Saturday, July 29, 2023

Thomas Egan - An Innocent Man Hanged 3 Times With 2 Different Ropes

No one believed he was innocent when he was hanged in 1882. No one thought they were making a mistake when Thomas Egan became the first man "legally" hanged in Sioux Falls in the Dakota Territory. It's said that everyone was so determined to see him hang that he was actually hanged 3 times and with 2 different ropes before all was said and done. That's what took place near what is today the Old Courthouse Museum in Minnehaha County, South Dakota.

Today, there is a historical plaque marking the spot where Thomas Egan was hanged. It reads:

The Hanging of an Innocent Man Marker 

Early day justice in Minnehaha County, Dakota Territory, overlooked innocence when gallows were erected near this site for the hanging of Thomas Egan, a pioneer immigrant farmer from County Tipperary in Ireland. Egan settled in Dakota in 1876.

Egan was arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged for causing the death of his wife, Mary. She was murdered in September 1880, on the family homestead farm 20 miles northwest of Sioux Falls, north of Hartford. She was found in the cellar of their sod home, dead from a bloody beating.

The suspicion of neighbors, which promptly spread through the community, centered on Thomas Egan. He was immediately taken into custody and placed in jail in Sioux Falls where he remained until the hanging. Many years later, a surprising revelation would prove his complete innocence.

Mary Hayden Lyons was a widow with a five-year-old daughter, Catherine, when she married Thomas Egan, in 1866, in Madison, Wisconsin. When the couple later moved, Catherine remained behind with relatives. Three sons, Sylvester, John, and Tommy, were born to Thomas and Mary Egan before Catherine rejoined the household in Dakota Territory. Soon thereafter, on November 23, 1879, Catherine married a neighbor, James Van Horn. 

During the trial, James and Catherine Van Horn testified for the prosecution, a fact which angered Thomas Egan greatly.

When the day of sentencing arrived, Territorial Judge Jefferson P. Kidder asked Thomas Egan if he had anything to say. With an angry scowl he replied, “Judge, I have nothing against anybody in the Court, or anybody around the country, except the Van Horns. They betrayed me and may the curse of God be upon them. I can stand it, Sir. The law may not reach the Van Horns, but the curse of God will.”

Catherine Van Horn lived 45 years with the words of her stepfather ringing in her ears. 

On June 3, 1927, on her death bed, at age 65, in Seattle, Washington, she confessed that she had killed her mother. She wrote, "Back in South Dakota in the early ‘80’s I killed my mother. We quarreled and I hit her again and again over the head until she died. No one ever suspected me. My stepfather, Thomas Egan, was hung for the crime. He died vowing his innocence."

It took three drops from the hangman's trap door on July 13, 1882, to end the life of Thomas Egan. On the first drop, the rope broke and Egan was carried back to the platform. On the second drop, a deputy inadvertently broke Egan's fall and the hanging man was dragged to stand on the trap door a third time. Following the third drop, the official physician declared him dead.

-- end of the inscription on the historical marker.

Reading about this. One has to wonder if Thomas Egan knew who the killer was but instead decided to protect them. Is that why he felt betrayed by James and Catherine Van Horn when they testified for the prosecution?  

Thomas Egan was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1835. His family immigrated to America during "The Great Irish Famine" which started in the mid-1840s. It was a time of starvation in Ireland because crops of potatoes were destroyed by a blight. The blight was so bad that it caused a famine that resulted in about one million deaths between 1845 and 1851. During that time, it's estimated that a million Irish emigrated to other lands -- including some coming to the United States.

How badly did that famine impact Ireland? Well, between starvation, hunger-related diseases, and those who fled for other lands, Ireland lost a quarter of its entire population. In America, many Irish families found life tough. 

In 1866, Thomas Egan married widow Mary Hayden Lyons in Madison, Wisconsin. When they were married, she already had a 5-year-old daughter, Catherine. The Egans left Wisconsin and moved to the Dakota Territory in 1876. Catherine, by then 15 years old, stayed with her mother's relatives. 

Thomas and Mary Egan had three more sons together and lived northwest of Sioux Falls. Catherine wouldn't join the rest of her family in the Dakota Territory until late in 1879. After arriving in Dakota Territory is when 18-year-old Catherine met and married James Van Horn.

On September 9, 1880. Mary Egan went missing. A search was started and on September 12, her body was discovered in the cellar of their sod home. It had been three days before her body was found dead in the cellar of the Egan's sod home north of Hartford. 

Details were printed in newspapers after the trial reported that her husband was guilty of her murder. It was reported that on the morning of September 12, Thomas Egan sent their children, Sylvester, John and Tommy, away so "he could carry out his grim task." 

The newspapers reported that "He approached her as she washed dishes, threw a rope around her neck and began to strangle her. While she was incapacitated, he brutally beat her about the head with a club until he was sure she was done for. After that, he threw her in the basement through a trapdoor in the floor. She was found three days later, having moved toward a wall and into a semi-reclining position. This suggested that she may have expired after a fair amount of time had elapsed. Neighbors were horrified and testified that the couple argued often. Thomas Egan was arrested quickly."

