HOOT OWL TRAIL REVISITED

Ridin’ the hoot owl trail, one paperback cowboy describes it as riding’ always looking over your shoulder. He warned the younger men to quit the gunslinger life while they could. He said, ‘look at me, 59 I think, and still draggin’ iron…’

Gunslingers late 1800’s

The words come off the page as a melancholy warning or a wistful wish for a life which had not been wasted. The glory American westerns use to portray for the life of the gunfighter, the bank robber and the devil-may-care attitude of those who lived for themselves, traveling and sleeping under the stars waiting for their next big score, stealing from those who had money or gold do not seem to echo true in this account.

True West Magazine describes the ‘hoot owl trail’ or sometimes called the ‘owlhoot trail’ as referring to a man who had left the straight and narrow to become an outlaw… (He) claimed the name came from the Indians in the area using owl hoots to signal danger or someone’s approach.

A snippet from the book by Harry E. Chrisman reads, “The old cowman spent fifty-six of his eighty-three years riding “The Owl Hoot Trail.” He was a cowboy, sheriff and deputy United States marshal, fugitive from law…”

 In my book, “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” I observed that many ‘old west’ sheriffs and lawmen were also on the other side of the law at times. An example was Wyatt Earp who was at one time wanted for rustling cattle and robbery.

Those who seem destined to ride the Hoot Owl trail often never intended to end up there, regretted having arrived there and lamented not being able to leave there.

It is easy to sit back now and armchair quarterback those who lived over 150 years ago in the United States’ western frontiers which are totally foreign to our way of life today. It is easy to quickly judge such men, shaming them for they should have known better or seeking their downfall as lessor men for their failures.

Today there are dozens of places which have taken the name Owl Hoot Trail and are part of a scenic tourist attraction for a place of solitude and nature hikes or a place for riding ATV’s and off-road competitions. Both are a large leap from the meaning in the 19th century!

What, if anything, should the old west’s understanding of the Hoot Owl Trail mean for us in 2020? Are there any connections from us today to those days when the west was brand new and only inhabited by vast numbers of native tribes and thousands of buffalo? The west was wild in so many ways and now a century and a half later, we claim to be an advanced culture of sophisticated education and the best understanding of mankind since creation. The past few months in U.S. major cities would certainly be a great argument in dispute of such nonsense! If anything, the rampant violence and completely morbid lack of any understanding of history by those who purport to represent an entire race of people in America proves that we are certainly not as evolved, or woke as we think we are and the heart of what made the Hoot Owl Trail so ominous is missing from today’s justice system. ( Although I use the word woke as it is part of the modern parlance, I regard it is simply an example of the left’s ackamarackus verbosity.)

What made the Hoot Owl Trail intolerable and led those who lived it to find it reprehensible and spirit breaking is that one always expected, at any moment, the law, the good-guys, the white hats, the sound of the U.S. Cavalry bugle would ring out and bring them to justice. There seems to be no such sound today. Those who run roughshod over our cities and the citizens within them stroll casually through City Halls and walk a vast red carpet of supposed civic leaders who want to bow and shine their shoes while performing a nearly physically impossible feat of kissing and polishing at the same time. You can’t learn that in yoga class!  

I believe I am like many law-abiding Americans in wishing that an entire squadron of owls or better yet Black Hawks would swoop down on those traitors to America. The hawks could immediately neutralize the threat of those who incite insurrection and demand the overthrow of our government and they would deal out the justice each so deserves. Perhaps then, America can begin to start back on the road to being great again.

Until we eliminate those who overturn our cities, and we expel from Congress and halls of government those who deny that America is a Judeo-Christian nation and we place God back into the heart of everything America stands for, then God will not bless us. He cannot and He should not.

Wake up Mr. President, wake up Mr. and Mrs. America – it is time we re-take that which has been illegally and wrongfully taken from us. No longer can we stand idly by and watch this ruin continue.

In 1867, John Stuart Mill said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Currently, in America, many good men are doing nothing. As for me, I refuse to continue to do nothing. It is not enough for those like me to stand at the ready to guard our homes when these evil people arrive at our doorstep. We must meet them where they seek to do their next vile acts and stop them before they begin. If we continue to find that our federal government will not utilize the tools at their disposal to eliminate this threat to the American way of life, then the people must act.

I am pleased at the President’s most recent action to assign the U.S. Marshal’s to be the ones developing a strategy to stop the insurrection, specifically against government buildings and historical monuments. I created an acronym for them: F.I.E.R.C.E. Federal Immediate Extremist Radical CHOP Elimination Team.

This team must act and act now. If the threats against Gettysburg are carried out this July 4th without a substantial show of force by the federal government, then the ball has been thrown into the court of the people. Honestly, I have no idea what that will mean or how that will play out, but there must be a line in the sand and that line cannot be erased.

The ancient kings of Israel sought the will of God before meeting an enemy in battle. Often, God was making certain the Israelites, or the nation of Judah, understood who it was that brought the victory; so, they did not become puffed up with pride and lose what God had prepared for them. In the current era, the Church Age as it is known in theological terms, we can take our lessons directly from the teachings of the Apostles. Paul in writing to the church at Rome declared the following:  

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” (Romans 13:1-5)

Standing for the Constitution of the United States against enemies of the United States is the sworn duty of every American citizen. Those who incite insurrection and the defunding of police to promote anarchy are enemies of the United States. I believe that God will honor those whose hearts are right with Him, who seek His peace about any actions they might take and that all our actions and all our leaders should be covered in prayer. God knows our hearts, our motivations. It is true that Christians are citizens of His kingdom and political patriotism is second to that citizenship However, Jesus has also clearly been recorded as saying, Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. (Matthew 5:9) Peace makers, peace officers, sometimes must use legitimate force to bring about peace and to sustain it.

Matthew 5:9

May God bless America. May America bless God!

Author: docriggs

I'm married now 40 years to a wonderful wife with whom we have great kids and almost a dozen amazing grandchildren... I am so very blessed. My life goal continues to be a Christ-follower in every way. I have over 45 years experience internationally with crisis intervention, law enforcement and military experience, contingency planning and security consulting.

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