Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Terror, Then and Now

My buddy, Jim Birkel, provides an interesting contrast about terrorism then, and now.  He references the Northfield Raid, where the James/Younger gang tried to hold up the bank in Northfield, MN, on September 7, 1876.  The gang targeted the First National Bank of Northfield because they though it would be an easy target.  They were wrong.

Back in those days, there was no FDIC.  If your bank was robbed, the depositors lost money.  Real money.  The hopes, dreams, and security of the depositors would be lost.  When the citizens realized that the bank (and their deposits) was in jeopardy, they armed themselves and met the gang in the street.  You can read about it here. A gunbattle erupted between the gang and the citizens.  The surviving gang members fled on horseback while the townspeople raised posses to pursue.  By the time the pursuit was over, only Frank and Jesse James had escaped and the James/Younger gang was no more.

Another example of townspeople protecting their assets came in October, 1892 when the Dalton Gang tried to rob two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas.  Again, the townspeople armed themselves to protect their deposits and a general gunbattle erupted.  By the time the dust had settled, the Dalton Gang had been shot to pieces.

Armed criminals, met in the act of depredation by armed citizens.  In both cases, the citizens might not have been armed initially, but obtained guns from the local hardware store.Common folk, shopkeepers, farmers and townfolk took care of their own business.

That's American exceptionalism.  I doubt that we heard much talk about gun control from the elected officials, but in those days, tar and feathers was still a part of the impeachment process.

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