By December 1881, Thomas Egan had been tried and found guilty of murder. In May 1882, he was refused a new trial. It was then that Judge Jefferson Kidder sentenced him to death by hanging on July 13, 1882, in Sioux Falls. Upon hearing his sentence, Egan reportedly said, “Amen, I guess I can stand it.” 

She had been brutally murdered, and at least one newspaper, the Sioux Falls Pantagraph, tried to suggest that he may have been the same man who was implicated in a brutal murder in Minnesota in 1864. Of course that wasn't true. But that didn't matter. 

And as for you folks who will write to remind me that I use a lot of period newspapers as sources and to remind me that I should be aware of their bias and untruths even back in the day, I want to assure you that I know about that. That's the reason why I try to check things out before running a story only based on what a newspaper reported. 

Just as some Old West History writers embellish an event to make it that much more decorative, even if it means getting the facts wrong. I've read several writers who insert their personal opinions and present faulty conclusions while using adjectives to describe things that in many cases they don't know if factual or not. Newspaper writers do the same while dramatizing an event to inflame their readers. That's always been the case. 

I had a journalism teacher many years ago who said "Readers need to take the personal bias and commentary, along with the adjectives out of a news story if a reader wants to find the truth of what took place." Below is a perfect example of using supposition and conjecture to inflame readers  -- while also getting the facts completely wrong. Which, in the case of Thomas Egan, was years later determined to be the case.

The twice-botched hanging was covered in detail in newspapers of the day. Note below how this syndicated news story about the murder and the trial was not even close to really what took place. 

A HORRIBLE AFFAIR.

The Execution of Thomas Egan, the Wife Murderer, at Sioux Falls, Dak — The Drop Fails Three Times Before the Culprit is Deprived of Life, Owing to Rotten Ropes.

On Thursday, July 13, occurred at Sioux Falls the first judicial hanging ever done in the territory of Dakota. Nearly two years ago Thomas Egan, who suffered the death penalty, most foully and cruelly murdered his wife, with whom he had lived for nearly a quarter of a century. From evidence produced at the trial it would appear that 
they had frequent quarrels which at length culminated on this fatal morning in her death. 

He deliberately sent the children away, and while she was washing dishes at the table came behind her, and after throwing a rope around her neck and strangling her, pounded the life out of her with a club. The body was then thrown through a trap door into the cellar, where it was found three days after, horribly mutilated. The skull was fractured and the head was covered with frightful gashes made by the club. It appeared also as if she were not dead when thrown down, as she was discovered partly reclining against the call [sic] of the cellar, which added to the horribleness of the crime. Eagen [sic] was arrested and tried, and although there was every effort made by his attorneys to save him; he was convicted and sentenced to be hanged at Sioux Falls by Judge Kidder of the Fourth judicial district of the territory.

On Thursday, 13th, after eating a hearty breakfast, hearing the sentence read, and some religious exercises by a Catholic priest, Eagan [sic] was taken to the gallows. All eyes were intently fixed on the prisoner. His face was somewhat pale, but his lips were firm and he seemed to exhibit no sign of fear. He was a straight, heavy-set man, weighing 180 lbs., with a retreating forehead, heavy projecting eyebrows and an ugly looking eye. His general appearance was far from prepossessing. He was dressed in a plain black suit, with clean white shirt, collar and tie, and low shoes. He walked straight up to the platform to the scaffold, taking his place on the fatal trap, turned around and faced the crowd below.

The sheriff now asked him if he had any thing to say, but his lips still were kept sealed to his secret, and he shook his head and answered in a low voice, “No.” His legs were now tied, he himself assisting the officer by placing his feet close together. The black cap was put on his head, but not a limb quivered. The noose was adjusted and the fatal moment had come. While the priests were chanting their solemn service, and while the attending officers and crowd were holding their breath in silence, the sheriff touched the trigger which alone kept Thomas Egan from his death. There was a crash as the door flew back against the boards and body, deprived of its footing, shot through the door, and now, horror or horrors!

The rope snaps like a piece of thread, the body drops to the earth with a dull thud, partly on its back, and rebounding rolls over on its face. The crowd are paralyzed with astonishment and fear. An unearthly gurgling sound now breaks forth from the prisoner. 

His neck is not broken, but the cord is wound tightly about it and he is strangling. A half a dozen men now rush forward, one seizes him by the arm, another by the leg, another by the waist, another by the head. It is seventy-five feet from the ground, where he has fallen, back to the jail-door, and around to the platform of the scaffold he is hurriedly conveyed through the crowd, the broken rope in the meanwhile dangling from his neck, while his horrible groaning strikes terror to the bystanders. 

Once more on the scaffold, another rope is adjusted and the sickening details once more gone through with, the trap falls again and the half-dead man drops once more; but worse. The rope was not fully adjusted before the excited sheriff again touched the trigger and down the body goes a second time but not with sufficient force to accomplish the desired result.

His neck is still unbroken, and the slow process of suffocation is all this time going on. The attendants seize him by the arms and again pull him on the scaffold while the death struggle continues. The first rope is flopping from his neck and he still has life enough, so one says who was on the scaffold, to brace his feet for the third and last fall. 

