Friday, May 11, 2018

George E. Goodfellow -- Frontier Doctor & Much More

In an article about the death of Johnny Ringo, I talked about some of the advances in forensic science that was taking place in the 19th century, specifically by the 1880s. I mentioned how forensic science may have taken part in determining whether or not Johnny Ringo's gunshot wound to the head was self-inflicted or not.

Dr. George E. Goodfellow was the county coroner at the time. And frankly, looking into his life has revealed interesting connections to a number of people and events of the Old West.

For example, Dr. George E. Goodfellow started out in Downieville, California, where he was born on December 23rd, 1855. Yes, the same Downieville where the first women ever to be hanged in California took place in 1851. Another connection to famous people of the West is that Dr. Goodfellow's first wife Katherine Colt was Samuel Colt's cousin. And interestingly, Goodfellow himself was supposed to be with George Custer at the Little Big Horn.

During his time in Arizona, he examined Charlie Storms after Luke Short stopped him in his tracks by putting a bullet in him. That's a shooting that we'll come back to in a bit.

Dr. Goodfellow examined Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury after they were killed during the now famous shootout at the lot near the OK Corral. He also treated both Virgil and Morgan Earp when they were wounded at that same gunfight. In fact, his testimony is said to have actually helped absolve the Earps and Holliday of murder charges that was a result of the shootout near the OK Corral. It was his assertion that the Earps and Holliday acted completely within the law. His testimony is what some say tipped the scales in favor of the Earps and Holliday since his credibility carried a great deal of weight.

He later attended to Virgil when he was ambushed, and then again to Morgan as he was dying. And as stated in my article on Johnny Ringo, Dr. Goodfellow was the doctor who examined Johnny Ringo to determine his cause of death.

There's a lot more about him, but before going on it should be noted that he was county coroner who ruled that John Heath died of "strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise" after Heath was lynched by an angry mob.

As I stated previously, George E. Goodfellow grew up during the California Gold Rush in mining camps. His father, Milton J. Goodfellow, arrived in California in 1853 seeking gold like thousands of other. His mother is said to have joined him two years. Besides George, they had two daughters. His father soon became a mining engineer, but he also had an interest in medicine. Geoerge is said to have followed in his father's footsteps when it came to an interest in both mining and medicine. 

At age 12, his parents saw that he was an exceptionally bright child so they sent him across country to attend a private school in Pennsylvania. On his return two years later, he attended the California Military Academy in Oakland, California.

After that, he was accepted to the University of California at Berkeley where he studied Civil Engineering. After only a year at U.C. Berkeley, he applied for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy. He was accepted to the to Naval Academy in June of 1872. While there, he actually became the school's boxing champion for a little while before getting into deep trouble over hazing a fellow classmate. That classmate was the Academy's first black cadet in the history of the Academy. By December of 1872,  he and two others involved in the hazing incident was shown the door and told to leave.

While in the East at that time, he looked up his cousin, Dr. T. H. Lashells of Pennsylvania. He still had an interest in medicine, and he found out that he had an aptitude for the medical field. So he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where an uncle lived, and attended Wooster University Medical School. He graduated with honors in early 1876. He left Ohio and returned to Oakland, California.

In Oakland, Dr. Goodfellow opened a medical practice. But he was soon asked by his father to join him in Yavapai County in the Arizona Territory. His father was a mining executive for a pretty big mining outfit at the time. Since they were looking for a company doctor, George and his wife relocated to Prescott where he was a company physician for the next two years.

During that time, he received permission to serve with George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry. But, as it turned out, his orders to join the unit were delayed and he missed the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25th, 1876. Instead, Dr. Goodfellow was assigned as assistant surgeon at Fort Whipple in Prescott. 

By November of that same year, he married Katherine Colt. As stated earlier, she was a cousin to Samuel Colt who was the inventor of the Colt revolver. Then in 1879, he became a contract surgeon at Fort Lowell near Tucson. 

During this time, the Goodfellows had a daughter, Edith born in 1879 in Oakland, and later a son, George Milton born in 1882 in Tombstone. His son died less than two months later from bleeding complications.

After his Army contract ended, he and his wife relocated to Tombstone in Cochise County, Arizona Territory. By 1880, Dr. Goodfellow opened his own practice there. It's said that Tombstone was less than a year old yet its population exploded from about 100 residents in March of 1879 to more than a thousand by the fall of that year. When the Goodfellows arrived in September of 1880, the town's population had doubled.

So now, in an article on how life was in Tombstone, I talk about how there were a lot of luxuries there because it was in fact a boomtown loaded with money. Well, it should be noted that when Dr, Goodfellow arrived there, there were already 12 doctors practicing medicine in Tombstone. Of course, as was the case in the Old West, only Goodfellow and three of those 12 actually had graduated from a medical school. 

Dr. Goodfellow opened an office on the second floor of the Crystal Palace Saloon which was said to "one of the most luxurious saloons in the West" at the time. One source said that the building where the Crystal Palace was located also was the location of the city and country offices such as County Coroner, Cochise County Sheriff, and the offices of Justice of the Peace Wells Spicer and Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp. 

Because of competition, it's said that his practice was slow and he spent more time downstairs in the saloon drinking and gambling. Of course that all came to a halt when the building was destroyed when most of downtown Tombstone burned to the ground during it's first large fire on May 26th, 1882. 

Tombstone was a frontier town and it produced a number of patients for the local doctors, Dr. Goodfellow included. Goodfellow famously described Tombstone as the "condensation of wickedness."

On May 26th, 1881, the Arizona Daily Star reported that Curly Bill Brocius was drunk when he got into an argument with Jim Wallace. Wallace is said to have insulted Tombstone Deputy Marshal Billy Breakenridge who was said to have been Curly Bill's friend. According to witnesses, Brocius became angry even after Wallace apologized to him. Soon a drunk Brocius was threatening to kill him for what he said. 

Witnesses said that Jim Wallace had enough and got up and left. Curly Bill made the mistake of following him. At one point Wallace turned around and shot Curly Bill in the face. The round actually went though the cheek and neck. Dr. Goodfellow treated Brocius's wounds. And though Brocius recovered after several weeks care, Breakenridge arrested Wallace for attempted murder. The court didn't see it that way and ruled that Wallace acted in self-defense.

In the aftermath of the shootout at the O.K. Corral on October 26th, 1881, Virgil Earp was shot through the calf and Morgan Earp was shot across both shoulder blades. Doc Holliday was also grazed by a bullet. Dr. Goodfellow treated the Earps' wounds, but also treated Billy Clanton who was dying as a result of the shootout. There is a story of how Billy Clanton asked someone to remove his boots before he died, so that he wouldn't die with his boot on. It was Goodfellow is said to have obliged the young Clanton.

Because Ike Clanton filed murder charges against the Earps and Holliday, Dr. Goodfellow was asked by County Coroner Dr. H.M. Mathew to review the autopsy reports on the three dead outlaws. It was Goodfellow's testimony about the nature of Billy Clanton's wounds during the hearing that actually supported Virgil Earp's version of what transpired in those few seconds. 

Goodfellow asserted that Billy Clanton's arm could not have been positioned holding his coats open by the lapels or raised in the air. It was Goodfellow’s testimony that in essence exonerated the Earps and Holliday as acting in self-defense.

Two months after the OK Corral, Goodfellow treated Virgil Earp again after he was ambushed. That took place at about 11:30 pm on December 28, 1881, when three gunmen hid in the dark of an unfinished building across Allen Street from the Cosmopolitan Hotel. They ambushed Virgil Earp as he walked from the Oriental Saloon to his room. They hit him in the back and left arm with three loads of double-barreled buckshot from 50 to 60 feet away.

Goodfellow wanted to amputate Virgil's arm, but Virgil refused to let that happen. Goodfellow instead operated on Virgil right there in the Cosmopolitan Hotel using only the few medical tools that he had in his bag. As he operated, he asked people there to retrieve supplies from his office. Virgil had a fracture of the humerus and elbow that could not be repaired. Goodfellow had to remove more than 3 inches of shattered humerus bone from Virgil's left arm in an attempt to allow him to keep his arm. Of course, Virgil would never ever have the use of that arm again and it was permanently crippled.

Dr. Goodfellow treated Morgan Earp trying to safe him after he was ambushed about two and a half months after Virgil was shot. On March 18th, 1882, at about 10:50 pm, Morgan was shot while playing a round of billiards at the Campbell & Hatch Billiard Parlor with owner Bob Hatch. 

No one really knows who really ambushed Morgan through a glass-window of a  locked door that led out into a dark alley between Allen and Fremont Streets. Morgan was struck in the back on the left of his spine. The bullet actually exited the front of Morgan's body and struck the thigh of mining foreman George A.B. Berry.  

Morgan could not stand. Even with assistance, he could not stand on his own. So he was laid out a nearby sofa chair in a lounge. That's where he died even though Dr. Goodfellow and two other doctors worked to try to safe his life. As for George Berry, the bullet was removed and he recovered. Morgan died within an hour of being shot.

On the morning of December 8th, 1883, a group of five outlaws robbed the Goldwater & Castaneda Mercantile in Bisbee. Most sources say didn't get very much. But the robbery soon became known as the Bisbee Massacre because the robbers killed four people including a pregnant woman and her unborn child. When the outlaws were caught, they said that saloon owner John Heath planned the robbery. 

Since John Heath had arrived in Arizona, he had been an upstanding citizen. One source says that he worked as a Cochise County deputy for a while. His main source of income was as a saloon keeper. There's information that he was supposedly a known cattle rustler in Texas, but I haven't been able to find out how anyone knows that for sure. 

Heath was arrested and tried separately from the others. They were all convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to hang, but not Heath. He was convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. He got a life sentence at the Yuma Territorial Prison. 

Topmbstone's citizens were outraged at the verdict and broke into the jail. They removed Heath and lynched him up from a telegraph pole. Dr. Goodfellow was there when Heath was hanged. 

At that time, he was County Coroner. His ruling on how John Heath died is famous in Old West lore, as he ruled that "Heath died from emphysema of the lungs which might have been, and probably was, caused by strangulation, self-inflicted or otherwise, as in accordance with the medical evidence."

While Dr. George E. Goodfellow is remembered for his practical use of sterile techniques in treating gunshot wounds by washing the patient's wound and his hands with lye soap or whisky. He was America's leading authority on gunshot wounds, and was specifically recognized in the United States as the nation's leading expert at treating abdominal gunshot wounds. 

On July 4th, 1881, a miner living outside of Tombstone was shot. He was hit in the abdomen with a .32-caliber round. Goodfellow was able to treat the man nine days later, on July 13, 1881, when he performed the first "laparotomy" to treat a bullet wound. He successfully repaired the miner's wounds and the miner survived. Dr. Goodfellow's "laparotomy" technique is still the standard procedure for treating abdominal gunshot wounds today. Imagine that.

Dr. Goodfellow was the first physician known to operate successfully on abdominal gunshot wounds. He challenged the standard belief at the time that considered such a wound an immediate death sentence. During his career, he published 13 articles about abdominal bullet wounds. All were based on treatments and techniques which he developed while practicing in Tombstone.

While his articles are informative, he writes as if he were a frustrated Dime Novelist using all sorts color commentary to describe his medical practice in Tombstone. For example: He wrote, "In the spring of 1881 I was a few feet distant from a couple of individuals [Luke Short and Charlie Storms] who were quarreling. They began shooting. The first shot took effect, as was afterward ascertained, in the left breast of one of them, who, after being shot, and while staggering back some 12 feet, cocked and fired his pistol twice, his second shot going into the air, for by that time he was on his back."

In an article he titled "Cases of Gunshot Wound of the Abdomen Treated by Operation," published in the Southern California Practitioner of 1889, he wrote, "the maxim is, shoot for the guts; knowing death is certain, yet sufficiently lingering and agonizing to afford a plenary sense of gratification to the victor in the contest."

That article described five patients with penetrating abdominal wounds, four of whom survived, and the laparotomies which he completed on all of them. He wrote, "it is inexcusable and criminal to neglect to operate upon a case of gunshot wound in the abdominal cavity."

Goodfellow saw the effect of these large-caliber weapons up close and was very familiar with their powerful impact. He also learned that the caliber of the bullet determined whether a medical procedure was needed. He reasoned if the bullet was .32-caliber or larger, it "inflicted enough damage to necessitate immediate operation." 

Also noting, "Given a gunshot wound of the abdominal cavity with one of the above caliber balls [.44 and .45], if the cavity be not opened within an hour, the patient by reason of hemorrhage is beyond any chance of recovery.”

His description of the bullet wounds he most often treated reads as such, "The .44 and .45 caliber Colt revolver, .45-60 and .44-40 Winchester rifles and carbines were the toys with which our festive or obstreperous citizens delight themselves." 

