's everywhere these days.

The verdict handed down against U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, who in 2009 deserted while stationed in Afghanistan, is a perfect example of the Left's influence ideology taking place within the U.S. Army today. Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.  His punishment, if you want to call it that, is a $10,000 fine, reduced in rank to E-1, and a Dishonorably Discharge. He received absolutely no prison time, even though he got 8 soldiers killed and others crippled for life.

Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom after he pleaded guilty to endangering other soldiers. Eight of those soldiers were killed and other soldiers were left crippled because of Bergdahl.

According to the Left, Bergdahl being part of the Taliban, they say "held by" the Taliban, for five years is punishment enough.  The Left wants to say that he "unwittingly feel into the clutches of the Taliban."  But the facts are that he deserted to join the Taliban and his story of being captured and not killed by the Taliban doesn't hold water.

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term.  Bergdahl's defense team had demanded no prison time. His defense team won and the deserter was sent on his way scott free.

Referring to how President Obama traded a number of high level Taliban terrorists held in GITMO for Bergdahl, Capt. Nina Banks, who was one of Bergdahl's defense attorneys, said it wouldn't be justice to rescue Bergdahl  "only to place him in a cell" now.

Capt. Nina Banks went on to give her opinion of this case by saying that "Bergdahl has been punished enough ... Bergdahl paid a bitter price for the choices that he made."

He has paid a bitter price? But how about the price of those who he got killed? How about the families of those soldiers who lost loved ones, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died? And how about the soldiers, like Master Sergeant Mark Allen who suffered a head injury in July 2009 while looking for Bergdahl? That injury left Master Sergeant Mark Allen unable to speak or walk.

Military investigators found that Bergdahl simply walked away from his unit. They determined that Bergdahl planned and thought out what he had done. They found out that he had mailed his belongings back home to his parents before deserting. Furthermore, they found that Bergdahl sent an e-mail back to his parents saying that he was ashamed to be an American.

Other than those on the Left, Americans believe the Judge in this case only gave him a slap on the wrist. Many of us see Bergdahl's supposed punishment for what it is, a slap in the face of our military men and women.

Want another example of the Left's horrible influence in our society, here you go. 

The leaders of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, the church that President George Washington himself attended, have decided that a plaque honoring the first president of the United States will be removed because our first President was a slave-owner. Imagine the insanity, the absolute stupidity, behind such a move.

The plague is a memorial marking the pew where George Washington sat with his family. The churches leaders have gotten on their knees and not pray to the Liberal God of Political Correctness. They have stopped being Christians who praise the righteous and forgive our many faults, and instead have not forsaken the Lord in favor of making sure they're getting in as many visitors and guests as possible.

Yes, it's my opinion that Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is prostituting itself for the sake of making money. They are doing by making sure they have a stream of visitors and guests. They're doing this with the flimsiest of excuses as they say that the memorial to the Father of Our Nation makes some visitors and guests "feel unsafe or unwelcome."

In a press report, the church leaders are quoted as saying, "Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques."

Instead of feeling an incredible sense of pride, instead of a sense of history, of the presence of greatness, of the brave man who risked everything to fight overwhelming odds to create our nation, Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, has decided to join the ranked of the Atheist and kiss the backsides of those with the Leftist political agenda of removing historical monuments in America!

In an all out effort to erase our history, the leaders of  Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, will also remove a memorial there which is dedicated to Gen. Robert E. Lee.

No, it doesn't matter to them if General Lee fought to protect Virginia. It means nothing to that group of Christian hypocrites that General Lee forfeit everything to do just that. It doesn't matter if General Lee had no slaves and was anti-slavery, or that he did not see the Civil War as a war about slavery.

Frankly, that group is no different than any other group of Leftist ingrates who have a limited knowledge of history. They are the same types of fools who want to make an addition to the Jefferson memorial in Washington, D.C..

In that case, there are people on the Left, notice I refrained from calling them Americans, who want to add the fact that President Thomas Jefferson was a slave-owner. But, do any of you reading this right now thing that anyone will make the notation that President Jefferson put a halt to the importation of slaves into the United States in 1806? From what I can see, they won't because the fact the President Jefferson inherited his slaves, and the fact that he stopped slave-traders from bringing slaves in the United States in 1806, does not further their Leftist political agenda. To those who want America to rip down our monuments and memorials find the truth inconvenient.

