Monday, March 30, 2020

Was Supposed Wyatt Earp Shotgun A Fake

I Don't Believe This Was A Wells Fargo Shotgun Supposedly Used By Wyatt Earp

The below has been copied exactly as it appeared at the Heritage Auctions website:

J. Stevens & Co. Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun.

Wyatt Earp: An Amazingly Documented 10-Gauge Shotgun Used by Him to Kill "Curly Bill" Brocius. 

Even most well-provenanced guns attributed to famous western figures require some leap of faith. Not so with this museum piece, possibly the most important Earp gun extant.

The story begins with the turmoil in Tombstone following the OK Corral shoot out. Wyatt's brother Morgan was brutally assassinated, and "Curly Bill" Brocius was identified as one of the perpetrators. There had been bad blood between Brocius and the Earps since 1880, when a drunken "Curly Bill" shot and killed popular Tombstone town marshal Fred White. 

Brocius and his friends had been shooting off their guns indiscriminately, and White attempted to disarm him. The gun went off, mortally wounding the lawman. Wyatt Earp then borrowed Fred Dodge's revolver and savagely pistol-whipped Brocius, who would later maintain that his gun had discharged accidentally. He was ultimately acquitted of murder, but enmity with the Earps was firmly established.

Brocius was widely recognized as an active outlaw, with cattle rustling, stagecoach robberies and killings attributed to him. When his role in Morgan Earp's killing was revealed, Wyatt formed a posse later dubbed the "Earp Vendetta Ride", and went on the hunt. For the manhunt Earp borrowed a 10-gauge shotgun from his friend Dodge, who was an under-cover Wells Fargo agent and member of the posse. They accidentally came across "Curly Bill" and some associates at Iron Springs (present day Mescal) on March 24, 1882, and in the ensuing shootout, according to Dodge, Wyatt killed the outlaw with this very shotgun.

While romanticized Hollywood gunfights often feature gunslingers trying to out draw each other with their six guns, savvy gunfighters like Earp often preferred to employ a shotgun, which gave the shooter much better odds of hitting his target in chaotic situations. Doc Holiday famously used a shotgun at the OK Corral shootout.

After the expedition Earp returned the shotgun to Dodge, who continued to use it over the course of his 40-year career with Wells Fargo. Dodge often came in contact with lawmen, and in an interesting sidelight would later lend this gun to famed U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas, who used it to kill notorious outlaw Bill Doolin!

In the early 1930s Fred Dodge loaned the shotgun to the Wells Fargo Museum where it was displayed along with other of his mementos. Seminal Wyatt Earp biographer Stuart Lake wrote in a 1932 letter to Dodge (included with the lot) that "I wish to report that your guns are carefully looked after (at the Wells Fargo Museum), are in good shape, and are attracting much attention. They will be in the bank windows around here for another month or six weeks and then will be shipped back to you at Boerne."

Lake, whose biography Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, is credited with launching Wyatt Earp to legendary status, had begun an extensive correspondence with Dodge in 1928. As one of the last living witnesses to events in Tombstone he was an invaluable source of anecdotes and information and Lake systematically mined this unique resource. Much, if not all, of the original correspondence between Stuart Lake and Fred Dodge is included with the lot.

After Dodge's death in 1938 his guns and other artifacts passed to his son, Fred, Jr., who in 1963 sold them to Jack Dutton of San Antonio, Texas (see notarized bill of sale on our website) The gun found its way to Wells Fargo collector Gerald G. Fox, whose collection was sold by Sotheby Park Bernet in 1973. Jim Earle of College Station, Texas who would amass the most important collection of western association guns every assembled (including the gun used by Pat Garrett to kill Billy the Kid) purchased it at the 1973 Sotheby Park Bernet auction for what was then a very substantial price of $10,000. Jim was a very astute collector, but in what was perhaps one of his few missteps, sold it in 1984 to dealer Greg Martin. 

Martin then sold the gun to our late consignor. He would write of the gun "The Stevens double-barreled shotgun serial number 927 you recently obtained from me represents one of the most important historical treasures I have ever owned...In my opinion the great historical associations, the first-hand accounts, and the impeccable documentation of ownership through the Dodge family make your Stevens shotgun one of the great treasures of the Old West. It is a direct link between Wyatt Earp and an era of American lore that is of incalculable importance."

The shotgun is described by Martin as having a "three figure trigger configuration and special short barrel a very rare type and the state of preservation is superlative." The varnished stock is excellent, the action crisp, and the metal surfaces retain 60/70% of their original finish.

It is accompanied by a photostat of the 1963 notarized bill of sale from Fred Dodge, Jr., the Greg Martin letter, and a letter to Martin about the gun from James Earle. Also included is a remarkable and important archive of over 25 original documents, mostly detailed correspondence between Stuart Lake and Fred Dodge dating from 1928 through 1932. Included are marvelous first-hand accounts by Dodge as well as many letters dealing with the aforementioned loan of the shotgun for a Wells Fargo display (a representative sampling pictured with our web site presentation of this lot).

Heritage Auctions has been privileged over the years to offer some marvelous and important relics and artifacts of the Old West, but surely this Wyatt Earp gun stands head and shoulders above them all.

Serial no. 927 [barrels, fore-end, triggerguard and receiver], 10 gauge, 22 1/4-inch barrels with fixed front bead sight. Blued and case-hardened finish. Top of barrels marked: J. STEVENS & CO. CHICOPEE FALLS MASS. Trigger release for loading. Dual triggers. Smooth walnut pistolgrip stock and splinter fore-end. Metal buttplate.

Condition: Very good. Finish primarily a smooth grey age patina with noticeable signs of handling wear and patches of pitting. Scattered scuffs and dings present to wood. Action good. Strong bores.

-- end of published information at Heritage Auctions website. 

OK, so now let's talk about why I think this shotgun's background may be fake and it was not used by Wyatt Earp. 

First, let's talk about that shotgun. The Heritage Auctions website listed the item as a J. Stevens & Co. Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun. But was it a "Percussion Shotgun," or was it being listed as such simply a mistake made by the auction house? Was the shotgun above really a "percussion" shotgun as it was listed to be, or was it a break open shotgun that took shot shells?

In 1807, a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman, Alexander John Forsyth, invented the percussion ignition system to replace the flintlock ignition system used at the time. But it wasn't until 1822 that the percussion cap was actually invented. 

Because the auction house listed it as a "percussion shotgun," that would mean the shotgun was a muzzle loader. Percussion shotguns were loaded from the muzzle with powder, patch, shot, used a ramrod and percussion caps. The use of percussion caps is why they were called "percussion" shotguns. The percussion cap contains a small charge of chemical in a small copper cup-like holder which can be quickly . After the barrel is loaded from the muzzle, the hammer is cocked and a percussion cap is pressed onto to a nipple mounted in the rear of a gun barrel.

When the trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes the cap, igniting the chemical in the percussion cap which sends sparks through a hole in the nipple and into the main charge in the barrel. That fires the gun. The percussion cap system offered advantages over flintlocks, but would be fairly obsolete by the 1870s. In fact, by the mid-1860's, they were already on the way out with the developement of shotgun cartridges -- shot shells.

While muzzle loading percussion shotguns remained popular into the 1870's for hunting purposes, they were not used by law enforcement, guards of any sort, or anyone needing to reload in a hurry. Loading them was time consuming to say the least. Muzzle loaders did not break open like more modern side-by-side shotguns that take shotgun shells. If the gun reported to have been lent to Wyatt Earp took shells, it was not a percussion shotgun as listed. 

