(Q) Do you have any problem with Virgil not letting Behan finish his effort?
Do you find any problem with hurrying the process when patience could easily have prevented the shoot out that cost the Earps and everyone so much?
(A) Virgil waited until the cowboys had on at least three occasions (Maybe four) failed to deposit their arms in locations established by the no-guns-town ordinance and local businessmen/supporters were urging him to act with their help. You and Joyce and Peter have stated on many occasions that the posse should have been able to tell that Behan had not disarmed the cowboys when he stopped them on Fremont. If that was the case, Virgil would have deduced that the Behan had been unsuccessful (AND HE HAD BEEN), and since he had told them "there would be trouble" if the posse continued to the lot, that would have put the posse on alert that they could expect resistance. Were they supposed to stand around in the street while Behan made a second attempt? That would have gotten Virgil fired for cowardice and dereliction of duty.
(Q) Why do you think Virgil was in such a hurry? What was his purpose in hurrying?
(A) As I've already stated, I don't think Virgil hurried at all. In fact, he waited till the last possible moment to act.
(Q) The judge, who was an Earp friend, and some witnesses found that the Earps fired first. Why do you think they did that?
(A) First, I have never found any evidence that Spicer was a personal friend of any of the Earps and would be interested in seeing it if you have. He put Wyatt and Holliday in Behan's jail for an extended time during the trial and I believe he upheld more prosecution objections than those made by the defense. Why do I think it? That calls for another thousand word post, but short and sweet, I believe it is most likely that Wyatt and Morgan fired the first shots, probably justifiably, but also possibly misreading Frank and Billy’s reactions in response to Doc suddenly raising the shotgun .
(Q) Why did Ike need to buy a new weapon for a fight as his own weapons were available at the Grand Saloon? How can buying guns or ammo have any significance? Is it not normal for ranchers to stock up on ammunition while in town considering the risks, Aapache and otherwise, on ranches outside town? If Ike needed a gun for a proposed fight, why a new one? I don't think it says anything about their mindset. What does Ike failing to get a gun at the gun store and then not walking a little over a block to get his own guns say about his mindset?
(A) “Why did Ike need to buy a new weapon for a fight as his own weapons were available at the Grand Saloon?” I don’t know, Tom. You’d have to ask Ike Clanton that question, since it was he who testified that he tried to buy a pistol at the gun shop (page 114 of Turner). “How can buying guns or ammo have any significance? Is it not normal for ranchers to stock up on ammunition while in town considering the risks, Aapache and otherwise, on ranches outside town? I don't think it says anything about their mindset. ” I don’t know, Tom, but this may be why some people saw some significance : the first thing (after seeing the doctor for his head wound) this “honest rancher” does within an hour of being buffaloed, disarmed, and fined for carrying a pistol and threatening officers lives is to try to obtain another one. This, after spending the morning on his bar tour threatening the Earps and Holliday, confirming to an arresting officer that he would have provided Tombstone with a coroner’s inquest if that officer had been a few seconds slower. I have no good answer as to why he did not, then, attempt to reclaim his weapons at the Grand Saloon. Do you have any ideas why? In your opinion, why would he attempt to buy a new wepon? Regarding Frank and Billy, it’s clear from William Allen’s testimony that they intended to relax and have a drink before attending to other business, but after hearing what had happened to Ike and Tom, they decided to forego drinking and instead headed to the gun shop. This may, indeed, have been because of their determination to get Ike and Tom out of town they decided to take care of stocking up on ammo earlier than originally intended for the reasons you propose. However, that is certainly not how it would have appeared to townspeople (or the Earps). Otherwise, a crowd would not have gathered at the gun shop to view their activity..
(Q) The vigilantes willingness to help Virgil deal with the cowboys is, if true, an important story in my opinion but it's only sourced through Virgil, who needs backup stories for what he is about to do, with no other source
(A) Virgil testified: “There was a man named W. B. Murray and a man named J. L. Fonck came at separate times and said, "I know you are going to have trouble, and we have got plenty of men and arms to assist you." Murray was the first man to approach me, on the afternoon of the 26th. I was talking to Behan at the time in Hafford's Saloon, trying to get him to go down and help me disarm them. Murray took me to one side and said, "I have been looking into this matter and know you are going to have trouble. I can get 25 armed men at a minutes notice." He said, "If you want them, say so." I told him, as long as they stayed in the corral, the O.K. Corral, I would not go down to disarm them; if they came out on the street, I would take their arms off and arrest them. He said, "You can count on me if there is any danger."
“I walked from the comer of Fourth and Allen Streets, west, just across the street. J. L. Fonck met me there, and he said, "The cowboys are making threats against you." And he said, "If you want any help, I can furnish ten men to assist." I told him I would not bother them as long as they were in the corral; if they showed up on the street, I would disarm them. "Why," he said, "they are all down on Fremont Street there now." Then I called on Wyatt and Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday to go with me and help disarm them.”
(A)Fonck and Murray were well known Tombstone citizens. Murray was a mining broker and Fonck was a former San Francisco policeman. They were not vigilantes. They were citizens who were offering to back up officers of the law whom they thought would face resistance from the cowboys. Virgil reported detailed direct quotes from both of them in his tstimony. If they had any problems with how they were quoted they could have made it clear in multiple venues. The prosecution, if they had any idea that Virgil had misquoted them, could have called on them to testify. Virgil testified that Fonck not only offered armed support but told him the cowboys had threatened him and had now moved out of the O.K. Corral onto Fremont. It was Fonck’s statement that Virgil said convinced him to call on his brothers and Holliday to come with him to face the cowboys. If the prosecution thought they could puncture that bit of testimony they certainly would have tried.
(Q) I don't see the gathering on Fremont as any reason to assume anything as they were talking to Behan who, according to him had got them to agree to go to his office and disarm (mission accomplished) and Billy was allowed to keep his weapon as he was leaving town right away.
(A) The Mary Cummings/Kate Harony letter to her niece states that she and Doc wee rooming at Fly’s boarding house and that an armed Ike Clanton had, that morning, been thee looking for Doc. Researchers as diverse as Tefertiller and Vail accept the letter as authentic, while Gatto does not. If Kate’s account is true, the posse, especially Doc, would have viewed it with great significance for the cowboys to be gathered literally under Doc’s window, after Ike had spent the morning hunting Doc and proclaiming to all and sunder what he intended to do when he found him. . The preponderance of evidence suggests that Ike and Billy took shelter from the cold in the lot next to Fly’s, while the McLaury’s took care of business at the butcher shop, and that their party, minus Frank, intended to go to the West End Corral and leave town. Virgil and the rest did not know this, had been told by multiple townspeople that the cowboys meant trouble, and Fonck had said they had been making threats, They had emerged from the O.K. Corral still armed, making it at least the third time they had broken the ordinance, and then the Earps and Doc find them gathered at Doc’s residence. Even if the Cummings/Harony account is not true, their exiting the O.K. Corral still armed would have been interpreted as they had no intention of following the ordinance and, according to Behan’s testimony, that was, in fact, Frank’s actual mindset. (to be continued)