If at this juncture some one had mercifully stepped up and put a bullet through his head, it would have been an act which would have certainly been appreciated by the crowd. The rope is finally fixed, the door drops once again, the man shoots down, and there is a snap which is heard all around the yard and outside. There is a shrugging of the shoulders, a twitching of the legs a convulsive shudder and all is still. The body swings slowly around. There is no motion of leg or arm or muscle, and in eight and one half minutes the doctors pronounced him dead, and shortly after the body was taken down. Yes, he is dead at last, and the sightseers heave a genuine sigh of relief. 

The corpse is now cut down and the pinioned arms and legs released. The dirt was brushed from the clothing and body laid in a coffin, where it was afterwards viewed by the crowd, both outside and inside the jail. The effects of the strangulation were fearfully evidence about the neck. The first cord had embedded itself, but the action of the heart had forced the blood under it and the flesh was swollen, purpled and discolored. There was a sightless stare to the eyes and blood was flowing out of the corners of his mouth. After all those desiring had seen the corpse it was boxed up, and early in the afternoon it was taken to the Catholic burying-ground where it was buried, and with it the club and cord with which he killed his wife.

-- end of the circulated news report. 

One writer put it this way, "Nobody in a position to help Egan knew he hadn’t 'most foully and cruelly murdered his wife' or that 'the horribleness of the crime' stained some other’s soul, of course … but one wonders how the writer thinks he did know it."

It was reported that the noose used to hang Thomas Egan "was specially ordered from a company in Lincoln, Nebraska, that manufactured items for just such an occasion. It was woven of silk and hemp and came accompanied by a written guarantee. The rope arrived late on the night before the scheduled hanging. It was not tested." 

It was also reported that "Thomas Egan was given a hearty last breakfast on the morning of his execution, July 13, 1882. He was read the death warrant at 9:10 a.m. His arms were tied, and he was walked to the gallows. At 9:34 a.m., he was placed in position on the trapdoor with the noose adjusted on his neck. At 9:35 a.m., Sheriff Dickson sprung the trap. Egan dropped 5 1/2 feet, at which point the rope snapped with 'a report like a percussion cap.' Egan landed on his feet and fell on his face and stomach, all the while emitting 'a most blood-curdling noise.'

Four men brought him back up to the gallows. A new manila rope was arranged as quickly as possible. They put the new noose on him and the trap was sprung again, but before the rope could be adjusted correctly. Egan was unable to drop far enough to provide him a quick death. He was hauled up and again hanged, though this time correctly. He was pronounced dead at 9:46 a.m. 

The community at large was satisfied that justice was served and that a wife murderer would no longer be counted among their population."

It took three tries to hang Thomas Egan. To me, I can't help but wonder if providence may have been at work. Two botched hangings seem a little more than mere coincidence. How else could there have been so many problems, one after another? And having to use a second rope after the first specially ordered rope apparently rotted and didn't do the job? I can't help but wonder why that happened. 

Of course, someone there knew the truth of what really took place in September of 1880. And yes, the fact is that Thomas Egan's stepdaughter knew the truth and didn't do a thing to save her stepfather even after his hangings failed twice. Instead, she let him hang. She let the world call him a "Wife Murderer." She allowed the world to think that Thomas Egan was a killer when she knew that he wasn't.

She waited for 45 years before she decided to tell the truth about what happened to her mother. She waited until her stepfather was long dead and she lay on her deathbed before she confessed to what got her stepfather hanged. 

It's true. On June 3, 1927, Thomas Egan’s stepdaughter, Catherine Van Horn, died. But, before she died, she told witnesses there at her side about what took place in September 1880. Some say "she relieved her soul of the burden which she had carried since September 1880." Some may disagree that it burdened her at all. Either way, it was then that she admitted that not only had she killed her mother in the Dakota Territory, present-day South Dakota, but that she had willingly let her stepfather hang for it.

And to some, like me, I see Catherine Van Horn as a double-murderer. She not only brutally killed her mother, she could have certainly stopped her stepfather from being hanged -- but didn't. Instead, she actually assisted the prosecution when she knew he was innocent. 


Tom Correa



Thursday, July 20, 2023

Jason Aldean's Music Video Is Just Being Honest

I'm always amazed at how some people want to rewrite history, especially very recent history.

Conservative country singer Jason Aldean's music video "Try That in A Small Town" has been yanked from Country Music TV even though it is Number One on the iTunes Billboard Chart. There is a controversy about what he's saying and the video depicts. Frankly, the Left has a problem with its honesty. 

Here are the song's lyrics to see for yourself if there is anything in it that's not true. 

Try That In A Small Town
Song by Jason Aldean

Lyrics

Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk
Carjack an old lady at a red light
Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store
Ya think it's cool, well, act a fool if ya like

Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you're tough

Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town

Got a gun that my granddad gave me
They say one day they're gonna round up
Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck

Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town

Full of good ol' boys, raised up right
If you're looking for a fight
Try that in a small town
Try that in a small town

Try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town

Try that in a small town
Ooh-ooh
Try that in a small town


Source: Musixmatch

Here are the Songwriters who wrote it, Kelley Lovelace, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Michael Allison.

