Friday, August 30, 2013


Tombstone: How The West Was Won
Gallows Near Courthouse
Tombstone, AZ

Several weeks before my Tucson saga drew to a close, I set out to visit the familiar sights of southeast Arizona familiar places such as: Bisbee, Patagonia, Sierra Vista, and Tombstone. The real home of the old west. (Keep in mind that the state of Arizona recently celebrated its first centennial of statehood.)

On one of my treks, decided to explore the town of Tombstone, home of Wyatt Earp and all things the world knows as cowboy. As I ventured into the well preserved old courthouse and peered just outside of the court chambers there was a view I had never witnessed before, a fully functioning gallows. It was how scores were settled and the law enforced and preserved right or wrong.

The west was won by intimidation and fear not by kindness and mercy. To rule the unruly, justice was served swiftly and without thought. Mistakes were made and some innocents I'm sure swung from gallows at the end of knotted ropes like these. The Apache, the Comanche, the Sioux, and the Navajo all had to conform to the greed of the European white man. Native Americans believed that the land was not for the white man to take, it was meant to be shared by all but the greed of gold and the dreams and thirst for land and ownership blinded those hell bent on ownership and the conquest of the west regardless whether its claims were Mexican or of Indigenous people was the most important objective; the outcome was the same. Justice was served either at the end of rope or the end of a gun.

It was unfortunate drama but it was one that unfolded over and over again. This land was not our land, it was their land, and we the sons and daughters of Europeans took it under the guise of God's will. It's been this disdain for the land that has now brought us to  our modern issues of global warming and our constant thirst for fossil fuels. We simply can't subdue our greed or curb our consumption. We choose to resolve all issues with might vs will. We should learn the lessons from the noose and the rope and the copious bloodshed on the terrain we now know as the "West". 

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