Monday, September 30, 2019

No One Is Above Or Below The Law

Dear Friends,

I get a lot of email asking why Democrats hate President Trump, and by extension Trump Supporters. I usually write back saying my pat answer, "Consider the source of the hate." Those who hate him do so with zero rational. And frankly, facts that combat their misconceptions or false information about him won't change their minds. They hate him that deeply even though there might not be a rational explanation to their hate.

Knowing of my Conservative beliefs, a number of Democrats have written to tell me that their brethren in Congress should impeach President Trump even though there is no evidence to justify it. Others have written to share their disappointment about his not being impeached yet, and ask me why the Democrat's failed to impeach President Trump over the Mueller Report.

Democrat's failed to impeach President Trump over the Mueller Report because there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the President. Some might not want to hear that, but it all came down to when Robert Mueller issued a clarification of something he said during a morning hearing. It had to do with his decision-making process when it came to the question of whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice. Yes, that was when the Democrats hopes of impeaching President Trump over the Mueller Report came crashing down.

It took place when Mueller had an exchange with Rep. Ted Lieu who is a Democrat from California. Lieu asked, "The reason that you did not indict the president is because of the OLC [Office of Law Counsel] opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?"

Mueller impulsively replied, "Correct." With that answer, he gave Democrats the impression that if Mueller was not hamstrung by the OLC/DOJ policy, that he would have charged the president. Democrats left on a break with glee that they can get the President. All they had to do is over-ride the OLC/DOJ policy to impeach the President. All they had to do was get the evidence that Mueller had.

But then, that afternoon, Mueller sat down to immediately issue a correction. His correction was made to change the record to show that was not what he meant to say at all. Yes, he issued a correction to the misconception. There was no evidence of misconduct on the part of the president.

Yes, that afternoon, Mueller returned to open up his testimony by clarifying his statement to Lieu. Mueller said, "I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime."

Why didn't he reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime? It was because there was no evidence of the President committing a crime.

When I was studying law, the idea that there simply wasn’t evidence of a crime meant that the person under investigation is not guilty, innocent, because of the lack of evidence. If any prosecutor said what Mueller said in that “we did not reach a determination as to whether so-and-so committed a crime”, then that means there is no evidence to charge so-and-so with a crime. In our legal system, beings that "the presumption of innocence is on the accused," the accused is innocent and did not do anything to be charged. That’s the way it is for all of us, presidents also. President Trump also.

As for the idea that a president cannot be charged with a crime because of some policy? That's nonsense! 

While the president should have the same legal protections as every American citizen, he does not have extra protections because of his position. 

If a president, vice president, or any member of his cabinet, any member of the Joint Chiefs, any member of the Supreme Court, any member of Congress is known to commit a felony, such as murder, that person can be placed under arrest by law enforcement and carted off to jail to await trail — the same as any other American. No one “needs to wait” until anyone is out of office when it comes to felonies. Especially when it comes to capital crimes.

Constitutional law overrides the Office of Law Counsel policy that has been in place for years.

We have a saying in the United States, "no evidence no crime." A determination was made not to charge the president because the Mueller team could not find the evidence needed to charge him. Evidence is the key. If there was evidence, Trump, or anyone else they had evidence on, would have been charged. That’s our legal system. That's how it is supposed to work.

Corpus delicti (Latin: "body of the crime") is a term from Western jurisprudence referring to the principle that a crime must be proved to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.

For example, a person cannot be tried for larceny unless it can be proven that property has been stolen. Likewise, in order for a person to be tried for arson it must be proven that a criminal act resulted in the burning of a property. Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines "corpus delicti" as: "the fact of a crime having been actually committed". … per Wikipedia.

This is essential to our legal system so that we do not charge innocent people with crimes they did not commit. Sorry if you disagree, but that’s the way it is here.

In the United States, prosecutors look at the evidence or absence of any evidence to decide whether charges should be filed — not judges or courts. Examining the evidence to see if a crime has been committed and trying someone in court is the job of the prosecutor. Examining the facts and ensuring a proceeding is above board is the job of the judge. A jury weighs the evidence collected to determine if a person being charged is guilty or not guilty based on the supporting evidence.

If the evidence that the prosecutor used to bring someone to trail does not hold up to a jury's scrutiny, then the defendant will be deemed not guilty. That’s why a good prosecutor makes sure the evidence can prove beyond a doubt that someone is guilty.

Prosecutors will not try a case that has zero evidence. Also, in the United States, we are presumed innocent until proven guilt.

If there was evidence of wrongdoing by Trump, Mueller who was the prosecutor in this case would have brought charges against Trump. And as I said before, "no evidence no crime." Whether you like it or not, that’s how we do things in America to stop from convicting innocent people.

Also, ask yourself this, what makes you think that Mueller would not have charged the president with a crime if his team found the evidence to do so? Remember, Mueller testified that his team charged over 30 people with crimes because they found evidence of crimes — most not related to the whole Russian hoax.

As for you who are writing to tell me that you Democrats have Trump this time over the Ukraine phone call where President Trump asked the Ukrainian president about former-Vice President Joe Biden's involvement in getting a Ukrainian official fired. It doesn't matter that there is nothing in the law that forbids the president, or you and I, to ask such questions during a conversation. Many Democrats have twisted the truth of what that conversation entailed and are now saying that Trump must have been "extorting" information -- even though there is no evidence of any such thing taking place and the Ukrainian president himself said there was nothing improper said during their conversation.

But the facts do not matter since Democrats have worked from Day One of the Trump administration to find something that President Trump has done to warrant impeachment. No matter what the cost to our nation. No matter how it divides our nation. No matter if it's completely false and fabricated for nefarious reasons. As sad as that is, that is the only thing that Congressional Democrat have done since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Democrats have failed to address concerns over national security, border security, modern day slave trade on the border, child sex trafficking on the border, children in bondage, street drugs and illegal aliens pouring across the border, sanctuary cities which are seeing an increase in violence, the overflow of homeless in Democrat controlled cities, the filth in some cities causing illness and disease control which were almost none existent, and more.

Democrats in Congress refuse to address any of these problems. Fact is, because of their obsession with Donald Trump, they have done nothing to address any of the problems that our nation is experiencing. While that is not only sad, it also speaks to their incompetence to govern.

Their focus in only on fabricating crimes and charges, making them up if they can to impeach President Trump. While they repeat their mantra that "No one is above the law" in their desire to find something to charge him with, they ignore the fact that as an American citizen -- President Trump is not below the law either. That means he must be afforded the same rights and protections that all Americans have a right to. Whether Democrats like it or not, President Trump should be protected against being publicly lynched over trumped up charges.

President Trump should not have to face such a savage lynch mob mentality which the Democrats have today.

Tom Correa






Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Hanging of John J. Hoover 1880

To my knowledge, no one really knows how old John J. Hoover was when he was hanged on April 28th, 1880, in Fairplay, Colorado. All we really know about the man was that he was a billiard parlor owner who was hanged by vigilantes after being given a lenient sentence in court. He was convicted of manslaughter for the unprovoked murder of a hotel clerk who he didn't even know.

The gold mining town of Fairplay was founded in 1859 during the early days of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Though gold was discovered there 1859, the initial discovery was not rich enough to cause a whole lot of excitement. In 1860, another strike was made in that area. Within a few months, the town and surrounding area had a population of 10,000. The town of Fairplay was actually incorporated into a town in 1872. As of 2010, the population of the town was 679. So no, growth was never sustained there.