For the record, J. Stevens & Co. produced three trigger break open shotguns from the mid-1870's to the early 1880's. To my knowledge, they were not muzzle loaders. As for the J. Stevens & Co. shotgun listed at the auction, the front trigger is the release to break open the barrels to load shot shells.  Since it takes shot shells, it's not a "percussion" shotgun. Because of that, I believe calling it a "Percussion Shotgun" was simply a mistake on their part the auction house ? Of course, that will lead some into asking what else they got wrong -- or simply left out a lot of details.

For example, while Curly Bill Brocius did shot and subsequently kill Tombstone town marshal Fred White, it was Fred White himself who said the shooting was in reality an accident. He said that on his deathbed before he passed away. That's really how Brocius was cleared and wasn't lynched by the townsfolk who were pretty upset about the death of their beloved young marshal. That's one of those sticky little details that change the whole story and stops it from sounding so conspiratorial when it's not.

The same goes for "Curly Bill" Brocius being identified as the perpetrator in the killing of Morgan Earp. The fact that the description says that is very misleading. I find it interesting that they auction house listed Brocius as Morgan's killer since no one was ever identified as his killer. It's true, no one was ever identified as Morgan's killer.

There were speculations but no one really knew who pulled the trigger on Morgan. The reason for that is simple. After the fatal shot was fired, no one inside the pool hall decided to go into the alley which was where the shot came from. It was only after a minute or two passed after already tending to Morgan that someone checked the alley . But by then his killer was gone. 

As for Wyatt Earp killing "Curly Bill" Brocius, I doubt that Wyatt Earp killed Brocius. That's my opinion because there isn't any evidence that Brocius was killed. Because people get upset and write to tell me otherwise, facts are facts and there has never been any evidence that Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill in some sort of shotgun duel as Earp claimed took place. The only person who said it happened was Wyatt Earp.

As for Fred Dodge's claim that Earp killed Brocius, he wasn't there and only heard about it later from a third party. Dodge did work as a guard for Wells Fargo, but he was never part of the so-called "Earp Vendetta Posse" as stated above in the description. The posse was made up of Wyatt and Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Sherman McMaster, and Jack "Turkey Creek" Johnson. All of which would be indicted for murder.

Fred Dodge was contacted by Wyatt Earp's biographer Stuart Lake in 1928 when Lake was writing Earp's fictional life story. Dodge was asked what he knew about Wyatt killing Brocius. Dodge stated that he lent that shotgun to Wyatt Earp and then got it back from Earp. As for the killing of Brocius, in his correspondence with Lake, Dodge stated that he heard about what supposedly took place at Iron Springs from someone else who heard about it from Wyatt Earp. Of course, after Iron Springs, the whole Earp posse was by then on the run one step ahead of a murder indictment issued by the Territory of Arizona.

So really, all we have is Wyatt Earp's word that he killed Brocius with a shotgun. Fred Dodge is reported to have said that the shotgun used to kill Brocius is the shotgun above that went on auction in February of this year (2020).

According to Earp, he supposedly killed Curly Bill in a shotgun duel from a distance of well over a hundred yards. Yes, with shotguns at over a hundred yards away from each other. Earp said his posse stumbled on the cowboy gang and they surprised each other. Earp said his men turned and ran off. He was supposedly left on his own to take on the whole cowboy gang single handedly. That's when he had his supposed "shotgun duel" where he said he "cut Brocius in half" with a blast from his shotgun.

Let's keep in mind that Wyatt Earp also claimed that he killed Johnny Ringo and other things that have been found out to be untrue. So while there were no witnesses on either side who witnessed Earp actually killing Brocius, even after a large amount of money was put up and never claimed in an attempt to get information regarding the supposed killing, I sincerely doubt that it happened the way Earp claimed it did.

As for Fred Dodge supposedly lending that particular 10 gauge shotgun to famed Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas which he used to kill famed outlaw Bill Doolin, all we have is Dodge's word that that's the case. Frankly, other than taking Fred Dodge's word for it, I don't know if it can be proven that it was the actual shotgun used to kill Doolin or Brocius. Of course the opposite is also true and there's really no way to disprove that it wasn't used in the killing of Doolin and the supposed killing of Brocius.

Bill Doolin was shot and killed by a shotgun blast by Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas after Doolin refused to surrender on August 24th, 1896. Here's a few things on that. Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas was not known to carry a shotgun but was known by all to carry a rifle as his preferred long gun. On that day, there's a story that says Thomas handed his rifle over to Bill Dun who he just deputized. Thomas was armed with a shotgun. Some say that shotgun was a 10 gauge, but there are also sources that swear Marshal Thomas was carrying an 8 gauge shotgun when he and Dunn and two other deputies met up with Bill Doolin that day. Yes, some say it was an 8 gauge which would make it a different shotgun than the one at the auction. As for Doolin, it's said he was shot once with both barrels and hit with 20 shots of buckshot. He was probably dead before he hit the ground.

I doubt the firearm serial numbers of the rifles and shotguns carried by Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas and those deputized that day were ever written down. That being the case, I don't know how anyone can prove that the shotgun used to kill Doolin actually made its way from a Wells Fargo office in Tombstone and into the hands of Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas in Lawson, Oklahoma -- after supposedly being used in the unproven killing of Curly Bill Brocius in Arizona more than 14 years earlier.

As for the J. Stevens & Co. shotgun listed at the auction being connected to Wells Fargo? That too doesn't sound right considering what we know about Wells Fargo bought for their guards. To my knowledge, all of their guards by the early 1870's were armed with up-to-date Ithaca and Colt side-by-side break open shotguns that took 12 gauge shot shells.

This was a company that helped start the Overland Mail Company in 1858 with the famed "Butterfield Line."  By 1861, Wells Fargo also took over operations of the Western leg of the short-lived Pony Express. By 1866, Wells Fargo combined all the major Western stage lines. They were huge even then just in the West. By 1870, stagecoaches bearing the name Wells, Fargo & Co. were traveling over 3,000 miles of territory. About that same time, Wells Fargo started shipping and guarding rail shipments of gold and cash, payrolls, and bank money. By 1880, Wells Fargo extended from what it called "Ocean to Ocean" serving from California to New York as America's first nationwide express company. This was not a small company to say the least.

Wells Fargo & Co., which was headquartered in San Francisco, California, at the time, only ordered Ithaca and Colt 12 gauge shotguns and not 10 gauge shotguns from a local gun dealer there.
From what I can tell, there were a few reasons why Wells Fargo preferred the 12 gauge over the 10 gauge. Among their reasons were cost of shotguns and ammunition, shootability and comfort over a 10 gauge for average size guards.

The Wells Fargo shotgun messenger sat next to the driver. He kept an eye out for bandits and protected the Wells Fargo treasure box stored in the front boot. He would have to be able to be versatile enough to shot comfortably to be accurate from that seated position. With a 12 gauge, shooting from such a position is tolerable while positioning one's self. On the other hand, the recoil associated with 10 gauge shotguns many doing that sort of shooting uncomfortable. And since the 10 gauge has a massive recoil, shooting it, especially from the seated position is potentially painful. All aspects of a service weapon that was not needed to get the job done.  

