A Law for the Lion: A Tale of Crime and Injustice in the by Beatriz de la Garza

By Beatriz de la Garza

"Esto no es cosa de armas" (this isn't really a question for weapons). those have been the final phrases of Don Francisco Gutiérrez prior to Alonzo W. Allee shot and killed him and his son, Manuel Gutiérrez. What all started as an easy dispute over Allee's unauthorized tenancy on a Gutiérrez family members ranch close to Laredo, Texas, led not just to the slaying of those popular Mexican landowners but additionally to a blatant miscarriage of justice.

In this engrossing account of the 1912 crime and the following trial of Allee, Beatriz de los angeles Garza delves into the political, ethnic, and cultural worlds of the Texas-Mexico border to reveal the tensions among the Anglo minority and the Mexican majority that propelled the killings and their aftermath. Drawing on unique assets, she uncovers how influential Anglos financed a firstclass felony staff for Allee's security and likewise discusses how Anglo-owned newspapers assisted in shaping public opinion in Allee's prefer. In telling the tale of this long-ago crime and its tragic effects, de l. a. Garza sheds new gentle at the interethnic struggles that outlined existence at the border a century in the past, at the mystique of the Texas Rangers (Allee used to be stated to be a Ranger), and at the criminal framework that when institutionalized violence and lawlessness in Texas.

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Additional resources for A Law for the Lion: A Tale of Crime and Injustice in the Borderlands (Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture, Number Eleven)

Sample text

Newspapers often have trouble keeping all the facts straight. The Laredo Daily Times knew that a double killing made for a big story, and it reported the main facts of the occurrence accurately, but it got lost somewhat in the whos and whys. On Thursday, August 15, 1912, the Daily Times carried on the front page the headline two prominent men killed: mayor of guerrero and his son, prominent ranchmen of this county, killed by alonzo allee. It may surprise contemporary newspaper readers, accustomed to the ubiquitous qualifier “alleged,” to note the refreshingly forthright manner in which the Daily Times identified the killer.

Don Francisco era Presidente Municipal de C. Guerrero, Tamaulipas, y había venido, con licencia del Gobierno, al arreglo de algunos asuntos particulares. [The news circulated in this city on Wednesday that Mr. Francisco Gutiérrez García [sic] and his son, Manuel, had been killed on their ranch near Encinal caused great consternation. The killer is an individual named Allee who had leased the Gutiérrez land. ] Returning to the Laredo Daily Times story of the killings, we can infer from its second paragraph that the courier who had ridden his horse for twenty-five miles to Encinal to notify the authorities of the august 1912 19 crime had either been a witness to the killings or was carrying a message from one who had been.

However, this northern expansion was not without its problems, as the killings of Francisco and Manuel Gutiérrez show. In going north of Laredo and farther away from the border to establish new ranches, Francisco and Manuel Gutiérrez very possibly incurred the displeasure of the Anglo landowners who had begun to move south of the Nueces River in the years following the Civil War, and particularly after the arrival of the railroads to Laredo in the early 1880s: The economy [of Webb County] began to change in the 1880s, however, with the arrival of the railroads.

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