Saturday, June 25, 2005

General Custer-My Perspective

Today is the 129 anniversary of what us whites call Custer's Last Stand or the Little Big Horn. The Lakota, Ogalla, And Cheyenne call Gressy Grass. There are several reasons that this is important and I will get into it later.

First of all the Rank at the time of Gressy Grass was Lt. Colonel, but due to his brevetted Rank in the Civil War was Major General. So if a person were to address him it would be General. It is the same as we refer to President Reagan after he left office, becaue he earned the title. The only way he would have lost the right to be called General is if he was demoted due to an infraction of military law. At the time he was posted here at Fort Lincoln Southwest of Bismarck, Dakota Territory was the need for generals was not as great.

During the Civil War he was considered the North premiere Calvary General were he perfected dividing his force and strategy that generations of historians would pan him for the last four decades.

First off, General Custer was arrogant, or maybe just overconfident. Although is it really arrogance when you can do what you think you can.
If he were as bad a character that the modern day historian claim he was.
(There is a theory that Reno and Benteen set him up to fail.)

His orders were vague, he and the seventh Calvary was supposed to meet up with General Terry sometime. He was offered gattlin guns. Some historians think that this might have saved him. There are three problems with this the terrain is incredibly hilly with a lot of coolies making it hard to get them set up. A gattlin gun weighed over a ton and would slow down a Calvary unit (the Calvary Unit of the 19th century were considered to be akin to our special forces today. The Calvary units were quick attack units. Third, black powder had a tendency to jam regularly. I wouldn't have wanted them.

I think that he found the village to soon. The rule of thumb if you could see an indian They KNEW you were there. I will grant you that he didn't listen to his scouts, but the number of warriors in the village I don't think anyone would have comprehended. There is a possibility that he was going to fight a holding action. Trying to hold out tell the three columns of Sheridan and the other Generals. Sheridan and the other two Generals were held up they weren't where they were late because they encountered other Nations on the way.

The morning of the battle Custer divided his command of about 100 troopers into three commands under Reno and Benteen. (Later in Reno's military career his was court martialed for assaulting his commanding officers daughter). This was so they could surround the village. The last order out from Custer was for Benteen to "bring packs big village." He didn't. Reno was surrounded for a time but when one of his sergeants brains were blown out Reno took off running.

Here is the victor's perspective. Months before the Battle Sitting Bull had a vision of soldiers falling into the village. The interesting part of the vision for me was the warning not to take anything from the soldiers or they would loose the war. His warning was headed. (Kinda harkens back to Joshua and the fall of Jericho when he warned them not to take anything, but Achan did and they lost the next battle Joshua 6-7 Makes me ponder what would have happened if the Nations would have heeded the warning).

Crazy Horse was a very formidable General. The terrain really lent a hand to the way the Lakota, Ogalla, and Cheyenne fought. It gave the warriors a lot of cover. The yellow boy Winchester 10 round magazine repeating rifle for close quarter fighting is very formidable against a single shot Spencer carbine. Not including recurve bows. The warriors were trained from an early age to fight one-on-one. The stiff formations of the Calvary didn't work well because the Warrior fought outside of the box.

The importance of this can still be seen today. 1893 the massacre at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge was perpertraited by the seventh Calvary. During the 1970's American Indian Movement (AIM) took over a government building at Pine Ridge. Leonard Peltier allegedly killed two FBI agents. The problem is the FBI story of what happened doesn't really have an aire of honesty to it. Leonard Peltier has spent more time in prison than most murders. To this day Pine Ridge is the poorest place in the country.

Our fore father set up the reservation system to fail. My family and I disagree on this, but we have treaties that we have to fulfill. Our forefather set a system where the Nations would be so dependent that the Feds shipped the kids off to distant government schools where they would beat the children if they spoke in their language. We destroyed their hope. That is the reason alcoholism and suicide is so prevalent on reservation.

Right now some of the Nations are trying to sue the government over past royalties that haven't been payed over the last century.

Was it General Custer's fault? I don't know. Glory hound yes, but he did his job. If his troops weren't all killed it wouldn't have given them the ralling point to actually finish the war. In a since, Custer has his immortality.
We only a hand full battles but the Nations actually somehow lost the war. Just something for you to think about.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Justice

I was talking to a friend of mine about something I get kinda emotional about. Most topics I keep my cool, but we both got a little passionate (We were still friends afterwards may not after I beat him at his favorite board game haha).

First of all I want to establish that God is a God of justice along with mercy. God has extended mercy to all of us who want it, the Bible says on the day of judgment those who haven't accepted "doesn't know and get away from me." Lets start with Adam and Eve. They ate of the fruit and they were cursed because of the disobedience they showed God, at the same time God showed them mercy giving them the chance for redemption. Moving up to the time of Moses God set forth the law that He expected His people to live by.

I am a firm believer in the death penalty not for the usual reasons. The eye for an eye thing is more of a limit let the punishment fit the crime. The concept of the death penalty comes into being after the flood (Gen. 9:5-6).
God basically said that He would demand the death of a murderer.

The reasons I am a firm believer are:

  1. Once a monster is killed he will never harm someone else.
  2. It is just. It isn't right for a monster to live when there is a swath of destruction perpertrated.
  3. Ecclesiates 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

4. It helps the family heal if a sentence is subtantial.

Speaking for myself, (If any of you have been through worse I am not saying that my suffering was worse than anyone.) The guy that hit us only got a year in the county pokey. ONE YEAR. Not a fair trade for a life. The miniscule sentence he got fed into my anger. It violated my sense of justice. I honestly thought "evil thoughts" (The code us westerners are raised with harkens back to when vigilantes were needed). Something else to think of is he will be able to celebrate all the holidays with his family from here on out. I have to celebrate Christmas with people who aren't family. Christmas was the David Olmsted family High Holy day the holiday where mom and dad would fly Brenda and I home from College. I ask you where is the justice in that. ONE YEAR than he still has his family, I don't.

Granted, I don't believe that Drunk Driving is a capital offense, but Murder One is. Imagine for a minute your Lacy Petterson's sibling. Scott Petterson has seen three or four Christmasses that Lacy's family never will have even if he is excited tomorrow. But it will be decades before that is accomplished. There is a finality for families that when an execution, not so much as a revenge, but more of that there were a fairness in what happened in there lost loved one.

My buddy said that he didn't think that he wasn't sure it was in societies best entrest. I think most people would like to think that these monsters can be reformed. Well that kinda misses what human nature really is: SINFULLNESS. Also, if society doesn't have justice you have anarchy-which then means you don't have a society.

I can understand why people would like monsters to reform. But That means that society has to forgive a monster. Only God and families of the victim have the right to forgive. Think how you would feel if you were violated by a monster and I told him that he is forgiven before you have had a chance to make peace with what happened and God. What would happen is you would resent me (at the very least) increase the hatred in your heart for what happened making harder for you to forgive.

Something Else to think of for those of you are just New Coventant Christians and are under the delusion that the death penalty was just an old testament law. Book of Acts Anninus and Saphira when they lied about the price of the land. They dropped dead after their lie was revealed.

I am not saying that the death penalty solves all hurts, but instead of being so supportive of monsters we need to be more concerned with the victims because God expects us to look out for the least of these. Heck, now day a case gets to court the victims is tried. The monster is not at fault because he listened to Tom and Jerry Cartoons telling him to commit a crime.