John J. Hoover was known to have been a prospector in the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, and was one of Fairplay's older residents who is said to have arrived there in the late 1860s. Other sources say in arrived in Fairplay in the 1870s. While most reports can't seem to agree on when he arrived, most do say that he was known as a cantankerous individual who was one of those who simply got meaner the more liquor he consumed. Hoover owned the Cabinet Billiard Parlor.

On April 1st, 1879, he stormed into the Fairplay House Hotel and shot the hotel clerk Thomas M. Bennett who was waiting on customers at the counter. After shooting Bennett, Hoover told the dying man that he was taking over the hotel. Hoover actually told Bennett that he was the new owner. Of course, Hoover didn't own the hotel and no one knows what sort of delusional thinking came over Hoover. Frankly, no one ever found out why he shot Bennett.

When the dying Bennett was asked what could have provoked Hoover to shoot him, Bennett is reported to have answered, "No, no, no, oh, my God, he did it in cold blood."

Thomas M. Bennett was from Iowa and arrived in Colorado a year or more before what took place that day. He was employed by Wall & Witter as a stage driver, and later as a hotel clerk for the Fairplay House. He was employed by H. J McLair, who was the proprietor of the Fairplay House. 

A few days before being murdered, McLair supposedly told Bennett to clean out a ditch opposite the hotel. The ditch was running over and flowing into Hoover's Cabinet Billiard Parlor. Hoover had complained about the ditch before. Bennett worked at cleaning it and then returned to his usual duties at the hotel desk. 

It was reported that at about two o'clock that afternoon Hoover left the Cabinet. Hoover had been drinking and decided to walked down the street to the office of the hotel. There he found Bennett looking at the hotel register. Hoover immediately drew a pistol and said, "I own that house and lot, and I'm not going to have any family imposed upon." 

While Hoover pointed a revolver at his face, Bennett pleaded with Hoover saying, "Hold on, I don't want any trouble, nor I don't want to impose on any one ... "

Hoover shot him. As Bennett fell forward on the counter, Hoover covered him with his pistol and was about to fire again. But one of the boarders stepped forward, and knocked Hoover's arm up saying "For God's sake don't shoot him again." 

It was then that the dining room girls opened the door and looked in. Hoover turned his pistol on them and ordered them back.

It's said that when Bennett had fallen to the floor, Hoover said to him: "Get up there, God d- - m you!" 

Hoover was told to leave him alone, and with that he walked up town to his wife who came out of her their home near by. She talked him into giving up to the Sheriff and he was arrested. 

Hoover's defense plead "temporary insanity" based on a injury that he had supposed received in an  mining accident in the mining town of Oro City, Colorado in 1871. Oro City, which is now just a ghost town, was a mining town located near Leadville, Colorado. Hoover said he had "fallen sixty-five feet down a mine-shaft" while working there. He also told authorities that the injury that he sustained from that mining accident caused him to have "temporary fits of insanity."

Hoover said that he could produce witnesses to the accident in Oro City, but none were ever produced. As for checking any sort of journal documentation, or newspaper articles noting the accident, none were found. This in itself made people suspect of Hoover's honesty considering that most everything was chronicled in one way or another by someone.

Given the benefit of a doubt, believe it or not, Hoover was allowed to change his plea of "not guilty of murder" to "guilty of manslaughter." And believe it or not, the Colorado Fourth Judicial District Court Judge gave Hoover eight years in prison for that.

Yes, he got eight years for killing a man in cold blood. But there's more, his sentence was reduced by one year because of his plea of manslaughter. Then, to the surprise of all there, a second year was credited for time already served while awaiting trial. So now, he was looking at getting off with a six year sentence for killing Thomas M. Bennett.

Was he going to get away with murder? Yes, he was. That is until the citizenry got involved.

On April 28, 1880, John J. Hoover was going to be transported to the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. The citizens had other ideas on what to do with him. Early that morning, anywhere from twenty to twenty-five citizens wearing masks and disguising their voices broke into the jail in the courthouse in Fairplay.

Because of the public's reaction to the light sentence, of the Sheriff thought it best to place two guards in the courthouse. They were there until two o'clock in the morning. That's when guards heard pounding on the courthouse doors demanding to be let in. Then soon the doors were forced open and twenty to twenty-five citizens were there to break the cell lock off using hammers they brought with them.

Hoover is said to have put up a struggle. He supposedly cried out, "Must I die like a dog!" 

To that, a citizen replied, "Bennett died like a dog." 

Hoover begged and pleaded, but then the citizens gagged him. They then quickly moved him to the front steps of the court house. A rope was run out of the second story window of the court house and directly over the steps. A minute later, Hoover was hanging there lifeless. 

One guard stated later, "I was one of the guards on duty at the county jail. About two minutes after three o'clock of the morning of the 28th a body of men came to the Sheriff's office and demanded entrance. I asked them what they wanted, and they told me to open the door. When I opened the door I found five or six masked men with revolvers. They demanded our arms. We gave them our arms and they walked out and told us to remain there, which we did. They came back in a few minutes and demanded the keys to jail, and I told them I did not have them, the next thing I heard was a noise by which I was satisfied they were trying to break in the outer jail door, which they did. Then next we heard they were on the stairs leading up to the court house, after the crowd left in about ten minutes, but just before they left they put our arms on the floor and we followed them out and found Hoover hanging from the front window. After the mob was away about fifty yards we fired four shots to raise an alarm. As they walked out they shook Hoover and he appeared to be dead. Then I proceeded after the Sheriff."

The citizens considered Hoover's six year sentence a slap in the face. Too lenient a punishment for such a heinous act. Those same citizens pulled a screaming Hoover from his cell and hanged him from a second floor window. Yes, a second floor window of the courthouse. By the time the sheriff arrived, it was all over. He found Hoover hanged and everyone responsible disappeared.

Later, the sheriff claimed that he could not identify nor locate any of those responsible for hanging Hoover. Some later wondered aloud if the sheriff and the guards empathized with the frustrations of the citizens since the Judge and District Attorney were both known as being too lenient on criminals.

Both the Judge and the District Attorney decided to leave town right after that. It's said they saw the writing on the wall. Feeling fearful that the same citizens may deal with them for handing out light sentences in a similar manner as they did with Hoover, they felt it safer to get away while they still could. Imagine that.


Tom Correa





Sunday, September 22, 2019

Henry J. Allen -- A Republican's Fight Against The KKK


Henry Justin Allen was born on September 11th, 1868, in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania. The Allen family left Pennsylvannia to settle in Clay County, Kansas, in the 1870s. He called Wichita, Kansas, his family home until he died on January 17th, 1950.

Allen attended Baker University where he became interested in journalism as a staff member of the Baker Orange. Allen left the university before graduating and in 1891 was hired to manage the Salina Republican. When the newspaper was sold three years later, Allen was able to buy the Manhattan Nationalist. Allen partnered with with Joseph L. Bristow to purchase the Ottawa Herald and the Salina Republican, which became the Salina Journal. Allen served as editor and manager of both newspapers until 1907. Bristow kept the Journal and Allen kept the Herald. Allen sold the Herald the following year to purchase the Wichita Beacon.

To do his part during World War I, he became the head of communications for the American Red Cross in France. While in France, the Republican Party in Kansas nominated Allen as their candidate for governor. So besides being the editor and publisher of the Wichita Beacon, and one of the leaders among Kansas newspapers during that time, he served two terms as Kansas as its 21st Governor from January 13th, 1919, to January 8, 1923. After that, he served Kansas in the U.S. Senate from April 1st, 1929, to November 30, 1930. Poor health forced him to leave the Senate and return to Kansas.

