November 30, 2009

Writer Craig Medred true to his "threats."

(Click image to enlarge)
The End of Soapy Smith
by Andy Thomas

I see over at the Alaska Dispatch Craig Medred was true to his word about completely changing the wording in his article and taking my name off the article and removing the links to my website. If you have been following the correspondence between myself and Craig Medred then you will know that he was totally confused by my explanation that he had taken my research completely out-of-context, making it appear I believed that Frank Reid was the man who shot and killed Soapy Smith. Here is how the original read.

"Going Rogue," Page 13: "Soapy Smith: he was killed in a shoot-out with a vigilante gang."

BADLY WRONG, although vigilantes were involved. According to The Skagway News of the day and various histories since, Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith was shot and killed by one Frank Reid during a scuffle. Here's the account from the author of "Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel": "Apparently Soapy made an attempt to strike Reid with the barrel of (a) rifle, but Reid raised his left arm and the rifle barrel cut Reid's arm. Reid was able to grab the barrel with his left hand and forced it away from his body. As the two men fought for control of the rifle, Reid pulled out a pistol and began to fire. At that same instant, Soapy jerked his rifle back towards Reid and returned fire. When the shooting had ceased, Soapy Smith was dead and Frank Reid lay badly wounded." There was no shootout with any gang, but the fight with Reid did start after Smith went to confront a group of vigilantes who were meeting to decide how to shut down his corrupt Skagway businesses.

Anyone can plainly see that Mr. Medred, by quoting me, made it appear that Frank Reid was the only shooter and no shoot-out with the vigilante gang. Those of you who have my book know that Mr. Medred clearly mis-quoted me. He and I had some correspondence and in the end he threatened to punish me by changing the write-up. Thankfully he held up his end of the bargain.

His article now reads as follows.

"Going Rogue," Page 13: "Soapy Smith: he was killed in a shoot-out with a vigilante gang."

BADLY WRONG. Jefferson Soapy Smith did not die "in a shoot out with a vigilante gang." He was shot in self defense by surveyor Frank Reid, according to a coroner's inquest at the time. "The Skaguay News" reported that Reid and some community leaders were meeting to discuss what should be done about Smith and other supposed outlaws in Skagway. Smith marched down to the Juneau dock to confront the men at that meeting. He was packing his rifle. He and Reid got into a struggle over the rifle. Shots were fired. Smith was killed. Reid was wounded and died later. Smith's great grandson has since argued that there is evidence to indicate that Smith was not shot in self-defense by Reid, but murdered by another man at the meeting. But the official record stands.

I responded over at the Alaska Dispatch with the following...

Mr. Craig Medred.

I see you completely rewrote the Soapy Smith portion regarding his mention on page 13 of Palin's book. It is factually incorrect, but you were kind enough to removed the section in which you used my research "out-of-context." Thank you.

Mr. Medred believes that by deleting the links and changing the wording that he has harmed me. Yes, I admit it would have been nice to have the links remain, but far more important is the fact that he removed the part in which he quoted me and took facts out-of-context just to prove Sarah Palin wrong on page 13 of her book. The new wording is incorrect, but so was the old one. I'm fine with him being wrong, as long as he doesn't make me appear "wrong" right along with him.

I'm satisfied...


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