Of course, this is all just food for thought when thinking about how some people hype the supposed backgrounds of items on auction just to pump up their value. After all, the price brought in by items goes up substantially if it were actually used in a murder -- or in this case, a supposed shotgun duel.

Tom Correa

Monday, March 23, 2020

Typhoid Mary's Refusal To Change Killed Others

Dear Friends,

While all of us have to take measures to deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, a few of you have written to ask if isolating is really needed to combat this crisis. A couple of you have told me about family members who refuse to take this seriously enough to change their social lifestyle and stay home. A couple of you have also said that you can't get through to some of your family member who don't realize that they can be carriers --knowingly or not.

So now, since a couple of you have asked about her, let's talk about a woman who went down in history for all of the right reasons as a notorious disease carrier. Many of us know her as "Typhoid Mary." What you may not know is that she was a very healthy carrier the whole time she was infecting others. It's true. As an "asymptomatic carrier," she was a very "healthy carrier" of typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is a deadly communicable disease that kills over a hundred thousand people worldwide each year still today. Typhoid fever, also known simply as "typhoid, is a bacterial infection. It's actually a type of Salmonella and the symptoms vary from mild to severe, but usually starts about 6 to 30 days after exposure.

Symptoms are similar to those of many other infectious diseases. Typhoid fever starts out slow with the victim having a high fever, overall weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and vomiting in the first few days. After that, those infected get a skin rash with rose colored spots. That's all just the beginning. 

By the second week, most patients become agitated, and experience confusion and delirium. The "muttering delirium" led doctors back in the day giving typhoid the nickname "nervous fever". And soon, the victim's spleen and liver becomes enlarged and tender. Liver enzymes become elevated. If the patient lasts into the third week, the patient will experience intestinal hemorrhaging due to gastrointestinal bleeding. Intestinal perforation can be fatal. Of course, this is all accompanied by respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis. Without treatment, this can all go on for weeks to months.

Typhoid is spread by eating food or by drinking water that's been contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Yes, human feces. Keep in mind that sanitation conditions of congested cities of the late 1800's and early 1900s were horrible. Those living there at the time were at risk of all sorts of diseases just living in the squalor taking place back East. 

As for today, think about places like San Francisco where people are defecating on the streets. Risk factors include poor sanitation and lousy hygiene, or non-existent hygiene practices as seen in many big cities. Of course, travelers to Third World countries put themselves and others at risk. 

Then there are those people who may carry the bacterium, and are still able to spread the disease to others, but aren't affected. Mary Mallon became known in the newspapers as "Typhoid Mary" because she was one of those carriers who was never ill. 

Mary Mallon was born on September 23rd, 1869, in Cookstown, Ireland. She emigrated to the United States in either 1883 or 1884. Upon arriving in New York City, she lived with her aunt and uncle for a time before finding work as a cook for a few wealthy families. 

From 1900 to 1907, Mary Mallon worked as a live-in cook and servant for seven different families in New York City. Remember, typhoid is spread by eating contaminated food or by drinking contaminated water. 

Investigation later showed that in 1900, within two weeks of her starting a job as a cook, the residents where she was cooking all developed typhoid fever. Then in 1901, another who she cooked for started to develop the symptom of typhoid fever. In that home, one of the servants who hate what she cooked died a week later. When she went to work for another family, she was fired after seven out of the eight people living there came down with the fever. 

Again in 1906, while working in Long Island, it took only two weeks for 10 family members to come down with typhoid fever. Later, after getting another position as a cook with other families, the same thing happened. 

She was the common denominator when looking at what was making those families ill. Wherever Mary Mallon was hired to cook, those families came down with the fever. 

In late 1906, a typhoid researcher who was a sanitation engineer by trade, George Soper, was hired by an infected family to investigate what was taking place. It was Soper who said that Mary Mallon may have been the source of the outbreak. He said so in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June of 1907.

According to George Soper in his paper: "It was found that the family changed cooks on August 4. This was about three weeks before the typhoid epidemic broke out. The new cook, Mallon, remained in the family only a short time and left about three weeks after the outbreak occurred. Mallon was described as an Irish woman about 40 years of age, tall, heavy, single. She seemed to be in perfect health."

Soper discovered that Mary Mallon was the woman who matched the physical description of the Irish cook involved in every one of the typhoid outbreaks. Though she was known to have left their employment or was fired after an outbreak started, remarkably for the time, Soper found her after she was connected to a household where she was the cook. It was a household where the daughter of the family died of typhoid fever. 

In March of 1907, Soper met with then 37-year-old Mary Mallon who worked as a cook at a Park Avenue brownstone. When he demanded that she give him a sample of her blood, urine and feces, she became enraged. Soper later wrote: "It did not take Mary long to react to this suggestion. She seized a carving fork and advanced in my direction."

George Soper found her and immediately accused her of causing the illness and deaths. Of course Mary Mallon became angry and rejected the notion that she was the cause of the outbreaks, after all, she was healthy. Besides the distrust of authorities by immigrants fresh off the boat, at the time it was unheard of for a healthy person to be a "disease carrier." 

No one at the time realized that an individual can become infected from consuming contaminated food and drinks prepared by an infected individual who shows no symptoms of the disease. Of course not one at the time realized that someone who recovered can also be a carrier. Today, we know that the spread of many infectious diseases fall under the "80–20 rule" which says 80% of the disease transmission is conducted by only 20% of people in any given population. In the case of Mary Mallon, it's believed that most of Mary Mallon's transmissions which infected others were through her handling food.  

Besides George Soper, New York City's public health officials were also looking for a common denominator and found that she was it. When they got involved, they tried to restrict her from cooking as a way to make a living. Surprising for the times, they didn't want to quarantine her on a permanent basis. At least that was their plan initially. But frankly, that changed because she refused to comply with the city's request to stop handling food -- and the newspapers put pressure on the authorities to quarantine her. 

After newspaper got the story, they ran with it. They saddled her with that moniker "Typhoid Mary". Then in 1908, the Journal of the American Medical Association also labeled her "Typhoid Mary" after a news story which also pointed out how the city of New York refused to act.  

Because of her continued refusal to give up the only occupation that she believed she was able to do, and the pressure from the newspapers, New York City's public health officials ordered that she be quarantined as a prisoner on one of the islands that surround Manhattan. While in prison, she was forced to give stool and urine samples. And while she maintained that she was not the carrier, tests results for those samples showed that she carried the disease. 

Mary Mallon was freed from quarantine in prison after agreeing that she would stop working as a cook. On February 19, 1910, Mary Mallon agreed that she was "prepared to change her occupation (that of a cook), and would give assurance by affidavit that she would upon her release take such hygienic precautions as would protect those with whom she came in contact, from infection." 

Upon her release from quarantine, she was given a job as a laundress. Since that position paid a lot less than cooking, she changed her name to Mary Brown and took jobs cooking. It is said that for the next five years, Mary Mallon was hired to cook in several restaurant kitchens. She even took a cooking job in a local hospital under an assumed name, and was working there when a typhoid outbreak took place. Of course, outbreaks of typhoid followed her wherever she worked.

By 1915, those who believed that "disease carriers" should not be kept in isolation started to change their minds. Helping to change their minds was the fact that Mary Mallon was responsible for other outbreaks. In those, people also died. Because of her failure to cooperate, she was found and arrested.