Try That In A Small Town lyrics © Bmg Platinum Songs Us, Bmg Gold Songs, Makena Cove Music, Irishsonmusic, Spirit Vault Songs, Thrash Town Music, Spirit Nashville Two Crescendo, That's Me!! Music Publishing, Songs Of Red Street Country, King Pen To Paper Songs.

If you want to see the video, click here: Try That In A Small Town

So now, since I've been asked, allow me to tell you why I think there's a controversy over this video. 

I truly believe Democrats hate the truth. From the corruption of the 2020 election with ballot harvesting and dishonest mules dumping thousands of ballots into the mail system, to the revelations later of what really took place on January 6th, 2021, during the Capitol riot, Democrats spin things to try to get us to accept what they want us to believe. 

As for the riots in 2020, many of us who live in small towns believe that what took place in large urban areas across the nation in 2020 wouldn't have happened in small towns. The reason is simple. Americans who live in small towns feel a kinship with their neighbors and business owners. We have a greater affection for where we live than city people do. And really, whether the Democrat-controlled Mainstream Media and Leftist politicians want to acknowledge it or not, it's just true. Whether it's the increase in violent crime or what's taking place with the gay/trans agenda being pushed in local schools, small-town Americans work to stop such things. 

The reason for the difference between city people and small-town Americans has to do with how we feel about our towns versus how city people do about their cities. We are more invested in the general welfare of our communities. We have a sense of community. Cities are generally made up of people with apathetic attitudes.  

It's been my experience that city people simply don't care as much about their cities and rely too heavily on their city governments to protect them. In contrast, small-town Americans are a lot more protective of their towns. Most of us own guns and support our law enforcement professionals. Most of us know that limited law enforcement means we have to provide our own security. 

While Jason Aldean's video shows News footage of members of BLM and ANTIFA looting and burning down their own cities, he rightfully points out what most Conservatives thought of things at the time:

Try that in a small town and it wouldn't happen. People will say "No, not here. Not in 'my' town."


Jason Aldean's video accurately depicts what took place in the cities. His opinion, as is the opinion of many Americans including me, is that it wouldn't happen in a small town because Americans in small towns wouldn't allow it. And frankly, he's right. 

Of course, that goes to the issue of the Left wanting to either "forget" what happened or rewrite history to justify what BLM and ANTIFA did to those cities, those homes and businesses, and the people they beat up. The Left says that what took place was a matter of "free speech" and "peaceful protest." Forget what we saw with our own eyes. The Left says we didn't see what we all saw.

We all know better and most of us agree with Jason Aldean. That in itself irks the Left to no end because Americans have simply stopped buying into the lies that the Democrat-controlled Mainstream Media is still selling.

Another part of the controversy pertaining to his video is that the Left says it is explicitly pro-gun, pro-police, and pro-small town. Okay, so it is. Jason Aldean is an American and has the right to his opinion. But what's more important than simply having a right to his own opinion is the fact that Jason Aldean is an American who supports our Constitutional Rights -- including free speech and the right to bear arms.  He is fully aware that small-town Americans are not afraid of protecting themselves. And while he also supports law enforcement, he knows the majority of small-town Americans do the same. This  

These things all anger Liberals because they are anti-gun, anti-police, and anti-rural America. Whether people like it or not, the truth is that Democrats have waged a war on our Constitutional gun rights. Democrats are against Americans defending themselves. 

As for their hatred for Law enforcement, Democrats have shown themselves to be extremely anti-police to the point of supporting those who have attacked police stations and worked to defund the police. In some cities, Democrats have voted to get rid of their police departments altogether -- as well as not charging criminals with crimes. Of course, these acts are no different than cutting off their nose despite their face since it has resulted in huge increases in violent crimes and businesses have to shut their doors in Democrat-run cities. 

Democrats in charge of those large cities allowed their cities to be looted, burned down, and their people to be assaulted. They refused to call in the National Guard. And let's not forget that the Democrats' surrogates in the Mainstream Media covered for them and their failure to stop the chaos by reporting that the cities were experiencing "mostly peaceful protest" as they burned down. That was exactly the way it took place while businesses were aflame in the background of those reporters. 

Democrats allowed the looting and arson to take place because it was their voting base that was doing the looting, committing arson, and putting people in hospitals. So no, it's no wonder that a video depicting what they did  -- and simply saying that small-town Americans would never have put up with that -- angers Democrats and the Mainstream Media. 

Here's a shock for you. People on the Left are calling Jason Aldean's video and song, "Racist." In a time and place when EVERYTHING from the air we breathe to the sky being blue is considered "Racist," a time when EVERYTHING that the Left doesn't like is now called "Racist," where's the surprise that this video would be labeled such. Frankly, that line of crap has gotten old and no one is buying it. The Left has called EVERYTHING "Racist" to the point that no one gives a damn anymore.

And as for those who say this video increases the "cultural divide" in our country? The people on the Left saying such a thing need to look in a mirror to see who is truly responsible for the division that has taken place in our nation today. Democrats have tried to divide our nation by race, pitting Blacks against Whites, including trying to bring back Segregation in schools and more. As for the Left's hatred for Christians, that assault from Democrats is non-stop. 

