Skip to comments.Dispelling the myth of "the wild west" (2009 article worth reposting)
Posted on 07/07/2013 8:18:35 AM PDT by Red in Blue PA
With all this talk of The Wild West, I thought it might be informative to look at the reality of crime in the wild west cattle towns and compare them to the peaceful streets of such eastern, gun-control paradises as DC, New York, Baltimore and Newark.In his book, Frontier Violence: Another Look, author W. Eugene Hollon, provides us with these astonishing facts:In Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Caldwell, for the years from 1870 to 1885, there were only 45 total homicides. This equates to a rate of approximately 1 murder per 100,000 residents per year.In Abilene, supposedly one of the wildest of the cow towns, not a single person was killed in 1869 or 1870.Zooming forward over a century to 2007, a quick look at Uniform Crime Report statistics shows us the following regarding the aforementioned gun control paradise cities of the east:DC 183 Murders (31 per 100,000 residents)New York 494 Murders (6 per 100,000 residents)Baltimore 281 Murders (45 per 100,000 residents)Newark 104 Murders (37 per 100,000 residents)
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
“An armed society is a polite society.” Lazarus Long as recorded by Robert Heinlein.
I am not convinced that deaths were reported as accurately in rural areas as they would be in the cities. I once asked a man who was in his 90’s, and who spent most of his life in West Virginia what was the greatest change he noticed in all his time. He told me that when he was growing up, that if they found a dead body, or if some stranger died, they would just burry the person, and no one would pay any attention, much less report it or investigate.
There is underreporting today too. Many people who have gone missing and are in reality dead do not make the numbers. Same goes for gang violence where many will go unaccounted for.
You can amass all the statistics you want, and scrupulously analyze them with the most rigorous of statistical methods, but the facts will not overcome the perceptions that Hollywood have created in the Western movie genre.
Few people are interested in historical accuracy. Semi-historical mythology is far more entertaining.
In all fairness, I would stretch the time from of the Old West from 1803, with the Louisiana Purchase, to 1890, with the last vestiges ending 20 years later in 1910.
An awful lot of things happened in this about 100 years. To limit “The Old West” to settlements, towns and cities does it a grave injustice. There were spats between European powers and Americans, between Mexicans and Americans, between Indian tribes and other Indian tribes and Americans.
Sometimes the US Army was there, other times not, and a few times the US and Confederate armies had some brawls as well.
The California coast had both criminal gangs and vigilantes.
Where there were towns, they generally had a “good side of town”, and a “bad side of town”. When there was violence, as today, it is mostly with poor people and transients.
However, one of the biggest motivating factors for settlers was to have “civility” as soon as possible. They wanted law and order, morality, as in no prostitutes, limited liquor and gambling, and real money earned with business.
Other disputes could get ugly, such as fights over ranch land in Texas (the founding of the XIT (ten counties in Texas) and King Ranches were quite brutal), the Pleasant Valley War in Arizona got anywhere from 20-34 people killed, wiping out both families; as well as other disputes, gangs of badmen, renegade Indian bands, etc.
A lot can happen in a hundred years.
Guns are irrelevant in the modern cities listed. The true causative factors are low intelligence and poor self control, factors known for centuries-see Carlyle in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
One interesting feature was the fact that Western towns quite early enacted and enforced ordinances forbidding the carrying of fire arms. Due to a homogenous population having the same values it worked. Today, those in power are “diverse” as is the population; thus unable, too stupid, and unwilling to govern. To put it another way government is breaking down. Breaking down is a process and it will take time until a total collapse of law and order ensues. Look for example at the corrupt “diverse” Ninth circuit in California who is forcing the state to release about 10,000 felons. A “diverse” judge in the Ninth Circuit ordered the release of a large group of prisoners who have already killed people. The “diverse” left invariably favors the criminal element-especially if they to are “diverse.” People will have to fend for themselves as the government(the Courts) are against the law abiding. There is a rise in the desire to carry guns which is evidence of increasing lawlessness. While I am generally against the carrying of fire arms we may have to once again as we did in the 19th centuries “Wild West.”
I posit that we have re-created frontier like conditions in many of our urban centers:
In his autobiography, “Hell, I Was There!”, Elmer Keith describes his life in the early 1900s in Montana and Idaho.
Elmer was threatened by a co-worker. His dad bought him a small barrel of powder and a few pounds of lead because he was still shooting a cap-n-ball revolver. He practiced all Summer and became a crack shot with a fast draw.
There were shootouts and bank robberies.
During WWII when he worked for the Army, Elmer was famous for shooting birds flying by at 100 yards or so with his .45 1911.
One time he won a bet by hitting a half man target at 550 yards with the same pistol.
Yup, I think the reporting may be off. Thought you would enjoy the history.
And a one-room schoolhouse.
And an opera house.
Sounds like intriguing reading. I bookmarked it. Thank you for posting this article again.