On March 27, 1915, under sections 1169 and 1170 of the Greater New York Charter, Mary Mallon was held in isolation quarantine at a clinic located on North Brother Island. She spent the rest of her life in quarantine at the Riverside Hospital. She remained there until she died of pneumonia at age 69 on November 11, 1938. Mary Mallon's body was cremated. 

I find it interesting that doctors believed that Mary Mallon likely passed along typhoid germs by failing to vigorously wash her hands before handling food. But there is something else, though it is believed that temperatures necessary to cook food would have killed the bacteria, some wonder just how did she transfer the germs? Well, it's believed that Mary Mallon did so through one of her more popular dessert dishes which was ice cream with peaches. After dishing the ice cream, she would cut up the raw peaches. 

Her not washing her hands and cutting up the peaches was the perfect transferable state for germs.  According to George Soper, "I suppose no better way could be found for a cook to cleanse her hands of microbes and infect a family."

New York saw thousands of cases of typhoid fever by 1910. It's believed that thousands of asymptomatic carriers probably walked the streets of New York. Of course, who knows how many were cooks and food handlers who didn't wash their hands? 

She lived in isolation for 26 years in large part due to public opinion which turned against her when she refused to change and stay out of the kitchen. Mary Mallon was linked to 47 people being infected and 3 deaths as a result of her negligence, poor sanitation habits, and stubbornness. But, because she used more than one alias while refusing to change her ways and give up cooking for a living, it's speculated that she may have infected hundreds and caused the death of at least 40 people. Frankly, as with all such speculation, we'll never know the honest truth about that.

When I first wrote this story, I left out one thing because I couldn't prove whether it was true or not. Supposedly, before there was a vaccine, doctors are said to have believed that the typhoid fever bacteria lived in the gallbladder of the host. Supposedly they wanted to remove her gallbladder to "cure" her, but she wouldn't let them do the surgery since the death rate during surgeries at the time was incredibly high. The rest of that story says that after her death, they did an autopsy and found the typhoid fever bacteria present in her gallbladder. There's no telling whether that story is true or no. It might simply be just myth.

While, I was contacted by my reader Vivian Schuler who researched this. Vivian sent me what she found. According to Science Today: Humans who harbor these bacterial communities in their gallbladders, even without symptoms, are able to infect others with active typhoid fever, especially in developing areas of the world with poor sanitation. The disease is transmitted through fecal-oral contact, such as through poor hand-washing by people who prepare food. Scientists and physicians have known for decades that these bacteria, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, accumulate in the gallbladder. In fact, the most widely accepted treatment of chronic typhoid infection is removal of the gallbladder.

Knowing this, thanks to Vivian Schuler and Science Today, I can report that it's a safe bet to say that the story about finding the typhoid fever bacteria present in Mary Mallon's gallbladder during her autopsy is probably true.  

As for Mary Mallon, the poor gal was a "healthy carrier" of the disease. Yes, no different than today where some who appear very healthy are carrying the bacteria for the Coronavirus. She was able to pass it onto others by handling food while exhibiting no symptoms herself. That too is happening today with the Coronavirus. As for her becoming the first known "asymptomatic carrier" of typhoid fever, it's only that way because she was linked to those outbreaks. It's said that there were probably others, but she was the one who was found and stopped before she could do more harm.

She needed to be isolated so that others would not become infected and die. That's why we are going through what we are today with the mandatory isolation taking place. Many today are carriers who may appear perfectly healthy right now. I can't help but wonder how many carriers out there are refusing to change their lifestyle and isolate to save others, especially those they say they love.

In the case of typhoid fever with the symptoms starting anywhere from 6 to 30 days after being exposed, a healthy carrier could be long gone after exposing others. So no, they might not even know they're the ones who are spreading the disease. Of course that goes to Mary Mallon's legacy as "Typhoid Mary," which as most know is a term used for anyone who spreads disease -- knowingly or not.

Tom Correa

Monday, March 9, 2020

Native American Tribes Shaking Off The Shackles Of Socialism

In my last post on American Indian reservations, I talked about how the majority of them are perfect examples of how Socialism has failed in America. The bottom line is that since the 1870s, Native American tribes were promised free stuff -- and the federal government failed to meet its promises.

Like it or not, the federal government created tracts of land called reservations for Native Americans with a multi-purpose mission in mind: Bring Native Americans under the complete control of the federal government, minimize conflicts between Indian tribes, stop the violence against American settlers, and encourage tribes to change their ways, accept peace, and hopefully assimilate.

The American Indian reservation system is a Socialist "care program" which has treated Native Americans as wards of the Federal Government. Since many of you have written to ask what is meant by "wards of the Federal Government," let's look at that for a minute or two.

As defined, a ward is someone placed under the protection of a legal guardian. Children who are in the custody of the government are considered "wards of the state." In the case of Native Americans on reservations, that Socialist system makes the government "in loco parentis" as if they were children. The Latin term "in loco parentis" means "in the place of a parent".  That's what Socialism is. It refers to "the legal responsibility of a person or organization that takes on the functions and responsibilities of a parent."

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1 (1831), Native Americans were legally made "wards of the federal government." Yes, "with a relationship to the United States like that of a ward to its guardian," which is how Supreme Court Justice Marshall put it.

That means, Native American tribes gained the status of being dependents of the Federal Government. As stated in my previous article, the Indian Appropriations Act passed in 1871 reaffirmed that all American Indians were made "wards of the state." 

Please understand, the problem here is that no one should be treats like children. The federal government is not my parent. It's certainly not the parent of Native Americans. The reservation system enabled the federal government to strip Indian tribes of their rich heritage of self-governance, religious freedom, and most importantly their property ownership. 

Ever hear of the Burke Act of 1906? According to it, Indian lands and resources must be held in trust by the federal government on the premise that Native Americans were not "competent and capable" to manage their own lives and affairs. 

Such a horrible premise came about when the federal government got involved when the question of the citizenship status of American Indians came up. In 1887, Congress passed the General Allotment Act, or Dawes Severalty Act, which stated that "Indians who received land allotments or voluntarily took up residence away from their tribes were to be given United States citizenship." The land allotments they speak of are essentially Indian homesteads. 

While that seemed simple enough, some folks in the government had a real problem with that since they believed that allotments of land were to be held in trust on behalf of the Indians by the federal government for twenty-five years. Some courts held that an Indian gained citizenship at the end of the twenty-five-year trust period. Other courts said that Indians possessed citizenship as soon as they received an allotment of land was received.

The Dawes Act exempted the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, and Creek Indians as well as five other tribes residing in the Indian Territory, present day Oklahoma. Later that was fixed when it was amended in 1901. As for the Burke Act of 1906, it pertained to Indians who took allotments. 

The condescension in that act is obvious to anyone reading it. The law withheld citizenship for American Indians until the end of the twenty-five year trust period or until the allottee received a fee patent from the Secretary of the Interior. It also states that any Indian who had taken up residence away from their tribe and who had "adopted the habits of civilized life" was declared a citizen and was "entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of citizenship." Although, the Burke Act also stated that its "provisions shall not extend to any Indians in the Indian Territory".

Under the Burke Act, the Secretary of the Interior was given a great deal of authority over Indians who took land allotments. He had the power to decide whether an Indian was "competent" enough to handle his own affairs before he could even receive an allotment. And here's something else, the Secretary of the Interior actually was responsible for choosing the legal heirs of a deceased allottee.