As governor, Henry Allen created the Kansas Court of Industrial Relations to push collective bargaining in an attempt to stop strikes from taking place. While some say that he did so because he was pro-business and pro-management, others agree that he saw business as the creator of jobs and jobs were how people were lifted out of poverty. He also say labor strikes as a way of hurting Americans and causing political division among working Americans of all standing.

We should keep in mind that while strikes have traditionally been used by labor as a weapon in their ongoing battle against management, strikes also have a negative impact on the communities in which they take place. One form of negative impact has to do with the  problem of strikes being violent and costly to the cities and state that they take place in. 

Yes, costly because the state and primarily the city government has to pay for the added security involved in violent strikes. I've always found it ironic that labor unions were supposedly striking to help "workers" -- yet they negatively impacted workers by taking funds away from city resources. Remember, city funds used for more police and fire and medical personnel during a violent strike are funds taken away from other essential services for a city. 

As for the economic impact of strikes, people may lose their jobs if strikes stop the flow of commerce. Also, strikes drive up costs and hurt the poorest among us first. In fact, while it's probably more true for back than then it is today, people went hungry if strikes stopped the flow of food and produce and drove up prices. In the case of a coal strike during that time period, a strike meant people may not have heat for their homes. No coal generating heat meant illness for those trying to fight a Kansas winter. 

Before World War I, the Democrat Party threw its support behind labor unions which openly embraced Communist through the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW members were called "Wobblies." The IWW labor union was founded in 1905 in Chicago. Make no mistake about it, they were Communists. 

As a side note, my grandfather knew a couple of IWW Wobblies who were "outside labor agitators" during the labor problems of the 1920s and 1930s. My grandfather referred to them as "Bomb Throwers." When I asked him about that, he said they were known as "Bomb Throwers" because they stirred up trouble. As "outside labor agitators," many were simply there to cause problems and didn't actually have legitimate grievances. They were there to simply agitate and wanted to stir things up. He said that that was common for Wobblies since they were known for using tactics akin to the Communist Revolution in Russia. Wobblies used tactics described as "revolutionary industrial unionism." That means they were both Socialists and Anarchists.

Governor Allen campaigned for governor on an anti-Klan platform and won. Besides being a staunch Republican who fought for women's rights and oversaw the passage of the Kansas woman's suffrage amendment which was ratified by the Kansas legislature, he called for the ouster of the Ku Klux Klan from Kansas after the KKK stated their plans to hold a parade in Wichita. 

Remember, the Democrat Party supported labor unions and the KKK had been the militant arm of the Democrat Party for more than 50 years by then. To assist the labor unions, the KKK was attempting to intimidate African American in Kansas. More specifically, since Kansas was in the midst of a coal strike which the Democrat Party supported, Allen wanted to stop the Democrat Party from using the KKK to publicly intimidating African American Kansans who were refusing to strike. 

In 1922, Governor Allen instituted action to oust the KKK, stating the KKK "introduced in Kansas the greatest curse that can come to any civilized people." He did so by pulling their charter to operate in Kansas. This set a legal battle into motion, the state of Kansas versus the KKK. And in this battle, Allen put his entire Republican administration in gear to defeat and out the KKK from Kansas by any means possible. Also aligned in that fight were prominent newspaper editors such as one who stated, "The Klan was directing terror at honest law-abiding citizens, Negroes, Jews, and Catholics."

In response to Allen's administration and the newspapers supporting what Governor Allen was doing, the KKK openly campaigned for Democrats seeking office in Kansas. Their Democrat candidates proved unwilling to defend the very people that the KKK was targeting, and the people saw this.

In the Kansas capital, pro-Klan legislators attempted to pass a bill compelling the charter board to grant the KKK a state charter. The bill, which would have taken away the board's powers of investigation and discretion in granting charters, was openly debated in the senate. Thankfully, the bill was defeated by a narrow margin.

Since the legislature was unable to assist the Klan, Democrats appealed by filing with the United States Supreme Court. Democrats knew that as long as the appeal was pending, that the Klan had the right to operate in Kansas. Then on May 25, 1925, the KKK, apparently believing that it had no other alternatives for the time being, made application for a charter to conduct business in Kansas. 

On June 3, the application was turned down because the Klan claimed to be "mystic". Since Kansas statutes made no provisions for "mystic" corporations, the Klan filed another application, this time applying as a "fraternal" organization. 

On July 1, the charter board members turned down the Klan's request. One charter board member stated, the scheme of the organization and its paramount purpose is to stir up religious hatred and racial prejudice, create dissension, discord, and ill feelings in every community of the state."

Then the KKK did the unthinkable. The Klan decided to run pro-Klan Republican candidates in the 1926 Republican primary for attorney general and secretary of state in an effort to legalize itself in Kansas and obtain a state charter. When the primary returns were in, it became instantly clear that the KKK was finished in Kansas. Their scheme didn't work and anti-Klan Republican Assistant Attorney General William A. Smith was nominated for Attorney General and anti-Klan Republicans Frank J. Ryan once again received the nomination for Secretary of State.

On February 28, 1927, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the KKK's appeal on the grounds that a question of federal law was not involved in the ouster Suit. With all legal avenues were now exhausted, the KKK was legally ousted from Kansas.

The failure of the Klan to influence the primary election of 1926 was viewed by many as another indication of the KKK's waning strength. Governor Allen's Wichita Beacon wrote that "the outstanding feature of Tuesday's primary election was the final elimination of the Ku Klux Klan as a factor in Kansas politics. . . . The voters of Kansas were ever ready to take the anti-Klan side where ever the issue seemed to be acute." Allen viewed the election as closing a chapter in Kansas politics, stating the election gave notice "that hereafter there will be no religious or racial issue in Kansas politics."

Henry J. Allen was bothered by the Klan's intimidation of African Americans during that labor disputes. Just prior to the filing of their ouster,  it's said that he toured the state Kansas explaining why he was taking the actions that he was. In one particular speech that he gave on October 28, 1922, in Coffeyville, it is obvious that he clearly understood the nature of the KKK and how they are threat to American beliefs in freedom and equality.

He stated, "The KKK has introduced in Kansas the greatest curse that can come to any civilized people. The curse that arises out of the unrestrained passions of men governed by religious and racial hatred." Speaking of Klansmen, he also asked this, "if Klansmen stand for Christianity and the protection of womanhood, as they claim, then why do they have to be masked to stand for that?"

Governor Allen governor argued, "In a democracy, we must have a love of liberty, and this love must extend to the liberty of others." 

What became known as the Schierlman Atrocity convinced him that the KKK did not stand for liberty. That was when the governor became more determined to rid Kansas of the KKK. 

On October 3rd, 1922, Theodore Schierlman, the Catholic mayor of Liberty, Kansas, was kidnapped and flogged by 15 Klansmen because he had criticized the KKK. Mayor Schierlman also angered the KKK when he refused the KKK the use of a hall in Liberty. That same hall was used that summer by a Republican district judgeship candidate who made a speech denouncing the KKK. 

Upon hearing of the kidnapping and flogging of Mayor Schierlman, Governor Allen stated, "Kansas has never tolerated the idea that any group may take the law into its own hands and she is not going to tolerate it now." It was that incident which was the spark that led him to ordering the Kansas state Attorney General to investigate the flogging, and flatly stated that Klan activities such as that would not be permitted in Kansas. 

Allen believed that such acts of violence and intimidation would only undermine the authority of law, stating that if Kansas "allowed such to take place, then we allow the beginning of a feud that is racial and religious, we justify the establishment of a quarrel that leads to group formation, make civil war upon each other in the name of racial and religious bigotry. We teach to our young men and young women the dangerous doctrine that violence and hatred are justifiable, that mob law is consistent with freedom, that lawlessness is to be met by lawlessness, and that self appointed guardians of other people's rights may set themselves above the sacred duty of constitutional authority."