As for more division? Let's not forget that Democrats are trying to take away the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. That's because Democrats feel that children belong to the government and not their parents. Yes, that's as Communist as you can get. And yes, that too isn't going over very well in small towns.

So for me, I'm glad that Jason Aldean took to Twitter to explain that he was praising small-town communities and didn't find the need to apologize for his video. The Left hates the truth. And Jason Aldean's video is very honest. So no, there's no surprise that Democrats hate it.

Check it out for yourself below.



Tom Correa

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Sound of Freedom (2023) -- An Incredible Film

If you have seen the film Sound of Freedom (2023), you know how incredible that film is. And if you become as curious about it as I did, then you will probably appreciate the well-done analysis below from the History vs Hollywood.com / Sound of Freedom website. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY (Q&A):

Did the real Tim Ballard grow frustrated after spending years stopping the end users of child pornography but never rescuing the kids?

Yes. The Sound of Freedom true story reveals that Tim Ballard, who had initially worked for the CIA for a year prior to joining the then-newly-formed Department of Homeland Security, spent several years busting the consumers of child exploitation material without ever being able to rescue the kids being exploited.
"I had spent 12 years as a Special Agent, undercover operator, for the Department of Homeland Security," says Tim Ballard, "working child crimes, child trafficking, and it was kind of an evolution, the first few years it was mostly just end-user, collector, cases of people who are possessing, distributing child exploitation material. And [I was] always wondering, 'Where are the kids?' I see these videos, it breaks my heart, I gotta describe them [in the reports]. There's a scene in the movie that breaks my heart where Jim [Caviezel] is crying as he's having to describe these horrific sex scenes of children, and when I say children, I mean average age, seven, six, five." 

Tim said that the laws changed for the better in 2006. 
"For the first time, U.S. agents could actually go overseas and prosecute Americans for engaging in sex with children overseas, and prosecute them as if they'd committed the crime on U.S. soil. So that opened up my horizons and I started finding the kids." Tim said that despite it being a step forward, it could still be a frustrating process because the law didn't stipulate how much time, flexibility, or creativity he would be given when conducting an overseas mission, and even if he found the kids, he would be told to come home if he couldn't find the American citizen who was connected to their exploitation. - The Daily Signal

After being ordered to abort his mission in Colombia, did Tim Ballard quit his job so that he could stay and rescue the children?

While conducting our Sound of Freedom fact-check, we discovered that the movie's depiction of Tim Ballard quitting his job is largely accurate. Ballard says that everything came to a head for him in 2012 when he was working on two different cases, one in Haiti and one in Colombia (due to it being a two-hour movie, the case in Colombia is the only one focused on in the film). "I was told, 'Come home,' on both of them," says Ballard. 
"They were both major cases, a significant hit against human traffickers would have taken place. ... There I am, thinking, 'They're asking me to come home once again, and I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna stay, and that means I have to quit my job." - The Daily Signal

Tim Ballard (left) is portrayed by actor Jim Caviezel (right) in the film.
Photos: O.U.R. / Angel Studios

Was Tim Ballard's wife okay with him quitting his job in order to rescue the children and complete his mission in Colombia?

Yes, but in answering the question, "How accurate is Sound of Freedom?" we learned that Tim Ballard's wife's discussion on the phone with him was a little different than in the movie. 
After being once again told by Homeland Security to abandon his missions and return home, Ballard got fed up and made the risky decision to quit his job in order to complete his operations and save the children. As stated earlier, he was working on two operations at the time, one in Haiti and one in Colombia (the movie only focuses on the latter). 
He told The Daily Signal that he called his wife, Katherine Ballard, and part of him hoped that she would tell him to come home, explaining that he was less brave at the time than the movie portrays him to be:

I called my wife, hoping, hoping she'll say, 'Get your butt home, are you kidding me? We got six kids to feed.' And I want her to say [that], because I was being a coward, but I knew it was the right thing, and she didn't, she didn't, she didn't read my script, and she said, 'Of course you're gonna stay,' and I said, 'Are you kidding me?'
In the film, you see [Mira Sorvino's character] say to me on the phone, 'You quit your job and rescue those kids.' What [my wife] really said to me, 'cause they didn't want to make me look like the coward that I was, because I was like, 'I'm coming home. I'm not gonna do this. I'm not gonna be part of this,' and she said to me, very sternly, 'I will not let you jeopardize my salvation by not doing this.' And it breaks my heart because not only is she losing our income, but she possibly, there's a very good chance, maybe 50-50, she's gonna lose me.
When Tim Ballard quit his job as a Special Agent with DHS, he and his wife Katherine Ballard had six children. Currently, at the time of the movie's release in 2023, Tim and Katherine have nine children, including two children they adopted who Tim helped rescue from traffickers. Tim and Katherine met while they were both attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.


The real Katherine and Tim Ballard, portrayed by Mira Sorvino and Jim Caviezel in the movie, are pictured in 2021. Photo: Tim Ballard Facebook

Who funded Tim Ballard so that he could quit his job and carry out the rescue operation in Colombia?

While analyzing the Sound of Freedom fact vs. fiction, we learned that it was media personality Glenn Beck who pulled together the funding for Tim Ballard and his team to complete the operations. "Glenn Beck, bless his heart, raised the money for us so that we could even do the operations," says Ballard. "I had no money to do it" (The Daily Signal). 
During an interview with Angel Studios CEO Neal Harmon, Ballard said that Glenn Beck started to help him raise money as he was in the process of leaving his job as a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security. He said that Beck was even in the original script for the film, but the scene was cut in order to fit everything in. - The Daily Signal

Photo: Tim Ballard Facebook

Are the villains in Sound of Freedom based on real people?

While discussing Sound of Freedom's historical accuracy, Tim Ballard said, "Every bad guy is real. In fact, the movie was cut because it got too long. They had cards at the end, telling you every bad guy's real, every kid is real, and it told you where they are today. They had to cut it. It hurt, but..." - The Victory Channel

Manny Perez's character Fuego, who Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) negotiates with in the movie, is a real person who was arrested during Operation Triple Take. Fuego liked to wear a hat similar to that of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. -O.U.R.

Is the movie's story of a woman posing as a talent recruiter and convincing a Honduran father to drop his daughter and son off at talent tryouts based in reality?

For the most part, yes. In the Sound of Freedom movie, a lower-middle-class Honduran father is approached by a well-dressed woman posing as a talent recruiter who overhears his daughter singing at the market. 
The woman, who is named Giselle, convinces the father to drop his daughter and son off at singing tryouts to see if his daughter can qualify for a young celebrity program. The father arrives with his two children at what appears to be an apartment filled with other children trying out for the program. The woman tells the father to come back at 7 p.m. However, when he returns, he discovers a dark, empty room with no sign of his children.

In the real story, there was a former beauty queen who helped lure in the children. Her name was Kelly Johana Suarez and she had been known as "Miss Cartagena." She was one of the five traffickers arrested on the island. Tim Ballard said that, similar to the film, they would lure in the children by pretending to have a modeling agency. - CBS News

Actress Yessica Borroto Perryman portrays the villain Katy-Gisselle in the movie.

According to Tim Ballard, how much of Sound of Freedom is based on the true story?

"So, they play with some times, they bring a couple of things together that didn't happen that fast, of course," says the real Tim Ballard. "Some things are definitely overreported. [Jim Caviezel] makes me look way cooler than I am. I promise. But some things are underreported, like we didn't rescue 54 kids on that island operation. We rescued over 120, and there's a documentary coming out called Triple Take, which tells everything that happened on that island." - The Victory Channel

Is Bill Camp's character, Vampiro, based on a real person who helped Tim Ballard?

Yes. In real life, Vampiro was also known as "Batman." The details of his backstory in the movie are mostly accurate. However, unlike what is stated in the film, he has never been to prison. 
The movie also states that he joined the fight against child trafficking after he slept with a prostitute and then realized it was a 14-year-old girl, which nearly drove him to suicide. 
In real life, Vampiro slept with an adult trafficking victim. He discovered that her young daughter was being exploited when she wasn't around, which is what motivated him to join the battle against child trafficking. Vampiro did help with Operation Triple Take, but he did not participate in the island operation that is depicted in the movie. He was leading another leg of that operation in MedellĂ­n, Colombia that was unfolding on the same day. - O.U.R.

How many women and children did Tim Ballard rescue during the operation depicted in the movie?

The real Tim Ballard says that his team rescued 123 trafficking victims in Operation Triple Take in Colombia. 55 of them were minors. 
"The film only gets into a piece of it," says Ballard. "There's 54 rescued on that island [depicted in the movie], but the op was bigger than that. The movie didn't have time to get into it." He says that there's so much more attached to the whole story. - The Daily Signal

In real life, the operation unfolded in three cities in Colombia over a one-hour time period in October 2014. When 25 Colombian special operatives raided the party on the island depicted in the movie, they arrested five suspects, four men and one former beauty queen. Of the 54 victims rescued on the island, 29 of them were under 18. The movie fictionalizes this a little by depicting all of the survivors rescued on the island as minors. - CBS News

Colombian law enforcement officers are pictured during Operation Triple Take in 2014 storming onto the beach of the real-life island just outside of Cartagena, Colombia that is depicted in the movie. Photo: O.U.R.

Does Sound of Freedom show the exploitation of children?

No. "I demanded they didn't," says the real Tim Ballard, who insisted that such terrible crimes not be shown in the movie. The horror is instead conveyed in part through actor Jim Caviezel's eyes and expressions as his character reacts to the exploitation. - The Daily Signal

Has Tim Ballard ever killed anyone?

No. Near the conclusion of the movie, Jim Caviezel's character kills a man in order to rescue a child. This never happened in real life. 
In addressing this scene, Operation Underground Railroad's website clarifies, "Tim Ballard has never killed anyone, contrary to what is depicted in the film." The organization emphasizes that they do not act as a vigilante group. Instead, they work with governments and local authorities, contributing intel, funds, equipment and undercover operatives.
Did Tim Ballard go into the jungle by himself to rescue a little girl?

