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Posts Tagged ‘gold rush

“Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance”*…


… geriatric crime poses special challenges. During the trial of Germany’s “Grandpa Gang,” the gang members described how their 74-year-old co-defendant, Rudolf Richter, almost botched a 2003 bank heist by slipping on a patch of ice, forcing them to take extra time to help him into the getaway car. And the 74-year-old had another problem, co-defendant Ackermann told the court: “We had to stop constantly so he could pee.”

Bloomberg on the rise of crime perpetrated by the aged worldwide: “Instead of Playing Golf, the World’s Elderly Are Staging Heists and Robbing Banks.”

* David Mamet


As we respect our elders, we might recall that it was on this date in 1898 that Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith uttered his last words: “My God, don’t shoot!”  Smith, a confidence man who was “following the gold,” had moved to Skagway, Alaska, after successful criminal careers in Denver and Creede, Colorado.  He’d assembled a gang and taken control of the docks– an important distribution point in the Klondike Gold Rush.  A committee of vigilantes formed to rid the town of Smith and his gang.  When federal authorities failed to act, they decided to confront Soapy themselves.  Smith met them carrying a Winchester rifle.  In the event, only one of the citizen’s committee– Frank Reid, who’d been a bartender in on of Smith’s saloons– was armed. The two men struggled and wounded each other, after which another member of the committee, Jesse Murphy (a recently-arrived employee of the railroad) wrestled the rifle from Smith and killed him with it.  Reid also died from his wounds; though his own reputation was far from untarnished, his funeral was the largest in Skagway’s history, and his gravestone was inscribed with the words “He gave his life for the honor of Skagway.”

Soapy Smith



Written by LW

July 8, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Elevate those guns a little lower”*…


Brian Jeffs, co-founder of Michigan Open Carry, worried that there were no children’s books celebrating the glories of the Second Amendment; so he wrote the story of “13-year-old Brenna Strong along with her mom, Bea, and her dad, Richard, as they spend a typical Saturday running errands and having fun together. What’s not so typical is that Brenna’s parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense”: My Parents Open Carry. It is, Jeffs suggests, “a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense. We truly hope you will enjoy this book and read and discuss it with your children over and over again. As you read this book, you will learn about the growing practice of open carry, the 2nd Amendment, and the right and responsibility of self-defense.”

Your correspondent will leave an assessment of the book to readers.  But he would be remiss not to draw attention to the reviews, which include gems like these (more legible, perhaps, on the Amazon page):

[TotH to Jesse Kornbluth/Head Butler]

* Andrew Jackson


As we stand our ground, we might send carefully-aimed birthday greetings to John X. Beidler; he was born on this date in 1831.  Born in Pennsylvania, Beidler ran through a series of gigs– shoemaker, farmer, compatriot of radical abolitionist John Brown– before migrating to Montana in 1863, during the gold rush there.   He landed in Virginia City, only to find it plagued by a band of thieves led by a psychopathic con-man, Henry Plummer, who had managed to get himself elected sheriff of the nearby town of Bannock.  Frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the local law enforcement, the citizens of Virginia City and Bannock formed a secret vigilance committee; they hunted down and hung theSheriff Plummer and his bandits.  Beidler, who preferred to be known simply by his middle initial “X,” played an active and unusual role in the vigilante group– unusual in that, unlike his colleagues, he was quite public about his involvement, and welcomed the attention it drew; he relished the legends that grew up around him.  And he parlayed them into later jobs as a stagecoach guard and Deputy U.S. Marshall.

Vigilante X



Written by LW

August 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

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