It is interesting to note that for all of his efforts to rid Kansas of such a menace, Republicans lost the governorship in 1922. And while it should be noted that Henry Allen did not seek a third term, people believe that the Democrat victory in Kansas in 1922 was the result of his stand against the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1929, former-Governor Henry Allen was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate which lasted a little over a year from April of 1929 to November of 1930. He was later defeated in his attempt to win the election for that seat. But that didn't stop him from working for Republican causes as he served from 1928 to 1932 as director of publicity for the Republican National Committee. 

His health started giving him problems in his 70s. Then at the age of 81, on January 17, 1950, in his beloved Wichita, Henry J. Allen died following a cerebral thrombosis. He is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita. For his efforts as a newspaperman, he was posthumously inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame two years after his death. His legacy is that of a Republican defeating the KKK in Kansas.

Post Script:

Since it didn't take long for some people to start calling me all sorts of names after I posted this, let's lay our cards on the table. This story should not surprise any student of history since it's well known that the Republican Party was formed as an anti-Slavery party in 1854.

Since then, Republicans have fought Democrats over their starting the Civil War in their effort to keep their beloved slavery alive and well. Using anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation in the 1870s, Republicans fought the Democrat Party's creation of the Ku Klux Klan and other militant groups designed to terrorize freed blacks and Republicans.

Over the years, Republicans have fought the Democrat's creation of Jim Crow laws and Segregation. Even in the 1960s, Republicans like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. watched as Democrats used an 83 hour Senate Filibuster to try to stop the 1964 Civil Rights Act from passing. In the 1980s, it was Republicans who challenged Democrats to pass the Equal Right Amendment for women. But Democrats shot down the ERA when they had complete control of Congress.

I'm not making any of this up. This is just real history.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Calaveras County Seizes About 60 Horses, Donkeys & Mules



On September 9th, 2019, the Calaveras Enterprise reported that approximately 60 starving horses, mules and donkeys were seized from a 50-acre pasture in Valley Springs. The report stated that evacuation teams made up of "volunteers and Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District firefighters corralled the critters and put them into trailers to get them to some place where there would be food enough to get them back to health."

A number of different agencies were involved. The picture above is a mare who was so starved that she could not stand on her own. 

How did the county know about this,  on August 26th they received a complaint from a concerned citizen regarding "starving horses." Since Calaveras County takes such calls very seriously, they responded immediately and found the dying horses.

Two mares and two foals who were thought to be in the most critical condition and were seized right then and there. As for the others, because of the sheer numbers, plans had to be made to get them out of there. No, it's wasn't simply a matter of talking to the owner about a horse that looks underfed, these animals were all removed as soon as the county could get them out of there.

Because of something so appalling, a hearing had to take place to get authorization from an administrative judge to remove all of the animals. When it came time to remove them, as a report stated, "One of the emaciated mothers had to be raised onto her hooves using straps and a tractor, with the help of Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District (Cal-Co Fire)."

Efforts to transport the horses was hampered by the horses having very little contact with humans. In fact, one official said, "It has been very trying to say the least. The horses are not just under-socialized, they’re somewhat wild because they haven’t had a lot of human interaction."

The same official reported that one of the mares was later euthanized. A necropsy was performed on that mare in order to collect evidence as criminal charges with the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office are being sought.  The surviving horses, which include stallions, nursing mothers and foals, are also being held as evidence and are being cared for at an undisclosed location.

Officials say it may take several months or more to determine the next steps for the horses.

I have absolutely no respect for some people, if you've read my blog long enough then you know that I have zero respect for child molesters, rapists, bigots, anti-Americans, and the leaches that prey on others. But along with them are folks who abuse animals, especially horses. Recently, Calaveras County Animal Services and assisting agencies gathered up emaciated and dying stallions, mares, nursing mothers and foals, mules, and a few donkeys in Valley Springs, California.

In Calaveras County, California, we are a little over a thousand miles in size and only have a population close to 46,000 people. People around the country may be shocked to find out that an entire county in California has such a small population, especially when compared to say San Francisco County which the has a resident population of over 880,000 people in an area only 47 square miles in size. And think about this, San Francisco County swells to more than half of its official population during any given work day since there are thousands of people who work there that commute into that city. 

What am I getting at? Calaveras County is where I live, and this is rural America. Giving an owner the benefit of doubt, I understand how money restraints can make feeding horses a problem to overcome. I understand how people can get in over their heads. But frankly, I expect better out of people who live here -- certainly better than I do from the likes of people who live in the congested liberal shithole of San Francisco. Maybe that's why my hearing about people allowing their animals to starve offends me so much. There is never an excuse to let any animal starve.

Today, there are horse rescues. Today, there are agencies and groups that can help owners in trouble and take horses away. In most cases, those horses find a long term home with someone like me who doesn't mind taking in a few rescues. Of course, there are places that are long term rescues themselves that are great when an owner needs that option. The point is that today, there are options and horses don't have to be starved. What that means is that there's no excuse for it. 

Tom Correa


Friday, September 13, 2019

I Have Seen The Elephant



What's the origin of the phrase, "A white elephant" as in a burdensome item? A white elephant is a possession more trouble than it is worth.

White elephants are actually albino elephants. In some parts of the world such as Asian countries, they were regarded as "Holy" or Sacred" in ancient times. They are expensive since the owner had to provide it special food. They were also a bother in that the owners had to provide access for people who wanted to worship it.

Because the care and feeding of a sacred elephant was so expensive, and since that is exempt from work, owning a white elephant was seen as less than desirable. In fact, this was so much the case, that it's said if a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate in his court, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would was meant to lead to that person's ruin.  

According to sources, the first reference in English to the idiomatic meaning of the term "white elephant" came in the G. E. Jewbury's Letters dated 1851, which said, "His services are like so many white elephants, of which nobody can make use, and yet that drain one's gratitude, if indeed one does not feel bankrupt."

While white elephants were seen as burdensome, even back in the Old West, among some of the more colorful saying back then was the popular phrase "I have seen the elephant." It was a phrase that referred to overcoming life's hardships.

Supposedly, the saying stems from a story about a farmer and a circus. The story revolves around his traveling to see the circus, specifically an elephant. In fact, since he had never seen an elephant in person, his curiosity pushed him to head to town to see one.

He decided to do just that on his next trip to town when he was to deliver produce. It was on the road into town that he encountered the elephant. Nothing prepared him for the sight before him. What's more is that nothing prepared his horse for the sight of such a large beast.

At the sight of the elephant, the farmer's horse got excited. Of course, today we know that elephants make a sound known as a trumpet. They do this to signal excitement, aggression, distress, or calling to their mates. It's said that a trumpeting elephant can be heard up to six miles away.

When the elephant lifted its trunk and let out a trumpeting call, the farmer's horse spooked, and upset the farmer's produce cart before running off. The calamity was a total loss for the farmer as it destroyed the farmer's produce. Though a hardship and loss, the farmer is said to have said, "I don't care, for I have seen the elephant."

Immigrants making the arduous journey to California during the 1849 Gold Rush came over land or by sea. Whether it was those who lived to tell about making it around the treacherous seas of Cape Horn, or those who told of walked across burning prairies and rugged mountains, it was common to hear them say with pride, that they "had seen the elephant, from the tip of his trunk to the end of his tail" by the time they arrived in California.

Of course, as with other adventurers, the newcomers to California's mining camps would write home to their families back East and tell harrowing tales of how they too came to see the elephant for themselves. And believe it or not, the term also meant finding adventure. Some would see the elephant in a few White Elephant Saloons that appeared here and there.

