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Thread: Moving West - Chapter 12

  1. #1
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    Moving West - Chapter 12

    I suppose I should issue a warning that some measure of violence is involved in today's chapter, so, for those more gentle souls, please read at your own risk.....
    --------------------------------------------------
    Less than a day's journey from the Mohegan village, Sean found the spot he wanted to use for his ambush of the two men who were coming to kidnap Mariska. It provided a good view of their approach, with vegetation to offer his concealment on their right. An additional bonus, was a small hill on the opposite side of the trail from Sean's hiding spot. That rise in ground would naturally draw their attention as they drew abreast of Sean.
    While it was doubtful they would be traveling at night, Sean was not taking any chances. As darkness fell, he tied a rope to a tree across the road, pulled it low across the road, and tied a slip knot around his ankle. Should they come thru during the night, Sean would be awake in an instant with a plan to react immediately, while they would be dealing with surprise and confusion in the dark.
    Since leaving the village, Sean had plenty of time to formulate a plan, and knew exactly how he intended to attack. However, the words of his father drifted thru his mind during the night - “The fog of battle renders most plans useless once the fight begins, so you must be prepared to adjust as needed.” Regardless of how things went, Sean was certain that he would be able to take out one of the men. That in itself, would almost certainly cause the other man to not proceed any further by himself. Should Sean fall in battle, it would be with the knowledge that Mariska would be safe at least until the next spring.
    When the first rays of the morning sun began to show on the horizon, it brought with them, the coldest, most bone chilling temperatures of the night, bringing Sean to his feet. A fire to warm himself was out of the question. The chance that the
    smoke from the fire might be seen, was to big a risk. Breakfast would be simply a piece or two of jerky, as he walked around, swinging his arms to warm himself up.
    No more than a couple of hours had passed before they appeared coming up the trail several hundred yards away. Dropping into his planned hiding spot, Sean made a concious effort not to look directly at them as they got close. He knew not why, but, he had been told by his father, and other men versed on the subject of battle, that sometimes looking directly at the people you are trying to surprise, will cause them to be aware they are being watched. As he had expected, when they drew close to his position, their attention instinctively went to the high ground on their left. This was the edge that spurred Sean into action. Sean's skill with a bow and arrow was below that of a Mohegan warrior, but this was point blank range, and his arrow found it's mark deep in the chest of the larger man.
    As a child, Sean had learned to herd sheep by throwing stones close to the head of the leader of the herd. With a handful of stones he had gathered, that skill now paid off. His first throw stunned the second man when it struck him in the face. A second stone followed immediately, and knocked him from the saddle. Seeing the first man was unable to fight anymore, Sean ran directly to the second man on the ground. He bound the hands of this man, than went back to the man wounded with his arrow, and bound his hands also.
    Coming out of his stupor, the smaller man yelled.. “Who are you, and why have you attacked us?” Sean looked him in the eye, and said “ You killed a Mohegan woman and kidnapped her daughter. Now you have returned to try and take her again and fulfil your evil plans for her. You have failed for the last time. You will never have another
    chance."
    With bitterness bursting from his eyes, the smaller man laughed “Fool! - there is not a jury within a hundred miles that will hang us for killing an indian woman”.
    “That well may be”, answered Sean, “but your courtroom is right here. I am your jury, your judge, and your executioner.
    As your jury, I find you both guilty of murder and kidnapping, and attempted rape. I see you have plenty of rope on your horses, no doubt intended to use on your victim. As your judge, I sentence you both to hang by the neck with your own rope until you die. As your executioner, I give you one minute to make peace with your maker, as if himself will have anything to do with the likes of you.”
    When they tried to keep him from putting them into their saddles, Sean put it to them directly. “If you don't want to drop from your horses and hang that way, I'll simply throw the rope over the limb, and haul you up into the air. That will make your end more ghastly and considerably longer.
    It's more than vermin like you deserve, but I give your choice of which way you want to die. I await your pleasure, and hope you chose the longest and most painful option, for the woman you intended to do harm, is the woman I intend to marry.”
    In the end, they chose to mount their horses, and drop as they were pulled out from under them, thereby reducing the count of evil human beings on this planet by a count of two. Never again would Mariska, or any woman, be endangered by this pair of miserable animals.
    Sean carved a message on the side of the tree they were hung from, serving as an explanation as to just what they were, and why they died. The carving, along with the bodies he left hanging from the tree, would be talked about in the taverns
    for hundreds of miles around for a long time. It would continue to serve as a warning to anyone foolish enough to think of following the evil path taken by these two very dead men.
    Riding back to the village, Sean realized that he was returning with two horses, saddles, blankets, saddlebags, guns, knives,etc.. It dawned on him that it was ironic that these two men who threatened the life of Mariska, had now provided him with the gifts that he could present to her father, in the hopes of getting Mariska for his wife. Excited though he may have been, still unanswered questions remained....
    Would Tiganche accept his gifts,anxious to please his daughter's wishes? Would he demand more in the way of gifts from Sean than he would from a Mohegan warrior?

