Friday, October 25, 2019

Vigilante Justice

Just behind Mom and apple pie there is nothing more American than good old vigilante justice. From Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger back to the noir detectives and before that the singing cowboy of the Wild West. For every cattle rustler there was a Lone Ranger and even lonelier Tonto. Who was that masked man and where'd he go?

The wheels of justice are far too slow or too corrupt and cumbersome for our extra-legal hero. Besides, who wants to sit through the tedium of the real world.  After all, the rugged individuals we are noted for can’t wait to set things right. He's got a nose for trouble. He has a few heads to crack, rescue a damsel and send the bad guys up the river. It all comes down to this: man, alone versus the institutions. The real enemy may not be the outlaw but the courts, due process and government itself.

Vigilantes always think they know better. The guy in the lynch mob knows where the hanging tree is just as the moron at the Trump rally knows the chant. 

Our heroes are the ex-cop or private eye who defy medical science as he tears himself free of his I.V. and walks out of the hospital twenty minutes after surgery to save mankind. Even better is the ordinary man or woman minding their own business when spiraled into a web of ordeals with dragons.

Everybody’s favorite is Clyde. When banks started foreclosing on farms in his day he didn’t wait for trickle-down economics to put a few crumbs on his table. He went directly to the bank. His withdrawal slip was a gun. Everybody needs a hobby. Too bad thirteen people got in the way of his bullets. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie redressed their grievances in that rugged American way. Somehow between holdups he managed to write a letter to the richest of all captains of industry. It doesn't get more absurd than this............

Mr. Henry Ford, Detroit, Michigan
Dear Sir, 
While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove [sic] Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever [sic] other car skinned and even if my business hasn’t been strickly [sic] legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.

Yours truly, Clyde Champion Barrow

1 comment:

  1. Brad just read that letter to me. He gets a blog called Weird History and that letter was included😄
    I’m sorry we haven’t been in touch. Major house projects which r nearing an end. But I got a nasty virus that took out my voice for a week and is still refusing to leave completely. I haven’t had an illness for over 10 years so I guess I can’t complain.
    Hope your shoulders are getting better