While I was out getting our anniversary dinner, some celebrity endorsements for my books came in. I’d like to share the highlights with you… anticipating that my publisher won’t want to use them as cover copy.
“Blimey! ‘E’s a right corker!” –Queen Elizabeth I
“When people weren’t trying to kill me, I was reading Bell Mountain.” –Elfego Baca
“Cellar Beneath the Cellar’s gonna be a classic: I have a hunch!” –Nostradamus
“I’ve read ’em all!” –Marco Polo
“These are quite simply the best!” –Violet Crepuscular
I could go on, but I don’t want to brag. Besides, I’ve got to round up a cat video.
I haven’t seen Death Wish since it was in the theaters, but we watched it today.
Charles Bronson plays a civilized, peace-loving architect whose wife and daughter are savaged, and the wife killed, by muggers who break into their apartment. Bronson acquires a gun and walks around New York by night, offering himself as bait. When the bad guys try to rob him, he shoots them. In the resulting media storm, the city’s crime rate goes way down.
I just want to tell you something that every political scientist knows: in fact, it’s not political science at all. It’s common sense.
A government that cannot or will not protect its citizens from those who would do them harm has no reason for existing. Sooner or later the people will replace that government with one that can and will protect them.
Death Wish hits hard on the resignation and hopelessness of “civilized” people who don’t understand self-defense and just sort of hang around waiting to be victims. But eventually a spark comes along that ignites them–and then watch out.
American history is full of lawless towns, cities, and territories that were cleaned up and pacified by governments willing to shoulder the burden. By governments I mean individuals who did the job, sometimes at the cost of their lives. Elfego Baca and Judge Parker spring to mind; and Woodes Rogers, in the lawless Caribbean of the early 18th century. Parker and Rogers employed the same crime-reduction formula: hang the bad guys.
It can be done. It doesn’t have to be done by vigilantes.
But it sure as shootin’ won’t be done by liberals.
There is an option available on my editing page, next to “Allow Comments,” that says “Allow Ping-backs and Trackbacks.” Sometimes a perverse spirit tries to tempt me into clicking that. I am deterred by the thought that if I click that option, WordPress will accuse me of “writing code” and something terrible will happen to this blog. All I know about writing code is that I must never do it. Oh, brother–what would happen if I accidentally clicked “Allow Pingbacks and Trackbacks” instead of “Allow Comments”? (He shudders.)
I’ve looked up “pingbacks,” but nothing that I’ve read has given me an understanding of what a pingback is. My wife tried, this morning, to read me an instructional post about pingbacks, but I kept getting hopelessly lost, two sentences into it. “Something terrible will happen if I try it,” I said. Eventually she agreed.
So there are no Ping-backs here, let alone Trackbacks, nor are there ever likely to be any. For all I know, a Ping-back will result in microscopic blue type on a grey background, virtually invisible. Or it might cause the rest of my hair to fall out. Unlike Elfego Baca, this blog does not have nine lives. So I have to be careful with the only one it’s got.
I was delighted to find some of these episodes available on Youtube: The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca. I’ll try to get Patty to watch these with me, this weekend.
This series, starring Robert Loggia, came out in 1958 on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” Remember that? It must have been good, because I’ve remembered the theme song for 60 years. This is the kind of great stuff Disney productions turned out while Walt was still running the place. He wouldn’t be happy with what they’re doing now: heads would roll.
In real life, Baca, then a deputy sheriff in New Mexico, won his reputation for “nine lives” when he was surrounded by a gang of bad guys after taking shelter in a rather small adobe building reminiscent of the old Stelton Hotel here in the heart of Jersey. They couldn’t persuade him to come out and get shot, and whenever they tried to rush the building, he made them pay for it. So they hunkered down and fired 4,000 rounds (!) at the place (yes, somebody actually counted the bullet holes), and not one of them hit Elfego Baca. That’s why someone counted the holes–the man’s survival seemed a miracle.
And I like miracles!
Anyway, here’s the theme song–and I don’t know who these performers were, but they were pretty good.