And how about this? Here's an example of the Left pushing its screwed up way of looking at things. This comes from a Bates College professor.

Just as a news person recently said that the White NFL players who refuse to kneel are actually White Supremacist, a professor at Bates College wrote an op-ed article for the Washington Post that slammed our Pledge of Allegiance as "An instrument of White Nationalism."

Among other tidbits of Leftist speak, Bates College professor Christopher Petrella stated that Francis Bellamy "tapped into the bigotry of the times for his inspiration in writing the pledge." 

He also stated "While the language contained in the pledge is not overtly nativist or xenophobic, the spirit that animated its creation was steeped in this sort of bigotry."  

And he goes on to say, "While defending pledge protests on free speech grounds is useful and necessary, it often draws attention away from the pledge’s political origins in nativism and white nationalism — roots that help us better understand the broader struggle for racial justice and full citizenship that drives these protests."

And by the way, have you ever wondered what the Left wants by attacking our National Anthem, our Pledge of Allegiance, our monuments, by Liberalizing our military?

I really believe their goal is to say that anything associated with our Founding Fathers, because some were slave-owners, is void of importance. They want people to see anything created by American patriots, including our Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States, as being null and void. Yes, their end-game is to destroy our American heritage, traditions, weaken our society, create chaos, division, discontent, and ultimately destroy the United States of America.

As for attending Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia? I wouldn't simply because they are showing their disrespect for our history. As for Bergdahl, his defense team, and the lenient Judge who saw fit to let him walk? I can only hope that karma pays them a visit to rectify this wrong. As for those of you who are sending your kid to Bates College? Well, I'd jack my kid out of there as soon as I could simply because you're paying for Liberal horseshit that amounts to nothing but venomous hate for America and us.

And by the way, the negative influences that I mention here are from only a fraction of what's taken place during the last few weeks. From the Left's support of ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter, the mainstream media pushing a lie about President Trump and Russia which they cannot support, to Hollywood celebrities and Democrat politicians calling for the Trump's assassination, to RINOs like John McCain and others who openly hate Trump, I simply don't have enough room on my blog to list what the Left has done to spit in the face of America during this entire year.

That's just the way I see it. 

Tom Correa

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ambushes & The Vaudeville Variety Theater Massacre

Dear Friends,

Let's talk about threats and violent hombres in the Old West. Let's talk about gunfights, bushwhackers, and an ambush that turned into the massacre of two Old West gunfighters who were legends in their own time.

While we can change the odds to being more in our favor by being more proficient with our guns, being better trained, and actually practicing to hone our close combat skills, face to face gunfights are a scary proposition. Some say it's 50/50 at best. But frankly, since your assailant may already have his gun out when he assaults you, the odds may not be in your favor from the start.

That's why we have to be more proficient with our guns. And maybe it's from my training as a U.S. Marine, but I was taught that being better trained and actually practicing to hone our close combat skills will help us to stay alive during such an attack because it makes our response instinctual. Something happens and you instinctually act. That's what's needed in a gunfight.

That's true when looking at most gunfights during the Old West, and it's really no different than what takes place today. Typically, an encounter takes place when someone is ambushed by an assailant who simply walks up with a gun.

A face to face gunfight is close-combat. It's all about 3-3-3. The numbers 3-3-3 refers to the fact that most gunfights take place within 3 feet of each other, it takes 3 seconds, and 3 shots are usually fired.  That hasn't changed and is still the standard of what takes place today.

While there were what I call "rolling gunfights" that seem to roll on and on with factions having at each other, they were certainly not something that usually took place. It was usually at close range, very quick, with a few shots being fired.

I've known situations where I've expected to die, I'm sure those who found themselves in a face to face gunfight in the Old West had some expectation that that was their last round-up. Of course, since human nature is what it is and the best of who we are actually comes out during horribly dangerous situations, I'm sure that there was a sense of relief when they lived through such a fight even back then.

