Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Ballad of Frank Hamer

Okay, here's the thing: Due to The Pandemic™, I've not been able to raid Hall County's library for additional scans of my father's column. I've but a few left and, well, stretching them out until a planned visit later this summer. Microfiche scanning. Nothing says "old school" quite like fumbling through drawers of celluloid, loading the machines, and sifting Tuesdays for the weekly paternal ramblings. I will admit, however, a certain bliss once you catch the rhythm of that process. Hopefully I'll come away with a fresh year's supply before another shutdown ensues. 


Originally published in the Gainesville Times' NE Georgia section (typically Page 2A), August 2, 1988, Criminology Professor and Retired Detective Alex Taylor tells of the venerable Frank Hamer, Texas Ranger, subject of a Marty Robbins ballad, and prosecutor of Bonnie and Clyde. 

Check below the column for additional insights and anecdotes.

One assertion in need of address might be my father's labeling of Clyde Barrow as a "homosexual killer." Sort of a double entendre? It has been widely reported that Barrow was repeatedly raped in prison, and that he pulled a Gallagher-style melon-bashing of his tormentor with a baseball bat — which access to a bat might appear beyond logic, but keep in mind the era. Of the articles I pulled to verify this, the larger percentage suggested that, at the very least, Clyde Barrow's sexuality was questionable. What was not questionable was the killing of his homosexual rapist. Dad's label works either way, perhaps.

On a lighter note, perhaps you're familiar with a tormenting of my own involving Marty Robbins. If you couldn't tell, Dad was an avid fan. This was manifested during one of the those National Lampoon-style month-long family vacations out west. And yes, we even had the early-'70s green wagon with wood siding. It sported one of those newfangled cassette players, and of course, Dad brought along one tape... one. Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs by Marty Robbins.
I can't drive amidst the sagebrush without hearing Cool Water, Big Iron, or of course, El Paso.
Damn him!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lizzie's Acquittal

Lizzie freakin' Borden. Huh boy... where to start...
Nah, I'll make this quick.
- Whacks parents.. maybe.. probably.
- Gets away with it.. sort of.
- Also rode a white bronco? That's a rumor, but...

Originally published in the Gainesville Times, July 26, 1988, Prof. Alex Taylor introduces the Lizzie Borden family murder mystery.

It's an interesting sociology study from the stance of an acquittal. Not Guilty doesn't necessarily mean you're free to return to normal. If the public remains unconvinced, a true defense hasn't occurred. Why can't a society trust the judicial process? Hmm... might be an Occam's Razor in there.

Oh, if you ever wondered where the term "getting whacked" came from, this is a good place to start looking.

T. Nelson Taylor | Official Site | DusT | Bolita