One very famous White Elephant Saloon was in Fort Worth, Texas. It opened to the public February 29th, 1884. It was said to be a gambling house and saloon frequented by many who are today legends of the Old West. Maybe at the time, not so much, but today Bat Masterson, Luke Short, "Longhaired Jim" Courtright, Charles Coe, would surely be considered legends

On the leap year day, a friday, the Fort Worth Daily Gazette reported, "The gorgeous magnificence of an Eastern palace exceeds the wildest flight of the most vivid imagination." The report went on to say, it was the "finest saloon outside the city of New York."

Fort Worth's White Elephant Saloon was located at 308 Main Street, and was described as "the most gorgeously gotten-up affair of the kind in the state." Downstairs, the pleasure palace had a forty-foot-long bar of mahogany and onyx, cut-glass chandeliers, gas light, what was said to be the best food, drink, and smokes in the city. Upstairs it had tables for faro, keno, monte, roulette, and poker. All gambling was purported as honest and above board.

In contrast to the opulence of Fort Worth's White Elephant Saloon, in January of 1884, 36 year-old Wyatt Earp with his "wife" Josie and his oldest brother James opened The White Elephant Saloon & Dance Hall in the booming gold and silver mining town of Eagle City, Idaho. They arrived in northern Idaho for the Coeur d'Alene Gold Rush.

In 1881, Eagle City became the first mining camp to spring up after Andrew Prichard discovered gold in a creek that flowed into the north fork of the Coeur D'Alene River. The Earps are said to have found a flat spot where a small creek ran into Eagle Gulch. Miners cabins and tents filled the area and the Earps saw easy pickings. 

Believe it or not, the Earps purchased a round circus tent that was 45 feet high and 50 feet in diameter for $2,250. It was there that they started their version of the White Elephant Saloon. As was the Earp luck, Eagle City was actually short lived. They left Eagle City in early 1885 when everyone else was vacating the area because the gold petered out fairly quickly. Eagle City turned into a ghost town, the White Elephant Saloon and all. There were just a few hangers-on from the thousands of miners that were there during the boom.

To take its place was the town of Murray which prospered by 1885 and became the Shoshone County seat. Murray's better all-around location up the creek from Eagle City, while it endured even after their boom went bust, it's population is only about 50 or 60 today. 

While the Fort Worth's White Elephant prospered and changed hands over a century or more, its building and status fluctuating over the decades that it's been there, Earp's White Elephant was fairly short lived. Not even a year by most accounts. As for Wyatt Earp leaving that area, it was later found out that he was accused of claim jumping. Some say it was just a vicious rumor started by someone who had a grudge against him over a bad real estate deal, others say it was par for Wyatt Earp. 

Wyatt Earp, always the self-promoter, took out an advertisement in the Coeur d'Alene Weekly calling his White Elephant Saloon, "The largest and finest saloon in the Coeur d'Alenes." He also took out an advertisement in a local newspaper which suggested that brave men "come and see the elephant," knowing that "to see the elephant" spoke to the adventurer in all of us.

Tom Correa 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Sheriff J.C. Boggs -- A No Nonsense Lawman

As most of us know, the California Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to California in search of wealth. In addition to the miners arriving hoping to get rich, there were tens of thousands who came wanting to cash in on the boom by providing goods and services to meet the needs of others. Some say the merchants were the people who really got rich during the California Gold Rush.

John Craig Boggs was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, on October 18th, 1825. He was the middle child of a family of eight children. His father was a prominent doctor in Greencastle. His father died in 1847 at the age of 59. John Craig Boggs lost his mother in 1850 at the age of 56.

It's said that J.C. Boggs was like his brothers and sisters in that he was educated in what was termed the "common school" in Greencastle. A "common school" was what a "public school" was called in the United States during the 19th century.

Like his siblings, he excelled in the classics and theology. Of his brothers, two went on to become ministers. As for J.C., though he was a smart young man, going to school didn't hold his attention -- so he went to work instead. It's said that he started out as farm help, and later worked in an ironworks. In fact, by age 20, he was promoted to manager of an ironworks in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

By December of 1848, the news of the discovery of gold in California reached the East Coast. With a gift of $1,000 from his mother, actually an inheritance from the loss of his father, J.C. Boggs boarded the ship Xylon bound for California. It was a trip that would take him around Cape Horn, inside the Golden Gate, and to the gold fields.

Now, before someone writes to say that the Golden Gate Bridge was not there at the time, I know that. The term Golden Gate did not refer to the bridge. In fact, it referred to the strait leading into San Francisco Bay. It was called the Golden Gate because it was the golden passage to the Orient and wealth through trade with that part of the world.

As for J.C. Boggs on the Xylon, there is a story about an experience that Boggs had with the Xylon's Captain. Captain Brown was the master of the Xylon and is said to have been overbearing and cruel. He was a tyrant who treated passengers inhumanely, including putting paid passengers on short rations of water. It's said that Boggs and two other men were chosen by a committee made up of the passengers. The three were to deal with Captain Brown.

During their talk with him, they succeeded in persuading Captain Brown to dock at Rio de Janeiro. One story says that they convinced Brown to port there to take on needed water, after an argument took place. Another story talks about how Boggs stuck a small pistol into the Captain's belly during their conversation. Boggs is said to have then calmly explained to the Captain that they really needed more water, the crew sided with Boggs -- and the Captain agreed.

As for Brown, he was relieved of duty by his sailing company and sent home in disgrace. What helped getting Brown dismissed was the fact that the passengers all filed complaints with the American Consul in Rio de Janeiro. The American Consul was appalled at Brown's conduct and immediately used it's power to have him relieved of his command of the vessel Xylon.

By September of 1849, with a new Captain of the Xylon, Boggs arrived in California. He didn't bother with San Francisco and almost immediately headed to the gold fields. It was just a few months before that Placer County was the latest boom. As was the case, when Boggs got to California, he went to where the latest strike was taking place.

A lot of folks might not realize it, but the discovery of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was not just a single discovery made by James Marshall on January 24th, 1848, when he found gold at his boss John Sutter's mill in Coloma, California. Fact is, what took place was an ongoing gold rush that entailed a number of individuals who "discovered" gold up and down what became known as California's Gold Country.

For example, it's said the Murphy brothers were in Coyote Creek when they discovered gold down in that part of Calaveras County. It was there that the mining camp known as "Murphys Diggins" would turn into the town of Murphys.

Not too many miles away from Murphys in Angles Camp, a miner by the name of Bennager Rasberry was squirrel hunting when his ramrod got stuck in his musket. To dislodge it from the barrel of his musket, he fired it. The ramrod dislodged itself, but then lodged itself in the dirt near some bushes. Some say he accidentally shot his ramrod from his musket. But either way, he had to fetch it.

The story goes that when he went over to retrieve his ramrod from the dirt near those bushed, he pulled it out of the ground, and found gold quartz stuck to it. His finding those specks of gold led to his digging thousands of dollars worth of gold in that area. That's how the Angles Camp rush started, or at least that's the story that everyone down in that area is sticking to.

Within a few years of the discovery of gold, California counties were formed. Placer County was made up of portions of Sutter and Yuba counties on April 25th, 1851. The mining town of Auburn was made its county seat. Placer County took its name from the Spanish word for the sand and gravel containing gold. Miners washed away the sand and gravel while leaving the heavier "placer gold" behind. This was what is meant by "placer mining."

Auburn had only recently become a mining town after Claude Chana discovered gold in what is known as the Auburn Ravine in May of 1848. While Auburn, California, is not talked about too much in Western lore, or in the annals of Old West, the town had one of the toughest lawmen in the West right there to keep the peace. That lawman was J.C. Boggs.

Fact is, not too long after arriving in California, J.C. Boggs found himself in the mining camp of Auburn in Placer County. While there, he engaged in gold mining. But also, he ran a store that dealt in general merchandising. Soon, he found himself serving as Placer County Sheriff.

Placer County Sheriff J.C. Boggs was one of the Old West's must successful and courageous lawmen. He was a credit to those who pinned on a badge. To say that he was a no non-sense type of sheriff is an understatement. It's said, J.C. Boggs was the downfall of some of the worst outlaws of the Old West. Among them was the Tom Bell Gang.

Tom Bell was known as the "Outlaw Doc" because he was in reality a physician. In the history of crime in the United States, believe it or not, Bell was the first outlaw to organize a stagecoach robbery. Just as the Reno Gang were the first train robberies in United States history, Bell was the outlaw that started folks robbing stages.

Tom Bell was born Thomas J. Hodges in Rome, Tennessee. As a surgeon, he saw action in the Mexican–American War. After that war, Bell went to California during the Gold Rush. In his case, he was a lousy prospector and soon took to gambling. He supplemented his income by being a doctor in this mining town and that, before he took to being an outlaw.

His first arrest as "Doc Hedges" was over stealing five mules. He was arrested a few more times before starting to use the alias Tom Bell. During that time, he was just a small time cattle rustler trying to make quick cash. He was caught stealing cattle and was saved from a rope when it was decided that Bell should serving time in Angel Island Prison.

At the prison on Angel Island, he met Bill Gristy. The two successfully escaped later after faking a severe illness that fooled the prison doctor. With another five outlaws, Bell and Gristy formed a gang. Their business was robbing stagecoaches.

On August 12th, 1856, the Camptonville-Maryville stagecoach was supposedly carrying $100,000 worth of gold bullion. The Tom Bell gang tried to rob that stage. Though unsuccessfully, that was the first stage robbery in American history.

Everything went wrong for the Tom Bell Gang during the robbery. A shootout took place that resulted in a woman passenger being killed. The woman passenger was a black woman by the name of Mrs. Tilghman. She was the wife of a popular barber in the town of Maryville. Also, two male passengers were also wounded. And finally, the outlaws were driven off by the stagecoach guards who were a lot more armed and willing to defend that shipment than the outlaws had banked on.

While the attempted robbery was enough to galvanize the citizenry into action, the death of Mrs. Tilghman is what truly angered the citizens there at the time. She must have been a very beloved women, because both a sheriff's posse and the local vigilantes saddled up to search for those who killed her.

While we've all seen the movies where the posse turns back because they lost the trial of those they were pursuing, that wasn't the case with the folks in Placer County. In fact, a little of a month later, Bill Gristy was finally captured. To get him to talk and disclose where his compadres were hiding out, Sheriff Boggs threatened to turn him over to the local vigilantes. In fact, Boggs had a group of concerned citizens outside the jail just waiting for the chance to hang Gristy. Seeing that his options were limited, Gristy told Boggs how to find Bell's hideout.

On October 4, 1856, the law went after Tom Bell. It's said that when the law had arrived at the location to arrest Bell, they found that others had gotten to him first. What happened was that Bell was found near Firebaugh's Ferry by a Merced River rancher. His name was George Gordon Belt, and he quickly formed a posse. So when the law arrived, they found that the posse had already hanged Tom Bell. And no, no one ever said who hanged him.

While Tom Bell was swing, Sheriff J.C. Boggs went after the other members of Tom Bell's gang. The shootout that took place led to the sheriff capturing all of those responsible for perpetrated the first stage robbery.

Sheriff Boggs went after Richard “Rattlesnake Dick" Barter for armed robbery. These two hated each other. To giver you an example of how much Boggs hated Barter, there's the story of how Boggs went after Barter on a tip -- armed only with a derringer because he was in such a hurry to get him before he could get away.

The story on that has to do with J.C.Boggs being told that Rattlesnake Dick was taking a stage from Grass Valley to Folsom. In a hurry to catch the bandit, Sheriff Boggs stood by the side of the road and hailed the coach with only armed with an arrest warrant, a pair of handcuffs, and a single-shot derringer that he stuck in his pocket. Along with Barter was another member of his gang, an outlaw by the name of George Taylor. Knowing that Barter could be dangerous did not faze Sheriff Boggs.

It's said Barter and Taylor were sitting on top of the stage. Between them sat a San Francisco journalist by the name of A.W. Bee. It's said that, like most journalist even back in the day, Bee sat there very nervous as Sheriff Boggs found his men and held them there at gunpoint.

Barter and Taylor denied their identities. Then they refused to come down from the stage. One story about what too place says that Barter as for Boggs to produce a warrant for his arrest. When Boggs went for the warrant in his pocket, the two outlaws saw their chance and went for their guns. Barter and Taylor opened fire at close range on Boggs. But because they were in a hurry, both missed.

At the same time, Sheriff Boggs is said to have fired back. But he too missed to hit either man. The problem with derringers is that they are a close up weapon, and since the outlaws jumped from the far side of the stage, Boggs derringer was fairly ineffective as the outlaws ran away.

Sheriff Boggs would have other face-offs with Barter. One of their running gunfights resulted with Barter being captured and sent to prison. Barter would later escape, but he wasn't free very long. Though Barter and another of his gang members escaped together, the other members of his gang were either killed or behind bars.

On July 11th, 1859, Barter and a cohort ambushed Placer County Under Sheriff George C. Johnston, a deputy tax collector by the name of George W. Martin, and deputy William Crutcher in Auburn. The first shot from Barter immediately killed George W. Martin. Under Sheriff Johnston was wounded in the attack, but deputy William Crutcher shot Barter twice. Barter's cohort skedaddled when the shooting got thick. As for Barter himself, though shot twice, the outlaw was able to escape on horseback.

Sheriff Boggs led a posse the next morning. They found Barter's body on the side of the road near the Junction House stagecoach stop in Auburn. Barter is said to have refused to return to prison and took his own life by shooting himself in the head. A note found on the body of Rattlesnake Dick Barter indicated that he mistakenly thought that he had killed Sheriff J.C. Boggs in the ambush on the previous day.

The note found on Barter read, "If J. Boggs is dead, I am satisfied."

What Barter didn’t know was that the man that he had shot from ambush was not Sheriff Boggs. The man that Barter shot off his horse was a tax collector by the name of George Martin. Barter also didn't know that the wounds that he was dying from were not fired by Sheriff Bogg -- but were shots fired by Sheriff George Johnson and deputy William Crutcher.

Every now and then, I'll get a letter from someone wanting to take me to task over my belief that there were many unsung lawmen in the Old West who were really and truly great at enforcing the law of the land as they knew it. I argue that most became unknown because they weren't sensationalized in dime novels, nor credited with things they didn't do. Most have been forgotten simply because that the way life is since not everything in life is remembered.

We should keep in mind that most all did their job without the benefit of formal training. They didn't have the benefit of today's police academies, on-going training, fitness programs, monitoring, supervision, and good salaries. Most were simply handed a badge and sworn in. They would get basic instructions, but it really was a case of on the job training. The oath that most took was to uphold the law as they themselves understood it to be, and to protect people and property. Taking such an oath was not done lightly. It was all based on one's honor, integrity, and personal code of ethics.

Yes, indeed. John Craig Boggs is one of those unsung lawmen of the Old West. He made his mark in the California Gold County and not back East in Kansas cow towns. And maybe, just maybe, that's why you've probably never heard of him. Even though he was known for getting those that he was after and took on outlaws, he was fortunate that he always left a shootout without being hit. All, while in many cases others right next to him were shot down.

