Rough justice. The way it used to be.

In the old days, which weren't very long ago, people didn't see the point of trials, evidence, testimony and other legal niceties. As one man put it, "the law takes too long."

Rough justice consisted of the gun and the rope.

First, the gun. It's 1892 and the Dalton Gang, five ne'er-do-wells who'd shoot you as soon as look at you, rode into Coffeyville, Kansas, to rob two banks. Four of them died.

Here are two of them dying. Some citizens holding them up for a photo op...


Later, the four dead men are laid side by side with their heads propped up. Almost peaceful, don't you think? Keep your eye on the crack in the wall just above the first outlaw's head.


Someone with an interior decorator's eye made some adjustments and snapped a second picture. The little boy peeking through the crack is a nice touch.



Next, the rope.

1909. Ada, Oklahoma. The good citizens of Ada, thinking justice would not be done with respect to the killers of Gus Bobbitt, took direct action. Happily, the town photographer was there for that special kodak moment. Here's the negative...


The photo brings out so much more. Look at the fence. See the men standing there. Eerie, isn't it?



On to California.

San Jose, the capital of the Silicon Valley, today one of the ten largest cities in the USA.

In 1933, there was a nightime lynching in downtown San Jose, two blocks from City Hall in a park. 10,000 men and boys were there, some dressed up like they were going to the theatre. Here's St. James Park...

St James Park

The local press were saying Brooke Hart's killers would get off with an insanity plea. The Hart family was respected and liked. Thousands descended on the jail and...


It was a party in the park....



Despite the occasional odd penchant for rough justice, the old days weren't so bad. Cigars and liquor were better. And they didn't have rap. That's three things they can hold over you.

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