"The .45-caliber Colt Peacemaker round contained 40 grains of black powder that shot a thumb-sized 250-grain slug at the relatively slow velocity of 910 feet per second. But the large bullet could smash through a 3.75-inch-thick pine board at 50 yards." 

So now, let's talk about how Luke Short shot Charlie Storms in the heart. And let's talk about how Storms did not bleed. 

On February 25th, 1881, gambler Luke Short and gunfighter Charlie Storms got into an argument in Tombstone. Storms was a fool who saw Short as a small prey easily intimidated. He was mistaken. 

When Charlie Storms pulled Luke Short off the sidewalk, he immediately pulled his cut-off Colt .45 pistol. Luke Short was not an easy mark and quickly pulled his own pistol, shooting Charlie Storms twice. It's said Short's first shot into Storm was at such close range that the black-powder set fire to Storms' shirt. 

While Luke Short's actions were ruled self-defense as it should have, Dr. Goodfellow found that a silk handkerchief had stopped the bullet. Imagine that.

During Storm's autopsy, Goodfellow found that he had been shot in the heart but was surprised to see "not a drop of blood" exiting the wound. He noted that the bullet that struck Storms should have passed through his body. Instead, he found that the bullet had ripped through Storm's clothing and actually into a folded silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. 

Believe it or not, Dr. Goodfellow extracted the intact bullet from the wound and found two thicknesses of silk wrapped around it and two tears where it had struck the vertebral column. He took his findings and showed the slightly flattened .45-caliber bullet and bloody handkerchief to George Parsons.

Dr. Goodfellow was also interested in a shooting where Assistant City Marshal Billy Breakenridge shot suspect Billy Grounds from 30 feet with a shotgun. Yes, killing him instantly. When Goodfellow examined Grounds, he found that two of the buckshot had penetrated Grounds' thick Mexican felt hat band which was embroidered with silver wire. The two buckshot and two others penetrated his head and flattened against the posterior wall of the skull. The other buckshot penetrated his face and chest. 

Goodfellow noted that one of the grains had passed through two heavy wool shirts and a blanket-lined canvas coat and vest before ending up deep in Grounds' chest. But what fascinated Goodfellow was that in the folds of a Chinese silk handkerchief around Grounds' neck, he found two shotgun pellets yet no holes.

In a third shooting, Dr. Goodfellow found a man who had been shot through the right side of the neck, narrowly missing his carotid artery. A portion of the man's silk neckerchief had been carried into the wound by the bullet, preventing a more serious injury, but the scarf was undamaged.

To Dr. Goodfellow, there was no mistaking the protection offered by silk. It was plainly evident from these examples. In 1887, Goodfellow documented these cases in an article titled "Notes on the Impenetrability of Silk to Bullets" for the Southern California Practitioner

So here you go, Dr. Goodfellow experimented with designs for bullet-resistant clothing made of multiple layers of silk. In fact, his research was accepted in segments that he himself never realized since it's said that the late 1890s outlaws were wearing expensive silk vests to protect themselves. Imagine that. 

As for his other innovations in the world of medicine, he is said to have pioneered treating tuberculosis patients by exposing them to Arizona's dry climate. And along with his performing the first laparotomy, Goodfellow recorded performing the first appendectomy in the Arizona Territory, and he performed what many consider to be the first perineal prostatectomy, an operation he developed to treat bladder problems by removing the enlarged prostate. Goodfellow completed 78 operations and only two patients died. That's an incredible success rate for that time period.

His wife Kate Goodfellow died on August 16, 1891, at his mother's home in Oakland. After he tended to his wife's needs, he returned to Arizona. There he was appointed by Governor Louis C. Hughes as the Arizona Territorial Health Officer until 1896. He was living in Los Angeles in 1896 and was listed in the 1897 Los Angeles City Directory. 

Goodfellow returned to Tucson in 1898. But later that year with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he became the personal physician to his friend General William Shafter. To fill that position, he was given the rank of Major and put in charge of the field hospital. 

In late 1899, Goodfellow moved to San Francisco and set up practice there. On January 19th, 1900, he was appointed as the surgeon for the Sante Fe Railroad headquartered in San Francisco.  

In April 1906, at the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Goodfellow had remarried and was living at the St. Francis Hotel. He lost all of his records and personal manuscripts in fire that engulfed the city as a result of the earthquake. It's said with the quake, his finances were ruined. 

Goodfellow returned to the Southern Pacific Railroad where he was employed as a surgeon from 1907 to 1910. It was the summer of 1910 that Goodfellow fell ill.

Over a six month period his health declined. At one point, he decided that he did not want to live any longer. He died on December 7, 1910. I was surprised to read that his obituary attributed his death to a nervous breakdown. I was also surprised to read that there were those who said alcoholism may have played a role in his death. 

While I can't possibly pack all of his accomplishments and deeds into this article, let's just realize that Dr. Goodfellow is credited as being America's first civilian trauma surgeon. Yes, in the Old West.

In his lifetime, Dr. George E. Goodfellow did more than most. Among the things he did was spend 11 years practicing medicine in Tombstone where he treated gunshot wounds, but also delivered babies, set broken bones, and provided medical care to anyone in need. Dr. Goodfellow is buried in Los Angeles.

Tom Correa

Sunday, May 6, 2018

William H. Ashley & Hugh Glass


A good friend recently asked me to post what I knew about Hugh Glass. Since many out there have heard the story about how Glass was a mountain man who was mauled by a female grizzly bear and was thought near dead but miraculously lived, I thought I'd start out by telling you how his story started.

So now, since this is way too long, grab a cup of coffee and try not to let the kids hear you cussing me out as you read the story of William H. Ashley, Hugh Glass and others of Ashley's Hundred.

First, to tell the story about Hugh Glass, we have to first talk about William Henry Ashley. We have to talk about how Glass and others answered an advertisement that Ashley placed in a St. Louis newspaper looking for 100 men for a two to three year expedition up the Missouri River.

Who was William Henry Ashley you ask? He was born in 1778 in Virginia. He would pass away on March 26th, 1838, in Boonville, Missouri. He was a pioneer in the American fur trade. And though he was from Virginia originally, Ashley was already living in an area that was part the Louisanna Purchase when it took place in 1803.

The area that he lived in became known as Missouri. Ashley was living in St. Louis by 1808 and there he became a Brigadier General in the Missouri Militia during the War of 1812. Prior to the British invasion, Ashley was a real estate speculator and manufactured gunpowder. He was elected as Missouri's first Lieutenant Governor in 1820 when Missouri was admitted to the Union. He served as that state's Lieutenant Governor until 1824.