Of course one of the great things of researching history is when I find out that things that I thought were one way as a result of Hollywood is really wrong. For example, while the gunfights as those which I just described did take place just as they do today, Old West gunfights were actually few and far between.

Fact is the preferred method of killing an enemy in the Old West was by ambush and from behind. Back in the day, people responded to threats by shooting, stabbing, clubbing others when they weren't looking. While it's not gallant, or brave, or even right, that was the standard way of doing things back in the day. The reason is that it bettered the odds in one's favor if they strike first, hard, and fast when their enemy is not looking.  Yes, just as it is today.

Not being seen at all was the way must ambushes were down. Ambushes by nature are premeditated as someone has to have the intent to kill while lying in wait. Waiting for their opportunity to commit their murder.

Tom Horn was known to bushwhack those he went after from a distance and using cover. On July 18th, 1901, 14-year-old Willie Nickell was shot by Tom Horn near the Nickell homestead. Then on August 4th, his father Kels Nickell was ambushed. He was shot and wounded. It is believed that Horn did that shooting as well.

John Hicks Adams was a tough lawman as Sheriff of Santa Clara County, California. He later became a Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Arizona Territory. It was probably because he was known as a good hand with a gun that he was ambushed and killed on January 24th, 1878.

Marshal Adams and another lawman were actually ambushed by five Mexican outlaws, some say they were bandits, near Tucson. It's said that he and the other lawman were shot and appeared to have been beaten to death with clubs and rocks. While those who were known to have murdered the two were arrested in Mexico, but Mexican authorities refused to send them to the United States for prosecution. So yes, they got away with the murders just as if they were never seen at all.

Of course we all know how Jessie James was ambushed. That took place on April 3rd, 1882, when James stood on a chair to clean or adjust a picture on a wall in his home. His cohort Robert Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head. In his case, the killing of James proved that ambushes do happen from behind and by someone who he trusted. 

John Wesley Hardin was ambushed and killed by John Selman, Sr. in El Paso, Texas, on August 19th, 1895. Hardin was standing at the bar in the Acme Saloon playing dice when Selman simply walked up to Hardin from behind and shot him in the head. It killed the notorious Hardin instantly. 

But even though that was the case, it's said that while Hardin lay on the floor, Selman fired three more shots into him just to make sure he was dead. Hardin proved that his notorious reputation motivated his killer to make sure he was dead. As for Selman Sr., he was arrested but claimed self-defense at his trial. Imagine that. 

I guess that's the same reason Pat Garrett didn't take any chances going up against William "Billy the Kid" Bonney. On July 14th, 1881, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, at the home of a friend, Bonney entered a dark adjoining room. It's said that Pat Garrett fired twice. The first bullet is said to have killed Billy the Kid almost instantly.

Of course, retribution and revenge play a hand in ambushes. After the shootout near the OK Corral on October 26th, 1881, the outlaw gang of rustlers known as the "cow boys" attempted to take revenge on Tombstone City Marshal Virgil Earp. 

That took place at around 11:30 pm on December 28th, when it is believed at least three men hid out in an unfinished building and ambushed Marshal Virgil Earp as he walked from the Oriental Saloon to his room. Marshal Earp was hit in the back and left arm with what is believed to have been three loads of buckshot from only 60 feet away. 

After what was believed to be "four shots in quick succession," a critically wounded Virgil Earp staggered into his hotel. Believe it or not, 4 inches of his shattered humerus bone was removed from Virgil's left arm. Along with this, 20 buckshot were also removed from his side. It is amazing that he lived. And while that ambush left his arm permanently crippled, a testament to that great lawman is that he would later become a lawman again. This time it was in California.

His younger brother, Morgan Earp, was bushwhacked by the same outlaw gang at 10:50 p.m. on March 18th, 1882. Deputy City Marshal Morgan was ambushed and killed while playing a late night round of billiards at the Campbell & Hatch Billiard Parlor. He was actually playing against the owner of the place, Bob Hatch. Present there was Dan Tipton, Sherman McMaster, and his brother Wyatt. 

