America is a wonderful country from the amazing amalgam of cultures in cities such as Miami, New York City, San Francisco and Portland to the majesty of Yellowstone and the Mississippi River. We are truly fortunate to have the privilege to live here. As for Peg and me, we are most familiar with two counties in two states, Posey County, Indiana and Osage County, Oklahoma. Of course, the basic element of all inhabited areas is the same, the inhabitants, and those inhabitants are more alike than unalike wherever we live. I have found this to be true from Russia and Ukraine to Palestine and Bahrain as I have taught judges from several foreign countries and from every state in … [Read More...] about A Tale of Two Counties
In December 1991 my family and I ate at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. There was no trace of the bodies, blood and shattered glass from the October 16, 1991 mass shooting. We still felt their presence. Although I remembered the city riots of the 1960’s and 70’s and had closely followed the violence of 1968, the utter randomness of the Luby’s murders stoked more personal concerns. To slaughter people one did not even know struck me as much more horrendous than the misguided criminal actions of zealots. While America’s 20th century experience with deadly violence from 1900 up to the 1960’s was extensive and tragic, as Jasmine Henrique reported in her article Mass Shootings in America: A … [Read More...] about Mayberry We Miss You
If you read last week’s column you probably noted the current general topic is judicial education. Specifically, the focus of last week’s session was the definition of what is a judge and how did the concept of judging arise? We went back about 130,000 years to the hypothetical, and questionable, theory that Homo sapiens may have existed in North America before it had a name. The reason we are delving into these arcane mysteries is because the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada has tasked some of its faculty, including me, with teaching an annual on-line course to judges from across North America. By design the course concentrates on general and basic aspects of what judges do and how … [Read More...] about The Circumspect Caveman
Mr. A.H. Holloman owned and operated a gravel pit near the small town of Frederick, Tillman County in southwest Oklahoma. The pit is about one half mile wide and 7 miles long. Holloman discovered numerous artifacts of ancient human occupation in the pit in 1920. The supposed age of the items suggested modern civilized Homo sapiens created them 130,000 years ago. However since this conflicted with the generally accepted theory that Homo sapiens arose in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Africa 60,000 to 80,000 years ago, the scientific community discarded the archeological evidence at the Holloman dig for many years. Then Professor David Deming of Oklahoma University published an article … [Read More...] about In The Beginning …
*** Update from Peg: After reading this article please see pictures below along with explanation! *** The Garden of Eden set a standard no other garden can match. All Adam and Eve had to do was wander around fig leaf-less and enjoy earth’s bounty. Well, there was that small inconvenience of avoiding the fruit of one tree, but even with that tree there was no pruning, no Japanese beetles and no cultivation. Not even the concept of weeding and tilling were mentioned. In sum, neither a hoe nor Roundup were issues. There was no need for Adam to devise strategies to avoid his wife’s complaints that Mother Nature was winning the battle over whether fruits and vegetables or crabgrass would … [Read More...] about Eden Revisited
I understand the irresistible control nicotine can have. The desire to smoke even though the smoker knows tobacco is responsible for thousands of deaths every year may be incomprehensible to those who have never been cursed with it. But I was not shocked by that smoker in Berhman’s Tavern in St. Louis, Missouri who on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 chose to light up a cigarette as a would-be armed robber threatened to kill him if he did not lie down on the tavern floor. Even immediate death from a pistol was not as frightening as dying without a last cigarette. Perhaps the bar patron was envisioning all those old black and white movies where the condemned prisoner is afforded a final smoke … [Read More...] about If You Got ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em
Before October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 American boys knew who they admired and what they wanted to be, cowboys. From the days of Hoot Gibson and Tom Mix to Hopalong Cassidy and the Durango Kid until Gene Autry and Roy Rogers boys of all backgrounds dreamed the same dream. Then America watched as our global boogeyman leapfrogged over us and put us in fear of destruction from above. Cowboys’ six guns became obsolete and American boys, girls too, dreamed of being astronauts. John Glenn orbited the earth aboard a new fire-breathing steed and from 1957 until Clint Eastwood’s movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that came out in 1966 during the throes of the Viet Nam War … [Read More...] about Cowboy Up!
Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant starred in the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story. The movie was a happy feeling comedy based on divorce and remarriage; all’s well that ends well. The movie was set in Philadelphia and neither legal system failures nor anarchy were anywhere to be found. In the 1940 America of the movies and for those Americans usually depicted in the popular culture and news media of that era there was a symbiotic relationship between the powerful and the populace. But in today’s Philadelphia story of August 15, 2019 there is evidence of the current armed struggle for power among various factions and a lack of respect for the right to have opposing … [Read More...] about The New Philadelphia Story
Andrew Jackson was a notoriously bad speller. His response to the critics of his errors was not an effort to learn to be a better speller but to blame his critics. Jackson proclaimed, “It’s a damned weak mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.” Things have regressed from Jackson. According to communications expert, Carol Blymire, as reported via Twitter and broadcast by WIBC radio host Tony Katz on July 16, 2019 an attempt by an editor to correct a reporter’s spelling was just plain meanness according to the misspeller. Ms. Blymire related a reporter in her late 20’s had spelled the word hamster as ham(p)ster and her editor amended it. The reporter said she could spell it that … [Read More...] about Don’t Blame Me
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is generally regarded as a portrayal of the evils of America’s wealth-driven culture. I suggest it really was about Fitzgerald’s tumultuous marriage to his wife Zelda who constantly drove him crazy. When the book’s narrator, Nick Carraway, says about the wealthy Tom and Daisy Buchanan, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me”, I submit Fitzgerald really has Zelda in mind for Daisy. And he is not referencing Daisy’s money but her infuriating ability to easily manipulate Jay Gatsby and, ergo, Zelda’s penchant to drive Fitzgerald over the edge. It is the institution of marriage, especially Fitzgerald’s complete inability … [Read More...] about Table Talk
Special Consul Robert Mueller testified before Congress on July 24, 2019. During his six hours of testimony before the House Judiciary Committee the major emphasis shifted from concerns about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election to attempts by foreign countries to influence all of our elections. Mueller testified that for many years and right up to our next election cycle in 2020 several foreign entities were involving themselves in our democracy. And while Mueller specified only Russia for 2016 he made it clear that we should be aware of other actors. Iran, Israel and even our first cousins the British, among numerous others, have sought to inveigle themselves into our … [Read More...] about Sticks And Stones
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Unanimous for Murder
Unanimous for Murder picks up where JUDGE LYNCH! left off. A gripping story of small town murder and judicial shenanigans on the western frontier when the western frontier was east of the Mississippi.
Echoes of Our Ancestors: The Secret Game
Jim’s new novel tells the exciting story of a long hidden but important football game that occurred between representatives of Haskell Indian Institute (now the Haskell Indian Nations University) and professionals from the then Kansas City Cowboys in 1924 at a secret location on the Osage Indian Nation near Pawhuska, Oklahoma - where Jim was born.
“Judge Lynch Holds Court!” That was the banner headline in a Posey County, Indiana newspaper after seven African American men were murdered by a white mob during October, 1878.
Gavel Gamut Greetings from JPeg Ranch
“Gavel Gamut Greetings" is an anthology of topical and historical selections mainly about regional events and personalities that have appeared in my weekly newspaper column, Gavel Gamut.