Thursday, September 13, 2012

Judge "Wins" Historic Duel

Today is September 13, 2012, and it is the 153rd anniversary of a famous duel that involved a senator and a judge. According to Scott McCabe, crime reporter for the Washington Examiner:
Sen. killed by judge in duel
On this day, Sept. 13, in 1859, U.S. Sen. David Broderick of California was shot by California Chief Justice David Terry during a duel in San Francisco. Broderick and Terry had been friends, but they had a falling out when Terry lost his re-election bid because of his pro-slavery views. He blamed Broderick, who opposed the expansion of slavery. Terry challenged Broderick to a duel. Broderick's gun misfired into the dirt and Terry shot him in the chest. He died three days later. - Scott McCabe
 David Broderick
David Terry

A more in-depth look at the story can be found on the National Park Service website. Here is how the duel is explained there.
 The Deadly Duel
At the time of Terry’s challenge, duels were illegal in San Francisco. They had originally scheduled the duel for a few days before September 13, but there was too large a group of witnesses and the duel was shut down by the city police. On September 13, they secretly moved the duel located to Lake Merced, just south of the city line. The chosen weapons were two Belgian .58 caliber pistols. Broderick was unfamiliar with this type of gun mechanism, while Terry, in contrast, spent the previous days practicing with this gun. At the moment of the duel, before the final “one-two-three” count, Broderick’s gun misfired into the dirt. He then stood tall as Terry aimed directly at Broderick’s chest and fired. While Terry later claimed to have only grazed him with a flesh wounded, his bullet entered Broderick’s chest and lung.

The wounded Broderick was rushed to Leonidas Haskell’s home at Black Point. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, he died in that house three days later, reportedly saying “They killed me because I am opposed to the extension of slavery and a corrupt administration.”
Slavery and duels no longer exist in the United States. The fact that slavery was abolished is, to say the least, a blessing.

As for the old means of settling affairs by dueling, well, that gives me pause. In the end, the party that defends the Second Amendment would have a decisive advantage. You can't fight a duel if you don't have -- or know how to use-- a gun. Maybe there's something to look at here. . . .

Just kidding!

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