Some say Old West lawmen never lived very long. Some say they aged before their time, grew cynical and callous, bitter and broke in many cases. Some say they died alone without family or friend to speak of their good deeds. I don't know if I can agree with that. For J.C. Boggs, he was a '49er, a man who came West to California to get rich just as hundreds of thousands of others did. In the process, he became a prospector, a miner, storekeeper, county sheriff, town marshal, county assessor, and postmaster. All before finally settling down on a farm in Newcastle.

On May 28th, 1909, he died at the age of 83, surrounded by his wife and children, and friends, in his beloved Placer County. He was buried in the Newcastle Cemetery there in Newcastle, after living a life well lived.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Patient Dumping At VA Palo Alto Hospital


My wife is Deanna is supposed to be covered by CHAMP VA. Though that's what we thought was the case, she was turned away and refused treatment at the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California, recently. 

On August 4th, I took my wife to Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson, about a half-hour from where I live here in California. She was diagnosed as having gallstone problems. Before leaving the emergency room, the treating physician told us to arrange a follow-up as soon as possible. The next day, we called for a follow up appointment as we were instructed. The people at Sutter-Amador Hospital said that they could see her on August 29th. Yes, 25 days later. Image that. She was in moderate to severe pain, yet they wanted her to wait 25 days before a follow-up appointment.

Since my wife has medical coverage through me with the VA, covered by CHAMP VA, we made an appointment with her doctor to see her. The VA Clinic in Modesto scheduled her on the 14th. So OK, it was still 10 days later -- but it was better than nothing. Besides, I decided that if she were in excruciating pain as she was before going to the ER, then I'd rush her back to the ER at Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson again since it is the closest ER to where we live.

On August 14th, we went to her appointment at the VA Clinic in Modesto. We had to be there by 11 a.m., but a logging truck got in front of us and we ended up arriving 10 minutes late for her appointment. I figured the VA would refuse to see her since we were 10 minutes late, but I was surprised that they did.

During her visit, the Chinese doctor who was attending to my wife seemed to have a hard time understanding English and actually had to call a nurse in to help translate what was going on with my wife. It soon became very apparent that the doctor and nurse were not concerned about my wife’s symptoms, but instead were concerned more about her CHAMP VA coverage.

Because my wife was scared to eat anything that would create pain, my wife was not eating and had lost 10 pounds in 10 days. Yes, she lost 10 pounds from when first she was seen at the ER in Jackson on August 4th to when she was weighed in at the VA in Modesto on August 14th.

The doctor at the VA Modesto Clinic told us that my wife needed to get to the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. That is the main hospital in the VA Palo Alto healthcare system.

Because the people at the VA Clinic in Modesto said my wife needed to get to a VA emergency room, we immediately drove the three hours to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. We arrived there at a little after 3 p.m., and by 5 p.m. the VA emergency room staff took her in to get an ultrasound exam. After that we waited. Even though they found gallstones, and suspected that one stone was in the bile duct leading to her large intestines and was responsible for creating the pain she was feeling, they refused to treat her.

Instead, the premier VA Hospital in Northern California, the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, decided to dump my wife's case to another hospital. Though she is supposedly covered by CHAMP VA because she's married to me, the VA there at Palo Alto refused to treat her and instead told me to take her to another hospital about an hour away.

While what they did was a clear case of "patient dumping," they said they were sending her somewhere else because they didn't recognize her coverage. Yes, even though her insurance coverage was through the VA.

It didn't matter. As far as they were concerned, she didn't have coverage and they weren't going to treat her -- no matter what condition she was in.

Just so you know, in California, "patient dumping" is supposedly illegal. Patient dumping is the practice of hospitals and emergency services not treating patients who they see as unable to pay for treatment.

After midnight, we left the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. That was after being in their ER for almost 10 hours. At 1 a.m., we arrived at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton -- a little under an hour away from the VA Palo Alto Hospital.

The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton were 180 degrees different than the treatment at the VA in Modesto and Palo Alto emergency room. They immediately admitted my wife. While they had a bed for her, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.

Later that morning, Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton ran tests on my wife. A team of doctors came in to talk about removing my wife's gallbladder, and the blockage in the bile duct leading to her intestines. I was advised that her medical coverage was not an issue to being treated and that she was in good hands. I was also advised "even if she had absolutely no coverage, it is illegal to refuse treatment to her."

By that afternoon, she went into surgery. Later that day, after a few hours in surgery, she was returned to her room. She was out most of the day. Again, that night, I refused to leave her side and simply slept in a chair.

My wife was discharged on Friday afternoon after her surgeons came in to check on her. The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton, California, are really top-notch folks. They are extremely professional, but also personable and caring.

I want to take a minute here to thank Surgeons Dr. Andrew Lee who removed my wife's gallbladder and Dr. Christopher Enwisle who was the specialist who was called in to get the stone blocking the duct to my wife's intestines. These two men are great surgeons and need to be complimented on their compassion and wonderful way with a patient like my wife who was very scared of what was taking place. They were certainly a comfort, truly Godsends.

Over the last week, she has been recuperating. And as for medical coverage for her, we are looking for coverage that will be honored. If we can help it, we will be relying a lot less on the VA for her coverage in the future. The VA simply doesn't care enough about family members of veterans.

As I told my wife after this was all said and done, I've been with the VA since 1995 and have had great care and lousy care in the past. While shoddy medical treatment for me is one thing, I don't want that for her. We are presently looking for medical coverage for her.

I first published what took place with my wife in another post. Since my publishing this incident, many of my readers are writing to ask what they should do?

My advice to the thousands of people who read my blog, you who are covered by CHAMP VA, is to find other coverage because the VA does not recognize CHAMP VA and will refuse treating you -- even if it's an emergency. The VA will not be there for you when you need them.

Tom Correa



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Short Summary About Tom Horn

Hello Friends, 

Allow me to answer a question or two from a reader regarding Tom Horn. My reader wants to know if I've ever written about Tom Horn, do I think he shot the boy, and was he essentially railroaded by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association?

First of all, I have written about Tom Horn. That was a few years when I decided to write about what I had found out about him. So where is that article? Well I'm sorry to say that I needed it for my upcoming book, so I pulled it off of my blog. In my book, I go into it a lot more than I'm about to -- but here we go.

As for Horn shooting young Willie Nickell? I believe that he did do it. That's just my opinion based on what I've researched. In fact, since the boy was shot twice, I really believe Horn shot the boy both times. Once off his horse and once while the boy was trying to crawl to safety.

As for people saying that he was "a big kid for his age" and "he was wearing his father's coat and hat." Let's be really clear on something, being big for your age or wearing your dad's coat isn't an excuse for murdering someone. Murder is murder. Horn waited and found his opportunity. He then took his shot. He was intending on killing someone that day, just so happens it was Kels Nickell's son Willie.

And by the way, if memory serves me right since I don't have my notes in front of me, I believe it was a week or so later that Horn actually tried to ambush Kels Nickell for a second time. You would think that after killing his son, that Horn would have laid off of Nickell. But that wasn't the case. Horn shot Kels Nickell, but failed to kill him.

I find it interesting that people assume that Kels Nickell was a new arrival to the area since he was a homesteader. Actually, he was in the Iron Mountain area of Wyoming a couple of years before John Coble. Just for the record, Coble turned out to be a crooked partner of Pennsylvania capitalist Henry C. Bosler who owned the Iron Mountain Ranch company with its headquarters at Bosler, Wyoming.

