Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 4, 1028

Today’s Jealousy-fueled Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Economic competition was one of the driving forces in many lynchings of Mexicans in 19th century California, as battles over land and stock were especially prevalent. This competition reinforced this sense of animosity towards Mexican men, who were perceived as feminine and deceitful. In a community already rife with racial prejudice, whites’ insecurity about losing their economic advantage made them all the more likely to lash out at Mexican thieves when they encroached on their property. 

As evidence of this competition, many whites were in fact envious of Mexicans’ prowess in the gold fields. Many of these migrant workers had much more experience in the fields from their time in the gold mines of Northern Mexico.  Hence, according to the 19th century newspaper Daily Alta California, “men who are accurate observers…of judging public sentiment…would declare that the feeling…of envy and jealousy…has existed…for some time…against Mexican miners.” Furthermore, many whites “ascribed…antipathy and prejudice….to the superior and uniform success” of these Mexicans, with one Chilean miner noting that Americans “burn[ed] with anger and greed” at their exploits. Many whites were insecure about their relative lack of success, and grew angry over those who prospered in the fields. In addition, because of this sentiment, the Foreign Miners’ Tax, put into law in April 1850, further divided two bitter rivals, in that it allowed white prospectors to expulse those who could not or refused to pay. This law was just another attempt by bitter whites trying to maintain their grip upon the capitalist economy. Any sort of rivalry was an unwelcome challenge to the established order. 

Evidently, much of this jealousy-fueled animosity and the effects of the law carried over from the times of the Gold Rush into 1877 Bakersfield. On December 22nd, five Mexican men, Anthony Maron, Francisco Encinas, Miguel Bliss, Fermin Eldeo, and Bessena Ruiz, a “party of raiders,” were captured and jailed after “st[ealing] a lot of horses.” Early that night, there were “ominous whisperings of summary proceedings, and a large number of citizens assembled and proceeded to the jail,” presumably to lynch the men. However, the Under Sheriff “had been apprised of a probable attack on the jail”, and hid the keys to the cell in a safe to which only he knew the combination. The mob forcibly took the keys to the jail from the jailor and demanded the keys to the cell, but to no avail. So, instead of letting the law run its due course, the mob broke the cell bars with axes and chisels, and forced a “trial” in front of a “jury”; the verdict was “of course… guilty”, a sentence to be hanged. 


Article from the Daily Alta, December 23, 1877

Evidently, the mob’s “excitement” was at least in part due to their jealousy and animosity towards Mexican men, resulting in a chance to protect white economic prosperity from horse thieves who threatened to take it. The “leading citizens” who orchestrated the mob and “made no attempt to conceal their identity” clearly took advantage of this group envy to gather up such a sizable mob. Given the perception of Mexicans as deceitful, any attempt to threaten white economic dominance would be met with vexation and “excitement,” a chance for economically inferior whites to squash the competition. As with Mexican women, any attempt by a Mexican man to challenge one’s role in society, especially through deceit, was seen as deserving of hostility and violence, a punishment of death. The alleged crimes were merely an excuse to strengthen their hold on California’s capitalist economy. 

Culled from: California’s Forgotten Lynchings

 

Tornadoing

So the other day I wasn’t feeling good so I was laying in bed playing on my phone when I decided to watch tornado videos on You Tube, as you do.  I thought I’d share the ones that I found that I thought were most impressive.  I want to become a storm chaser now so that I, too, can post videos of sheer stupidity in the face of nature’s deadly wrath!
Clem Schultz is the Grand Poobah of either Nerves of Diamond (stronger than steel) or Highly Questionable Judgment.  He stood filming out the second floor window as a tornado approached and destroyed his house, injuring him and killing his wife who was taking shelter in a makeshift basement below.  I can’t believe how he doesn’t say a word and just keeps calmly filming as the storm hits.  Impressive.  And since he survived and he probably wouldn’t have if he’d been down in the basement with his wife, who are we to judge?
Then there’s this woman who was trying to drive to work and got caught in a tornado that picked her truck up and hurled it around for 15 seconds before slamming it into a building.  Her reaction is the polar opposite of Clem’s but I think quite understandable, given the circumstances.  
Then there’s this bit of awesome.  The TIV-2 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) is a tank-like automotive that is designed to, um, intercept tornadoes.  So in this video they got right in the path of a quite violent tornado in Kansas.  Man, what an amazing experience that must have been!  

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