A Cowboy’s Faith: Exceeding speed always hazardous

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Driving too fast is dangerous to all concerned.”

Preface conversation with legitimacy of thoughts having received too many “traffic citations.” Friend mentor decades ago, Warren Gilman, Chamber of Commerce leader, got “tickets” on occasion. Each one just shrugged off: “They’re manmade laws and can change upon a wisp.”

Certainly, that’s true with frequency that speed limits have gone up and down. Likewise, varying stringency, leniency, inconsistency of enforcement, such enforcers often exceed posted signs.

Still, no question, wrecks increase with heavy footed automotive driving.

Interesting though speeding on roadways was considered dangerous resulting in fines long before cars were invented.

If President Grant were alive today, he’d probably have quite a few points on his license by now.

While Grant was president in 1866, accidents forced Washington, D.C., authorities to crack down on speeders. For policeman William West, the last straw was when a woman and six-year-old child were seriously injured on West’s corner by a “driver of fast horses.”

The next day, West caught Grant’s buggy going at “a furious pace.” America’s top elected official was immediately pulled over.

“Mister President,” said West, “I want to tell you that you were violating the law by driving at reckless speed. It is endangering the lives of the people who have to cross the street.”

Grant apologized and promised that it wouldn’t happen again. Less than 24 hours later, it did.

West caught the president speeding over the same road. “Do you think, officer, that I was violating the laws?” asked Grant.

“I certainly do, Mr. President,” replied West. After reminding Grant of his broken vow, he added, “I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the nation’s chief executive. But my duty is plain, sir, I shall have to place you under arrest.”

Grant is said to have admirably responded: “Do your duty, my good man.” West escorted Grant to the police station where the leader who helped win the Civil War was booked and fined.

Ultimately, President Grant and West became friends, as West admitted being a speed demon before a lawman.

Never been cited for Mae speeding with the carriage, but palomino Cody has been accused of “going too fast” barrel racing.

Reminded of First Corinthians 15:30: “Why live dangerously running such risks that all are in peril?”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas