The Sheriff and Outlaw Henry Plummer (Part 2)
The dual nature of Henry Plummer's character would leave us questioning his legacy and the legitimacy of his ending. Was he simply an honest lawman reluctantly entangled in the rougher aspects of frontier justice or a downright robber and murderer with a badge? There are authors who believe he was solely one or the other but there also seems to be ample circumstantial evidence that he was likely some combination of both. The problem of determining his guilt or innocence, set against the backdrop of a nascent legal structure for the American West, would stir a debate that we continue to struggle with today. When it comes to the protection of our families and communities, what measures are we willing to accept to ensure our safety? When does crime prevention and the ad hoc adjudication of those in authority become a miscarriage of justice? Where is the line between the precepts of our more mature legal system and common sense and what measurement should guide our conscience to determine when a line has been crossed? We all want what's fair in light of our personal convictions, but like every condemned man, all Sheriff Henry Plummer wanted was a little more time.
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