Kels Nickell was a homesteader, actually a sheep rancher. Coble objected when Nickell wanted to bring in sheep. There was a lot of tension between the two. In fact, there was an incident that was later reported as follows:

"A meeting of cattlemen was held, and Coble attempted to organize a raid to drive Nickel and his sheep out of the county. Nickel and Coble met at the Iron Mountain railway station one day following the meeting, and Nickel, having been advised of Coble's plan, took him to task.

Coble attempted to draw his gun, but Nickel plunged a bowie knife into the cattleman's stomach before Coble could get his sixshooter into play.

For this, Coble threatened "to get" Nickel, and soon after Coble left the hospital, Tom Horn, a notorious southwest range fighter, made his appearance at the Iron Mountain ranch. Horn warned Nickel of instant death if he did not leave the country. But Nickel was game, and remained.

One day as he was hauling logs from the hills, Horn appeared and opened fire on the sheepman. Nickel ran, and escaped to his home with a shattered elbow. A week later, Willie Nickel was shot and killed near the Nickel ranch, and Horn in his confession to Joe LaFors, the detective who ran him down, said he was laying for old man Nickel, when the boy appeared, and he had to kill him to prevent spreading alarm."


-- end of article for The Elko Independent, December 11th, 1914. 

To answer the question if I think Tom Horn was "railroaded" by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association as in the movie "Tom Horn" starring Steve McQueen eluded to? For me, again this is just my opinion after looking at the evidence available, I really don't believe that was the case for a number of reasons. 

Everyone there at the time knew that Tom Horn worked for John Coble as a stock detective, also known as a range detective. That was not a big secret to anyone there. As for authentic stock detectives, they went after rustlers and brought them to justice. Being a stock detective was a legitimate profession that actually supplemented the law in cattle country. Ranchers often hired their own people to look into who is doing the rustling to try to stop the lost of expensive property. Sometimes, I get the impression from my email that people forget that cattle are property. That's what cattle are. They are property. Subsequently, a loss of property can mean the life or death of a ranch.  

In the Old West, many a stock detective, also called a range detective, was hired on from the ranks of former lawmen, mine guards, shotgun riders, and others with skills in finding rustlers. They were hired to stop rustling. Not kill rustlers, but to bring them to justice.

Today, we have the evolution of stock detectives in the form of brand inspectors. Take for example the state of California today. In this state, the state’s brand registration and inspection program protects cattle owners against loss of animals by theft, straying, or misappropriation. Brand inspectors inspect cattle for lawful possession prior to movement, sale or slaughter, and recording of the information obtained by such inspections. They also assist local law enforcement with investigations and prosecutions involving cattle theft. 

Friends, the same thing was taking place in the Old West in the form of stock detectives. A stock detective's job was to ensure that the people in possession of the stock were actually the legal owners. Yes, no different than today's brand inspectors. Of course back in the day when computers were non-existent, a stock detective had to be able to recognize a dozens or more brands. 

For the state of California, its "brand registration and inspection program is financed, in its entirety, through brand registration and inspection fees paid by the cattle owners." Again, this is not very different than back in the day when associations paid for their loss prevention. The difference of course being that while most states have state controlled brand registrations who manage the fees and such, some states don't and depend on associations as they did in the old days. 

As for branding cattle, the old saying still applies, "Trust your neighbors, but brand your stock." A "slick" is still an unbranded animal that is very hard to legally identify. And as for "running irons" used by rustlers to alter brands, just having a "running iron" would get a person hanged in the Old West -- depending on the mood of those who discovered it. Tar and feathers worked well to discourage some back then. 

Few if any were "stock detectives" like Tom Horn. Most were good range detectives just doing their job to prevent stealing and tracking those down those that did the stealing. Their goal was prevention, recovery, apprehension, and prosecution. Tom Horn was a killer. He was in fact a hired gun. He got a bounty for those he killed in the name of stopping rustlers. Whether they were actually rustlers or not, he got paid.  

If Horn was "railroaded," then why was it no secret to everyone in Wyoming at the time that Horn worked for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), specially John Coble? It was also not a secret that WSGA kicked in a lot of money to pay for the best legal team that money could buy to get Horn off after he was charged. People attempting to railroad people don't spend their money to help them. 

And also, between the WSGA and John Coble stealing money from capitalist Henry C. Bosler in the way of using the operating funds of his Iron Mountain Ranch company to finance Horn's legal team, Horn's legal team was top notch. And if memory serves me right, one of his lawyers was a former territorial governor. 

Frankly, I believe what got Tom Horn hanged was Tom Horn's mouth. Tom Horn was extremely talkative. This actually hurt him in two ways. First, when the Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LaFors was looking into the killing, he interviewed Horn and a number of others. No, not just Horn. During his initial talk with Horn, Horn talked too much. 

This lead Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LaFors to conduct a second interview with Horn. It was in that interview that LaFors had an actual court reporter record Horn's statement. The guy taking down Horn's statement was not a bubbling armature as portrayed by Hollywood, but was a professional court reporter who was experienced in recording everything said during such interviews. That interview lead to Horn's arrest. 

The second part of how Tom Horn's talkative nature hurt him, really had to do with Horn's own conduct in court during his trial. Seriously, if their letters and such are accurate, Horn's legal team couldn't get him to shut up -- especially when Horn took the witness stand. 

After the trial, members of his legal team wrote about how they believed Horn's own testimony on the stand is what really did him in. He refused council and almost bragged about committing the deed while people in the courtroom listened and let him talk. And no, the trial was not held outside in a tent. I believe it was on the third floor of the courthouse in Cheyenne.  

There are a number of myths attached to Tom Horn. One is the myth about the water operated gallows. In the movie, Tom Horn, the film says that the water gallows was specially built to hang him since they could not find anyone to pull the lever and drop him. Fact is, that type of gallows was in operation for more than 10 years before Horn was ever hung. 

As for no one wanting to pull the lever? That was false. There were a lot of homesteaders who wanted to hang him. If for anything else, simply because he terrorized people in an attempt to drive them out. As for the most vocal person who wanted to pull the lever to drop him, that was Kels Nickell who lost his son and he himself was shot by Horn. 

Kels Nickell was there when Horn was hanged. He was brought over to see Horn's body in private before they carted Horn away. Since Horn strangled to death, his face was blue and Kels Nickell is said to have nodded in the affirmative that justice had been done. 

Also, some folks think that the people there were sorry to see him die. That's not the truth either. Let's keep in mind that Horn was not as popular as people today seem to think. He was seen as a child killer. And as for people disliking him, keep in mind that when he was being escorted back to jail after his attempted escape, people there at the time wanted to lynch him on the spot.

As for the myth that Tom Horn was a loyal and reliable hired gun, a killer who never implicated his employers? Really? Everyone in the area knew that he worked as a hired gun for John Coble. Everyone also knew that Coble and the WSGA paid big money for his legal defense. Some say Coble spent over $100,000 on Horn's defense. Friends, $100,000 in 1903 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,915,579.55 in 2019.

And there's something else, some say Horn kept his mouth shut thinking that the very wealthy and very politically connected WSGA and his friend Coble would find a way to get him a pardon or a reduced sentence. Some say that's why he didn't implicate John Coble who Horn took orders from. 

Others say Horn didn't cut a deal for leniency by implicating John Coble for the simple reason that if he had -- then his own life wouldn't have been worth a plug nickel. To me, even if he tried to get a reduced sentence by implicating Coble or another in the killing of Willie Nickell, I think Horn must have known that would have been futile. Horn was seen as a child killer, and the people were going to hang him for that. They weren't going to let him have life in prison for killing a child.

That's just how I see it. 

Tom Correa