    Tomorrow he would find out.
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    Last edited by barnburner; 12-16-2010 at 01:27 AM.
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  2. #2
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    This is a strong episode indeed.
    I hope You may find my herebelow comments constructive as they reflect a somehow different sensitivity existing, at least in Europe and, possibly, in Latin American countries where You are now read too ...
    I can understand Sean possibly had no other choice for self-defending and protecting the girl and the tribe, but still I believe he had no right to play the judge (or God? who doesn't resemble him in many cases the Bible though) and stage such a judiciary farce.
    In my view he would have simply better explained why and shot both painlessly in the head if he could not find any other solution.
    I have also another consideration. Actually the gifts he's taking to Mariska's father could rather be considered as an indemnification to the victims (Mariska and her Mom), provided they were not, even partially stolen from other victims. So I can hardly say they were Sean's gift as if he had the right to the whole booty.

    I hope not to annoy You, dear Barnburner, with the following comment on death punishment in general. (I would remove it if You feel I'm abusing of Your kindness).
    I already expressed my view and the European principles (the first writing the modern phylosophical, rational approach on about how to deal with crime and criminals was an Italian of two centuries ago and the grandfather of one of the greatest historical novelist and poet, Alessandro Manzoni).
    The principle is that death punishment is not and cannot be within state legitimate violence power (no matter if popular reactions and sustainers pro death penalty may be many, but often on very little ground, but emotional). This not to cite the Bible where God reserves to Himself decisions on actually effective punishment and on the life of Cain.
    Unfortunately the view, even with a far better legal assistance and law and judiciary system and procedure, remains in principle not much different from old times in many US states where death punishment is practised, even in front of alternatives and even against founded doubts or extenuating circumstances or discharging facts and grace decisions are too influenced by political considerations. Moreover the social class and much money availability makes outcomes often quite different, thus people unequal, and this is particularly unpleasant when a person has his/ her unique life at stake.
    The concept that the State has to fulfill a revenge desire of the victims families on their behalf basically as mere and due punishment and even up to the death of the charged/ guilty is tragically similar to that of most other places where civilization (intented in all its aspects, including social and cultural ones) are to be still deployed in full after a long stop or the actual lack of an historical evolution up to modern times.
    I mean, to be clear, states in the islamic majority areas, China, many authoritarian states or dictatorships etc., countries we don't really take as an example when it comes at human rights defence.
    No matter how different from US they are, there's still a simplistic view in many people and a visible separation boundary and an example to provide, especially now that UN approved a mostly unapplied death penalty moratorium since a couple of years. US states have therefore the choice between that unpleasant company of states I cited and Europe and many other countries. This is the only way to affirm a difference and care for human rights more credible and supportable, as shown recent for the case of the Iranian woman they wanted to lapidate and is, forunately, still alive for international pressures among which French and Italian ones distinguished and US rejected based on a doubtful woman's execution in US Iran could easily point out.
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  3. #3
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    Wow, very powerful indeed Mike. My grandmother shared the story and told me to share the story with my children that we should never forget. Not to be filled with hate, but to know what happened to our family-that it should never be forgotten.
    On my maternal side was a Cherokee woman part of many who had fully integrated with European society here. She was pulled by these evil men from her dutch family and raped and tied to a tree and mutilated where she died. It is too bad she didn't have a Sean in my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Caesar, we have differing views on the need for the death penalty in certain instances. However, I certainly respect your right to your views, and understand the reasoning behind them.
    In writing this story, I have attempted within my ability, to be as historically credible as possible. This episode I believe, reflects the prevailing viewpoints of most of the people in early America, especially on the frontier, away from the cities.
    In that time period, people may have been a journey of days or weeks away from any sort of legal help.
    Quite often, people were required to deal with criminals in whatever manner was available to them.
    It's true that a quicker death for these two men would have been more humane. However, again, I chose the hanging scene, as a reflection of the mindset of people in that time and place. Attempting to look into Sean's mindset thru the prism of time, I believe he chose hanging for two reasons.
    1. These men had killed Mariska's mother. They had kidnapped Mariska, and most certainly had the most evil of plans for her, and without a doubt, either her death, or sold into slavery, as her end. I can understand why he might feel that a quick death was not sufficient justice for their crimes. Even in these modern time, if, God forbid, something similar happened to the women in my family, and we would be without the law enforcement and courts available to us, I can assure you that my answer to those men would be most unpleasant and most definitely final.
    2. To have simply quickly killed these two villains and left them laying in the road, or buried along the side, would have in those days, gone down as a fairly insignificant event by the people in the surrounding territories. By chosing hanging, and leaving them hanging from the tree, along with his carved message, Sean was sending a message to other such men that men who killed or molest women in that part of the country could expect the most severe and unpleasant end to their lives. Stories few up and down the frontier carried by travelers, military men, peddlers,etc., and this would have been a story that would have been talked about at length in taverns, shops, churches,etc. all along the frontier.

