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Wild West cattle town murder rate: lower than US today
Journal of Libertarian Studies ^ | Unknown | Terry L. Anderson and P.J. Hill

Posted on 08/11/2012 4:17:45 PM PDT by theBuckwheat

In following up on some research into anarcho-capitalism (how a society with a free-market economy can function with little or no government), I ran across this paper that contains some interesting facts that might provide useful references and quotes. As usual, the facts are quite at odds with what is commonly held to be true.

From:

An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: the Not So Wild, Wild, West by Terry L. Anderson and P.J. Hill, Department of Economics, Montana State University

PDF of article: http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_1/3_1_2.pdf

from page 6:

In his book, Frontier Violence: Another Look, W. Eugene Hollon stated that the believed [sic] "that the Western frontier was a far more civilized, more peaceful, and safer place than American society is today." The legend of the "wild, wild West" lives on despite Robert Dykstra's finding that in five of the major cattle towns (Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City and Caldwell) for the years from 1870 to 1885 only 45 homicides were reported- an average of 1.5 per cattle-trading season. In Abilene, supposedly on of the wildest of the cos towns, "nobody was killed in 1869 or 1870. In fact, nobody was killed until the advent of officers of the law, employed to prevent killings" Only two towns, Ells in 1873 and Dodge City in 1876, everhad five killings in any one year."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crime; gangculture; guncontrol; mediamyths
While the government-free American west was generally safe, there were also incidents of conflict that resulted in unnecessary deaths as well. Even so, the American west appeared to be far safer than some urban areas are on any given weekend. And the West was certainly far more free.

Some excerpts might be useful in public debates on gun control.

1 posted on 08/11/2012 4:17:53 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat
And the West was certainly far more free.

yeah but you couldn't get foodstamps, healthcare and porn on the internet.

2 posted on 08/11/2012 4:19:50 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (At what point does an escalated effort to remove this traitor commence, and what form does it take?)
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To: theBuckwheat

Don’t discount our cultural degradation in describing why it is so good to be old right now.


3 posted on 08/11/2012 4:20:58 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: theBuckwheat

An armed society, is a polite society...


4 posted on 08/11/2012 4:35:13 PM PDT by FrankR (They will become our ultimate masters the day we surrender the 2nd Amendment.)
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To: theBuckwheat

“During its reckless cowtown period between 1879 and 1885, Caldwell “boasted” a higher murder rate, and loss of more law enforcement officers than other more famous cowtowns. During this period, violence claimed the lives of 18 city marshals, leading a Wichita editor to write, “As we go to press hell is again in session in Caldwell.” “


5 posted on 08/11/2012 4:48:02 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: theBuckwheat

6 posted on 08/11/2012 4:58:48 PM PDT by bgill
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To: theBuckwheat

The author did not do a wide enough survey. Check out the Lincoln County War. All that said, the West was not violent because they all had guns, the violent outbursts in our second-half of the 19th century history, in my opinion, can nearly all be traced back to unbridled greed.


7 posted on 08/11/2012 5:08:58 PM PDT by La Lydia
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To: Paladin2
If you look at the original quote - it's from a state historical marker - "violence and politics claimed 18 city marshals between 1879 and 1885". Not quite the same thing.

A couple met untimely ends while in office. But many of them resigned (some under pressure). Some of those wound up running afoul of the law later. Which was not surprising because some had criminal pasts which they concealed in order to get the job (one was a member of Billy the Kid's gang) and eventually their pasts caught up with them (one was hanged for horse stealing).

What you'll generally find is that the saloon gang pretty much confined their gunslinging efforts to their associates and didn't bother ordinary townsfolk. This is sometimes referred to as "taking out the trash".

One of the better headlines from a Wichita paper: "The Festive Revolver: Again Its Voice Is Heard in the Land".

8 posted on 08/11/2012 5:11:25 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Paladin2
During this period, violence claimed the lives of 18 city marshals, leading a Wichita editor to write, “As we go to press hell is again in session in Caldwell.” “

Being from the area, I recall my favorite Caldwell city marshal story.

Don't recall the particular marshal, but he begged off work for a week-or-two to "take a vacation".

He never returned.

Turned out he was hanged in Barber County, the next county over, for robbing the bank in Medicine Lodge.