In 1822, just two years after becoming Lieutenant Governor, he became business partners with Andrew Henry who was a Major in the Missouri Militia during the War of 1812. Henry was a bullet maker by trade and their gunpowder and bullet business was a huge success. Always looking for new opportunities, Ashley and Henry soon formed the Rocky Mountain Fur Company to get in on the fur trade.

Now as for the ad that Ashley placed in a St. Louis newspaper in 1822. Well, on February 13th, 1822, Ashley ran his advertisement in the St. Louis Missouri Republican seeking one hundred men. As it states, "To Enterprising young men . . . to ascend the river Missouri to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years." Those men would became known as "Ashley's Hundred."

The ad was meant to recruit men for the first of several fur trapping expeditions to the Rocky Mountains. All financed and organized by William Henry Ashley and Andrew Henry. Of course his ad was helped along on September 17th, 1822, when the St. Louis Intelligencer newspaper ran a story detailing how young men were working in the fur trade "increased their capital and extended their enterprises." The article also reported that "a thousand men" were at the time trapping the upper reaches of the Missouri while another five hundred trappers were working on the Mississippi.

To say that the advertisement worked is pretty much an understatement. Because the fur trade was booming, and a large number of young men wanted to cash in on the goings on, it's said Ashley was inundated with young men all seeking such adventure. Among those of Ashley's Hundred who would later become famous in American History was Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, Jim Beckwourth, Mike Fink, David Jackson, John Fitzgerald, Tom Fitzpatrick, William Sublette, and of course Hugh Glass. As for Glass, he didn't actually join Ashley's expedition until the second year. So no, he wasn't part of the original 100. And frankly, since he was supposedly born in 1783, that means he was already 40 years old at the time. That's important since Ashley is said to have hired only young men when he started Ashley's Hundred.

What did Ashley's Hundred accomplish? 

Ashley's expeditions started out in trouble. For example, though three expeditions were ordered, with the last being led by Ashley himself, those expeditions were a failure financially. One was a huge loss. That was during the expedition led by a Daniel Moore who lost one of his keelboats when it capsized. When that happened, Moore lost all of its expedition's cargo. The cost of that loss was said to be about a $10,000 loss. 

As for as encounters with Indians, it's said Blackfeet Indian attacks resulted in the death of four men during that first outing. During the next year, Arikara Indians attacked the group and Ashley lost twenty-four men in that attack. The survivors are said to have retreated down river and actually hid in shelters where they stayed for more than a month. 

While some would have seen the loss of a quarter of your expedition as a sign to stop, Ashley didn't. Instead, he used his power as Lieutenant Governor to call Colonel Henry Leavenworth who commanded the 6th Infantry to handle the situation with a force of 230 soldiers. Soon after that his partner Andrew Henry’s men came downriver. He was accompanied by Joshua Pilcher’s men from the Missouri River Fur Company. They were allied with 750 Sioux Indians. Henry's 50 men and Ashley's remaining 20 trappers, Pilcher's men, and the 750 Sioux, along with the 230 soldiers of the 6th Infantry were all under the command of Lt Col. Leavenworth at Fort Atkinson in what is today Nebraska.

 All were gathered to take on the Arikara Indians. Then on August 9th, 1823, their combined force of more than 1,000 men attacked Arikara villages along the Missouri River in what is today South Dakota. The incident would later become known as the Arikara War. After just a few days of fighting, the Arikara Indians were allowed to leave their villages.

While their defeat diminished their threat, the attacks had a serious impacted how Ashley and his partner Henry conducted things. For example, feeling that the risks from Indians in Montana was way too great, they instead focused on the Bear, Green, Snake, and Wind Rivers. Then in a move that changed everything, they allowed the men under their employ to roam the country as they saw fit.

Ever wonder who started the first "Rendezvous" for trappers and such? Well, it was William Henry Ashley who came up with the whole rendezvous system where mountain men, trappers, Indians, and traders would all meet annually. The time and place was all predetermined to sell and exchange furs, buy goods, make money, and replenish supplies. It's said that his innovations, which included rendezvouses, made him a great deal of money and garnered him a great deal of recognition and respect in the fur trade.

From what I can tell, Ashley himself led only 4 expeditions. And though that's true, his rendezvous system is said to have "ushered in the golden age of Rocky Mountain fur trading." His rendezvous strategy was an arrangement where mountain men received a fixed sum for their furs, which of course those same trappers spent on supplies, powder, bullets, and liquor which Ashley furnished.

Ashley and his men would help open the West to American expansion. For example, between 1822 and 1825, they actually accomplished a number of large scale fur trapping expeditions. In fact, Ashley's men are officially credited with the discovery of South Pass in the winter of 1824. That same year, Ashley lost reelection as Missouri's Lieutenant Governor. Not having to deal with anything else, Ashley had more time to focus on the fur trade. His partner Andrew Henry decided to leave the expeditions and soon afterwards sold out his half of the company to Ashley.

During the spring of 1826, Ashley himself led an expedition into the Salt Lake Valley. Then he headed south of the Great Salt Lake, and he's actually credited with discovering Utah Lake which he originally named Lake Ashley.

It was there that he established Fort Ashley in order to trade with the Indians there. And over the next three years, Fort Ashely is said to have collected over $180,000 worth of furs. Friends, $180,000 back 189 years ago in the year 1829 is equivalent in purchasing power to $4,652,153.33 in 2018.

He made so much money from this arrangement that he was able to completely retired by 1826. So in 1826, Ashley sold the Rocky Mountain Fur Company to Jedediah Smith. The sale of his company didn't stop his men from exploring what is today northern Colorado. In fact, it's said they went from the South Platte River to the base of the Front Range, and then ascended the Cache la Poudre River into the Laramie Plains and advanced to the Green River. That was in 1828.

As for Ashley? He got back into politics and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1831 after Spencer Pettis was killed in a duel that same year. He was reelected in 1832 and 1834. But by 1836, Ashley didn't want to run for a fourth term in Congress and instead ran for Governor of Missouri.

He lost that election and returned to private business where he made a great deal of money when he returned to dealing in real estate. Sadly, Ashley’s heath had started to decline after he left Congress. He became ill and bedridden. He died of pneumonia on March 26th, 1838. While some sources say he was 54 when he died, others say he was 60 years old at the time of his passing.

William H. Ashley is buried atop an American Indian burial mound in Cooper County, Missouri. It's said that he overlooks the Missouri River.

So now, you're saying what about Hugh Glass? 

