October 1, 2021
Here is our promo for the next BBB history talk:
And, here is the first response.
"How can you print such crap!!! Trade places with him and ask the question, 'What would you do, how far would you go to defend your family and your country?' Ask that question and print the answer!!!!"
Late in life, Geronimo was asked if he had any regrets and he replied, "I wish I had killed more Mexicans." By his own admission he killed between 500 and 600. It's not known how many of these were slain in battle, but we do know that for many years, Geronimo would lead raids into Mexico and kill every Mexican he could. True, some were soldiers or combatants, but many were farmers or civilians and not threatening his "homeland," and they were not attacking his country. He hated Mexicans because, as he claimed, Mexican troops killed his mother, his wife and his three kids and that sent him on his revenge raids. Granted this is beyond awful, but even the source of this motive is more complicated. The truth is, the village of Janos, Mexico made a pact with Geronimo's tribe and basically paid the Apaches a stipend to NOT raid the surrounding area, and this worked for a while, but since Geronimo and his crew were raiders at heart they began using Janos as a base and started raiding into the neighboring state of Sonora, until the Sonorans got tired of the killing and rampaging and sent a military force to annihilate, what they saw as a nest of vipers threatening their lives and their homeland. Geronimo was away at the time of the attack, most likely raiding in Sonora. The citizens of Sonora saw the members of the force that wiped out the Apaches at Janos as patriots and heroes, defending THEIR homeland. And, so, there is plenty of blame to go around in this sordid tale and, to me, it doesn't take anything away from Geronimo's legacy, it merely puts him in perspective as to the truthful history of his life. He was born into a storm of violence and he not only survived, he thrived in spectacular fashion. So, enough of the historical amnesia (see Hutton quote below). Let's be honest. He was a cold-blooded killer AND a freedom fighter.
"From a renegade warrior, hated by settlers on both sides of the international border and finally tracked down by his own people, Geronimo has morphed into a patriot leader who led the final resistance to preserve his land and culture. Forgotten now is the misery, death and deportation he brought on the Chiricahuas, as well as the innocent American and Mexican victims of his raids. The story of that transition is a fascinating tale of historical amnesia and the shifting popular concepts of our shared national history."
—Paul Andrew Hutton, in his brilliant essay, "Was Geronimo A Terrorist?" True West magazine, July, 2011