9 posted on 08/11/2012 5:19:00 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE002)
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To: theBuckwheat

People from the old west would be horrified by the violence in Chicago.


10 posted on 08/11/2012 5:29:29 PM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: spodefly
People from the old west would be horrified by the violence in Chicago.

**************

ORD_Values1

**************

Just sayin'

11 posted on 08/11/2012 5:33:45 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: theBuckwheat

I am guessing he isn’t counting the pre 1876 numbers for Dodge City. In 1873 Dodge had fifteen murders. The problem for Dodge was they didn’t have much law until Wyatt came to town.


12 posted on 08/11/2012 5:39:05 PM PDT by aft_lizard
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To: theBuckwheat
Ballad of Rock Ridge
13 posted on 08/11/2012 5:39:53 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: theBuckwheat

I read somewhere that the murder rate in Tombstone around the 1870’s -80’s was quite low by today’s standards.


14 posted on 08/11/2012 6:02:53 PM PDT by expat1000
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To: theBuckwheat

My thanks to everyone who contributed. When I ran across this passage in an obscure economics article, I wanted to get it into the public record so the facts could be available to others who are helping to protect and advance RKBA especially in the wake of the Aurora mass murder.


15 posted on 08/11/2012 6:21:10 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat
The perception of the wild west comes mainly from movies, I believe. And this is not because the west was more violent, but because it fits the structure of the stories the movie makers want to tell.

Westerns are about good vs. evil, and acting morally when there is no one around you to either keep you honest, or help you out. The protagonist is usually forced to make choices alone. The western frontier is the perfect setting to construct these situations.

Unforgiven

Unforgiven (some language)

16 posted on 08/11/2012 6:22:16 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: Vince Ferrer

The gunfight at the OK Corral is the most celebrated shootout in all of the Old West. Yet it involved a total of nine combatants - three lawmen & Doc Holliday against the Clantons & Lowerys. Three of the latter were killed outright & one Earp brother was wounded. Later, another Earp brother was gunned down from ambush.

Small potatoes compared to the Indian Wars with large number of Indians, settlers, & U.S. soldiers killed, then there were those lost to famine, blizzards & disease. Kind of like we remember the victims of the Titanic disaster but not the vast numbers of souls lost at sea just a few short years later in WW1.

The Wild West shows of Col. William Cody were popular when there still was a wild West. Life east of the Mississippi must have been dull beyond all imagining.


17 posted on 08/11/2012 7:01:13 PM PDT by elcid1970 (Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind. Deus vult!)
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To: bgill

I saw that movie. It was BA-A-A-D! It was made on the cheap and all the real Indian scenes and battles were lifted form BUFFALO BILL with Joel McCrea.

The other “Indian” scenes show typical Hollywood fake Indians.


18 posted on 08/11/2012 7:42:23 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Tyrannies demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.-Marquis de Custine)
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To: theBuckwheat

Maybe it’s because there was a little “frontier justice” practiced.....my great uncle witnessed a lynching when he was 17 ...some the townsmen took two accused murderers from a jail (who had murdered a farm family and buried them in the manure pile).....and hung them both.


19 posted on 08/11/2012 9:54:34 PM PDT by goodnesswins (What has happened to America?)
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To: theBuckwheat

No surprise there. Arm the citizenry and keep the bureaucrats out of the process to “protect the rights” of the bad guys and the bad guys knew that they were likely to be hunted down and killed by the People.


20 posted on 08/12/2012 3:17:43 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: the invisib1e hand
yeah but you couldn't get foodstamps, healthcare and porn on the internet.

Wait, there's porn on the Internet?

21 posted on 08/12/2012 4:17:28 AM PDT by savedbygrace (But God.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
Cow towns were boom towns of a sort when the big drives came in and payday came around. There were also range wars like the Johnson County War.

Many of the wildest and most likely lethal areas were in the goldfields of California, Montana, the Black Hills, and anywhere else a claim jumper might get his just deserts. Of course it didn't always work that way, and sometimes the claim owner woke up dead in the morning (greed, indeed, coupled with a bad case of gold fever).

Outside of a some hotspots which attracted nefarious types, ordinary communities were pretty ordinary.

22 posted on 08/12/2012 5:42:21 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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