Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Again and Again "and Again"-- A Rude and Non-Productive Bonnie & Clyde History

One of the least enjoyable things I do concerning Bonnie & Clyde History, is having to comment from time to time-- about those who would attempt to influence which Bonnie & Clyde accounts are acceptable to advance and believe-- and which ones aren't. This history is sometimes so polarized, that kind of thing can actually occur. However within my focus on advancing Bonnie & Clyde truth, narrow minded attempts at historical censorship don't fly with me-- and have caused flaps over the years among some of us with our ears to the ground within this history. As I believe Bonnie & Clyde History should be wide open for new or lesser known accounts to be told and examined-- I never understand the need for the judgmental recompense which can sometimes occur.

Regarding the effort by some, in attempting to discredit the new Bonnie & Clyde book Retribution and it's author Gordon Baker-- prior to more knowledge even being known concerning it's alleged revelations-- unfortunately, I find that a typical reaction by some "gate keepers" of Bonnie & Clyde History-- who in my view couldn't be more wrong. The lack of decorum within this history can be remarkable-- and as I see it, vengeance and threats shouldn't be part of any Bonnie & Clyde historical issue. Passion yes-- but passion to a fault-- no. Plus among some, there could be viewed a discernible conflict of interest-- in appearing to protect other ambush theories and "revelations"-- which to many, may end up being even more unbelievable and non-provable than the Baker account. In my view, all Bonnie & Clyde stories should stand on their own merits (or lack there of)-- and be sorted out based on honest and straight forward investigative analysis-- not childish, cursory and non-productive nonsense.

To all who've sent derogatory e-mails or worse here & there-- or have commented so viciously about this new Bonnie & Clyde effort with it's controversial ambush account, I would ask-- how can you look to shut down possible revelations within Bonnie & Clyde History no matter how "outrageous"-- just because you feel they're not true?? Then like some great protectors-- feel you're doing a service for this history, by attempting to eliminate historical assertions before they're even investigated. Hell if some had their way, I suppose we'd have no Bonnie & Clyde articles or reference materials at all-- based on a rain of skepticism and examinations on the vaunted Internet. As such-- many Bonnie & Clyde books and postulations, could be judged too controversial for publication.

BTW-- for those who send e-mails my way with unsavory comments, apparently aimed at my providing a forum for Bonnie & Clyde accounts you don't feel are cool-- please know I am proud to feature B&C accounts of many types, and don't plan on changing my independent looks into Bonnie & Clyde History anytime soon. Now would I publish an account which said Bonnie & Clyde jumped over the moon?? No-- but other accounts which seem to merit consideration, will find a forum for exploration here.

I would ask why an ambush account like Frank Hamer's, who has Bonnie & Clyde going no faster than 30 MPH when ambushed, be subjected to more or less scrutiny than this account-- or for that matter a total of 4 accounts, which have a warning shouted to Clyde by 3 different officers?? Those conflicting ambush accounts, made by lawmen who were experienced in providing detail concerning circumstances they found themselves in-- but yet couldn't seem to get their stories straight, have been meticulously examined for more than 75 years. So why then is it wrong to examine this new account?? Those who react negatively to new Bonnie & Clyde stories being advanced-- don't seem to like it when the possibility of a Bonnie pregnancy is brought up-- just as now in shooting down this ambush account which involves a Bonnie pregnancy as well. Hmmm.

Apparently for some who fancy themselves as saviors of Bonnie & Clyde History-- anger, hate and censorship are honorable. The Internet and some e-mails are abuzz with less than polite comment on Retribution, as well as threatening language which I find deplorable. I'll be most interested to see, what happens when certain new theories and revelations surface (of which I'm aware)-- and some within this history rush to discredit those questionable assertions. Others can banter behind the scenes, to find hollow justification in support of this kind of thing-- but I cannot. I'm going to learn what I can about these new ambush contentions, and report on them in an objective and historical way.

A parallel concerning Jeff Guinn has been advanced in comparing my handling of Go Down Together to Retribution. "Many" have had issues with Guinn's "True" Untold Story of Bonnie & Clyde. The difference in Guinn's case, was I knew based on correspondence and documentation-- that there were likely issues with his diligence, concerning the Bonnie prostitute angle-- his admitted use of a report based on apparent supposition concerning his ambush account-- and conflict between one of his interviews, and a previously held interview with the same individual. In addition, Jeff's "remarkable" statement to me that "all written history is ultimately best guess"-- well that didn't help his credibility with me either. So in the case of Go Down Together, there appeared to be multiple issues with that Bonnie & Clyde effort-- which when compared to this new ambush account, at least up until now don't apply. It could be, that there won't be enough objective evidence to support this bold new assertion-- but at least the reporting of it, may not have the same issues as found with Go Down Together.

My feeling is there should be civility within Bonnie and Clyde History, that this history should be fully explored-- and in regard to searches for Bonnie & Clyde truth, that the chips should fall where they may-- and not be stacked the way some feel they should look. As always, I hope for a better Bonnie and Clyde History-- and return now to more enjoyable historical tasks.


BarefootOkieGal said...

I think it is a good idea to keep an open mind, up to a certain point, when dealing with any information dealing with things that happened so long ago. It isn't necessarily a good idea to dismiss new information without even really examining it, just because the information doesn't at first seem to fit with what is "known." First of all, just getting new information regarding something that happened in 1934 is a great thing - sources of "new" information are few and far between at this late date. I think it's only fair to carefully examine anything new that's presented. Jeff Guinn's book is one example of "new information" - the first B&C book published in a long time. Unfortunately, that book had many faults and flaws that could be seen when comparing it to known facts. The new "Retribution" deserves careful examination just as Jeff Guinn's book did, and if it proves to be compatible with most known facts (seems as if everyone's story of what happened that day is a little different, but that's not unusual for such an emotionally-charged situation!) then I think it deserves a place in B&C history. I'm looking forward to any updates regarding this e-book and results of any discussions with the author, as the information given is fascinating!

I can understand how people with firmly-held beliefs can refuse to let them go, and how such people can refuse to consider new information that might contradict their beliefs - but that's not conducive to learning!

edmathews41 said...

7/23/11 I am a serious Bonnie and Clyde historian. I am very interested in the questions raised by Charles Baker. The first question I would ask is about Ted Hinton-- he was involved in the ambush, and later in life wrote a tell-all memoir regarding the shootings of Bonnie and Clyde. Hinton wrote the tale as the only surviving member of the six man posse, and he included information regarding the Methvin family and the treatment of Ivy Methvin that has since been regarded as controversial. My thought is, that if there were a seventh man there for the ambush, Ted Hinton probably would have been telling all about him in his book "Ambush," published in 1977, because Hinton seemed to be trying to clear the decks, if you will, before he passed away. Any thoughts or response would be much apprciated.
Jim Sorber jjlsundance@yahoo.com