Today as in Wyatt Earp’s Day, It Is the Proclivity of Democrats to Favor the Criminals
Paul Craig Roberts
A friend who haunts used book sales passed on to me Wyatt Earp by Casey Tefertiller published by John Wiley & Sons in 1997. It was a New York Times “Notable Book” and History Book Club Selection.
It is hard to imagine that today 24 years later. A mainstream publisher bringing out a book about a straight white male police officer in a hero role is an unlikely event in our woke Identity Politics time.
Tefertiller is determined to get to the heart of the Wyatt Earp legend. Was he the hero his advocates say or the villein his detractors assert. Tefertiller searches out the facts and is so determined to be fair-handed that he gives the outlaws’ claims equal standing with those of the lawman himself.
What I found most striking about the book is that in Tombstone, Arizona, it was easier for outlaws to control the narrative than for those who upheld law and order. There were two newspapers in Tombstone. The law and order one was Republican. The Democrat paper was controlled by the deputy of sheriff John Behan and represented the outlaws. Even in those days Democrat media throughout Arizona was on the side of the criminals.
Circumstantial evidence indicates that Sheriff Behan was in with the outlaws. Somehow the outlaws arrested by the Earps, Deputy US Marshalls, always managed to escape from Behan’s jail. The few who ever went to trial would have numerous witnesses testify that they were 100 miles away from the crime, or a Democrat prosecutor would make a mistake that a Democrat judge could use to dismiss the case.
The Democrat newspapers would excoriate the Earps for arresting innocent cowboys to cover up that the Earps themselves had committed the crimes. It is difficult to imagine the Earps or the town putting up with these kind of lies. The outlaws had the edge because of class divisions and because the outlaws rustled Mexican cattle across the border and sold it at low prices in Tombstone, thus sharing their ill-gotten gains with the town people. The legitimate ranchers were aligned with the Earps.
Ike Clanton was one of the outlaws who kept the pot boiling against the Earps. It reached the point that the Earps approached some of the outlaws to disarm them. The result was the gunfight at the OK corral, which wasn’t at the OK corral. Three outlaws were killed, and two of the Earps were shot but recovered.
The Democrat newspapers blamed the gunfight on Wyatt Earp, calling him a murderer. Somehow a mere local sheriff was able to arrest US Marshalls and put them on trial. Scores of witnesses lied, heaping all blame on the Earps. But independent witnesses stepped forward and contradicted the outlaws. Earp himself then testified. The judge, who was initially biased against Wyatt, was honest in the end and summed it up as a case where the fight resulted from the act of resisting arrest.
But calumny against the Earps continued and threats multiplied. The Earps seemed to be careless about the threats. Instead of hunting down their enemies, they were hunted down by them. Deputy US Marshall Virgil Earp was ambushed in the street in Tombstone. He was seriously wounded and lost the use of an arm. Morgan Earp was shot in the back through a window when he was inside playing a game of pool. The shot killed him.
When Wyatt Earp took a posse looking for the killers, Sheriff Behan had a posse out to arrest Earp. Earp’s posse was ambushed by outlaws and fled, leaving Earp alone to face the outlaws. He managed to kill the leader in a shoot-out and was saved from a barrage of outlaw bullets by the erratic movements of his horse spooked by gunfire, and Earp was able to escape.
Again the incident was blamed on Earp who allegedly was out for vengeance.
With two Earps down, the decision was made to move Virgil, still not recovered, to a safer location out of state. As outlaws would have killed Virgil on his way to the train station in another town, Wyatt and a posse escorted him. With Virgil safely on the train, Wyatt noticed that Ike Clanton and another outlaw had him in their sights through a window and were about to finish him off. The posse broke up the attempt and one of the outlaws was killed, but Clanton again escaped.
Clanton began the hue and cry that Wyatt had murdered an innocent man. The Democrat newspapers picked up the calumny. Demands for Wyatt’s arrest arose again. The Earps frustrated by the powerlessness of law in Arizona left the state. The chief US Marshall petitioned the US president for a pardon in order to end the travails of the remaining Earps, but the cowardly president was too afraid of the controversy.
The citizens of Dodge City and Wichita, where Wyatt has served as lawman, wrote testimonials in his defense as did the upstanding elements in Arizona. The governor or acting governor refused to take action against Earp.
Nevertheless the controversy plagued Wyatt for the rest of his life. It must have made him extremely sorry that he ever stood for law and order.
I wonder how US police officers feel today after the criminals that rioted and looted were turned loose by Democrat governments while Trump supporters were arrested for supporting Trump and officer Chauvin was framed and convicted in the media by scum presstitutes, put on trial by a corrupt prosecution and convicted by a terrified jury.
Without any doubt there are bad elements in police forces and bullies who enjoy power and its abuse. Nevertheless, it is the police who are on the line, not the criminals. When police are not supported by the public, they will not take the risks of protecting the public. This lesson is one that Democrats have never learned.