This isn’t a Caddo story, but caught my eye because of the title. We are so politically correct these days that I’m not sure we would label too many people as “crazy” or even demented. We would prefer to say that the alleged criminal was “troubled” or “suffering from depression” or “had a history of mental problems”. We used to have insane asylums. Now we have rehabilitation clinics and mental health facilities. We used to lock crazy people up. Now we try to train them to function in society. For the most part our way is much better.
I’ve often wondered how families of the past coped with mental illness. Sometimes a person is identified as demented or retarded in family documents or even on the census. Many were not educated. Some were relegated to boarding homes or asylums and never seen again. But others simply lived life like everyone else as long as they didn’t have a serious problem with violence. My grandmother often talked about a relative who “wasn’t right in the head”. He lived with his family and for the most part was like an eternal child. He died in his early thirties.
I think what must have been difficult for the mentally ill and their family was the lack of medical knowledge, medications, and education. I’m surprised that more of the mentally ill were not prone to violence and a life of crime. Perhaps they were, and we just attribute the behavior of too many outlaws to meanness. At any rate, I often read these articles in the paper and think that there never was a time in this county without serious crime. The “good old days” are a myth.
The Caddo Herald
November 24, 1922
Crazy Man Shoots Brother
Deputies form the sheriff’s office and citizens are scouring the countryside near silo, ten miles northwest of here for one Guthrie, a demented man, who ran amuck last night about five o’clock and shot his brother, Chester Guthrie at their home two miles north of Silo. Ben Guthrie who had been sent to the state insane asylum twice and was released the last time last summer, escaped after shooting his brother and no trace of him could be found Tuesday.
Chester Guthrie was brought to the Memorial Hospital immediately and at last report was not expected to live. His brother shot at him twice with a 32 automatic revolver, one shot going wild. The other shot hit him on the belt but passed on through into his stomach. The bullet did not pass through his body and physicians were forced to probe for it today.
Guthrie, who without cause shot his brother, is armed and in hiding somewhere in the brush in the northwest part of the county where the officers are searching for him. He is believed dangerous and those searching for him will try every method of taking him without violence. So far as could be learned there was no enmity between the brothers and no quarrel resulted in the shooting. It is believed that Guthrie became violent suddenly and shot his brother without warning. Durant Democrat