by Burt Prelutsky
A great many people like to make heroes of those who are, by no stretch of the imagination, even slightly heroic.
Back in the 1800s, we had Jesse James. In the 1900s, we had Bonnie and Clyde, as well as John Dillinger. These days, we have Barack Obama. One thing they all have in common is that their fans regard them as modern day Robin Hoods. The fact is they are much closer to being robbing hoods.
Jesse James and his older brother, Frank, began their criminal lives as Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, specializing in committing atrocities, which included scalping Union soldiers.
After the War, the brothers took to knocking over banks and trains. Because the media was nearly as vile as it is now, the brothers were often described as folk heroes who took from the rich and gave to the poor, although no amount of research ever disclosed a single instance when the guys gave anyone anything except a bullet in the belly.
Because the brothers had fought for the Confederacy, many 19th century southerners, a people much given to fanciful and romantic notions — and perhaps because Jesse and Frank occasionally donned Ku Klux Klan robes in order to instill additional fear in their innocent victims — had a special reverence for the robbers. Those idiotic fans chose to ignore the fact that these two good-for-nothings were as likely to rob southern banks as those north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
It is a conceit of Hollywood that it took people like Wyatt Earp, Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson, to stand up to the villains. But as anyone who has ever read the well-researched novels of Louis L’Amour knows, a lot of Americans in those days owned guns and knew how to use them. Back then, the 2nd amendment was clearly seen as the one that guaranteed that the rest of the Constitution would amount to more than mere words on parchment.
So it was that on September 7, 1876, Jesse and Frank, along with Cole Younger and his gang of outlaws, rode into Northfield, Minnesota, determined to rob the First National Bank. The citizens of Northfield had other ideas once they realized what was going on. That was their money and they’d worked hard to earn it. They weren’t about to just sit back and let a bunch of shiftless no-accounts ride off with it in their saddlebags.
There wasn’t a quick-draw artist in the entire town. These were shopkeepers and ranchers, not professional gunslingers with notches on their revolvers, but when the smoke cleared, there were a couple of dead outlaws lying in the street. Jesse and Frank escaped, but without a single dollar that didn’t belong to them.
Why am I telling you about an incident that took place 134 years ago? It’s because I see Obama as the latest in this line of glorified thieves. He, too, believes that it’s just fine to take from those who have worked to earn their money and hand it over to those he favors. He doesn’t have to use six-shooters; he has Congress and the IRS to do his dirty work. And just like his predecessors, he can rely on the corrupt media to promote him as a folk hero.
But what he failed to take into account is what Jesse and Frank also overlooked; namely, that no matter how glorious the press tries to make it sound, stealing is stealing — and at a certain point, folks aren’t going to just sit back and take it. Not when it’s their own money that’s being confiscated by thieves and scoundrels.
When I look at the members of the Tea Party movement, I see the good citizens of Northfield, Minnesota, and I anticipate that on November 2nd, Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their gang of cheap grifters will be mowed down.
©2010 Burt Prelutsky>
Write to: BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.
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