According to most reliable data, there were...wait for it...
...only 12, "High Noon-style" gunfights back in the Old West.
That's right. Between 1850 and 1890, the period most agree was the apex of the "Old West" period, there were only 12 classic, "High Noon-Style," meet me on Main Street, be sure to bring your six gun, gunfights.
Those of us conditioned to lots and lots of black and white TV westerns back then, where there was at least one gunfight per episode, and tens of thousands of episodes we watched over our frozen TV dinners, would be surprised to learn that it was all bunk. It was made-up nonsense.
Remember when Matt Dillon would meet the guy on Main Street at the beginning of each "Gunsmoke" episode, hand perched just above his six-gun, fingers twitching, music increasing in volume to a crescendo, waiting for the other guy to draw first? And when that guy went for his gun, Marshal Dillon would draw and fire and leave the other guy face down in the dirt?
And with literally dozens of such shows, running from the late 40's to the early 70's, there were tens of thousands of bad guys that pushed up daisies as a result. But were those shows representative of what actually occurred back then? Noooooooooo, Grasshopper! They were anything but!
I am a recognized expert in all things "Old West." Well, at least, recognized by me. I've studied the era 1850 - 1890 for much of my life. I've been fascinated by the 19th Century Move West, and how it unfolded in the making of America. Coming from Kansas City, the "jumping off place" from whence the wagon trains pushed west, at Westport Landing, in West K.C., by the way, I'm fascinated by how that came to be and how this "Manifest Destiny" drama unfolded (Google it; it's worth your time).
And as a gunsmith and firearms expert, I'm also fascinated at how guns made this mass migration more achievable, practical and successful.
As has been often said, "God made men and women. Sam Colt made them equal." Think about that for a moment.
Remember the "Long Branch Saloon" in Dodge City, Kansas? That's where Dillon and Ms. Kitty and Doc and Chester and the gang hung out? Every episode featured a gunfight at this iconic watering hole. Did it happen in real life? No. In fact, there is NO RECORD of a single gunfight ever occurring at this (in)famous bar!
Perhaps the most famous of these "High Noon" gunfights was the one on July 21st, 1865 in Springfield, MO, between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt, a fellow gambler who had relieved him of his pocket watch during a poker game the night before. Hickok wanted to buy his watch back the next morning. The gambler wouldn't sell it to him, preferring rather to brag to all who would listen about how he had bested Wild Bill in that game of chance. Bill was pissed, and called him out.
They met at ten o'clock the next morning, on Main Street, of course. They squared off 75 yards apart. A duel "second" dropped a playing card to signal "go," and they went for their guns. The gambler shot first, and missed. Bill took aim and put a bullet from his 1851 Colt Navy, .36 caliber, black powder, cap and ball revolver right through the guy's heart. 75 yards, heart shot! Think Wild Bill didn't deserve his reputation as a dead shot? This little escapade proved he did. Even with modern firearms, that feat would frankly be difficult to duplicate today.
So why, one might ask, were their only 12 actual gunfights in the entire history of the Old West? Well, I have my theory on the subject. Imagine you're a trail-weary, dusty cowpoke, just coming off the cattle drive, and you decide to visit the local saloon to wet your whistle. You sidle up to the bar, place your foot up on the brass bar rail, and accidentally bump into the guy standing next to you. You're armed. He's armed. What do you do? What do you say?
You say, "I'm sorry sir, please excuse me!" That's what you say. Why? Because he's armed, and if you don't, he just might drill you right between the running lights, letting both the air and your soul out through the hole thus created. Desirous of continuing to stay on this side of the dirt, you decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and so you excuse yourself. He's says, "No problem, mister!" and you got back to your drinking. No harm, no foul. And I say, unless you're really drunk, or really stupid, or really crazy, or maybe all three, you'd do the same.
So what does this have to do with anything, Mr. Chuckmeister? What it has to do with is that an armed society is a polite society. Or, put slightly differently, more guns equals less crime. We prove that everyday by noticing how many gun deaths there are in "gun-free" Chicago, and how few in gun-rich Texas, or Florida or Oklahoma or Kansas or Tennessee.
Signs stating "Gun Free Zone" are nothing but an invitation to those with guns to take advantage of those who don't have them. That's why every single mass shooting over the past 20 years, save one, occurred in a "Gun Free Zone." Did you know that?
