Sunday, May 04, 2014

You be William Munny, Out Of Missouri

There was an air about him only I seemed to notice. Sure, there was other people in that miserable bar drinking alone, but his isolation was different - deeper and blacker. After word of the killings in Big Whiskey, Wyoming got out folks was plenty mad. But Munny was an old bushwhacker like the James boys and Quantrill. They got a knack for melting away to where nobody but nobody can latch onto them again. We all heard the stories of them Pinkerton detectives getting killed and same happened just about to anybody else foolhardy enough to follow!

Next year, after the massacre in Big Whiskey, Jesse got hisself killed and suddenly they didn't seem so untouchable anymore. Most of them got killed long before but Jesse had created this legend that sort of rubbed off on all them Civil War bushwhackers. As for me, I hated them sons-a-bitches, tricking farmers by wearing the wrong uniform then shooting them down before they knew what was what. I surely fail to see the courage in that.

There was other vile stories of that type, those boys hiding in the weeds for hours till they got an easy shot on somebody and waylay them right out of their saddle. I'd never come across their sort in person except for one: Will Munny. Now here I was staring at him all over again and my blood run cold. His type don't need much of a excuse to putting a bullet in ya!

"He's dead." That's what everyone was saying if you asked about him. Funny, but that was exactly what I thought seeing him sit there with that bottle and his hanging down head and eyes so empty I wondered if he was blind. When he moved it broke the spell and I went to the other end of the room to gather up my wits. What I hated most - what I really fought - was me having this feeling of feeling sorry for him. His kind just rips holes in the world, the kind that get us all killed.

After the war there'd been so much hate in the Missouri line folks just kept right on killing each other. North and South was mixed up in there and the hard feelings didn't go away easy. Men like Quantrill and the rest of them bushwhackers wouldn't fight in the war proper. They killed, raped and robbed any civilian they thought wasn't with their cause. You see, to them, in their minds, that was enough to commit any sort of violence they saw fit. And they saw fit to do things no human should ever do.

For a lot of them southerners they couldn't handle getting beat. They couldn't win the war so they wanted to fight the peace. They did that by stirring up all the old hate. Articles in foul newspapers (unlike this one!) spoke how these dogs was fighting for rights and justice by doing stuff like Munny did, blowing up a train they said was full of "Yankees coming to exploit us." You had enough folks swallowing that bile - or leastways saying they did - that they got made into heroes. That's some twisted thinking, that.

Munny disappeared. They had their hardcore supporters that hid them out. But Munny had started up his own farm. That's when I knew him. I figure every man has right to turn over a new leaf to the good Lord but if that'd been me doing all that raping and killing I'd be hard pressed to forgiving myself. Them's some mighty tough things to get passed but I have to think the good Lord can get passed anything and God bless the man that can do it. So I let sleeping dogs lie and treated him like any other. Hate wears on a ya like big boulder anyway.

Never crossed my mind I'd see him again, even here in Sherman, Texas. I knew they'd come down here in the old days to hide out, Jesse even taking his honeymoon here. Guess this must be the last place left to a man like Munny. I always said the world wouldn't be safe until men like him is wiped clean off the face of the earth. Ya can't build anything solid when ya got folks who just want to tear society up as it suits them. Wait and see, one day we going to rise up against them banks causing all these panics too!

But I must admit I was glad on seeing him with my own eyes. The Lord does take His vengeance after all. William Munny's going to live in eternity with the wails and cries of the people's lives he hurt. I had resented a God who didn't strike those kind of men down with all the suffering they caused. Maybe, I wondered, I should be out there trying to kill them myself. But I'd been too busy just living. I could see now, though, they'd been busy killing their own selves.

Wasn't till after his funeral I wanted to recount this. I know a few will still be riled for me not offering praise to a Missouri bushwhacker. But I think it's misguided to thinking they was fighting for any other cause but their own base lusts and vile desires. I'm glad I didn't give in to the hate those boys stirred up in me. It's been over twenty since the war ended and it's right time for it to die. I don't believe any man who says he wants to end up like Will Munny of Missouri - leastways not if they'd looked into them vacant eyes of his like cold, dark wells.

Written by Simon Lockwell as courtesy to the Sherman Herald Democrat, May, 4, 1886.

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