If he determined there were no legal heirs, the allotted land could then be sold. Imagine how the system was used by crooks wanting to steal Indian lands. Of course, as you can see, Indians were cheated out of their legal lands through such asinine notions that Indians were simple-minded children incapable of acting on their own behalf or in their own best interest.

This was Socialism at it's worse. This is the concept of Socialism that's being pushed today. It's what Socialist believe in. It goes to the heart of the Socialist belief that the federal government should act as our parent. Socialists believe that only government should be trusted to know what's best for us. 

The Burke Act of 1906 believed that if Indians with allotments were completely free of federal guardianship -- that they would be prey to unscrupulous persons who would soon cheat them out of their lands. Of course the irony there is that government officials cheated more Indians out of their lands than anyone else. All while using the law to do so. 

My post on Socialist reservation system aggravated some die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters. Yes, I've gotten all sorts of hate mail from people who want Socialism and have a desire for a Communist America. For those who are writing to tell me how Socialism works on reservations, please don't bother spreading such lies here. I've visited reservations in the past. I've listened to what friends who have lived on reservations have told me. Comments spreading such Leftist propaganda, such lies and distortions of the truth, won't be published here.

And as for you name callers, you are a pathetic group. Why is it that you pretend to be caring people when you spew some of the most vile hate? And by the way, this is not a discussion forum. You people who call me a racist because I hate the slavery that Socialism brings with it. My rejecting Socialism is not racism. It's Patriotism!

As for you folks who hate America, you are not going to get your venomous comments posted here. As for you folks who love Socialism and the enslavement of people by the government, I don't feel sorry for you -- I pity your stupidity and desire to be treated as children by a government that has never given anything away free.

You think I'm kidding? Name a government program that's free? Simply the fact that it's a "government program" tells us that it's an "American Taxpayer program." Veterans benefits were paid for by veterans when they served. Unemployment is paid for through payroll taxes and by businesses. Welfare, Food Stamps, Section 8 Housing, Medicare, are all paid for through taxes. The police, fire departments, public hospitals, are all paid for through taxes that come out of our wages. None of that is free.

All of the "free stuff" that Bernie Sanders is promising is not free. We would have to pay for it through higher taxes being taken from our wages. You think Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage to help you? He wants more of your money! And by the way, if he actually did get the government to pay off student loans, or my credit cards, my mortgage, my car loan, and pay for my electric bills and healthcare as he's promised, who do you think will pay for those things? We will. American taxpayers pay for everything.

Whether some folks want to admit it, and you should really see the hate mail that I received about this, over the last 150 years or more, the people in power in Washington D.C. have viewed the tribes as children needing to be cared for as children. Subsequently, the government has attempted to care for the tribes with little respect for their heritage, independence, or honor. Instead, the federal government has traditionally treated Native Americans as children -- unable to make their own way in the world. Yes, no different than how Democrats saw black slaves before, during, and after the Civil War.

Like it or not, while not all have had it rough, the overwhelming majority of tribes on reservations have had it very tough dealing with a Socialist reservation system where the government is nothing more than a benevolent master. Fact is, any way anyone wants to spin the truth of what takes place on most reservations, the federal government controls production and distribution of goods, forbids private ownership of land, and is in charge of all services. That's Socialism. And yes my friends, that's a problem.

And as for people who have written to tell me that their particular reservation is doing great and how wonderful it is that the federal government cares for you like children, I doubt you live on a reservation. And if you do, if I'm wrong and in fact you do, then it's a safe bet to say that you probably live on one of the few reservations that are doing better than the majority that are not.

In 2016, half of all Native Americans lived at the poverty line as "working poor." One in four, were below the poverty line. This is made up statistics, this is government statistics. And don't kid yourselves, there is a huge difference when it comes to employment between American Indians and other Americans. When compared to Whites, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics, fact is Native Americans with similar factors such as age, sex, level of education, marital status, and state of residence, have it tougher to find jobs. In fact, their odds of being employed is about 30 percent lower than that of other Americans.

While my last article on this subject had to do with how bad things were as a result of Socialist policies, there are remedies to the problems faced by tribes. First, instead of the government limiting employment and investment for the good folks on reservations by treating them like children, something Bernie Sanders wants to do with all of America, government should support their independence, their self-determination, and allow them to create innovative Capitalist solutions.

Second, the federal government should stop the "care-giver" system and allow Native American communities to development financial institutions of their own. The feds should stop limiting Native Americans through regulations and Socialist ideals, and allow them to improve their lot in life. Native Americans need an improved healthcare system, high-quality early childhood education, and they need to support tribal programs supporting higher education and employment. As for employment, Native Americans should be allowed to harvest the fossil fuels on reservations. Not for the federal government, corrupt politicians, corrupt tribal leaders, or some outside concern, but to benefit their needs. 

My grandparents were young parents in the opening days of the Great Depression. My grandmother used to say, "a man feels better about himself when he's holding a job and working." As with society in general, all of social ills that reservations face today with rampant drug use, alcoholism, domestic violence, child abuse, depression, and suicides, are tied to non-existent employment opportunities on reservations. Whether people want to face the facts or not, idle hands create problems.

According to statistics, there are "326 Indian reservations in the United States associated with a particular Native American nation. Not all of the country's 567 recognized tribes have a reservation." But some tribes have more than one reservation, while some tribes actually share reservations.

Now for the flip side of what's taking place on some Indian reservations ... 

As for people writing to say that their particular reservation is doing better than others, and you really do live on a reservation, I think that's wonderful to hear. It really is. In my first article on this subject, I talked about those that were shackled to Socialism and how those places resemble Third World countries. Since I was contacted by a friend who belongs to a tribe, and he asked me to research and write on the problems with Socialism on reservations, I did so. That was part one. As for the reservations that are doing well, there are a few reasons why that's taking place. This is part two.

Fact is, more and more Americans Indian tribes are working very hard to shake off the shackles of Socialism which is the primary evil of the reservation system. They are doing so through increased income and wealth through new and innovative economic development. Yes, by embracing good old fashion "Capitalism" where the federal government is a pain in the butt -- but not one's master or guardian.

You don't think tribes aren't embracing Capitalism? Well according to studies published in the last 5 years, more and more tribes have increased their control over their own destiny by harvesting their natural resources and becoming players in our nation's energy sector. Some have embraced Capitalism through building casinos and resorts. Others are doing so by attempting to bring in manufacturing onto reservation lands.

Democrats fail to understand that tribes don't need more short-term federal handouts. Tribes don't need a parent in the form of the federal government. They need to bring in revenue and long lasting economic development. Yes, they need what Democrats don't know how to provide -- especially since Democrats see revenue and economic development as something that people are incapable of creating.

Some Socialists in our federal government believe Americans are not "competent and capable" of managing our own lives or our own affairs. Those same foolish people feel Indian lands and resources must be held in trust by the federal government for all of the same dubious reasons. And if you think they will ever relinquish their hold on Native Americans, remember that they are the same people who want to be the parent for all Americans. 

Some Call It "Reservation Capitalism"

According to the Washington Times, law professor and tribal member Robert Miller, in his book  "Reservation Capitalism," points out that "Tribes are making profits and creating economic development and jobs." 

