Saturday, December 16, 2006


Story Time.

I believe I made reference to this story before so please forgive me for repeating myself.

Years ago in Konowa, Oklahoma a white woman was killed by Indians. The year was 1911. The woman's husband was a saddler and blacksmith. He had made a saddle for two Indian men who lived in the area with their families. The men went to pick up the saddle and the woman was alone. The story was they gave her the money but she refused to hand over their property. Instead she grabbed a gun and went after them. One of the men pulled a knife and killed the woman. In an effort to hide what had happened they tried to feed her to the hogs.

Of course they were picked up with the saddle. The local KKK got wind of the situation and decided that the only good Indian was a dead Indian and besides they had God on their side so they went to what passed for a local jail house and took the men. My great grandfather Fin Scoggins had the audacity to suggest that even an Indian should get a fair trial and these good Christians burned down his barn with his best cow still in it.

They then took the Indians and tied them to huge wagon wheels and whipped them with straps. When they tired of that they poured kerosene over them and lit a match.

My grandmother's family was forced to leave the area. They went to Singer, Texas for awhile and after a few years came back to Konowa when Papa Fin thought it would be safe again. My grandmother was eight years old when this happened, she was 13 when they returned to Oklahoma.

Question: Were these men, who thought they were doing the work of the Lord, vigilantes, terrorists or just plain murderers?

I think perhaps there is another question as well. I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. They were good people in many ways and if anyone in the congregation was sick or alone they always had support in the Church. But, I have to say the idea of turning the other cheek got lost in the fire and brim stone. I have heard men quote scriptures to justify some of the most unjust acts imaginable. That is why I left the Church. I still consider myself a Christian, but not that kind of Christian.

I suppose my other question is what if the KKK or someone like them had become the political force in our politics that Muslim fundamentalism has in much of the Muslim world? What would that do to do how the nonChristian world views us? After all these guys burn crosses for a reason.

I know people will say that did not and can not happen, but I live in Indiana and it was only about a generation or so ago that the Governor of Indiana had ties to the KKK. In the small town nearby there used to be sign at the edge of town warning all blacks to be gone by nightfall. There are still no black people here. The loss of influence by the likes of the KKK came about because of the rape and murder of a white girl by a prominent member of the organization, not because they saw the light or had a magnaminous change of heart. And whatever they did, they used the bible to justify it, so does that mean the bible is a dangerous book?

This was not some small group of crazies, they were mainstream every day Christian men and women and not only did they not love their fellow man, they hated him.

Where does this kind of hate come from? I honestly do not know, but I think hate feeds on hate. I think that the Jihadis believe that too. They know that the more we hate all Muslims, the more they hate us back. They know that when they riot over silly cartoons we think they are barbarians...they like being barbarians, it makes them powerful. They want a holy war and to have a holy war means they must have an enemy. And right now that is us. I am not some pie in the sky romantic. I am not a flower child. But I know that this kind of hate devours the hater and I want no part of it. When an American can say {and I have heard it said} that he does not care how many innocent people die over there because there are no innocents in the Muslim world..he has lost his humanity. I fear that enemy, the enemy of hate almost as much as the one with the bomb.


Bird Dog said...

I do not view the anger as the issue. There is nothing un-Christian about hating, or anger, or having enemies. I view the behavior as the issue: when and why do otherwise civilized people sometimes act as if they were not?

lurker said...

Konowa, Ok was mentioned...small world! My dad and his siblings grew up in Konawa, OK.

terrye said...


Oh My God really? I bet they know my people. My maiden name was Schornick and the Schornick boys were infamous. My mother's maiden name I won't use here for obvious reasons...but a few other names would be Scoggins and Skelton.

My Dad went to a little school out in the sticks called Vamoosa. My Mom went to school right in Konowa and lived down at what was called the bend.

She met my Dad when she was a soda jerk at her uncle's drug store in town many years ago.

I still have relatives in Ada and Shawnee.

terrye said...

bird dog:

Very good point. Maybe rage and fear make people go a little crazy.