Well, he is believed to have been born around 1783 in Pennsylvania to Scots-Irish parents. But frankly, that's anyone's guess if that's true or not because his early life is more myth and mystery. For example, Glass was supposedly born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and his parents were supposedly from what is today Northern Ireland. But, I can't find anything to confirm that.

There is a great tale about how he had been captured by pirates off the coast of Texas in 1816. Supposedly, after being captured, he was forced to become a pirate for a few years but then escaped by jumping ship and landing in what is now Galveston, Texas. Of course, after that he was captured by the Pawnee who made him a member or their tribe. Then, after living as a Pawnee for a number years, he waved goodbye and left for St. Louis, Missouri in 1821. Another story says that since he was the only English speaking captive, he taught the Pawnee Chiefs to speak English so that they could negotiate a peace treaty and end a war with the Americans. But really, that doesn't make sense since the Pawnee were never at war with the United States and in fact had a treaty with the United States in 1818 while the Pawnee were still living in Nebraska. 

He was among the men who were Ashley's expedition of 1823. We know that when he is mentioned in Ashley and Henry's private papers, they usually make him out as an employee that lacked discipline and was hard to handle. Though that may have been the case, Glass did in fact take part in the Arikara War and was said to have been among the fortunate ones who survived that engagement even after being shot in the leg. 

While the Arikara War was the first conflict with Indians in the West, and is considered a victory for the United States, the war with the Arikara Indians did inflict a great number of casualties on Ashley's men, the 6th Infantry, and the Sioux who were allied at the time.

Of course, Hugh Glass is best known for his story of survival after being left for dead during that expedition in 1823. And please understand that there are no known direct eyewitness accounts of the bear attack or what happened afterwards.

We do know that the story was first published in The Port Folio in 1825 in Philadelphia.  The story's author was James Hall who was brother of the editor of The Port Folio. The story was supposedly picked up by newspapers and from there became well known. The writer, James Hall, is an interesting character in that he was a judge and lawyer who worked very hard as a writer. In fact, he is considered a "literary pioneer of the Midwestern United States" while also practicing law as a lawyer. He is known to have worked as an editor with the Illinois Gazette. And later while still practicing law, and later a judge and politician, he was an editor with the Illinois Intelligencer. He also later became editor of the Western Souvenir, the Illinois Monthly Magazine, and the Western Monthly Magazine. So yes, he was quite the storyteller. Some say quite the fiction writer.

As for Hugh Glass himself was unlike Jim Bridger who couldn't read or write. Glass is said to have been very literate. But while that's true, no one can find where Glass himself wrote anything down that would corroborate James Hall's story of what has become a legend.

So what does that mean to us? For me, it tells me that we can only got with the few facts that we know and the legend which I'm sure has been embellished over the years. And since there's no real way of knowing how embellished it has become over the years, who knows the truth of what took place after he was attacked by a female grizzly?

We know that Glass didn't join Ashley's Hundred until the second year. He was part of those who retreated downstream as a result of their fight with the Arikara Indians. He and the rest of the Ashley's men eventually returned to Fort Kiowa. Andrew Henry had joined the group there soon after that. Then with Henry in the lead, they all set out overland to the Yellowstone River to join up with

Glass was only with Ashley's Hundred for five months when he was attacked. He was actually part of a hunting party our looking for game for the expedition. They were near what is today Shadehill, South Dakota. It was there that Glass was surprised by a mother grizzly bear. For me, I think he was attacked because she saw him as a predator since she had her two cubs to protect.

Many years ago, I became fascinated by bear attacks after meeting an old man who said that he survived such an attack by a mother black bear. He described a bear attack as horrendous. He said the ordeal was ferocious, absolutely savage, the most violent thing he'd ever experienced.

My fascination with such things stems from the fact that such encounters exemplify the human spirit fighting with all one has to stay alive and not just roll over a die. Over the years, I've had two encounters with bears. One was very close with a very angry black bear who screamed into my face that was just a couple feet away from his. While that's a story for another day, from my own first hand experience with bears, I've found that a bear's first reaction when meeting up with people or hearing shots fired is to run away as far as fast as possible. In my case, a few shots fired turned that big cinnamon bear around and set him running. Lucky for me.

While a bear's first reaction is to turn and run, that's not the case when they're surprised or when protecting their young. From what I can tell, almost all bear attacks result from somebody surprising the bear. Hunters, even today, are the most at risk because hunters aren't making very much noise because they won't scare the game away. This means that while hunters try to be silent to get the game they're after, a bear will feel threatened and immediately go in attack mode instinctively if the hunter suddenly appears out of nowhere and is seen as a threat. This instinctive reaction to attack is heightened when it's a mother bear thinking she has to protect her young.

Female bears are very defensive of their young. Fact is she bears do not need the participation of a male bear to take care of her young. Male bears don't matter as a female bear spends her life devoted to raising their cubs. Yes, the term "mama bear" is a reference to the extremely instinctive reactive and protective nature of women who take care of their children in the same way.

So while bears will usually run away if alone, a mother bear protecting her cubs is mostly likely to attack any sudden threat. In fact, research agrees with that saying that the vast majority of bear attacks take place when a mother bear senses danger is approaching her cubs.

As for a bear attack, aside from deep lacerations, fractures, broken bones, dislocation, and other traumatic wounds, the fact that bears eat carrion for protein means that a bear's mouth full of infectious bacteria. Modern day recovery from bear attacks are said to depend on the extent of the injuries and in most cases involves long-term medical treatment. That's today world of modern medicines.

In the case of Hugh Glass, the last thing that he wanted to do that day was meet up with a mother grizzly. She charged him and is said to have literally picked him up when she bit into his head. Her three-inch claws opened huge lacerations in Glass. And when she was done with him, it's said she literally threw him to the ground at one point.

The rest of the hunting party is said to have heard his screams and the bear in rage. Soon they arrived and found Glass with a knife in his hand fighting for his life. I read where those mountain men fired a number of shots into the angry she bear before finally killing her.

Glass was said to be slashed open from her claws, punctured in the head and neck by her teeth, one of his legs were broken, and he was basically cut up from head to toe. She had made a mess of him. And to aggravate matters, while the others were trying to tend to his wounds the best they could, soon infection and fever set in. He loss consciousness and fell into what we know today was a coma.

Remember, that was 1823 in the wilderness of what would become South Dakota. There were no doctors, no medical emergency services, no calling in help, nothing that we have today. These were mountain men with basic medical skills when it came to tending to wounds. They did everything they could for him even though they were convinced Glass would not survive from what he went through.