Thankfully, some tribes are finding ways to open themselves up to the economic potential of their communities while they shake the shackles of Socialism for good. Take for example, Lance Morgan, who is the CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc. which is a $100 million Winnebago Indian tribal corporation. It employs nearly 400 people with good paying jobs.

In an interview in August of 2019 with the Washington Times, he said, "We’ve taken control of our destiny, gotten a taste of independence, and don’t plan on giving it up. Government-led economies have been a total failure. I refuse to believe the Winnebagos are Karl Marx's last hope."

About now, it should be noted that there are differences between reservations. In fact, as most who live on prospering reservations already know, there is very little similarity between those embracing Capitalism and those wedded to Socialism. Reservations embracing Capitalism and more economic development show the benefits of doing so with good homes with all of the amenities available off the reservation, better healthcare, better schools, great child care, and an education system that also encourages heritage learning among other things. They also don't have the widespread social ills that truly plague other reservations that are not doing as well. Yes, that's the flip side to the Native American reservation story.

The Washington Times article that I referenced a moment ago also talked about the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana "exemplifies" this new Native American spirit of restoring their rich heritage of self-governance through entrepreneurial development and capitalist concepts. The Coushatta Indians regained their recognition as a tribe and began to rebuild their culture and economy. They started out with a few acres which they put into federal trusteeship so they could build a successful casino. Now that tribe has more than 6,000 acres of private land which they use for "everything from crayfish farming to oil development." 

The great news is that the Coushatta Tribe has expanded from merely a local Indian casino to now being the second-largest private employer in Louisiana. And frankly, there are similar success stories seen with the Flathead Reservation in Montana, the Yakama and Colville reservations in Washington, the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, and the Fort Bidwell and Hoopa Valley reservations in California.

As for energy resources such as oil and gas? More and more tribes are reasserting their ownership and sovereignty to harness their natural resources to benefit their tribes. For example, on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, the Three Affiliated Tribes have used special legislation to assert their control of oil and gas leases. 

Tribal chairman Tex Hall said, "The potential here is to obtain financial independence for our nation, education for our youth, sustenance for our elders, maintenance of our culture and above all to set the people of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation on the road to independence."

While not all resource-rich tribes have achieved the autonomy that some have, chairman A.J. Not Afraid of the Crow Tribe in Montana pointed out that his tribe's "land is rich in energy resources, natural resources, and minerals, but over-regulation prevents the tribe from capitalizing on its resources." He went on to say, "We wait for permission from the federal government. By law, we need the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] to bless our business contracts."

As most know, in regards to the needs of Native Americans, a group that's only 1.5% of our entire population, the biggest hurdle to their success is that which face most tribes: Most reservation lands are owned by the federal government. That means many tribes wanting to shake off the shackles of Socialism, and get out from under the thumb of the federal government, needs the blessing of the federal government to achieve economic prosperity for their people.

So now, looking at things honestly, we know that the majority of reservations are still economically disadvantaged. But, also looking at things honestly, we can see there's a lot of good news. The good news is that there's hope in that "Reservation Capitalism" is taking place. And yes, that's a positive. 

If American Indians can get the government out of the way by lifting draconian regulations or by simply streamlining the permit process, then I believe more tribes will prosper. And maybe after more than a hundred years of insufficient good intentions and broken promises of free stuff, we will hear the good news that more and more tribes have rid themselves of Socialism -- and the horrible effects that it has had on a people rich in heritage and honor.  

Tom Correa

Thursday, March 5, 2020

American Socialism On Native American Reservations Has Never Worked

Dear Friends,

I was corresponding with a reader about the Left's desire for Socialism and the upcoming presidential election. As I stated to my friend in a letter, for me the choice is clear. We have to get out the vote for Donald Trump and fight the lunatics on the Left. They don't care who suffers as a result of their ignorance pertaining to a number of issues.

One issue is energy production. They have no idea what it takes to create electricity. They certainly don't know what it takes to power electric cars or builds them. I find it ironic that most of them are built with petroleum products and powered by batteries that are hazardous waste. Of course, the Left wants electric cars but they don't want to build the power plants to power them.

They see coal as a bad thing, yet they don't understand that coal is used for more than just energy -- such as for the production of iron for building buildings. As for oil production, the Left has no idea that 47% of every barrel of oil goes into making the more than 6,000 manufactured products that we all use every day -- including cell phones and just about everything behind the counter at their local Starbucks. And though they think solar and wind power are the answer, they don't realize that those two methods of creating power are the least reliable and the least productive.

As for the Global Warming Hoax, the Left is way too dumb to know when they are being had. They really think paying more in taxes, giving up 70% of their paychecks to the government under Bernie Sanders' plan, will somehow stop the weather from changing. Talk about not very smart.

As for wanting to surrender their Constitutional rights, or their idea that no one needs to be responsible to pay their debts, or their child-like view of Socialism and their idea that everything should be free, I can't believe that they are truly that dumb. The Left's propaganda machine supports the idea that no one has to pay for anything. And sadly, there are fools on the Left who are so stupid that they believe they will get everything free without having to pay for it in some way, shape, or form. Talk about child-like mentalities, they really think a nanny state is a good thing.

As you know, I mainly write about American History with a focus on the Old West, everything from vigilantes to Native American tribes. I'm actually amazed that no one has yet to mention how horrible Socialism has been for American Indians on reservations. So let's talk about American Indian reservations and how Indians are considered "wards of the Federal Government."

On March 3rd, 1871, the Indian Appropriations Act was passed. It was an amendment ending tribal recognition and the treaty system. It was at that time that American Indians were made "wards of the state" which means that were considered wards of the Federal Government. It also meant that the U.S. government no longer needed any sort of tribal consent in dealing with the tribes. What happened after that is a perfect example of how Socialism does not work in America. The reason for that is that it's a perfect example of what life is like when the government sees you as it's children and them your parent. 

This Is A Cautionary Tale Told To People Ignoring The Lessons Of Our History

We don't have to look to Venezuela, Cuba, or the former Soviet Union to see how Socialism fails. We would all be "wards of the U.S. Government" if we ever give up our freedoms and choose to be in a Socialist government. Native Americans have a pathetic healthcare system, unemployment through the roof, poverty is widespread, so is drug use, alcoholism, domestic violence, incarceration, divorce, depression, and suicides. If Americans want to see the true ill effects of American Socialism, all one needs to do is see how the American Indian on reservations has suffered under such a nanny state.

Yes my friends, American Socialism has been practiced since the end of the 1870s when Native American reservations were established by the Federal Government. At the end of the Indian Wars, Native American Tribes were rounded up and became "wards of the Federal Government" which is what the Supreme Court labeled them. 

As wards of the Federal Government, Native Americans became slaves of the state, were lied to, starved, and allowed to die rather than be allowed to be free. Sadly, over the last 150 plus years, some Native Americans have looked at death as a way to gain their freedom from the oppression of the Federal Government's Socialist care.

Do you think I'm exaggerating? My friends, 5.2 million American Indians live on tribal lands. While that's only about 22% of America's Native American population, their living conditions on the overall is comparable to that of Third World countries. And like Third World countries, the only people profiting from such a Socialist system are crooked government officials, crooked tribal leaders, and shifty contractors, all who take the lion's share of the funds allocated for those on the reservations.