I think it seems strange today that the US government locked up Japanese Americans in camps in WW2, but at the time Americans did not see the injustice in it.

buddy larsen said...

Nice story, Terrye--in the sense of being instructive. Bird dog's point is good--there is little sense in trying to cure passion, but trying to control its effect pays off per the effort made.

terrye said...


I think of those soldiers over there in Iraq and I worry that the things we say could make their job more difficult and place them in more danger than they already are.

I hoestly feel that the jihadis want us to hate them, they need that hate to keep their holy war alive.They are manipulating us and it disturbs me to see how easy it is to do.

I am not saying that I am comfortable with all the teachings of Islam, I am not. But we are not going to change anything by feeding the jihadi propaganda machine either.

I would settle for decent representative governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to overt hostilities myself. I think that is as much as we can realistically hope for.

buddy larsen said...

I think you're right. The public mood seems to be settling toward a "big picture" containment of the jihad. And what else is there, between the two givens that all-else-equal we're not gonna nuke Islam, and we can't winkle out every jihadi hiding inside the global populations.

So what's left?

As much maxed-out disdain as the current war plan is getting, once you throw out the unlikelies and non-doables, what's left is more or less what we're doing now. Which is, holding as best we reasonably can to our tried-and-true principles, and trying to contain the jihad in order to give it the best chance to burn itself out. Of course, Achmadinejad may force us to a much harsher plan.

Anonymous said...

the jihadis want us to hate them, they need that hate to keep their holy war alive.

I'm sure that the jihadis want us to hate them. However, our recognition of the potential for violence contained in Islam has been very slow. There wasn't any generalized hate toward Islam that I remember after the Iranians kidnapped our embassy staff under Carter, or when they bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut, or when they bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

And they will keep on burning churches in Nigeria and bombing Buddhist temples in Thailand whether Middle America hates them or not. Their holy war is alive and well whether we hate them or not.

I don't know if we will get decent representative government in Afghanistan or Iraq. Maybe in Kurdistan. Too early to tell. We should aim for stability, relative tolerance, nobody being fed into plastic shredders, "friends" either genuine or bought, and a continued presence on the ground, splashy and big or discreet, depending on the need, that we can use to influence regional events. I agree with Buddy that the public wants a "big picture" containment plan for jihad, though the devil, as always, is in the details.

Anonymous said...

Krauthammer has some very good insights -

As the Bush Doctrine has come under attack, there are those in America who have welcomed its apparent setbacks and defeats as a vindication of their criticism of the policy. But the problem is that that kind of vindication leaves America in a position where there are no good alternatives. The reason that there is general despair now is because if it proves to be true that the Bush Doctrine has proclaimed an idea of democratizing the Arab/Islamic world that is unattainable and undoable, then there are no remaining answers to how to counter ultimately the threat of Islamic radicalism.

From Past the apogee: America under pressure at Spero News.

buddy larsen said...

Great Krauthammer essay--nothing we don't already know, but well-put and almost comprehensive. I say 'almost' because he doesn't mention a huge factor in our loss of will--the acid partisan political rhetoric which has from the 2004 primary season relegated the war to a 'wedge issue'.

This, from Maggie, is related--whether 'liberty' itself is beginning to fall out of fashion (maggie wonders if Islamic influence is seeping in?).

terrye said...


It is not only Islam which is chronically impossible to get along with.

Look at Latin America. One idiot commie after another and let's blame it on the devil Bush. And who has killed more people, the communists or the jihadis?

That was my point in my previous post. Say we destroy Islam, what would take its place? Something worse? Some other totalitarian ideology?I think that is what is making people tired. The idea that there are no good options.

I think it is easier to just look at Islam and find all the fault there because the religion is so alien to us and because, let's face it, the west has a long history of not getting along with these people.

But I don't think it is just Islam. I think it is unearned wealth and the power it has given to back ward cultures who did not have to advance in order to become powers. All they had to do was set on top of all that oil and keep all those old grievances alive.