While Hollywood has depicted this taking place in the freezing cold of winter, with Glass having to kill an elk and then crawl into it's carcass for warmth, it actually took place in the middle of summer. And while movies show his party simply leaving him to die, in truth they carried Glass on a litter for two days hoping he'd waken from his coma.

I can understand how Andrew Henry saw their efforts to save Glass as definitely slowing down the rate that their travel, especially since they were needed to link up with another party led by Jedediah Smith in the Blackfoot territory. They were support for others in a hostile land.

It's said at one point Henry asked for two volunteers to stay with Glass to give him a Christian burial when he dies. John S. Fitzgerald and a young Jim Bridger stepped forward to stay behind and make sure he was buried. They were so sure Glass was going to die, that Fitzgerald and Bridger immediately started digging a grave while the rest of the party started to moved out.

So now, we have a group of mountain men who fought the Arikara Indians, loss a number of their own men there, and now have one of their own mauled by a she bear. He looked like he was dead but he was still breathing. He was unconscious and had a fever as infections set in. The leader of the group believed he would not live very long so he asked for volunteers. Two of the men stepped forward to volunteer to stay with their dying companion. Their job was to wait for him to die. Yes, just so they could give him a Christian burial.

It is believed that after two days of watching over him, Fitzgerald started to worry about their odds of catching up with their party. It's speculated that he actually convinced the younger Bridger to bury Glass and head out to reconnect up with their party for safety reasons.

There's another story about how when Fitzgerald and Bridger caught up with Henry's main party, that Fitzgerald reported how the two came under attack as they were burying Glass who had died. Supposedly Fitzgerald claimed that he and Bridger came under attack by Arikara Indians, so they slipped Glass into the shallow grave before grabbing up Glass's rifle and other gear and retreating from the area. Frankly, who knows what took place? I don't think anyone really does.

I don't think neither of them expected for Glass to regain consciousness and live. But he did, even though his injuries were immense. Of course when he did wake from his coma, he found himself in a shallow grave left for dead. And worse, he found himself without his rifle, powder, or any of his gear. No, not even a knife.

As for his infected wounds, his broken leg, the deep cuts and punctures? Legend says that he prevented gangrene by allowing maggots to eat the dead flesh in his wounds. As for his leg, since his comrades applied a splint to his broken leg when they initially treated him after the attack, he kept the splint in place during his whole ordeal.

Then even though gravely injured, he somehow summoned the will to drag himself until he found water. After taking in water, legend says that he crawled for six weeks surviving mostly on wild berries and roots while trying to make it back to Fort Kiowa. And while there is the great story about how Glass supposedly killed and ate a rattlesnake during his journey, or that he was woken from sleep by a grizzly bear licking the maggots off his wounds, those sound like tale tales at best.

Glass is said to have crawled to the Cheyenne River where he put together a raft and then floated downstream to Fort Kiowa. The entire journey is said to have taken him six weeks. And depending on the source, some say that he may have crawled over 200 miles to Fort Kiowa on the Missouri River without using the river to get him there.

While a number of people, especially those in Hollywood, have repeated the story that what kept Hugh Glass alive was his anger and desire for revenge and retaliation on Fitzgerald and Bridger. Bu how could that be true? Since he was already in a coma when Fitzgerald and Bridger volunteers to stay behind and give him a Christian burial, how did he know it was them who left him?

What that means is there was no way of him knowing who put him in that grave and left, or when or why they left, or anything? There was no way for him to know about anything that took place until he was back in Fort Kiowa. He would only be able to know who to be angry with when he found the rest of party. It would only be then that he would find out what happened after that she bear came close to killing him and he became unconscious.

So really, when we consider the fact that he was unconscious and had absolutely no knowledge of what took place that resulted in him being placed in a shallow grave, how can anyone surmise that he wanted revenge against anyone since there was no way for him to know how or why he was left there, by who, or for what reason?

Frankly my friends, that's why I don't think it was rage or revenge that kept him alive. I think his sense of survival came out of his overwhelming desire to live and not die. Sorry if it doesn't sound dramatic enough, but I really believe he made his journey back because his desire to live pushed him onward.

As for wreaking violent revenge on those who left him, besides his not knowing who that were, how would Fitzgerald and Bridger have known that Glass would've simply awoke? Or survive another day or another month? How long were those two supposed to wait in the middle of the wilderness for a comrade to die while infection and gangrene ate away at him? And that's another thing, no where in the story of what took place do we know how long it was before Glass regained consciousness? Was it an hour after Fitzgerald and Bridger left? Was it a day? Two days? Was it almost a week later? Was it more than a week before he awoke for his coma and crawled to water?

I've read 5 days in one source and 7 days in another source, but I can't find anywhere that confirmed either number. After two days of waiting for Glass to die, Fitzgerald and Bridger trailed after Henry's main party in an effort to catch up with them. I can't find anywhere that explains why Glass didn't trail after Fitzgerald and Bridger, or if he did and when did he start out? Since Ashley's Hundred was always on foot and din't have horses, one would think they were easy enough to follow.

As for "showing mercy to Fitzgerald and Bridger"? Legend says Hugh Glass found Jim Bridger and forgave him because of his youth. There's the story that he found Fitzgerald had joined the U.S. Army and later found him. Glass supposedly got his rifle back but warned Fitzgerald that he'd one day kill him.

Glass is said to have "re-enlisted" with Ashley's Hundred. Later he was employed as a hunter for the U.S. Army at Fort Union in North Dakota. It was during that time that Glass and two others were killed in early 1833 on the Yellowstone River in an attack by the Arikara. Glass was either 49 or 50 years old when he died. That was pretty old for those days.

It might be interesting to note that the famous mountain man Jedediah Smith was also attacked by a grizzly in 1823. Yes, the man who is considered the first American to enter what is today California was actually attacked by a grizzly that was supposedly stalking his party around the same time that Hugh Glass was attacked.

Along the Cheyenne River, near what is Buffalo Gap and Beaver Creek in South Dakota, a grizzly surprised Smith and attacked him violently. The bear is said to have thrown Smith to the ground, cracking his ribs while ripping off Smith's  scalp. The bear actually had Jed Smith's head in his mouth and supposedly chewed off Smith's right ear. But believe it or not, Smith survived. 

Smith's scalp was hanging on to his head only by an ear. In the case of his being attacked, Jed Smith recorded what happened in his journal. He states how when his men found him in such a bloody and horrible way that they were horrified. He states how he calmed them down and instructed Jim Clyman to sew his hanging flesh back on. And yes, fellow mountain man Jim Clyman actually stitched his scalp back to his head while Smith is said to have repeated the 23rd Psalm over and over and over again.

