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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching?? (101* d) RE: Toby Keith/Willie Nelson laud lynching?? 13 May 03

Strick (and others):

Toby Keith mentions his grandpappy's saying
"Back in my days, son". And then the reference
to "all the rope in Texas" (Keith may be from the
neighbouring Oklahoma -- not exactly innocent of
lynching either, but it would indicate that his
roots are Texan).

But back in Keith's grandpappy's days, it would have
been in the midst of the Ku Klux Klan terror (in Texas
in particular) as well as other southern states), and
long past the days of "frontier justice". Maybe
Keith was just being allegorical, but even then, his
knowledge of the timeline of lynchings versus the
"frontier justice" is way out of whack.

The History Channel had a show on "Vigilantes" just last


There they mention that some 6000 people were killed by
vigilantes, but some 4000+ happened well past the institution
of civil law in the West, and were instead part of the
more recent terror campaign against blacks, foreigners,
and religious minorities (blacks in particular). _Most_
of the "vigilante" killings were of this later, far more
pernicious variety.

Vigilantes started in the 1700s in eastern states, and
moved west with the frontier, providing "justice" when
there was no civil authority (or when the "civil authority"
didn't want to do anything, or even were a part of the
rogues, as is described in the Montana clicky in one
past post). But this kind of vigilantism died out as
civil authority was instituted, and what happened in
Texas in the days of Keith's grandpappy was a beast of
a different colour.

I'd note also that not every death at the hands of
vigilantes even in the early days was for some heinous
deed. In at least some cases, the victims were simply
undesirable, or had something that someone else wanted,
or were the target of a personal grudge.

I find it appalling under these circumstances for anyone
to extol the virtues of vigilantism, and in Keith's
case, the crime is compounded by the heinous nature of
the lynchings that were contemporaneous with his
grandpappy. If Keith doesn't know this, someone should
set him straight. If he does, he evinces a personal
character that I find highly offensive. Maybe it's
just "art for art's sake" (or at least for money's
sake), but I find it despicable.


                              -- Arne Langsetmo

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