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Thread: Dodge City 1876-1878

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    Dodge City 1876-1878

    As Wyatt Earp worked as a law enforcement officer in Dodge City from 1876-1878, lets look at some of the things that were written in the cities daily paper.

    This is a continuation of another thread that got locked where another member wanted documentation that not being able to carry guns in Dodge [ a gun ban ] during Wyatt Earps tenure preserved the peace and kept violence with firearms at bay..

    July 7, 1877 - Dodge City Times:
    "Wyatt Earp, who was on our city police force last summer, is in town again. We hope he will accept a position on the force once more. He had a quiet way of taking the most desperate characters into custody which invariably gave one the impression that the city was able to enforce her mandates and preserve her dignity. It wasn't considered policy to draw a gun on Wyatt unless you got the drop and meant to bum powder without any preliminary talk."


    July 7, 1877 - Dodge City Times:
    "Mr. G. C. Noble, of the Atchison Champion, made the following observations during his recent visit here:

    'At Dodge City we found everything and everybody busy as they could comfortably be. This being our first visit to the metropolis of the West, we were very pleasantly surprised, after the cock and bull stories that lunatic correspondents had given the public. Not a man was seen swinging from a telegraph pole; not a pistol was fired; no disturbance of any kind was noted. Instead of being called on to disgorge the few ducats in our possession, we were hospitably treated by all. It might be unpleasant for one or two old time correspondents to be seen here, but they deserve all that would be meeted [meted] out to them. The Texas cattle men and cow-boys, instead of being armed to the teeth, with blood in their eye, conduct themselves with propriety, many of them being thorough gentlemen.

    August 11, 1877 - Reminiscences of Dodge by Frank Barnard of the Corpus Christi Gazette, reprinted in the Dodge City Times:

    and yet with all this mixture of strange human nature a remarkable degree of order is preserved. Arms are not allowed to be worn, and any noisy whisky demonstrations are promptly checked by incarceration in the lock-up.

    September 22, 1877 - Dodge City Times:
    Here rowdyism has taken its most aggravated form, and was it not for the exceedingly stringent ordinances (some of which are unconstitutional) and a fair attempt to enforce them, the town would be suddenly depopulated and very much in the same manner as Ireland got rid of her snakes.

    December 8, 1877 - Dodge City Times
    "There is an evident purpose to malign and create false impressions that a person here is insecure in life, and that the citizens of Dodge City are walking howitzers. This is a bad impression that should by all means be corrected. Having but a short residence in this town, it is our deliberate opinion, from a careful observation, that Dodge City is as quiet and orderly as any town of its size in Kansas. We have been treated with the utmost cordiality. We have observed officers prompt and efficient in the discharge of their duties. There is an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of firearms, which is rigidly enforced. The citizens are cordial, industrious, and display a business alacrity characteristic of the frontier tradesman.

    These excerpts from the Dodge City Times above, written by various people who visited or lived in the area when Earp was the law dog there.

    From the mouths of those who did witness the cities flavor in that era. Someone wanted proof, here's eye witness accounts, including one who wrote the ban might be unconstitutional but there was a "remarkable degree of order" [ in other words, where the ban was enforced ].

    The 1876-1878 years when Wyatt ruled the streets as a law dog and enforced not wearing firearms in the city limits produced some interesting observations. From the writings posted, there's clear evidence violence in general and hearing gun fire was almost non existent when Earp ruled the streets and enforced the carrying of firearms ban.
    Last edited by brownie; 05-25-2011 at 07:00 PM.
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    Not at all what I would have imagined, or how it has been portrayed. Wild Wild West tamed and all civilized (for a time). Of course, I wouldn't have imagined Lewis and Clark using air guns either. Thanks for the post.


    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
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    Rule of the gun, if you're the only one with a gun you get to make the rules.

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    Gun control worked in that era, in that city, in that environ. For anyone to suggest it didn't save lives, calm the rowdy cowboys passing through moving cattle north down a little, or keep people from becoming a victim of the violence in that city caused by firearms worn openly is to deny the facts as stated above while Earp was the LEO there.

    Instituted by him with the approval of the city fathers, Dodge became a fairly quiet and safer city, as those cities went back then. Their efforts in enforcing the new ordinance were also mentioned by the populace as a clear reason for the lull in actionnable offenses with firearms that was taking place before Earp arrived.

    As I attempted to explain in the other thread, there are similarities between then and now, but one can clearly determine from the article excerpts during Earp's employ that restricting access to firearms had the desired affect, that of a calmer, quieter, and better place for the citizenry to reside.
    The mind is the limiting factor

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    I'm convinced no more concealed carry for me, hell forward a link of this thread to the Brady Campaign before y'all shut the forum down.

    Good days coming

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    It seems obvious that Totalitarian governments can maintain disipline over the populace !Isnt that what took place in Dodge City ? Kevin
    BIG BULLETS NEVER SHRINK !! AND BIG HOLES LET THE BAD OUT FASTER !

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    Just where I was going Kevin.

    I believe much of what we see in the historical anecdotes that Brownie provided is as much a testament to Wyatt Earp's personal strength and effectiveness as it is to any of the other factors.
    "The government that cannot protect the public must not strip them of the right to protect themselves." - M. Ayoob, In the Gravest Extreme

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    Gentlemen, the topic is Dodge City circa 1870's. Please stick to a factual discussion of the topic.
    Steve
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    I just got back from a 2 week gig in the Midwest and am catching up here.

    Two things about this.

    The first is that many people have a lot of misconceptions concerning the history of the Bill of Rights. Until the Heller case, the 2nd Amendment did not apply to states and local governments. In fact, the 2nd Amendment does not apply, as written, to any government, including the Federal government. The Supreme Court has so ruled.

    Second, local forearm bans were not enacted over the objections of the voting populous. They were enacted at the demand of the local populous. The people of these towns wanted and demanded restrictions on firearms carry. And they got them.

    The situation is not much different today. Most people want what they consider reasonable restrictions on firearms possession. And, in both Heller and McDonald, the SCOTUS agreed that was both Constitutional and desirable.

    This is the main reason why it is so difficult to get any significant change in existing firearms laws at the legislative level.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE View Post
    It seems obvious that Totalitarian governments can maintain disipline over the populace !Isnt that what took place in Dodge City ? Kevin
    No, it's not what happened in Dodge City. The city took measures that would allow it's citizenry to walk the streets without fear of being caught up in a gun battle in the streets, stray bullets from the saloons, etc.

    Lets not forget, the gun ban was enacted primarily for "outsiders" [ they are the ones who caused all the trouble ] who would visit Dodge while driving cattle north from Texas. Though it effectively did keep the citizens from carrying firearms as well, most of them didn't carry a gun to begin with so it didn't affect them one bit. It affected those who came into town just passing through far more than the citizens of Dodge.

    Cause and effect, clearly the banning of wearing firearms within the city limits stopped the cause of the problems within, and worked to great effect in further keeping the peace so that the citizens didn't have to worry about walking down main street and catching a stray bullet.
    The mind is the limiting factor

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