Since Socialism is supposed to give everyone everything free, why is it that Socialism on the reservations has meant American Indians have seen nothing free? And instead, they live in overcrowded substandard housing where three or more generations of family life in small two-bedroom homes. And while most Americans take for granted things like adequate plumbing, available kitchen facilities, telephone or cell service, electricity, cable providers, heating, and air conditioning, Indian reservation housing is mostly absent of such common luxuries. In fact, on reservations, one would be lucky to find amenities such as running water in most reservation households. 

Socialism Equals Poverty

Since poverty is widespread thanks to the American Indian being a "ward of the Federal Government," such amenities are viewed as luxuries. As for employment, the only jobs to be had are either connected to the tribe or with the Federal Governments in some way. The fact is, there are few private employers if any on a reservation.

And because of the abject poverty and lack of opportunity, many of the reservation households are overcrowded. Thankfully, there are those who are on Social Security, Social Security Disability, or maybe getting Veterans Disability Pensions, because the lack of employment and the below the poverty line wages are all a result of American Socialism in Reservations.

What has this done to the average household on the reservations? What it has done is exactly what has happened to all of us who have struggled, the only way that they survive is by getting their extended families to join together to help each other make ends meet. 

Bernie Sanders is always talking about wealthy Billionaires, but he himself is a wealthy multi-Millionaire. And frankly, he doesn't have any idea of how tough things are when trying to make ends meet -- and the government limits you instead of helping you. 

And as for Healthcare For All? Let's talk about Socialized Medicine, Socialism's idea of Healthcare. Since Native American reservations lack the amenities that most Americans take for granted, and their homes are overcrowded while lacking basic heat and cooling, there are increased health risks taking place. Now compound that with the no real accessible healthcare available to them. 

Here's a statistic for you, 55% of all American Indians on reservations completely rely on the Indian Health Service for medical care. But here's the catch, because of not enough funding, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act only meets about 60% of their health needs. Because of the lack of funds being provided to make the Indian Health Care Improvement Act work efficiently, Indian Health Service facilities are restricted to only providing crisis-driven care. 

What that means is that there is no such thing as adequate and preventative health care for most Native Americans on the reservations. And to make matters worse, because of the under-funding, doctors and pharmacies are completely non-existent in some communities. 

So now, we all know that Bernie Sanders has been the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Veterans Affairs and he didn't do anything to improve the healthcare needs of veterans. And yes, besides what's taking place on American Indian Reservations, that's the other example of how Socialized Medicine is a complete failure. 

As "wards of the Federal Government," Native Americans on reservations were told that the Federal Government would provide for their care and needs. Conditioned to be dependent on the government, American Indians have faced starvation and limited opportunities. Because of this, deprivation is all-consuming, while drug use, alcoholism, mental illness, and depression, have led to the highest instances of domestic violence, divorce, and suicide seen in our American society. The result is that Native Americans on reservations have horrible schools, have some of the worse poverty in our entire nation, and don't have adequate healthcare which the government is supposed to provide. 

Here's what's worse, because of the lack of funding for such Socialist programs as government-provided healthcare, non-existent medical assistance has created all sorts of huge health problems for Native Americans. For example, I read where Native Americans are experiencing a horrible epidemic of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, tuberculosis, and cancer. And sadly, the infant death rate among American Indians on Reservations is 60% higher than for Americans not living on a Reservation. 

These are the realities faced by many Native Americans living on reservations. They should serve as a lesson to non-Native Americans who want to know how bad things can get right here in America under Socialism. It's true, such is the lesson of Socialism. 

And since we already have American Socialism being practice on Native American reservations, why aren't Americans talking about the truth in regards to the evils of Socialism? Doesn't the truth matter anymore? Will anyone ask self-proclaimed Socialist, actual life-long Communist, Bernie Sanders, why Socialism in practice on reservations has failed to work for American Indians? 

Why don't people ask Bernie Sanders about how Socialism has failed and the Free Stuff promised never appeared on American Indian reservations. Since American Indians on reservations are living in conditions akin to that of people living in Third World Countries, Bernie and his supporters should be made to address the truth of how Socialism kills the human spirit.

If people don't think it does, look to the reservations and see how tough they have it.


I find it interesting that when asked by a tribe member to look into the negative ramifications of government-imposed Socialist programs on Indian Reservations since the 1870s, I get tons of hate mail and the post is read by over 60,000 people. When I write part two which has to do with how well some tribes are doing after they rid themselves of the Federal Government's mandated Socialist programs, it's read by 300 people. Could it be people who want to read the negative and not read the upside of what's taking place on some reservations?

If people want to read about the positives taking place on reservations which are trying to get out from beneath the draconian Socialist policies imposed on the reservations by the government, click this link:
Tribes Shaking Off The Shackles Of Socialism

Tom Correa

Monday, March 2, 2020

A Politically Correct Marine Commandant -- What's That About?

When I was a young man taking the oath as a U.S. Marine, I took my oath to fight all enemies both foreign and domestic, and to protect and defend our Constitution very much to heart. And since I joined the Marine Corps in the early 1970's in a time when I didn't agree with the Liberal Leftist protesters or their messages of hate for America they carried on their protest signs, I resigned myself to the understanding among us who made a vow, a solemn promise, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States: 

I might not agree with what they say, but I will fight for their right to say it -- because it's a Right that Americans have fought and died for.

That attitude, the ethos of fighting to protect America and our principles even when we do not agree with those asserting their Constitutional Rights including that of free speech in a negative way, is what I was told the Marine Corps was all about. And frankly, I loved it because while ready to fight all enemies both foreign and domestic -- being a Marine also meant protecting and defending the Rights of my bother and sister Americans. It went to the heart of why I was a Marine. It went to the heart of the Marine Corps at the time.

That was 1973. That was 47 years ago. Oh have times changed for my beloved Marine Corps! 

On February 17th, 2020, it was reported that the Marine Corps' 38th Commandant Gen. David Berger not only refuses to protect and defend the Constitutional Rights of his Marines -- but is in fact attacking the very Constitutional rights which the highly decorated Marine General has sworn an allegiance to uphold. He is doing so by attacking the right of free speech of every Marine in the Corps today.

Gen. David Berger has decided that a Marine's right of free speech to display the Confederate battle flag on his or her personal clothing, shirts, jackets, or on their personally owned vehicles as in the case of bumper stickers must stop and be removed. He has decided that the Confederate battle flag is not allowed on Marine Corps installations. His order bans Confederate battle flags, signs, and other Confederate symbols.

While this sounds as asinine as it comes, Gen. Berger has ordered the removal of all Confederate flags, bumper stickers and other similar items from Marine bases. Please understand, anyone can use any symbol to represent hate. The same goes for people lying about what represents hate. Anyone can say anything does, even when it doesn't.

A few years ago, there were a large number of asinine people on the Left who said the Gadsden Flag was a symbol of hate because it was being flown, along with many other historic American flags, at Tea Party rallies. The Gadsden flag was used at those rallies to remind Obama and the government that tyranny will not be tolerated by a free people.

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a timber rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Below the rattlesnake are the words "DONT TREAD ON ME".

In 1775, Congress authorized the creation of a Continental Navy starting with four ships. To accompany the Continental Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Continental Marines. During their first mission, some of the Marines took with them a yellow flag emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, and sporting the motto "DONT TREAD ON ME".

Today, as was the case over 200 years ago, the Gadsden flag does not represent hate. It is a historic symbol of America's fight against tyranny. It is a symbol of deviance against unjust rule. The Confederate flag does not represent hate no differently than the Gadsden flag does not represent hate. 

