Get out of Dodge

A bit of old west justice would serve us well today

I took a break from cleaning out the garage the other morning. Actually I was just moving stuff from one spot to another, but it seems to look bigger and cleaner when I’m done.  I made a coffee and popped on the TV.

The disaster in Japan was on and that is truly a terrible situation, but watching too much of images like those is not healthy. Say a prayer, send money to the Red Cross and get prepared, but don’t get stuck on endless hours of speculative news coverage.

Another channel had a very emotional evangelist, too early in the day for that, and a third had a group of women all talking at once, very loud, never a good time for that.

The next channel had Gunsmoke. As soon as Matt Dillon walked out of his jail onto the screen, I was transported back to the good old days. For those younger readers of my column, you can Google Gunsmoke and bring yourself up to date.

It was a family show that we all sat down to watch together, not preceded by warnings of coarse language or nudity. Maybe some of Miss Kitty’s outfits were a bit risqué and Matt often said ‘gosh darn,’ but we never saw Matt and Kitty go upstairs and the language was never bad enough to chase mothers from the room.

This episode was a classic. An old gunfighter had bought some land just outside of town and once word got out, young guns started showing up to challenge him.

The code of any good western is that there is always a younger, faster gun ready to take you down. Just ask Gordon Campbell or Carol James.

One of these nefarious gunslingers is sitting in the Long Branch chasing trail dust with whiskey,(that’s cowboy talk for ‘having a drink’).

Marshall Dillon knows why he’s here and walks straight up to him — no sending a letter or waiting for a warrant.

He tells him he can stay if he abides by the law but this is his only warning, and if he causes trouble he’ll have to “get out of Dodge or suffer the consequences.”

That’s what we need folks. We need a Solicitor General or an Attorney General or a Chief Superintendent that is not afraid to tell the gangs, the pot growers, the meth cookers and the criminals to “get out of Dodge or else.”

No second chances, no compromises, simply follow the rules or leave.

If Matt had warned those guys, then warned them again, then put them on probation, then recommended rehabilitation, soon the Dodge house would have  been overflowing with bad guys and the townsfolk would have to start locking their doors and hiding their daughters.

In this episode, as always, Marshall Dillon solved the problem with brains not guns.  The people of his town don’t fear him, they respect him.

They trust that the law is on the side of truth and justice and they know that Matt’s deputies, Chester or Festus can be trusted as well. No one wearing the badge in Dodge is ever going to be on YouTube assaulting a citizen or breaking the law.

There might be a bunch of elections coming up. Let’s put the Matt Dillons back in charge, surround them with honest people that we can trust, and tell the bad guys to get out of Dodge by sunset.

At least that’s what McGregor says.