Gats are back 

Bugsy Siegel said of his fellow gangsters that “We only kill each other,” and he may have said it in Hot Springs. Wherever, he intended to assure law-abiding, church-going, tax-paying Americans that they weren't in danger from the Mob, or at least not in danger of being killed. (Siegel himself was very much in danger, and had scarcely uttered his self-fulfilling epigram before he was blown away by person or persons unknown.)

A lot of concealed weapons were carried in Hot Springs National Park in the '20s and '30s when Hot Springs was a favorite vacation spot for big-time gangsters from Chicago. And the record shows that the visitors largely refrained from scragging the locals. In Hot Springs, in fact, the Capones and Morans didn't even use their weapons on each other, though they were locked in mortal combat back home. Local officials who profited from Hot Springs vice extracted a promise from their high-spirited guests that everyone would be on good behavior while they were in town, and in exchange they wouldn't be badgered by local cops. Carrying a concealed weapon, though illegal, was an easy charge to overlook, and the Hot Springs police overlooked it. Eventually, Las Vegas started getting all the better gangsters, and the number of armed people on the streets of Hot Springs declined sharply.

Now gats are back at the spa. The Scalia family in Washington has fixed it so visitors to Hot Springs can legally carry their weapons in the park, fully loaded, as long as they have a concealed-weapon permit, widely available.

We're fearful that the new Hot Springs carriers will not be so amenable as the old. Bands of Tea Baggers and Palinistas have been spotted, and there's a native neo-Confederate movement in the area. These are headstrong people, ideologically fixated, and unlikely to be swayed by reasoned debate or even threat of retribution. The rest of us may long for the days when we had only Machine Gun Jack McGurns and Pretty Boy Floyds to deal with.

Speaking of the Scalias, here is Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, on the Supreme Court decision that corporations can spend as much as they want to influence elections:

“The court has invented out of whole cloth the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes. Corporations are state-created entities; not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line.” They're impervious to gunshot wounds, too. The parks are still safe for corporations.


Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Let's vote

    • And while we're at it lets get a vouchers for private schools initiative on the…

    • on July 14, 2018
  • Re: Punishing the poor

    • Then maybe the congress will give up on the unsustainable socialized medical insurance fiasco that…

    • on July 14, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation