August 24, 2004
I've known some pretty shady characters in my life. About half of them are dead now and the other half are in jail for murder, drug-dealing, extortion, pimping, illegal bookmaking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. These were NOT nice people. I knew it at the time and I tried my best just to stay out of their way. The Mafia was big in Savannah in the late 1970s. And they ran a LOT of the bars where I played.
They all richly deserved what they got from the law. But the ones who are in jail will get out, even the ones who are supposedly serving "life" sentences. When they hit the streets, they'll go back to doing just what they did before. They don't KNOW anything else.
I miss the old Code of the Hills. When I was talking to this woman on the phone the other night, I told her some stories about Bloody Harlan County. Somebody killed Lee Fleener's daddy. Lee found out who it was and shot the man dead right on the steps of the courthouse. You couldn't find 12 people in Harlan County to convict Lee of ANY crime.
That's the way it was. He killed my daddy, so I killed him. Sounded about right to everybody on the jury. If you came home from a shift in the mines and found your wife in bed with another man, you could shoot 'em both and never find a jury that would convict you of murder. They'd hear the evidence, look at each other and say, "I'da done the same thing."
That's the Code of the Hills and I believe that we should practice it more today. Law is just too got-dam forgiving.
All content © Rob Smith