Doing the best that he could, at one point Clyman stopped and said that there was nothing that he could do for Smith's severed ear. Smith wrote in his journal how he insisted that Clyman try. Jim Clyman wrote in his journal, "I put my needle sticking it through and through and over and over laying the lacerated parts together as nice as I could with my hands.” Imagine that.

Besides being part of Ashley's Hundred, fighting in the Arikara War, being mountain men, and both surviving beating attacked by grizzly bears, Hugh Glass and Jedediah Smith had something else in common. I'm sure it wasn't something either of them wanted to have in common.

In 1831, two years before Glass was killed by Arikara Indians, Jedediah Smith was himself killed by Comanche Indians. It's said that Smith wanted to retire from exploring the West. He was on his last trip along the Old Santa Fe Trail when he was killed. He was 32 years old, and is truly one of America's great explorers. 

Today there's a marker on the spot where he was killed by Comanche Indians. It's where he reached the river after days without water. And just as what would happen to Hugh Glass two years later, Jedediah Smith's body was never found after being murdered. Only parts of it. 

Tom Correa




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

America's Southern Border Problem


Dear Friends,

On April 27th, 2002, Ronald da Silva was standing in his driveway in the Southern California town of El Monte when he was shot and killed. His killer was Luis Gonzales who was an illegal alien from Mexico. Gonzales had been previously deported.who had been previously deported but found his way back.

And before we go on, let's get something straight, there is no such thing as an "illegal immigrant." The law is very clear on that as it states that those here in our country unlawfully without the status of a citizen are in fact "illegal aliens."

The illegal alien that killed Ronald da Silva was sentenced to 21 years in prison but will be released in 2020. The victim's mother Agnes Gibboney has stated publicly, "The guy that killed my son has a determinate sentence in prison, but I have a lifetime sentence of grief and pain."

on March 30, 2007 Tessa Tranchant, 16, was killed in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tessa and her friend, Ali Kunhardt, were sitting at a stoplight when Alfredo Ramos, an illegal alien from Mexico who was intoxicated and speeding, rear-ended their car. Ramos had a history of prior convictions, but due to Virginia Beach’s sanctuary policies, he was never detained. He was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

On January 31, 2016, Sarah Root, 21, from Omaha, Nebraska was killed. Her SUV was rear-ended by Eswin Mejia, an illegal alien from Honduras, who was street racing. Sarah had just graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA the day before she passed away.

Omaha is in Douglas County, Nebraska which has sanctuary policies that impede local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with ICE officers. Mejia was charged with motor vehicular homicide but posted bond to get out of jail and was released. He is still on the run.

On January 22, 2015, Apolinar Altamirano, an illegal alien from Mexico, murdered Grant Ronnebeck in Mesa, Arizona. Ronnebeck was shot over a pack of cigarettes while he was working his shift at a convenience store. Altamirano was out on bond from a previous conviction while ICE determined whether he should be deported when he killed Ronnebeck.

"My son's death was completely preventable. Obama's immigration policies cost my son his life," said Steve Ronnebeck, Grant's father

As most know, a young woman by the name of Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal alien. On July 1st, 2015, Kate Steinle, who was 32 years-old at the time, was walking with her father and a friend along Pier 14 in San Francisco, when she was shot and killed by illegal alien Jose Inez Garcia Zarate. He first said that he was shooting at a sea lion.

Later, after talking to a lawyer, he said that he fired the handgun accidentally. Then in court, it was said that the gun magically went off by itself as if it had a mind of it's own. And believe it or not, the people of San Francisco believed that line of bull and didn't even take into consideration that he was already a criminal as he was in the United States illegally. 

On November 30th, 2017, after five days of deliberations, a San Francisco jury acquitted Zarate of all murder charges. They didn't even convict him of manslaughter charges which is usually the case in an "accidental" homicide. Instead, the jury convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Yes, that's it.

The trial of the illegal alien who killed Kate Steinle was a farce. Instead of trying the individual on the facts of the case, the City of San Francisco was interested in supporting its policies as a so-called "Sanctuary City" and subsequently waving murder charges against the Illegal. All in all, the trial became a side show pitting the ultra-Left City of San Francisco against the federal government's right to deport Illegal Aliens, criminal or otherwise.

President Obama refused to secure the border. Many believed that something huge had to take place before Obama got off his backside, turned off ESPN which he said he watched until Noon each day, and actually did something about the border.

How huge? No one will ever since that inept individual is now thankfully out of office. The murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Wilson wasn't enough. The murder of hundreds, by some account thousands of Americans, each year wasn't enough to get him off his ass and do something to help America.

How huge did it have to be to get Democrats to help Americans stay secure in our own nation? Imagine this for a moment, in 2009 there were 3,484 total inmates incarcerated in Arizona state prisons for homicide and related offenses of first degree murder, second degree murder, murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. That's just Arizona in the year that Obama took office. we know it's gone up while Obama was in office. 

We know that between 25 and 30 American citizens are killed everyday by Illegal Aliens. But besides the criminal element that comes across the border to attack our citizens, a few years ago it was estimated that there have been more than 500 armed Mexican military and law enforcement personnel crossings into the U.S. border without permission of the federal government over the past 10 years. In Obama's last 4 years in office, we know of 300 of such acts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske reported that roughly 525 armed Mexican soldiers and police jumped the border since 2004, in 152 separate incidents. "Foreign military incursions are infrequent but can involve officer safety and other concerns," he wrote.

According to CBP, some of the Mexican personnel who improperly crossed the border were detained, though it's unclear for how long. The agency reported that 131 subjects were detained. And while CBP suggests the Mexican military and law enforcement who cross over typically are pursuing suspects or otherwise trying to enforce their own laws, no one knows if that's just an excuse to poke the bear up north.

When encounters with unarmed Mexican personnel are included, the number of total crossings is considerably larger. According to the agency, a total of 300 border incursions were documented since 2004.

"There is a clear lack of consistency among DHS in handling these incidents, especially in cases of unauthorized incursions with armed authorities," Hunter said.

The details from the CBP follow congressional concerns voiced earlier in the year by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. In a January of 2014 letter, Coburn revealed an incident where individuals in Mexican military uniforms apparently drew their guns on a U.S. border agent after crossing the border into Arizona. This was all reported in June of 2014. The CBP acknowledge the incident saying that two soldiers from the Mexican military walked across the U.S. border near Sasabe, Arizona. There they ran into U.S. Border Patrol agents about 50 yards north of the border.