No. After Operation Triple Take concludes in the Sound of Freedom movie, Tim (Jim Caviezel) poses as a doctor and goes into a Colombian jungle by himself to try and rescue the little boy's sister, who is still missing. 
While the real-life little boy did have a sister, Tim's jungle search in the movie was instead very loosely inspired by his organization's real-life search for a little boy named Gardy, who had been kidnapped from the grounds of his father's church. 
At one point, several years after Operation Triple Take, Tim led a team of O.U.R. operators, pretending to be doctors, into a jungle on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to look for Gardy. They were unable to find him, but they did give medical care to a number of ailing children. To this day, Tim wears a bracelet with the boy's name on it to symbolize the ongoing search for Gardy.

How many children are trafficked each year?

While researching the Sound of Freedom true story, we learned that according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 350,000 children are reported missing every year in the United States. Of that total, an estimated 100,000 are being trafficked. The 2021 Federal Human Trafficking Report stated that 57% of U.S. human trafficking victims were minors.

As stated at the end of the movie, human trafficking is a 150 billion-dollar-a-year criminal enterprise. It has eclipsed the illegal arms trade and is roughly a third of the size of the drug trade. American citizens are often the ones traveling to other countries to exploit children.

The child trafficking statistics graphic below is free to share (no attribution necessary).

This graphic is free to share. No attribution is necessary.

Is America's current border situation making it easier for children to be trafficked and exploited?
Yes. "This film, the story kicks off at the port of entry at the southern border. That's a true story," says Tim Ballard. "They filmed that exactly where that happened with that little boy and the necklace, that's a real story, the necklace with Timothy on it. That's timely. Look what's happening right now on our southern border." Ballard says that he spent 10 years working at the border as a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security. - The Victory Channel
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Ballard explained how the current lack of security at the border is exacerbating the problem of child trafficking:
The economy of pedophilia. The United States is the number one consumer of child exploitation material. We are the demand. So, that means that traffickers want to get children into that dark market. There's a lot of money to be made here. The United States, also according to the State Department, is in the top three countries for destination countries for human trafficking. So, there's every incentive to get children into America, into the black markets here of pedophilia.

And so, when I find out that in the last couple of years that at least 85,000 — I think it's much higher than that — that at least 85,000 unaccompanied minors [have shown up at the border], thousands of them, I've seen the CBP reports, are under five years old. Why is a three-year-old showing up at the border? 
Well, I can tell you why, because they show up with a name, the name of the sponsor that they're given by the trafficker. HHS gets the kids and they by law have to call the number.

*pretends to pick up phone*

'Hi, we have Jose Gonzalez, Mr. George Smith.'

'Yeah, yeah, that's my kid, whatever.'

They used to actually fly down and have to pick the kid up. Not anymore. Our taxpayer dollars will [now] send the kid by plane or bus to this 'sponsor', no background check, no DNA, nothing. And they deliver the kids. Our taxpayer dollars are literally, for the first time in American history, our taxpayer dollars are going to facilitate the last leg of a child trafficking event.
Ballard says that the only compassionate border policy is border enforcement, including barriers and walls, because, as emphasized in Sound of Freedom, "the walls and the barriers lead the children who are being hurt into that funnel of rescue. Trained women and men in uniform are there. Those kids want to go through the port of entry. Those kids pray for a wall. The wall will save their lives! But let's take it all down. Let's open it all up. Kids are being abused by the thousands and our taxpayer dollars are actually funding it."

Who did Tim Ballard want to play him in Sound of Freedom?

During our Sound of Freedom fact-check, we learned that it was Tim Ballard who requested that Jim Caviezel portray him in the film, despite Caviezel being much taller and with dark hair. Their physical differences aside, Ballard wanted Caviezel for more personal reasons. 
"I don't trust Hollywood," said Ballard, "but I know one thing about Jim Caviezel. One, he's a great actor. My favorite movie of all time was The Count of Monte Cristo. And I know he loves Jesus, and that is important to me, someone who loves the Lord. I can at least trust in that." - Angel Studios

Photo: Tim Ballard Facebook

Did movie studios shy away from wanting to release Sound of Freedom?

Yes. It was a long journey and a struggle for the filmmakers to get the movie made and released. Actor Jim Caviezel spoke about the challenges during several different interviews for the film:
We struggled making it. We struggled gettin' the money together. We lost our money. We lost our studios that were supporting us, and yet we were just getting by, a little bit at a time. Faith bonded us together. Once we got it done, Eduardo Verástegui (Bella) had to bear the burden and try to get this film [released], and studio after studio, it's like nobody would want it. ... We had the same issue with The Passion of the Christ, and that thing ended up becoming a juggernaut. -The Daily Signal
When it went to the studios, you clearly see people getting up and crying and weeping, and moved to tears, and laughed and highly entertained, and then when it was all said and done, it was, 'Sorry, this isn't for us.' - Q&A with Jim Caviezel and Neal Harmon
20th Century Fox produced Sound of Freedom and Disney owned it after they purchased 20th Century Fox. However, Disney decided to shelve the film. After pulling together funds and negotiating, Angel Studios, the company behind the hit series The Chosen starring Jonathan Roumie, picked up the movie.

How did actor Jim Caviezel prepare for the role of Tim Ballard?

