a cork board

‘The Dougherty Gang’ and Cowboys
PMpFri, 12 Aug 2011 12:34:25 +000034Friday 1, 2010, 12:34 pm
Filed under: the ether, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

By now most of us have seen the news stories about the 2 brothers and 1 sister who went on a country wide crime spree. They shot at a cop in a high-speed chase in Florida and managed to get away. They robbed a bank in Georgia with a machine gun, an AK-47 and a handgun. Then they led cops on another high speed chase in Colorado involving machine guns and driving at speeds up to 100mph. Most of this is just assumed at this point, considering they still have to stand trial. But I’m watching the news, reading people’s comments online and hearing the overall tone of articles covering the story and I’m a little confused. Now, am I the only one who was rooting for the Dougherty Gang or am I the only one willing to admit it?

Times have changed a LOT over the last (say) 150 years. Bank robbers used to be somewhat “scum-of-the-earth” bad men. They were the examples that parents used as what you would end up if you didn’t follow the straight and narrow path of life. As they perished and their stories became stuff of legend, they turned into glorified anti-heroes who broke all the rules. Almost all of us grew up looking up to people like Jesse James, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde and Butch Cassidy. I mean, we grew up watching movies about them and hearing stories about them, and they were the bad guys but somehow we always ended up rooting for them. I can still remember running around in Louisiana with two cap gun six-shooters strapped to my hips playing “cowboys and Indians” or just pretending to be Jesse James. And when we pretended, we always shot the sheriff. Then, suddenly most  movies about bank robbers portrayed them in a sympathetic light. So we would actually be disappointed when they got busted by the sheriff law man. He was enforcing the law, but we thought he was spoiling all the fun. I guess that’s a bit of the birth of the anti-hero.

So Ryan Dougherty (21yo), Dylan Dougherty Stanley (26yo and Lee-Grace Dougherty (29yo) must have reminded us of those simpler times because we gave them a name that we would likely find pinned up outside the old saloon in a western movie: The Dougherty Gang. I can see it now, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” subtitled by “$50,000 Cash Reward” or something like that. There was something special about this group though, they weren’t just brothers, there was a sister in the mix. I’m sure there are men across the country who are fantasizing about her brandishing a machine gun with high heels and ass-less chaps. But anyway, that’s a whole different discussion about men and our strange fascination with women and guns.

When I first heard about them I thought about that movie I saw called ‘The Newton Boys.’ That was the true story of four brothers (Willis, Joe, Jess & Dock) who, in a span if 5 years (1919 – 1924) managed to become the most successful bank and train robbers in history. They got minimal jail time and most of them died of old age but were bonafide celebrities in their heyday. We glorified them, for robbing banks. When they renounced crime and took on regular lives they were very well-respected and highly-liked citizens of the town they settled in.

So we rooted for them, who’s to say we can’t root for Ryan, Dylan and Lee-Grace? I mean, look at their names, along with their tag ‘The Dougherty Gang,’ they sound like they fit right in with the rest of the bank robber heroes we’ve made. What did they do? They ran from cops, they fired at them, they successfully robbed a bank, led police on a huge chase and had a big goin’-down-in-the-blaze-of-glory finale in Colorado. The only difference with the Newton Boys is that they were more successful at it. And that’s only because of how easily we catch thieves nowadays, thanks to modern technology and over-population.

But I gotta be honest here, when the Dougherty Gang was spotted in Colorado I was a little disappointed and even more so when they were caught. Call me what you will, but I was hoping they’d hide out and get away with it. And yes, I have a son who I have to set an example for and teach the right thing to, but I still wanted them to get away. I’m not gonna teach him to do those things, but I will also find ways to show him that the world is not all black and white, that there are shades of grey in everything. I will raise him with the right values and the benefit of knowing that he is loved incredibly.

 They didn’t kill anyone, they didn’t bomb any buildings or harm any children, so why do we have to pull all this crap of painting them as “scum of the earth?” I’m sure if they make a movie about them in 10-15 years we’ll cheer for them. I would just love to hear what their motives were and the story as to why they did everything. But our “heroes” never had any real motives did they? It was just the cash and the fact they loved doing it. It’s the adrenaline they chased. When they rode off into the sunset on horses we cheered for them, but now we throw our morals at our lawless “heroes.” But when I saw them, it was a blast from the past. I hope you 3 stay smilin’ and see the light of day someday before you die. Cheers Dougherty Gang, cheers.


1 Comment so far
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Very entertaining. I will be following the Dougherty’s sauga, I hope they do make a movie about them, even a big up once in a while in a song line or two.. Gansta!

Comment by Stephanie Napier

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