Tuesday, September 16, 2008

History Lessons

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I wasn't really feeling Weeds tonight too much. It was a little artsier and slower than usual, which came off as a bit anticlimactic for a season finale.
    • Geez, you think that Eagles-Cowboys game was any good?
    • Season premiere of House tomorrow night. About time we get to the really good shows.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I needed Brian Westbrook to have a very big game tonight in order to win a fantasy matchup. As Bush and/or the Bluths might say: Mission Accomplished.
    • Richard Cohen of the Post unleashes a barrage on John McCain.
    • Speaking of McCain, with the phrase "run on banks" getting tossed around today, isn't about time that we heard about some sort of Keating something-or-other?
    • I thought I was harrassed by hurricanes this summer. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, late bluesman, had it way worse.
  • Daily Rant:
    • It's funny how you learn regional history in school and so much ends up getting put by the wayside. I grew up in Baltimore, so we got a heavy dose of the Civil War in terms of mid-nineteenth century history. My wife grew up in California, so she learned the Civil War in a much less concrete way (understandably) but got lessons on the missions in California that I never got. Meanwhile, there are whole other parts that have history of which we've never heard. All this is to say that while September 11 marks, well, September 11, it also marks another horrible tragedy in American history of which I was unaware until recently, the Mountain Meadows massacre. You might say, "What?" and I reply, "Exactly." In 1857, the Mormons were settling in Utah, having been led out there 10 years before by Brigham Young, after Joseph Smith had been lynched in Missouri. Fearing government interference, the Mormons became very wary of any outsiders and armed themselves to repel an expected attack by the U.S. Army. During that time, a very wealthy wagon train from Arkansas came through on the way to California, with around 140 people. Since one of the original tenets of the LDS religion was that any Gentiles (non-Mormons) were worthless because of their lack of belief, the Mormons set upon the party, using Indians (and dressing as Indians) to aid in their attack. They ambushed the caravan and then laid seige for close to a week when the Arkansans fought back. Finally, on September 11, 1857, the Mormons flew a white flag and told the party that they had negotiated with the local tribe for safe passage. The Arkansans came out of their hiding place to honor the truce, at which point around 120 were murdered (17 very young children were taken for adoption). I don't mean to disparage the Mormon religion, we all have our skeletons, but it's an amazing tragedy that most likely goes entirely unnoticed outside of the Grand Canyon region of the U.S.

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