acts of belligerency and the way the world is today

When you think of Ringgold, Georgia (and I know you do), you probably only think of it as the county seat of Catoosa County. Some of you may think of Samuel Ringgold, the hero of the Battle of Palo Alto. I mean, the town is named for him, after all. But mostly likely when you think of Ringgold, you think of the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.

Oh, c’mon. You know — that daring American Civil War raid? The one in which Union scout James J. Andrews hijacked a locomotive known as The General at Big Shanty, GA and led Confederate troops on a chase? Well, you probably remember the Buster Keaton movie based on the event. That’s right, that Great Locomotive Chase of 1862. Anyway, the chase ended in Ringgold, when The General ran out of fuel and stopped. It’s pretty easy to catch a train that’s stopped. Anyway, the train stopped, Andrews tried to escape, was captured, charged with “acts of unlawful belligerency” and eventually hanged.

Acts of belligerency, lawful or otherwise, remain an important part of Ringgold culture. Every month the American Wrestling Federation stages an event there. Last Saturday night featured an epic match between Paul ‘Nature Boy’ Lee and ‘Iron’ Mann.

Paul 'Nature Boy' Lee at the office.

Paul ‘Nature Boy’ Lee at the office.

During the match Nature Boy executed a classic Greek wrestling maneuver, which involved trapping his opponent in the ring’s ropes, then striking him repeatedly with a chair. Patricia Anne Crowe, a passionate aficionado of AWF matches, was distressed at witnessing the seemingly inevitable defeat of Iron Mann. It seems Iron Mann is ‘good’ whereas Nature Boy, despite his tranquil nom du stade, is ‘bad’. Ms. Crowe could not restrain herself. She spoke out in Iron Mann’s defense. When her logic did not dissuade Nature Boy from his blatant misuse of a chair, she went to Iron Mann’s aid.

She produced a knife and attempted to cut through the ropes in the forlorn hope of freeing Iron Mann, thereby allowing him to defend himself. Brave Ms. Crowe.

The situation was tense, to be sure. It might have been defused, though had Nature Boy not suggested that Ms. Crowe return to her seat and “sit her toothless self back down.” It was a rash remark that Nature Boy would soon regret. As Nature Boy himself put it:

“I had him tied up and was beating on him, and this lady jumps up with a knife, cuts him loose, and then pulled a loaded gun on me.”

It was a Romantic gesture, really — a swashbuckling exploit worthy of Errol Flynn. Or maybe Orlando Bloom (in the pirate movies, not Orlando Bloom in Main Street, a film which was appalling on several levels and had no swashbuckling at all). The courageous Ms. Crowe risked her own life in a desperate effort to save Iron Mann, as well as in defense of her honor.

“He was talking mean to me, and I got mad. I guess I just let my temper get the best of me and I pulled my pistol on him”

That ‘toothless’ remark, it must be admitted, was rather ungentlemanly. But Ms. Crowe demonstrated great restraint. She didn’t actually fire the .38 caliber pistol. That probably accounts for why she was only charged with aggravated assault and reckless conduct. She was released Monday on US$4000 bail.

It’s unclear whether or not Ms. Crowe’s pistol was returned to her.

Ms. Patricia Anne Crowe, 59, amateur swashbuckler.

Ms. Patricia Anne Crowe, 59, amateur swashbuckler.

AWF promotion officials have stated they intend to install metal detectors before any future events in Ringgold.

“The way the world is today, things happen at movie theatres and malls….you have to take extreme measures to protect fans.”

Yes. The way the world is today. It’s actually getting to the point where it’s difficult to trust American Wrestling Federation fans to be responsible gun owners.

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