During one week in October 1878 seven Black men, three from one family, were murdered by a well-organized group of about two hundred white men in Posey County, Indiana. At that time Posey County had 20,000 residents only 200 of which were Negroes. The odds were 100 to 1 and white people held every position of power including the newspaper owners and editors, the Circuit Court Judge and the Prosecuting Attorney. Making the crimes disappear was easy. As John Leffel, the owner and editor of The Western Star newspaper, wrote on the front page, “Now let the appropriately dark pall of oblivion cover the entire transaction”. Leffel had been an eye witness to five of the … [Read More...] about Finally Raising The Veil
In Hidden Hills, California the average price of a home was over one million dollars before the fires. I imagine the current price is now lower. Those of us who do not live in million-dollar homes, and that’s most of us, may momentarily succumb to the meaner angels of our nature when we hear of the misfortunes of “those people”. For most this is a transitory weakness that is overcome rather quickly when we hear of all the death and destruction wrought by fires or hurricanes or tornados or war. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian live in Hidden Hills and are wealthy enough to hire a force of private firefighters to protect their home. My first thoughts on the matter were not charitable. First of … [Read More...] about Hidden Hills
As with much of our philosophy we can thank the ancient Greeks for the concept of the Phoenix, something (or someone) who rises from the ashes of defeat to be even better than before. Or as we all remember our parents attempting to convince us, we learn more from defeat than victory. This provides scant solace at the time of a loss or an embarrassment but most of us eventually see the validity of wisdom born of hardship and the shallowness of temporary acclaim. It is likely you are already aware that Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919) among many others have already written about these concepts and certainly more presciently than I. Kipling in his poem If advised his … [Read More...] about To Those Who Dare And Care
Peg and I voted early. I am not aware of whose idea early voting was, but it was a good one. Perhaps the period could be expanded and maybe a safe and secure system of voting from home could be devised. My opinion is that the more citizens who cast one legitimate ballot the better. If we can deliver packages by drone, get gourmet meals sent to our homes and pay our taxes over the internet we should be able to hold legitimate elections that meet our current lifestyle and encourages all who are qualified to vote. Of course, such a system would need to ensure only those qualified vote and ensure that there is only one vote per voter. But as we plan to colonize Mars and the Moon we ought to be … [Read More...] about Options
November 6th cannot get here fast enough for those of us accosted by the national media about the acclaimed virtues of their favorite candidates and the attributed evils of those they dislike. But there is another group of citizens who will be even more grateful when the election is over, that is the candidates themselves. Having been a candidate myself I feel their pain. And the winners will have suffered as much as the losers; although victory may somewhat assuage the pain of the campaign. However, the elation from an election night win may soon crash on the reality of actually filling a public office and the nagging dread that another campaign may soon be required. Political campaigns … [Read More...] about Some Relief
October is a wonderful month, cool, warm, wet, dry, crisp and colorful. I was enjoying this marvelous gift of nature while I traveled home from work last Friday. As I passed Larry Williams’ McKim’s IGA grocery store in Mt. Vernon, Indiana I was reminded of another reason October is special. All along the Main Street edge of the store were signs of candidates for public office. Large signs, small signs, red signs, blue signs red-white and blue signs. Off color signs, professionally produced signs and some that looked as if they were produced by a committee. They reminded me of that marvelous protest song from the Sixties, “Signs”, that was written by Les Emmerson and performed by the one-hit … [Read More...] about Signs
In a Cajun funeral one’s family and close friends form the First Line and send him/her off with a procession dancing to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Homilies are recited, personal remembrances are told, and a sad time becomes a good time. Although neither Cajun nor Creole, I was honored with a rousing send off from my close friends and even closer family on Saturday, August 16, 2014. We had my funeral at JPeg Ranch and I immensely enjoyed it. It was also nice to hear what was said and sung. One of my friends, Randy Pease who is a fine guitar player and song writer, wrote and performed “The Ballad of Jim Redwine”. Another friend, D. Neil Harris who is a judge in Mississippi and a … [Read More...] about To The Members Of The First Line
Why are so many people on all sides so angry about the United States Supreme Court life-time appointment? The answer may be in the question: it is an appointment and it is for life. The true genius of the Founding Fathers was they understood power corrupts and since human beings constantly seek power it must be diffused into three branches of government. What they did not anticipate was that the Supreme Court, the Judicial Branch, would slyly usurp the power of the Executive and Legislative branches, starting with Chief Justice John Marshall and the case of Marbury versus Madison in 1803 in which the Supreme Court declared it had the power to review and invalidate or validate decisions of … [Read More...] about An Imbalanced Three-Legged Stool
If CNN, MSNBC and FOX News were covering the entertainments in the Roman Coliseum in the First Century they would have been exhorting the lions. Of course, the reason for this is the ratings would suffer if they sided with the humans. The public demands spectacle, not fairness. Or as Mark Twain opined: “One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives". Pudd’nhead Wilson, Chapter VII. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Act 3, scene 3, Iago complains: “Who steals my purse steals trash …[But] who filches from me my good name robs me of that which (does not) enrich him [but] makes me poor indeed”. Our current spectacle steals from both … [Read More...] about The Coliseum Revisited
When I was an undergraduate at Indiana University I wavered between majoring in English or Psychology. I ultimately concluded a life spent seeking answers to life’s mysteries from mice running mazes held less promise than one trying to find wisdom hidden in the words of pundits. Over the years since college I have often questioned my choice. The current hollow clanging of brass over Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford is only the most recent struggle of yin and yang between my two choices. Attempted rape is a terrible crime and a false accusation of attempted rape is a terrible tragedy. Both can result in a life sentence of anger, fear, frustration and loss of control. And … [Read More...] about Life Sentences
Freedom of Speech is a good thing. That includes the “right” to lie and disparage anonymously. Cross examination is recognized in legal matters as the greatest engine of truth. It is just as much a Constitutional Right as Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects one’s right to speak and the Sixth Amendment protects the right to “confront one’s accusers”, i.e. to cross examine them, in criminal cases. Indiana’s Constitution guarantees both Freedom of Speech and “Face to Face” cross examination. It is clear that those who founded both our state and our country considered both rights sacred. However, as with much of life and law the devil is in the … [Read More...] about Cross Examination, The Engine Of Truth
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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.