Finishing up the O.K. Corral op-ed piece for the Arizona Republic this morning. It will run next Sunday, a day before the anniversary date of October 26. Over the weekend, I whipped out another study of the fight:
It's called "The Last Cowboy Down" and depicts the end of the fight when the Earps and Holliday closed in on Billy Clanton as he switched his gun to his left hand and emptied his pistol. Poor, young Billy was blasted to pieces. Should make a few Earpaholics I know apoplectic. Ha.
One of the aspects of the fight that doesn't get much attention is the fact that the cowboys had quite a crowd of sympathizers in the lot before the Earps walked down to confront them. I imagine they were all lending verbal support to the Clantons and McLaurys, but when the Earp party appeared, they all bailed. This wasn't their fight (this is key to understanding the fight), because it was a fight, not an arrest (everyone but Virgil seemed to understand this). And, of course, what would have happened if all the cowboys in the lot had stayed and defied the Earps, not with weapons, but with their bodies? What if they had stood in front of their friends and said to the Earps, "These men are leaving town and they are our friends." I don't think there would have been a fight. Lots of insults and posturing, but even with Doc brandishing the shotgun, I think it would have blown over. No, it was a perfect storm of circumstance and it came down to four on four. Amazing.
Gee, I wonder what ol' Shopenhauer could have said that day that might have influenced Ike and his boys?
"The greatest mistake a man can make is to sacrifice health for any other advantage."