Remember John Holmes, the Aurora, CO theater murderer? Colorado being an "opt out" state, meaning individual businesses have the right to refuse access to those carrying concealed weapons, he drove past two other theaters that fateful night before finding one that advertised "Gun Free Zone." He therefore knew that he would not face any resistance from an armed citizen. And he didn't. He was able to shoot, and reload, and shoot, and reload, and shoot, and murder dozens of innocents, without anyone trying to stop him. It was a mass slaughter. And it was made so because some liberal, gun-hating do-gooder believed that simply placing a sign on the door stating "Gun Free Zone" would make that establishment gun-free. What a dumbass! What a fool! What an enabler!
Yeah, I know, we've got lots of them right here in Taxifornia today. Our President Pro-Tem of the Senate, Kevin de Leon, actually was quoted as saying that we might have to start printing those "gun free" signs in all capital letters if people don't start paying attention to them. Jeeeeeesh!
And then there was Virginia Tech. This past weekend marked the anniversary of the mass slaughter that occurred there ten years ago. The deranged killer who systematically murdered 32 innocents that day had to walk past a sign at the edge of the campus that proudly proclaimed, "Gun Free Zone" on the way to the scene of his impending crimes. Apparently he was not dissuaded by a mere sign. Nor is anyone who is bent upon committing murder and mayhem.
Remember the insane kid that murdered 9 parishioners at the AME Church in Charleston a few years back? The pastor of that church was also a state senator. In that capacity he voted against making South Carolina a "shall issue," concealed carry state. But he was voted down and a new law was passed making lawful the concealed carry of firearms. But, making it also possible for individual businesses to "opt out" of allowing patrons to enter their establishments carrying concealed. And he chose to do so, for his own church. He personally placed the sign on the front door marking his church a "Gun Free Zone." And it killed him, and 8 other innocent worshipers. Imagine how differently it might have turned out if someone in that church had been carrying that night. Or, perhaps the kid would not have chosen that church had it not have "opted out" of the new state law. We'll never know.
Consider this: more than 5% of our entire population, or a number in excess of 15,000,000, have a concealed carry license. Would anyone go duck hunting if even 5% of the ducks were armed?
And then there's the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida. That's the gay party place that was the locus of such carnage a year or so back. Even though Florida is a gun-friendly state, where more than 6.5% of its population of 22,000,000 have a concealed carry permit, they allow individual businesses to "opt out." The Pulse chose to do so. And thus, the Muslim Jihadist thug killer knew, going in, that he would likely encounter no resistance to his murderous intentions. What a shame! A state full of guns, and none were where they were needed. Imagine what would have happened if there'd been someone there that night, just one, with a carry permit and the willingness to use it!
Or, better yet, what makes you think anyone would actually have chosen to enter that establishment with nefarious intent knowing there might be someone there with a gun!
My point here, fellow citizens, is that YOU are responsible for your safety and your welfare. YOU are responsible to prepare yourself to counter any potential harm, from any source, at any time. YOU are responsible to have a disaster plan at the ready, and then plan to work it if and when a disaster strikes. And so YOU should legally arm yourself if you can. The police are there primarily to write up a report after the crime has occurred and they drag your lifeless body away. Is that who you wish to rely upon for your self-defense?
A special note to the citizens of California, Maryland, New York, Hawaii, Massassaccchusetttts, Conneccticuttt and a few other states who elect representatives who believe that you should be a sitting duck for miscreants who wish to do you harm. If you live in Utah, Nevada or Arizona, or 28 other states, you simply visit your local sheriff, plunk down $25, prove you are a citizen in good standing without a felony conviction by passing a Federal National Instant Criminal System background check, you, know, the one the liberals all want you to have that you already have, and walk out with a concealed carry permit. And then go to your local gun store and buy whatever you can afford.
California? No such luck. Getting a CCW permit is almost impossible if you live in San Diego, Lost Angeles, San Jose or San Francisco counties. Most of the rest of the 78 counties? No problem! If you are hostage to political correctness and those who are stupid enough to enforce it, you are not being properly represented. Do something, ANYTHING to change it. Or, just move. Otherwise, it might cost you your life. Remember the Developmental Center in San Bernardino? "Gun Free Zone." 23 dead, 35 wounded. Remember Fort Hood? The Washington, D.C. Navy Yard? The community college in Oregon? The armed forces recruiting center in Little Rock, AR? And a few dozen others? All "Gun Free Zones."
Point made? Point made...