Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Wild West was more peaceful than today: "Roger McGrath, a historian who studied dozens of Western mining camps and towns, found a high rate of homicide in them mainly because it was socially acceptable for young, drunk single men to resolve points of honor by fighting to the death. But other violence wasn't tolerated, he said. "It was a rather polite and civil society enforced by armed men," Dr. McGrath said. "The rate of burglary and robbery was lower than in American cities today. Claim-jumping was rare. Rape was extraordinarily rare - you can argue it wasn't being reported, but I've never seen evidence hinting at that." Deadwood's bad reputation was established by the famous killing of Wild Bill and enhanced with claims that the miners averaged a murder a day. But Deadwood historians like Watson Parker dismiss that statistic. "Pure bilge," Dr. Parker told me. "There wasn't an awful lot of violence in Deadwood except for the crooks and drunks killing each other. When everybody has a gun on his hip, they tend to avoid confrontation." Another Deadwood historian, Bob Lee, said that the best account of the two peak years of the gold rush, 1876 and 1877, lists only 77 violent deaths in all the Black Hills, most outside Deadwood, and most attributed to Indians, who were understandably angry at the invasion of their lands by both miners and troops under George Armstrong Custer".

Texas: Bullet in head for car thief "A northeast Houston man opened fire on suspected car thieves who were trying to steal his vehicle, police told Local 2 Friday. Officers said two men driving a stolen tow truck were trying to tow a car out of the Swiss Village Apartments parking lot on Homestead near Tidwell shortly before 5 a.m. Roosevelt Grant is a neighbor of the car owner. He said he knew something was wrong when he saw the white Buick LeSabre hooked up to a tow truck. Then, he said he saw his neighbor running after his car and shooting a gun at the two men inside the wrecker. "I just heard a loud, squealing noise and I just happened to see a wrecker truck," Grant said. "To take something that belongs to you is just not right." The car's owner fired a total of six shots at the wrecker, hitting Antonio Devon Hunt, 29, who police said was driving the tow truck. He was shot once in the head and transported to Ben Taub Hospital in critical condition. The other man escaped. Police said that the men stole the tow truck a week ago and were using it to steal vehicles... Neighbors supported the car owner who fought back when his vehicle was being stolen. "I didn't even know he owned a gun. I probably would have done the same thing if it was my car," a neighbor known only as Linda said. Police do not expect to file charges against the owner because the shooting appears to be justified."

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