The Billings Outpost

Another apology for Judge Baugh

Judge G. Todd Baugh committed both plagiarism and sins against the Queen’s English when he promised, “From this day forward, I will fight no more forever.”

Baugh offered these words after he was suspended from his seat on the federal bench and missed another opportunity to make a long-overdue apology for a heinous and unfair criticism made of a teenage rape victim.

The girl looked older than her years, the judge reckoned. 

Since the remark was made in the presence of the girl’s mother, His Honor could start his amends to the angry parent. He would need to pack a lunch. Next in line for his apology would be all rape victims everywhere, all women who have never been raped but live in fear, his colleagues and the public.

Finally, he must tell Nez Perce Chief Joseph he’s sorry for mangling some of the best battlefield poetry since Henry V’s pep talk to his men at Agincourt or Lincoln’s eulogy at Gettysburg.

It would be inexcusable to quit this piece without treating the reader to the real thing. In full, Joseph said:

“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes and no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Canadian officials had warned Indians fleeing the United States, “The grandma will take you in, but she won’t feed you.” The “grandma,” of course, was Queen Victoria. With no promise of survival and many doubts, the Nez Perce fled the grassy green and well watered meadows of Washington state for the certainty of foul winters in Canada.

Joseph, known by his kin as “Young Joseph,” the son of Big Joseph, was leading a group of 300 to 400 Nez Perce. The refugees included fewer than 200 warriors. In addition to being outgunned, the Indians were outnumbered 10 to one.  They left Idaho on a 1,500-mile flight to Canada.  They met Gen. Nelson Miles in the Bearpaw Mountains just 40 miles short of the Canadian border and freedom.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:10

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