The Confederate flag was designed to represent deviance against a federal government that Americans in the South saw as overstepping their authority when governing. It was carried into battle by Americans in the Civil War in their fight against those they saw as forcing them into submission. Today, it is a cultural symbol of the American Rebel spirit of independence. It is also a flag representing Southern heritage in their fight against what they saw as tyranny. 

Even though Confederate flags, bumper stickers and similar items are incapable of causing harm and does not represent hate coming from any group, in fact simply goes to the pride of one's heritage as Southerners, Gen. Berger wants them removed from Marine Corps bases according to a new directive from the Commandant. And frankly, I can't help but wonder if he will bad the Gadsden flag as well -- even though that was the first flag carried by our Continental Marines.

Gen. Berger has told his commanders to begin implementing the order or develop plans to do so by February 28, 2020. The order was included in a memo that Gen. Berger sent out calling for more recruiting of women in combat positions and for more restrictions on Marines accused of domestic violence. He also wants to expand maternity leave for pregnant Marines. 

As for his order banning the Confederate battle flag on Marine Corps bases, he simply ordered "the removal of all Confederate-related paraphernalia from Marine Corps installations." But there has not been an incident to incite such an action. It's true. A Marine Corps spokesman said the order was "not generated by any one incident, and instead stemmed from a broader concern about the issue."

We should all understand that members of the military have been involved in racial incidents for years. While that doesn't excuse such things, to my knowledge Confederate paraphernalia has had been at the root of those incidents. In most case, it simply has to do with hate from both blacks and whites.

You think I'm oversimplifying things? When I was in the Marine Corps in the early 1970's and part of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Hancock, we were trained in riot control because the Sailors had race riots on other ships at the time. At the time, we were told that black Sailors were assaulting white Sailors for no reason other than skin color. Yes, so much for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of ignoring color of skin. 

Later when stationed in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton in 1976 and '77, I was on Instructor duty at Correctional Custody when I heard about 7 black Marines using screwdrivers to attack and stab 14 white Marines at an area Enlisted Club. That incident turned into a real circus. The white Marines who were in a conference room holding a meeting regarding local youth sports were accused of holding a Ku Klux Klan meeting. 

It was national news in no time at all. In fact newspapers started running stories about how the Ku Klux Klan had some sort of presence in Camp Pendelton and the Marine Corps in general. Even though those news stories were all lies designed to inflame the situation, soon enough America's military haters started holding protests at Camp Pendelton's Main Gate. 

Included in those protests were black political activists, I believe Rev. Jessie Jackson showed up, too ready to capitalize on the false reports about the Ku Klux Klan having a foothold in the Marine Corps. Right after the black political leaders showed up, believe it or not, a Ku Klux Klan leader showed up get his face in front of television cameras and on the news. To the credit of the Marine General in charge of Camp Pendelton at the time, both the Klan leader and the black activists were not allowed on base. 

As for the black Marines who were taken into custody and facing assault charges. At first they stuck to their story that the white Marines were holding a Klan meeting. Their story unraveled when one of the seven black Marines informed on the others during their Courts Martial trail. He made it known that they knew it wasn't a Ku Klux Klan meeting. The black Marines assaulted the white Marines simply because they were white. And with that, the protests and the stories of the Klan's fictional influence in the Corps died.

While the hoopla over the incident died off after the truth came out, there were other politics taking place in the Corps at the time. After a recruit died during training, it seemed there were Congressional investigators running around everywhere. From this, there was a will to please politicians by sacrificing some very good Marines. In those days, if a Marine Instructor had unsubstantiated allegations of maltreatment made against him, his career was over without hearing his side. All to please the political witch-hunters. 

Of course those incident weren't the first incidents that showed how truly political the Marine Corps was in practice. In fact, at the time, the mid-1970's, the Marine Corps had already tried to put women Marines in combat positions. That took place in 1977 to please the very Liberal Carter administration mandates to get more women in roles traditionally dominated by men. It failed. 

Yes, there is a reason that men fight in the trenches. Whether or not politicians want to admit it, combat readiness requires Marines to meet extraordinary physical requirements. Those requirements should not be lowered just so women will be able to meet them. If the Corps lowers it's standards just to allow women to serve in line companies, all to appease some sort of Liberal political agenda, then the Corps lessens itself and Marines will suffer for it. That's not to say that women Marines do not serve a vital function in the Corps. But pushing their presence in a line company as a result of political pressure when women, and not just one or two, cannot meet high physical standards should not take place. The Marine Corps's standards should not be lowers for political reasons. That's what we learned in 1977 when a few units tried it. But really, liberal politicians didn't care to hear that. 

Although that experiment failed miserably back in 1977, Gen. David Berger didn't enter the Marine Corps until 1981. Maybe that's why he wants to try it again. Of course, attempting to do so was in itself an effort by the Marine Corps to please politicians who wanted to use the military for their social experiments back then -- just as it would be today. 

I attribute Gen. Berger wanting to try it again to how little he knows about what was tried and why things failed in the Corps before he became a Marine. Of course if he does know why such a stupid notion as lowering Corps standards just to allow women to serve in line companies failed in its previous attempts to do so, and he still wants to do it, then that in itself shows Gen. Berger might be more politically inclined than I thought. 

In an era of political correctness, it's a shame to see such a decorated Marine as Gen. Berger bend to such social experiments and political dictates as suppressing one's Rights. When reading about the General, one can't help but see a Marine who has risen through the officer ranks with merit. So why he feels it's necessary to address such a free speech issue as Marines waving the Confederate battle flag can only be seen as political. 

It's sad really. Instead of being known as a Marine Commandant who stood up against the negative affects of political correctness on the Corps, he will go down as aligning himself with those who want to tear down Confederate monuments in public places and suppress one's rights of free speech. Yes, all under the guise of "doing what's right" when in fact it's just political correctness. 

I can't help but wonder where politically correct Gen. Berger will stop. Will he issue Dishonorable Discharges to decorated Marines who happen to have Confederate flag tattoos? What if a Marine is from the South, what about his or her pride of heritage? What about the Corps' heritage and tradition and all of the Southerners who have served in the Marine Corps?

And here's something else to think about. Will Gen. Berger attempt to push the Obama administration mandate of eliminating Christian worship from the military by banning Christian services on base? Because I enthusiastically support President Donald Trump, I can't help but wonder if Gen. Berger is prone to carrying out the guidelines of the Obama administration and not President Trump's administration? Since it was clear just a few years ago that the powers-to-be were attacking practicing Christians in the Corps, making them not welcome in our military, as well as attacking the Gadsden flag and the Confederate battle flag, will Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger attack a Marine's right to Christian worship?  

Both our freedom of speech and our ability to worship the religion of our choice are rights protected by our Bill of Rights, rights that Gen. David Berger is sworn to protect and defend -- not attack and limit -- but does that matter to Gen. Berger? Where will Gen. Berger stop in his attacks on a Marine's rights as an American Citizen in accordance to the Bill of Rights?

While I'm in no way disparaging his service to our country, I can't help but wonder about his decision making capability. Since Gen. Berger ordered the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from all Marine Corps bases, I can't help but wonder if the Bill of Rights even matters to this very political Marine Commandant. Through his actions, his concern to protect and defend the rights of his Marines is questionable at best.

Tom Correa