The killer shot Morgan through a door window. The door opened out into an alley that ran through the block between Allen and Fremont Streets. Morgan was hit while he stood about 10 feet from the door. The bullet struck his back on the right side and shattered his spine. Believe it or not, that bullet actually passed through Morgan's left side and went into the leg mining foreman George A. B. Berry who was also there. After they hit their mark, the killers fled into the dark night.

Then there's the Vaudeville Theater Massacre of March 11th, 1884. It was an ambush planed and carried out against the lawmen Ben Thompson and King Fisher. Two lawmen who had reputations as gunmen. 

It took place at the Vaudeville Variety Theater in San Antonio, Texas. Ben Thompson and King Fisher were two of the most notorious "pistoleros" of their day. Both were noted gunmen of the Old West. They were indeed living legends.  

King Fisher, who was a noted gunman in his own right with several killings to his credit. He was a good friend to Ben Thompson, and by 1884 King Fisher had settled into a more peaceful life with his family near Leakey, Texas, where he had become a successful rancher. King Fisher had recently left the office of sheriff for Uvalde County, Texas. 

On March 11th, 1884, he was in San Antonio on business when he decided to visit his old friend Ben Thompson. Of course what Fisher didn't know was that Thompson's enemies had plans to murder him if he entered San Antonio's Vaudeville Variety Theater. His being with Thompson was purely bad luck for Fisher. King Fisher would ironically become a victim in a situation in which he played no part in whatsoever.

Thompson was still very unpopular in San Antonio among some of the criminal element there. A feud had been brewing between Thompson and friends of Jack Harris who Thompson killed. Harris was the owner of Vaudeville Variety Theater. Harris's partner was Joe Foster.

That night started out as just two old friends getting together while in the same town. Ben Thompson and King Fisher attended a play at the Turner Hall Opera House. Then at around 10:30 pm, they decided to visit the Vaudeville Variety Theater.

Ben Thompson wanted to see Joe Foster, the theater's owner and former friend and partner of Harris who Thompson killed. Foster was now partnered with Billy Simms who was one of the main people fueling the ongoing feud. Ben Thompson had already spoken to Billy Simms, with whom he'd had a cordial and almost friendly conversation. But despite the feud and the general dislike for Ben Thompson in San Antonio, both he and King Fisher were feared men.

Their reputations as gunmen, and their having proven their skills in that trade in many documented gunfights gave anyone wishing to meet them face to face second thoughts. It's very likely that's what led to Thompson's enemies deciding on an ambush rather than a face to face confrontation.

Upon their entering the theater, a plot to ambush and kill them went into action. Part of the murder plot was to have them sit in a theater box with San Antonio police officer Jacob Coy. He would sit with them to give them a sense of security. After all, Coy was a police officer, who would think that a police officer would be part of a murder plot.

Thompson and Fisher were completely unknown that Coy was part of the plot to kill them as they were directed upstairs to meet with Foster. Coy and Simms joined them in the theater box. Foster arrived but refused to speak with Thompson.

Supposedly King Fisher noticed that something was not right and started to stand up. It was at that very moment that Billy Simms and San Antonio Police Officer Jacob Coy stepped aside. As they did, King Fisher and Ben Thompson got to their feet. But that was too late as it was then that a volley of gunfire erupted from an adjoining theater box. It's said that a hail of bullets hit both Thompson and Fisher, and cut them down immediately.

Ben Thompson fell onto his side. It was then that either Coy or Foster ran over to the downed Thompson and shot him in the head twice. It is said that Ben Thompson returned fire with two shots before being shot in the head, but that's doubtful. Its believed that he died almost immediately when the first volley of gunfire erupted.

I read one report that said two to three men with shotguns unleashed both barrels on Thompson and Fisher from the adjoining theater box when the curtain was pulled aside. While this is very possible because of the number of rounds removed from their bodies later, I think it's only speculation because the facts of what took place were a mystery for so long.  

King Fisher is said to have fire one round in retaliation, possibly wounding Coy, but that's never been confirmed. Fact is, Coy may have been shot by one of the attackers. Or, Coy may have shot himself in the hurried moment. Either way Coy never recovered completely, and he was left crippled for life. It was found later, that King Fisher was shot thirteen times. Imagine that!