    If I have offended you, or anyone else with this chapter, I regret that. My intent was not to promote an opinion on the death penalty, pro or con, but to be historically credible, and attempt to reflect an honest reflection as to the mindset of the people in that period of time, along the frontier, in dealing with killers, rapists, and their like.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra View Post
    Wow, very powerful indeed Mike. My grandmother shared the story and told me to share the story with my children that we should never forget. Not to be filled with hate, but to know what happened to our family-that it should never be forgotten.
    On my maternal side was a Cherokee woman part of many who had fully integrated with European society here. She was pulled by these evil men from her dutch family and raped and tied to a tree and mutilated where she died. It is too bad she didn't have a Sean in my opinion.
    Sandy, now that you have posted the story of your great-great grandmother, I can state that you had shared her story with me before. Without a doubt, her story was an influence on my thinking as I put this episode together. The sad and pathetic truth of those times, was that a Native American woman was often considered by many, as a lower form of life, similar to how many in the south looked upon their Black slaves. Such men would kill or rape a Native American woman with no remorse whatsoever, and, even worse, would not be convicted of a crime - IF - they were ever brought to court.
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  6. #6
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    No offence for me, dear friend, on the contrary, forgive my considerations if their tone may sound as a blame or judgement or seem disturbing. Actually in part was due to the passion for this enthralling story.
    Anyway I fully agree with Your starting consideration and undersand the rest. As a matter of fact, except for saints, people having higher degrees of human or religious faith and martyrs (the real ones I mean, not the ones killing other and innocent persons, even suiciding in the name of God Who actually, aAllmighty as He is, would never need any of them to affirm His will), as I told, self-defence is morally and even religiously legitimate.
    This is what I think to be a generally acceptable prescription, but only and up to the necessary level to protect ourselves, our beloved and even other people (certainly less when You kill someone just to keep a property). Moreover any violent reaction to a considerable threat, based on emotions can be understood if not fully approved.
    Trial, punishment and execution though, as well as the relevant warning, should not be considered in the hand of individuals' liberty, for sure not in an organised state (maybe there was to little presence of it at Sean times and place). This became the case since Hammurabi first written law code, I'd say (some millennia ago now).
    In Sean's times I can hardly think that evil people, bandits, putting at risk their life everyday, with a low life expectation anyway, could find a life in a uncomfortable jail arrangement, splitting stones all over the day and in chain a more attractive solution or lesson and being rapidly hung such a worst doom to deter them from crimes.
    Moreover, fortunately, we're now far ahead in most of the world countries and U.S is a leading one and is not such an unsafer place than Europe to fancy about death penalty as a real deterrent, so it has a great responsibility to advance in any field or accept any challenge.
    This was the only reason and expection for raising this point because whoever is willing to contribute driving the world has to listen each other area and people and look for possible civilization universally shared values and their growth.
    I think that the size of movements against rather than those in favour of death penalty speaks clearly enough where the value challenge ground is.
    The same applies to where world's countries are heading to as a choice.
    We now give for granted so many individua rights (even derivative ones) that we can hardly believe that in Sean age slavery was only freshly abolished in U.S., while racism was still terrible shared belief, women had no rights and native people rights and even safety and self-determination simply did not exist. So many progress were made and U.S. who spearheaded so much progress up to the last century.
    That's my hope even now, before we may have any area of the world convening on what building a truly peace and justice (they go together) really imply. There are many cases where a certain degree of idealism, vision is more realistic than what is defined to be realism. U.S.A. knows it probably better than anyone else and contributed to several mankind dreams come true.
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  7. #7
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    As a statement of facts, i understood very well intentions of the author of this story and this cannot be polemised... it is a historical fact of the times past, and it reads very well as such.
    Veru good job, Barney, but awful part of the primitive existence, that still exists even nowdays.
    Very good illustration as well.

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    Quite an episode! Violence, most of us wish they didn't exist but I have come to wonder whether "An eye for an Eye" is more appropriate for certain criminals. Some people never learns. And death penalty may make them hesitate a bit.

  9. #9
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    All has been said about the why's and the wherefore's, its still a powerful good read Barnburner with another great painting
    Sometimes...I remember better with my eyes closed

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasminek View Post
    Quite an episode! Violence, most of us wish they didn't exist but I have come to wonder whether "An eye for an Eye" is more appropriate for certain criminals. Some people never learns. And death penalty may make them hesitate a bit.

    Thanks for following my story Jasmine. Very much appreciated.
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