Monday, February 24, 2020

One of Those Crimes We Are Told Would be Common After Shall-Issue

Frankfort, Ky. (1900)
1/16/1900: A longstanding dispute between a former member of Congress and an army officer who had served together resulted in a gunfight in an unprovoked gunfight in a hotel lobby.  Three people died, four were wounded (one in danger of death at press time).  Several of those killed or wounded were prominent public figures; several were bystanders.
Category: public
Suicide: no
Cause: quarrel
Weapon: pistols[1]

Of course, Kentucky was not even may-issue at the time. 

Tragedy, but compared to the family mass murders of this period, positively sunny.


  1. I recently read a book called, "The Man From The Train", by Bill James, and his daughter, Rachel McCarthy James. A very interesting true crime investigation, one that was apparently missed in the 1898-1912 period because of the local nature of most news, and the primitive level of criminal investigation. This man was able to slip into poor sections of town which were usually where the railroad went through, find a house with a woodpile and an ax outside, no dog, and enter the home around midnight when the family was asleep, and bludgeon the people to death with the ax. He entered and left in less than five minutes, and was miles away before the crime was discovered. Before fingerprints, and much of any scientific analysis of crime scenes, the police looked to local people as the murderers. The newspapers also did not report this much beyond the immediate area, so he was able to do his evil and not get caught. He was seemingly able to quit around 1912, and he was not seen in the United States after that.

  2. Sounds like the Cult of the Sacrifice which did a lot of family ax murders 1910-25. The daughter finally confessed implicating her father.

  3. `definitely an individual. book was a great read.

  4. That was discussed in the book. James showed enough evidence and argument that there was one murder in the New Orleans area by the serial killer, and another there was due to some family dispute. The authorities wanted to put the whole mess to bed, so they interrogated the surviving daughter for days, without food, and scared her into making stuff up. James said this happened shortly after her family was murdered, so he did not consider her confession to be either factual or morally obtained.

    Just like the Japanese police, American police in those days put greater store on finding someone "responsible" so they could close the case than they did on finding the actual perpetrator. This is a continuing theme in the book, because back then the idea of an itinerant ax murderer was inconceivable, when most of their experience was with local crime, and murders were either over money, women, or drunken brawls.