Lately in my regular reading I’ve been coming across the age old, reoccuring theme of “good versus evil” namely in particular stories . . . stories that are factual and have a place in history. None has had me more intrigued recently than the “Billy The Kid” drama of the 1860’s. Now I’ve never been that interested in the wild west or the culture as a whole. I’m only SOMEWHAT familiar with it because of Hollywood which isn’t that familiar to begin with seeing that most of it is fiction. But what got me interested in “The Kid”s story was it being on the front page of Yahoo News (click here for the story) that he’s up for a posthumous pardon.

Billy The Kid

          I clicked on it just for the hell of it and it turns out his whole story is one of lost morals and a sense of hopelessness in a time where a certain code of bravery was staple. I wanted to know what a man ha done that all of a sudden 130 years later he’s up for a pardon and why are people even talking about it. So I googled Billy The Kid  and read many biographies and various accounts of his life and started to see parallels in this theme of “Good Vs Evil” I’ve been encountering lately. He was basically a youngster that fell off into a life of petty crimes that turned into having to kill to stay alive and free. Fair enough. But then I started reading about HOW he was forced to kill and the “Lawman” that gunned him down and the measures he took to pop The Kid.

        For the most part The Kid was misunderstood and tried his best make the best of the cards dealt to him. He was betrayed by a governor at the time that guaranteed him a pardon for ratting out those that killed a popular general store owner at the time but instead was left to rot in a jail cell. The Kid mailed letter after letter pleading to have the governor honor the pardon but none was answered. He eventually made his escape by shooting down the two law officials that were in charge of holding him. Then a lawman by the name of “Pat Garrett” was hired to kill The Kid who at the time was only around 19-20 years old. As I’ve read Garrett became obsessed with The Kid and was outsmarted by him countless times. The Kid would often be in the same town Garrett and still would never get caught or confronted.

          I think it was The Kid’s way of sort of giving up the chase and let whatever would be to happen soon. Garrett on the other hand was heated and resorted to tieing up The Kid’s girlfriend in a dark room and waiting for him unseen in the corner then shooting him in the head . . . a coward move in my opinion as to Garrett catching feelings about it and taking it on as personal instead of business. Garrett also did plenty of other unjust and cowardly shit to try and corner The Kid during the chase.

      The point I’m trying to make is I’ve noticed in a lot of stories like this, when the lawman tries to capture and or kill the outlaw, it is the LAWMAN that becomes obsessed, becomes personal, sells out his integrity, gives away his morality, and in the end cheats pulling off a cowardly move to achieve his objective. The proof that Garrett himself felt he was a coward afterwards was he went public saying how much he admired The Kid but then he wrote a whole book talking about what an animal The Kid was and how he deserved to die like that. But when you look at The Kid’s life he was nowhere NEAR what he’s portrayed as. Another classic case is Melvin Purvis of the F.B.I. chasing and hunting down John Dillinger in the 1930’s.

John Dillinger

Purvis was so obsessed by Dillinger’s living by his own rules and outsmarting him that he resorted to cowardly and pathetic acts (involving women and children also) to gun Dillinger down. Purvis later killed himself years later after killing Dillinger using the same gun that was used to kill Dillinger.

Melvin Purvis

      At what cost does a man who lives within certain boundaries created by others that he feels are noble does he give up his own morals to capture another man who he probably is VERY similar to. Most of the famous outlaws we read about later turn out to be heros, legends, patriots, men of honor. While the lawmen that have hunted them down are looked at as cowards or are forgotten altogether. One might say that it’s us that choose to admire the outlaws for representing something in us that relates to them, the part of us as individuals that’s misunderstood by the collective, self righteous judgement of society, and that may be true. But most of us don’t really read into the lives of these outlaws except for what we see in movies or by hearsay.

      Or is it also that we recognize the corruption and cowardice used to bring the outlaws down and try to block it out because we don’t want to deal with the fact that this still goes on today. If you read most of the stories of legendary outlaws you’ll see most of them were loyal, courageous, light hearted, misunderstood, brilliant, and methodical. The lawmen were the barbarians, trying to make order out of the chaos within themselves that they never could and wanted to extinguish the flames within their own soul by making it a personal agenda to kill another man in the name of justice. So in the classic case of “good vs evil” upon EDUCATED JUDGEMENT one must decide on their own who is “good” and who is ultimately “evil”.

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