No doubt Islam does carry in it is very core the need to constantly expand, but so does Christianity. The difference was Christians eventually became missionaries while Islam remained mired in ignorance. I read somewhere that if more Muslims could read they would not be so dependent on the words of radical imams to teach them their religion.Ignorance, radicalism and unearned wealth, a very bad combination.

terrye said...


I don't think liberty is out of fasion. I think fast fixes are.

lurker said...

Terrye, :) My mother and I were born in Shawnee. My mother's father was a sheriff of Shawnee in the late 40's. We no longer have relatives living in Shawnee but many buried there.

Alan said...

"There is nothing un-Christian about hating, or anger, or having enemies."

I don't believe there's any justification in Christianity to hate or have enemies. Hatred, for whatever reason, only gets in the way.

buddy larsen said...

"turn the other cheek" can't be a suicide aphorism, tho.

terrye said...


Well he probably arrested someone related to me, or several someones.

I heard a story once about my uncles getting into some fight in a honky tonk and tearing the place up.

One uncle walks in and says I can whip any sob in this place and of course another uncles stands and says the hell you say and the fight was on. My Dad was the baby and relatively tame. He said he saw his folks pull their hair out over his older brothers and so he tried to be half way civilized.

I know people think of Oklahoma has a poor place, but I still think of myself as a displaced Okie.

terrye said...


I agree, but we have to remember that in a country like Iraq the whole world looked the other way for years while Saddam did some pretty unspeakable things to those people. Everybody jacked with them. There was a scandal ridden sanctions program and intermittent bombing. Everyone just kind of pretended not to nothice the mass graves...but all of that had an effect on the Iraqi people, they trust no one, including each other.

So while we can not turn the other cheek we should keep in mind that we are asking a lot of people in Iraq and much of the Middle East to do just that.

Anonymous said...


Iraqi tribal squabbling and religious conflicts go back way before Saddam - before the British, all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. Though there is no question that Saddam destroyed the ability to trust.

vnjagvet said...

Watch "Birth of a Nation", the DW Griffith 1915 blockbuster romanticizing the Ku Klux Klan to see how the terrorism, intimidation and racism of the "Old South" lasted for nearly 50 years after our Civil War.

The notion that such brutality and uncivilized behavior is somehow unique to Islam and the Arabic and Semitic peoples is clearly in error.

cf said...

Did it ever occur to you that the impetus for your grandfather's actions were his Christian beliefs? People can misinterpret the tenets of any belief system, but your relative seems to have gotten it right. How ironic that the consequences of his most just and brave act should persuade you to leave his church.

buddy larsen said...

cf, us 'Bible-belt' Protestants are always 'seekers' who often join and leave several different churches of Protestantism during a lifetime.

It's not as serious as a Jew or a Catholic 'rejecting', there's no implied rejection of the ancestral culture.

That's not to say the region and religion are lightly-regarded, only that the different streams of Protestantism are similar, and in fact exist partly so that, with less of the ancient and traditional pressures, an individual might see the 'beliefs' more clearly.

terrye said...


Of course it occurred to me. That is why I said I was a Christian, but not that kind of Christian...meaning the people who used the bible to promote and sustain their own hatred.

terrye said...


BTW, Fin was not a Baptist..he was a Methodist. Which to the guys who went after him was the next best thing to a Papist.

terrye said...

Something else I just thought great grandfather was not saved as a young man, if you know what I mean by saved. When he and my great grandmother Nancy married the ceremony was done by a traveling peacher. Mixed marriage and all. Methodist and Baptist.

Years later Nancy would make my great grandfather repeat his marriage vows inside a church. One of their children, a little girl named Opal had died suddenly and Nancy was convinced God was punishing Fin for not being a Baptist and so God took their daughter. Fin did not agree with that but he did as his wife asked because she was so heartbroken. So my great grandmother who lived to be 97 went to her grave believing that God took her little girl as a form of punishment.