Thursday, January 1, 2009

Was Miranda Right ?

The sun set on the final day of 2008 as we watched from our canyon edge lookout in the GPAA/LDMA gold camp of Stanton, Arizona. Anticipation was building as the final preparations for the New Year's Eve extravaganza, the Shooting of Charlie Stanton, took place over in the old opera house that has been rebuilt by the organization for just such occasions (and also pot luck dinners, dances, card games, and what have you.... It was a fittingly beautiful wrap up (the sunset , that is) for what was for most a fairly trying year. Weather misbehaved, the markets took a tumble of unprecedented proportion, fuel prices ran the gamut from sky high to el cheapo, and political turmoil led to unprecedented political precedent. (figure that one out!)

But on this night, it was lights, camera, action for the Outdoor Channel as they set up to film this annually not-ready-for-prime-time play.

First came the zither and a musical prelude- heavenly....or something like that.

Then came Sheriff Deputy and Master of Ceremonies, Perry Massey, to narrate the action and set the scenes (everybody cheer: Yay. Yay.)

We meet Charlie Stanton, dirty money grubbing, power grabbing, rotten scoundrel who owned the stage house, the assay office, and everything else in town that he could cheat someone out of...Can you say, "Boooooo Hissss ?"

Next we meet the bad bad brothers who do Charlie's dirty work for him until eventually they turn on each other in a fit of poetic justice: More Booooos and hissses please.

(and maybe some booze with the boooos)

And, of course, some love interests and some floozies thrown in for good measure.
In the end, the bad guys shoot the bad guy who is then arrested by the good guy. To this day we know the names and reputations of the bad guys, but the good guys have all passed in to the mist of history without anyone to tell their story and save their good name for posterity. Perhaps there is a lesson here, but I am betting against it if there is.

So why the title to this post? Because when the sheriff came to arrest the brothers for killing Charlie Stanton, one of the brothers(played by brother Tom Massey) had this to say:

"Sheriff, some time ago I met a young lady in a bar. Her name was Miranda. She told me if I ever get arrested for killing somebody, I should make my first call to a lawyer. So Sheriff, do you think Miranda was Right?"

You see, there are perfectly wonderful reasons to study history. How else would we know where Miranda Rights originated....

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