It's true, two armed Mexican soldiers crossed into the Arizona and drew their guns during a concerning stand off with Border Patrol agents back in January of 2014, the Mexican government and U.S. officials have confirmed. The confrontation ended only after the Mexican soldiers retreated back to Mexico when Border Patrol drew their weapons and called for backup. They misidentifying themselves to Border Patrol, then a 35 minute armed confrontation took place. Thankfully no shots were fired. According to the report at the time, U.S. Border officials characterized the standoff as one of the most serious border incursions in years.

There is a point to be made here, these incursions involving Mexican military and police personnel involves confrontations with American law enforcement. But how about when the incursions are no met with armed American law enforcement officers? How about when it's just an American citizen who can't call for back-up?

As citizens of the United States, we are all taught that this is supposed to be sovereign soil. But for years it's a no man's land along the border where ranchers and farmers are having to protect themselves and their families and not expect help from law enforcement.

One report had a farmer saying that he was advised by a Federal law enforcement agent to buy a bulletproof vest to use while working in his fields. He was told by Federal authorities that they cannot protect him or his family. He was told that whenever he goes out to survey his agricultural operations, he should always tell someone where he's going so that they can retrieve his body later in case he doesn't return.

The part that's so aggravating about this is that all Americans know real well that one of the basic duties of the Federal government is to protect the people of this nation. Yes, to secure the border. Yet the Federal government under President Obama refused to do that.

While the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security had said the U.S.-Mexican border was safer than ever and that reports of violence on the American side are wildly exaggerated, no one believed them because of all of the lies and dishonesty that was coming out of the Obama White House as well as his Federal agencies.

Yes, the IRS, Homeland Security, the EPA, the Department of Justice scandals had an effect on the credibility of the United States government. Today most Americans see them as corrupt, dishonest, untrustworthy, and criminal in their actions.

And to make it worse, under Obama the Federal Government told Americans to move if they felt threatened because that administration was not going to help them.

A report from 2011 by the Texas commissioner of agriculture said cross-border violence was escalating. "Fear and anxiety levels among Texas farmers and ranchers have grown enormously during the past two years," the report said, adding that some "have even abandoned their livelihoods to move their families to safer ground."

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who served as the U.S. drug czar during the Clinton administration was a co-author of the report. During an interview, McCaffrey said that while major cities along the Texas border are "pretty safe," the rural areas between towns are "largely unprotected, and across those areas the Mexican cartels are conducting massive movements of illegal drugs and other criminal activity."

That was in 2011, then in the last years of the Obama administration law enforcement was seeing more aggressive efforts such as using military weaponry by Mexican traffickers on this side of the border.

It's effect on Americans on this side of the border are the same as Mexicans on the other side of the border. People are scared and feel completely at the mercy of the criminal element. The cartels and the violence they bring has intimidated U.S. citizen who don't believe they're safe on their own land, in their own homes, or running a business, in their own country.

In 2011, it was reported that Veterinarian and rancher Mike Vickers headeds the Texas Border Volunteers, a group of about 300 landowners and supporters who worked closely with law enforcement officials to track drug and immigrant smugglers entering the U.S. from Mexico and crossing private land. His primary concern, he said, was the safety of farmers and ranchers who have been confronted by armed traffickers.

"A lot of them have been threatened not to call the Border Patrol or law enforcement if they see smuggling going on their property, otherwise they'll be killed or their family members may be killed," he said at the time.

That was in 2011, and according to information from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, automatic rifles, grenades, and .50-caliber weapons were used by battling Mexican drug factions early one morning in January 2014 in the Mexican border town of Agua Prieta, just south of Douglas, Arizona.

Reports indicate that between 8 and 13 individuals were killed during the battle which was proof that violence in the United States from Mexico continues to creep northward. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the battle in Agua Prieta, Arizona, is the unwillingness of local law enforcement to become involved at all.

It was reported that during the gun battle, both law enforcement and medical first responders refused to go into the area. Their reasoning was that law enforcement might have been outnumbered and that the violence was too intense even for trained law enforcement professionals.

As one report put it at the time, "this is not a police problem, it is an invasion. The solution is something millions of Americans support, but is something that Obama and the Federal government refused to do which was to secure the border with whatever it takes.


American ranchers and farmers, homeowners and business along the border all complain about living in fear of Mexican traffickers smuggling drugs and Illegal aliens. From ranchers and farmers who worry about Illegals crossing their land, to homeowners and businesses who see a rise in crime from Mexicans coming across the border illegally, Americans down there are in fear of losing their lives and are due protection.

Their safety and that of their families didn't seem to matter to Obama who occupied the White House from 2009 to 2017, or as a matter of fact to Bush who should have secured the border after 9-11 when he secured the airports and shipping ports. Well, that's not the case today with President Trump. He definitely sees a problem with American citizens getting robbed, beaten, raped, and killed.

President Trump signed a proclamation to send the National Guard to the southern border immediately in response to what the administration described as an "unacceptable" flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a Trump White House press briefing that the signing would be done in conjunction with governors and that the administration hoped the deployment would begin "immediately."

"Despite a number of steps this administration has taken...we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border. The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border to assist the border patrol," she said.

President Trump stated, "Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong. Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW! The Democrats stand in our way - they want people to pour into our country unchecked....CRIME! We will be taking strong action today."

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen pointed to what she described as increasing fraud and exploited loopholes among arrivals on the southern border, saying traffickers have been advertising that if migrants have children with them, then they are more likely to be released into the U.S. She also said that almost 50 percent of arriving aliens are from Central America.

"Traffickers and smugglers know that these individuals cannot under U.S. law be easily removed in an expeditious way back to their country of origin and so they exploit the loophole," she said, adding that the ability to game the system acts as a magnet for more migrants.

She said that the administration has drafted legislation and will ask Congress to provide legal authority and resources to address the problem, saying, "We will not allow illegal immigration levels to become the norm. More than 1,000 people a day, 300,000 a year violating our sovereignty as a nation will never be acceptable to this president."

Arguing that the U.S. border laws “are very weak” compared to Mexico and Canada, President Trump accused Democrats of wanting immigrants “to pour into our country unchecked.”

Since they have no problem with the deaths of Americans, the growth of Mexican Cartels in our country, with their violating our laws, I agree with President Trump. I believe Democrat politicians simply don't care! And frankly, I really believe that those politicians don't represent all Democrats because many write me to tell me that they themselves want out border secured, and they don't agree with those in their party who are for Open Borders.

We have a problem on our Southern Border. Whether Democrats care or not should not stop us from protecting Americans.

Tom Correa