While dissecting the Sound of Freedom fact vs. fiction, we discovered that in order to prepare for the role, Caviezel said that he spent time training with Ballard, specifically in close-quarter combat. 
He was even able to accompany Ballard on missions. "I go and literally sit in on these missions," says Caviezel, "and I'm watching him and his analysis of what he sees. And it has to be done very methodically. And I'm trying to find out who he is and what I am and how we're similar." - National Catholic Register

The real Tim Ballard and actor Jim Caviezel 
are pictured during an interview for Sound of Freedom.

Did Jim Caviezel lose his agents over the movie?

Yes. In an interview with Angel Studios CEO Neal Harmon, Caviezel said that, as with The Passion of the Christ, he and the filmmakers have endured blowback for making Sound of Freedom:
"I want this to be so huge that they're forced to look at this. I lost my agents over this. Yep, 17 years, 15 years. I lost my lawyer over this, and now I understand why all these actors didn't want to do the movie because of this. Listen, you do Schindler's List fifty years later, you're a hero. Try doing Schindler's List when the real Nazis are right there. Understand how that becomes more dangerous? I don't understand why people are willing to let children be hurt, but in this time, Hollywood says, 'No, no, let's kick that down fifty years from now and then [see where we're at]. That's crap."
Did Tim Ballard start an organization to fight human trafficking?

Yes. The Sound of Freedom true story confirms that in 2013, former Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a nonprofit organization that rescues children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. 
His team includes many former government operatives who gave up their careers to focus on rescuing children, in part because the U.S. government has not made fighting child trafficking a priority.
According to the O.U.R. website, the team can work in any jurisdiction and alongside law enforcement to rescue children directly. 
They have reportedly been involved in more than 4,000 operations and 6,500 arrests since their inception (FOX News). Ballard says that they've extracted over 6,000 women and children, who they've helped get into recovery (Lewis Howes).

Tim Ballard says that he would never have been able to quit his job with the government and start O.U.R. without the support of his wife, Katherine Ballard, with whom he shared six children at the time (they currently have nine). 
As Tim was tempted to make the easy decision and remain at his cushy DHS job and not give up his pension, Katherine encouraged him and offered him spiritual guidance, telling him that even if they lost their house, rescuing the children was more important and would be the path that would not jeopardize their salvation.

Photos: Tim Ballard Facebook / Angel Studios
Tim says that he would not have been able to start O.U.R. if it wasn't for the unwavering support of his wife Katherine. Actors Jim Caviezel and Mira Sorvino portray the couple in the movie. 


Sunday, July 9, 2023

Unlike The Other President's, Trump's Ancestors Were Not Slave Owners

Reuters published a report on June 27, 2023, that still has a lot of Americans talking. Of course, this became one of those Mainstream Media stories on slavery that ended up backfiring on Democrats who have a vested interest in making former President Donald Trump look bad. In this case, Democrats who have attacked Trump as a "Racist" for many years now didn't like the research results. 

According to the story in the news, "In researching the genealogies of America's political elite, a Reuters examination found that a fifth of the nation's Congressmen, living Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Governors are direct descendants of ancestors who enslaved Black people."

To go even further, researchers had proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that every living American President descended from slaveowners -- except Donald Trump. In fact, the new investigation found that former President Donald Trump, who the Democrat-controlled press attacks as being "Racist," is the only living U.S. President to not have slave-owning ancestors.

So imagine their shock to find out that Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and America's "First Black President," Barack Obama, are all descended from slave owners. And believe it or not, at least 100 of the 536 members of Congress and more than 25 percent of the Senate, both Black and White lawmakers alike, descended from slave owners. 

Why did President Trump's family not own slaves like all of the other President's families? Donald Trump's ancestors never owned slaves because they immigrated to the United States in 1885 after slavery was abolished.

Joe Biden's great-great-great-grandfather owned two slaves, while another of Biden's great-great-great-grandfather actually enslaved a 14-year-old boy. That fact is according to a 2021 genealogical analysis published by Politico.

The report did point out how inconvenient such an investigation such as this can be. In fact, while Reuters tried to focus that report on Republican lawmakers with ties to slavery in their family trees, Reuters was conspicuously silent in pointing out that Vice President Kamala Harris has a slave-owning lineage. What's sort of funny is how Reuters tried to play down tn fact Vice President Kamala Harris' ancestors owned slaves by saying that they were slave owners in Jamaica and not the United States. As if that makes it better.

Let's be clear on this, this is a major problem today. In this case, the people in the Mainstream Media, the Democrats who run Reuters, were probably hoping and praying to uncover some deep dark secret about slave owners in President Trump's family tree. And yes, it's probably putting it mildly to say that Reuters was seriously disappointed when their hunt for race-baiting trash on Trump's ancestors backfired and actually confirmed that Biden, Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Obama were all descendants of slave owners. 

Of course, if you listen to the con-artist Democrats, those hustlers and grifters on the Left who see big dollars coming their way because of their demands for Reparations, you'd get the idea that every American owned slaves at one time or another. And there's the problem. There's a great deal of misinformation out there about slavery and who owned slaves. 

Tom Correa