Monday, September 22, 2008

The West

This is shop related, but not shop. I just thought I'd add to my collection of 'great shitheads from history' (some mentioned towards the end of this post) with the following character.

Without further ado, I give you Colonel John Milton Chivington - Methodist minister, Abolitionist, and mass-murdering war criminal. Only read that if you think you have a strong stomach.

I came across an article on the Sand Creek Massacre when reading up on Native American history (I know that no-one outside of textbooks ever uses the term, but hey, I'm a middle class white liberal--I can't resist over-sensitive PC terminology). After I read it, I was so disgusted I spent the next half an hour struggling to keep my lunch down, and so angry that I couldn't concentrate on anything for hours. Which really, is a shamefully mild reaction to what I read.

At least I also learned of one person to add to the good people list, Captain Silas Soule. I know it's not considered intelligent to see people in terms of good or bad, and in general I don't. But I believe there are exceptions, and I'll cling to the romantic hope that there is such a thing as a heroic person, even if they only manage to be heroic for a while. When you read the accounts of the massacre you see the horrifying malleability of normal people. A person with a position of authority can just say the word and otherwise normal people will commit atrocities that you wouldn't believe even the lowest, most monstrous person to be capable of. Conversely, Silas Soule refuses to fight and, for the men he leads, the spell is broken and they see what the others are doing for what it is.

On a lighter note, have a read of this article. Hahaha, sigh... mormons.