Just before the Fourth of July last summer and, of course, before ’Ole #19 raised its ugly head, Peg and I attended a rodeo in Osage County, Oklahoma where thirty-five competing cowboys were introduced as they held a gigantic American flag in the middle of the arena. While a cowgirl on horseback sang “The National Anthem” each cowboy stood at attention as he helped hold the flag with one hand and pressed his Stetson over his heart with the other. It was a moving experience for Peg and me as we stood at attention with our hands over our hearts. It made me think about the National Football League and silent protests by players as well as raised fists at the 1972 Olympics and members of the … [Read More...] about Self-Evident Truths
When our early immigrants from Great Britain set up their legal system in New England they did not have prisons and, often, not even jails. What passed for justice included such corporal punishments as standing in the stocks or being bound to the whipping post, usually in the village square and always in public view. That shaming was part of the punishment. Also, it was erroneously believed to reduce recidivism. The great French legal philosopher Paul-Michael Foucault (1926-1984) posited that the “public” part of public punishments was essential to helping eliminate cruel and unusual sentences for crimes. If a petty thief could have their hands hacked off on the public square, society would … [Read More...] about Spare The Rod …
The Fourth of July is called Independence Day with good reason. Our Founders were willing to die for the right to control their own lives. They were not seeking war with the most powerful nation on Earth in 1776. They were not attempting to dictate to King George III how the English should behave. They sought only free will for America to determine its own course. In these troubled times we are now navigating, perhaps a look back to America’s early struggles might be helpful. We may wish we could ask George Washington or James Madison for advice. But the best we can do is read about past heroes’ courage and sacrifice and try to learn lessons that will help us during our own battles. For … [Read More...] about Independence Day
I was born in Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma where I spent my first 19 years (1943-1962). Osage County is adjacent to Tulsa and Tulsa County. The Tulsa race riots of 1921 were never mentioned during my 12 years of public education and one year at Oklahoma State University. I served as a judge in Mt. Vernon, Posey County, Indiana from 1981-2018. Until March 14, 1990 the lynchings of African Americans that took place on the courthouse campus on October 12, 1878 were unknown to me and never brought to my attention. Upon being made aware of the Posey County murders I began to search for more complete information. A friend of mine, Glenn Curtis, who was born and raised in Posey County advised … [Read More...] about A Thousand Words
Peg claims I can only concentrate on one thing at a time, and usually it is a televised sporting event. My response is, as a wife and mother she has a biased perspective. Many women appear to easily balance a career, housework, child care and husband care or, at least, that part of husband care that involves spotting innumerable tasks that must be done right now. And COVID-19 has not assuaged the situation. In fact, social isolation has converted our intermittent contact with its mutually welcomed respites into an opportunity for constant oversight and conflict. And while the roots of our Original Sin may go back to 1619, its most recent manifestation, the tragic death of George Floyd … [Read More...] about Our Two Great Tasks
My brother, Philip Redwine, that is Philip spelled with the Biblical one “l”, graduated from the Oklahoma University Law School while I was an undergraduate at Indiana University. When I asked him what he had been taught he told me the entire process boiled down to “learning to think like a lawyer”. When I excitedly quizzed him about that arcane and mysterious subject he replied the whole three years of law school could be summarized by the following story: “A client asked his attorney for advice as to whether he should file for a divorce. The client told the attorney that each time he tried to climb the stairs to the second floor of the couple’s home his wife would kick him back … [Read More...] about Legally Thinking
Our governmental systems, federal and each state, are designed to avoid rash decisions. We use systems that divide power into three generally equal branches that check one another’s powers and demand debate of important issues. Our fettered freedom created and maintains history’s most propitious culture. It is good to be an American. Of course, our system’s Holy Grail of restraining abuses of power results in diffused responses and partisan debates. That is also good as it helps prevent imprudent, irreversible actions. A concomitant element of our democratic system is that when faced with emergencies we often approach problems as a free people that the theoretical benevolent dictator might … [Read More...] about Transition Not Decline
We are at war. The actual combat began in January 2020. A declaration of war was not made by Congress as required by the United States Constitution. But virtually every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with the President, has publicly asserted America is at war with COVID-19. Almost 90,000 of us have paid the ultimate price and almost 1.5 million are causalities. Many more losses are predicted. While wars of any description are great stressors on people, our enemy in this war is truly virulent. If we were fighting another country we would know where to direct our fear and fire. With the Coronavirus we cannot even identify our enemy without a microscope and it is … [Read More...] about Battle Fatigue
Peg is a born and reared Yankee. What she used to know about such places as Oklahoma came from Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger. Now she is learning about the Wild West from personal experience. This morning she received an up close lesson in herpetology. Whereas not long ago rattlesnakes and copperheads were only in Peg’s psyche as metaphors, now she understands why westerners check their boots before pulling them on and make sure doorways and windows are carefully sealed. Of course, these precautions also work well with scorpions and centipedes. But Peg’s education about ferocious arachnids and arthropods has been previously addressed in this space. For now our concentration is on snakes. Peg … [Read More...] about Eve She Is Not
For about 200,000 years Homo sapiens did without air conditioning. Other than opening or closing the animal hide, reed or cloth flap covering their cave or hut openings our ancestors did not worry about the atmosphere, whether inside or out. Setting beside a fire pit or chimney, people were happy to simply huddle together when it was cold, probably in groups of ten or less. When it came to keeping cool we just opened windows. This provided untold benefits that humanity appears to have now lost sight of. Fresh air, reduced utility costs and portals for tossing out dirty dishwater disappeared. We began to regurgitate air previously breathed by others and which sometimes contains mold spores … [Read More...] about Windows of Opportunity
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) sought wisdom in living simply on Walden Pond outside Concord, Massachusetts just twenty-five miles from Boston. Thoreau spent two years there in a hut he built himself. Part of the wisdom he imparted then that speaks to our COVID 19 society now was the observation that government is best that governs least and less can be more in many aspects of life. Since March 5, 2020 Peg and I have discovered that as long as the computers keep turning out our Social Security checks and Medicare continues to cover us a great deal of government is superfluous, at least for us. We used to dine out regularly and occasionally engage in person with friends and family. If the … [Read More...] about On JPeg Osage Ranch
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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.