Thursday, June 22, 2017

Porter Rockwell Philosophy

I like OP Rockwell. Orrin Porter “Ol’ Port” Rockwell was born June 28, 1813. This is his 204th birthday! He was my kind of guy. He was rough but had a big heart. He could shoot and defended the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church until his dying day. At one time he was a deputy sheriff, mostly riding shotgun for the Overland Stage. At what became known as the Great Bullion Robbery of `68, a bandit tried for $40,000, and Rockwell brought the man in after tracking him through the desert for a week. That fame helped to set Rockwell up as the territory's first private detective. Frank Karrick, a freighter out of Sacramento, lost stock to rustlers, and Brigham Young's advice was to "Get Rockwell." Later, Herman Reinhart also lost stock, and Young's advice again was to "Get Porter Rockwell." Both Karrick and Reinhart were suspicious. Hadn't that same Rockwell, back in `57, played some terrible part in wiping out a train from Arkansas bound for California? But Rockwell had then been in Wyoming, harassing Johnston's army and so could not have participated in what was becoming known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Rockwell made good his contracts with Karrick and Reinhart with about as much dispatch as he did everything else from when he had ferried wagons over the Big Blue. Both clients paid him readily (with Karrick throwing in the gifts of a silver-trimmed saddle and a keg of whiskey). But the appreciation of those two was as nothing alongside that of the territory at large when Rockwell teamed up with another sheriff and brought in Chauncey Millard, Utah's version of Billy the Kid. Little known in the annals of the West's killers, Millard's final story was that he shuffled off in leg irons to his firing squad while still eating the dollar's worth of candy he had gotten when he sold his body to a Provo physician. Rockwell was one to have witnessed Millard's execution, and increasingly Rockwell's taking part in the lawful business of the state seemed to drain the Samson out of him.
Porter was an avid concealed carrier. One time an Illinois sheriff had gotten the drop on Rockwell, and shaking him down, the lawman found the Mormon carried the fire power to get off 71 pistol rounds before he would have had to fort up and reload. That would have meant he had ten, eleven, or twelve guns on board, plus ramrods, wadding, and shot. For comparison, a Smith and Wesson .357 weighs 46 ounces, unloaded. A Ruger .44 weighs 48 ounces (an even three pounds). For either, a box of 50 cartridges comes in at a pound and a half. Figuring that a modern weapon weighs roughly what one of Rockwell's would have, along with its paraphernalia, he could have been riding along with as much as 38, to 40 pounds of steel slapping against him with his horse's gait. Add to that the weight of the hostlers and belts his outfit would have required. And more—add the weight of a formidable array of knives he had sheathed beside his guns. The sheriff, whoever he was, came away from the arrest with a story that was to last him a long time.
But Rockwell kept scaling down his arsenal until he carried just one .36 caliber Navy Colt, whose barrel he had sawed off to about two inches. The convenience of that was he could drop the gun into his coat pocket and go without a holster. In lightening up that way, he appears to have become like veteran cops, weary of the chaffing from gun belts and sick of the dangerous nuisance of the guns themselves. Maybe it was his age or experience.
Some famous advice purportedly given by Rockwell to Sir Richard F. Burton as he was embarking on an (apparently also now-famous) excursion through the desert: “Carry a double barreled gun loaded with buck-shot, to keep my eyes skinned especially in canyons and ravines, To make at times a dark camp, That is to say un-hitching for supper, and then hitching up and turning a few miles off the road. Ever to be ready for attack when the animals are being in-spanned and out-spanned, and never to trust to appearances in an Indian Country.”
I like his thinking. He believed in fire power and he believed in tactical thinking.
This is why I call this philosophy the OPR Philosophy in honor of Orrin Porter Rockwell. It goes like this:
I’ve heard many balk at this idea or philosophy and I respect that opinion. But it’s been my experience that this philosophy is true.
The philosophy basically is that there are 3 types of people. They are described as Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. The sheep are most people that you know and see. They are good, productive members of society who would not hurt anyone or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a sheep. Then there are wolves. Wolves are evil, selfish near-humans intent on taking what they want. They are not interested in who they hurt in this process. They are a large minority and many are locked up. Then there are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs care about the sheep even though sometimes the sheep don’t appreciate them. The sheepdogs want the sheep to be safe and to be rid of the wolves. I’ve read so many writers who don’t believe that sheepdogs exist. They think that those who believe themselves to be sheepdogs are camo wearing wanna-bes. I’m sure some camo wearers do exist. But I know enough people who, when confronted with violence, go toward it. Watch video of 9-11. Most people were running from the towers but a few were running toward them. This was not just because it was their job. There are many stories of people who helped others and went back into the towers and perished. Many people were going up the stairs while the masses came down. I’ve learned for myself that when shots are fired I go towards the sound. Much to the consternation of my wife.
Be prepared in all things. Be prepared in defense. Be like Port. This is what I call the OP Rockwell philosophy. Living among the sheep but doing my best to protect them. This is how I see Porter Rockwell's life.
Semper Paratus
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