It is said that Joe Foster, in attempting to draw his own pistol actually shot himself in the leg. Foster was carried down the street for medical attention, and his leg was amputated. He died of blood loss during the operation.

The exact description of the events of that night are contradictory, as it was totally dependent on anti-Thompson witnesses and the attackers themselves. At first, the assailants attempted to claim that Ben Thompson and Joe Foster had argued. As a result of the argument, Thompson had drawn his pistol on Foster. This supposedly prompted Foster to draw his gun which started a gun battle. Of course, that story was proven a lie over time. 

What is certain is that the two lawmen, men with reputations as gunmen, were ambushed. They had no prior knowledge that an attack would take place. And they themselves were not the instigators to the slaughter that took place, so really that shot the self-defense claims by the defendants all to hell. 

There was a public outcry for a Grand Jury indictment of those involved as many believed that Joe Foster and Billy Simms arranged the ambush and the assassination. The outcry came from a number of places in Texas besides San Antonio because people saw the ambush as cowardly and underhanded. But sadly, fact is no action was ever taken. Even though Coy was left a cripple and Foster died through his own fault, the guilty were never brought to justice.

The San Antonio Police and the local District Attorney showed little interest in the case. Because of that, interest in it simply died away. King Fisher was buried on his ranch. His body was later moved to the Pioneer Cemetery in Uvalde, Texas. Ben Thompson's body was returned to Austin, and was buried at the Oakwood Cemetery there. His funeral is said to have been one of the largest in Austin's history at that time. Ben Thompson was survived by his wife Catherine, and two children Ben and Katy.

Believe it or not, over the next few weeks Austin's newspaper editors engaged those of San Antonio in what is said to have been a nasty debate over the San Antonio coroner's jury report. The report ruled the killing was self-defense. As a result, no one was ever charged with the murders.

Though the Vaudeville Theater Ambush went down in history as one of the most famous gunfights in San Antonio history, the killing that night of Ben Thompson and John King Fisher became something of a mystery. At least at first, the only versions of what took place that night all came from those who arranged the ambush or were their friends. Of course, over time their stories unraveled. And even though a coroner's jury in San Antonio ruled the killing "self-defense," people there knew that was a lie. 

From that coroner's ruling, like the people in San Antonio learned that money and influence can prevent one from going to trial for murder. They learned that the preposterous claim of "self-defense" can be used even when ambushed by someone was lying in wait. They learned that all it takes is to have a corrupt local justice system in bed with criminals; that all it takes is to have local police complicit in such a massacre; that big money can buy people off; and of course, they learned that a one sided story can keep murderers from hanging for what they did. Yes, even in a horrendous ambush and murder as that of the Vaudeville Variety Theater Massacre.

That's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Horses -- Tips to Prepare For Winter

Dear Friends,

A long time reader has written to ask if everything is OK with me? She asks because I haven't been writing as much as I had been, and she thought that I must be ill. While that struck me as funny at first, I took a look at how many posts that I put out last month versus a few months ago, and found that she's right in that I haven't put out as many posts as I have in past months.

While I assure all of you that I'm not ill, it simply has everything to do with being busy in one way or another. Fact is that I haven't been posting as many posts as I would like to for a few reasons. First, as most of you already know, I volunteer a great deal at our local American Legion Post here is Glencoe. Second, I've been doing more and more research these days. I find myself doing research to update the information that I've collected just so I can give you folks accurate information. And lastly, I've been working to get my place ready for winter, specially my barn for my horses.

As most of us can tell, ready or not, fall is leaving and winter is almost here. So knowing this, I figure that you may want to know how I prepare for the cold weather ahead. 

While my "barn" is a little more than a semi-enclosed stables, there is a small list of things that I do to prepare for winter. Besides replacing boards that should be replaced from horses kicking them during their confinement last winter, this is what I do before everything is frozen and we're possible hit with snow. I have found that my doing these things helps me get through the worse when winter hits.


First, it's all about preparing my water troughs for winter. While some folks use heated water sources during the winter, I don't. Instead, I position their water troughs in their stalls to keep them warm. Of course, as we all know sometimes "Plan A" doesn't work out. Since that's the case, I do have trough heaters on hand just in case a freeze gets so bad that my automatic watering system does freeze up.

