By JOE GIDDENS
To steal a line from Bill Hicks: “We always kill the good guys and let the demons run amok. Gandhi: murdered Jesus: murdered Andrew Jackson… wounded.”
Turns out that perhaps the only thing our seventh president enjoyed more than ethnic cleansing of indigenous people was violence against individuals who wronged him. Over his too long of a life, he engaged in possibly over 100 duels.
On May 30, 1806, the future president squared off against a fellow plantation and horse enthusiastm, Charles Dickinson, in Logan, Kentucky. Gambling wagers and insulting of wives led to Jackson taking a bullet to the chest and a lifetime of chronic pain from the wound. Jackson, with his hand over the wound, returned fire, killing Dickinson.
Dickinson’s life ended with a kill-death ratio of 26:1 from his previous successful duels.
Perhaps Dickinson could have saved thousands of natives that would be lost on the Trail of Tears if his duel winning streak didn’t end thanks to Jackson that day.
We are very much a nation of violent men and violent actions looking at Jackson’s professional and personal life.
The original sins of slavery and native genocide aside. Jackson also shows how firmly embedded vigilantism is in the American psyche.
The mythology of the long gun slinger taking the law into his own hands is very much a part of Southern Arizona, considering it was the last part of the country added to the continental United States, and we have attractions celebrating the legends.
I get the appeal. The lone figure using violence to return a lawless land to its just state when institutions fail.
But Jackson was a violent asshole; the comic book anti-heros in that archetype are no better.
So when I see Punisher logos plastered on your car, it gives me pause.
When I’m at Tucson International Airport and see a small Punisher logo on a servicemember’s uniform, I’m left wondering if he’s hoping that institutions fail so he has his chance to live out some fantasy.
Don’t be like Andrew Jackson.