I test my trough heaters before temperatures drop just to make sure any of my heaters are not working and needs replacing. It's not that hard a task and only takes a few minutes to find out if they're good or not. Of course, since there is the possibility that they make work when you checked them and not consistently in your water trough when you put them into use, it is important to monitor the water to make sure they are working as they should be.

Also just in case I do need my trough heaters, I make sure my power cords are good to go in good working condition. If an extension cord needs replacing, my recommendation is do it now when it's not freezing out. And please, take it from me when I say put them in a place where they can be easy to grab up if they're needed. For me, there's nothing so frustrating as needing an extension cord but I can't remember where I put them.

As for my automatic watering system, I always make a check of my automatic watering system by specifically checking their floats and rubber washer seals. Just as with my standby trough heaters, all ahead of time before things start to freeze. Besides my floats and such, I make sure my water pipes are wrapped. While I don't have the problem of having water hoses above ground to my barn, I used to make sure my hoses were in good condition before using them. I used to also allow a trickle of water to constantly flow though them in an effort to stop them from freezing. Since I still worry about pipes freezing, I still do that from a faucet outside of my barn.


Next, let's talk about using horse blankets. A very long time ago, I learned the hard way that horses usually have adequate winter coats and really don’t need to be blanketed. Some owners make the mistake of thinking that a horse needs a blanket in the same way that they need a coat or jacket in the winter.

I've learned that some horses need blankets in some situations. Most likely the horses that need to be blanketed are those who have been recently clipped, or those who have had problems maintaining their weight because of their age or health problems. Of course some horse don't have the winter coat that others do and need to blanketed. So as with anything else, common sense dictates when to blanket your horse. 

If you do blanket your horse, take a look at your horse blankets now. Check for mud, mold, insects, where mice may have made a home when the blankets were stored. Also check the blankets straps to make sure they work, as well as rips and tears and holes. You may need to repair or replace your blankets. Remember, mud alone may rub your horse raw if it's not cleaned before use. And just as with your power cords and trough heaters, put them in a place where you'll have easy access to them. For me, I put mine in my tack room so they’ll be ready to go if need be.

Hay & Grain 

Now let's talk about hay. Fortunately I live just above the snowline here in California. So, all in all, I can get more hay fairly easily. But even though that's the case, that doesn't mean that I want to fight mud and/or a couple of feet of snow around my barn to bring in hay every month. That's why I believe in stocking up on hay. The key of course is to make sure you can keep it dry to prevent mold.

I'm a big believer in storing as much hay as I can where I can. I'm also a believer in storing more hay than I think I'll need. I find that having a lot of hay on hand gives me a sort of peace of mind. I like knowing that the weather can get as nasty as it wants and wouldn't have to make a hay run. And having more hay than I need is a benefit in another way, as I know that I'll able to feed my horses a little extra hay on those really cold days when they need it.

Stockpiling grains is no different than stockpiling hay. I believe it's smart to have extra in case a winter storm makes trips to the feed store a pain. As with hay, how much extra do you need?

I read where a good rule of thumb is to buy about 10 percent more than you think you'll need. While 10% may be the rule, I go higher than that. Besides, I also look at cost. I know that hay and grain are lowest in the summer months. So I save some money during the winter if I can stockpile as much as I can before winter prices go up.

Air Flow

While this really doesn't apply to barns, or stables, such as mine where it is very open in front, airflow in a barn during the winter is vital to the health of your horses. If there's too little ventilation, then airborne dust can accumulate quickly to unhealthy levels. For me, I've built solid wind-blocks and enclosures to shield my horses from bone-chilling winds. All while still giving my horses the ability to walk out of their enclosed stalls and into covered stall areas. Of course in barns that are totally enclosed, especially those in harsh winter environments, it is important to make your stable properly ventilated.

Winter weather can be tough on horse and horse owners. A little bit of preparation can be the key to your being able to have it easier during this time of year. Right now, I've been busy simply because I'm preparing so that I don't have to struggle with what comes up unexpectedly when the weather gets worse. Besides, my knowing that my property is ready for my horses is a comfort.

Tom Correa