Remember tales of old when bandits were infamous, gunfire was blazing, and hold-ups of stagecoaches or trains caused the ladies to swoon? New Mexico is famous for one guy, Henry McCarty, alias William H. Bonney, “Billy, the Kid.” More than 50 movies, starting with a silent one in 1911 made his life much more interesting. In fact, he shot eight men to death before he was 21, dying at that age after escaping jail and the hangman’s noose. Sheriff Pat Garrett was given credit for his demise. “The Kid” had been a hired gun for an Englishman called John Tunstall who was fighting against two Irish tycoons, James Dolan, and Lawrence Murphy. It was called The Lincoln County War. Bonney was in a five-day shoot-out that ended when Sheriff Brady killed Tunstall.

“The Kid” formed the Regulators who then killed Sheriff Brady. He was blamed for it and ran from it the rest of his days. Bonny was a horse thief, a cattle rustler and a gunfighter. He never stole from women, hurt children for fun, or took a living from hard working folks, according to the lore. I am not pardoning his violence, but he was who he was. He did not pretend to be anything but a crook.

Next, there was the New Mexico bandit Thomas “Blackjack” Edward Ketchum. He started by holding up a train in 1892. He was also a murder-for-hire kind of guy. He ripped off trains so often they figured his biggest score was $20,000 in gold and $40,000 in silver. He got wounded in a shoot-out and surrendered in Clayton, New Mexico. He was found guilty of murder and hanged. The problem was there had never been a hanging in Clayton and they overdid his execution. They decapitated him and he is buried in the cemetery at Clayton.

What can we say about these outlaws? They were crooked, dishonest, and murderers; they had no impulse control. There is a story of Clay Allison, one of the best gunmen ever, who shot and killed a man through a wall for snoring too loudly. OK, that is lack of impulse control. But what about today? People still do rob banks. Albuquerque banks are constantly being robbed, and we’ve even had several this year on our side of the mountain. So far we are lucky and this year no one has died from these robberies.

Which leads me up to the personal part of this topic. Last Tuesday, I was robbed, and I participated in it, unknowingly.

We have new bandits; they use computers, and they are cowards. No matter how much we despise the Old West crooks, they mostly faced a possibility of being shot. The bandanas they wore were not to fend off Covid. This new breed are small people with small minds and nimble fingers. I opened my email, which is listed in this publication. I saw that Norton, a security firm made to protect computers, needed me to call them. And I did. They wanted to return $317.99 to my checking account, saying there had been an error. I was very tired that day, but that is no excuse. I explained I did not do banking online. They were flabbergasted. No internet banking? They said they could fix that and got into my computer. Then they said that they had made a mistake and I needed to go to Walmart and fix the over-draft to my account. Oh, not with a return check, but with gift cards to the sum of $2,800. They said they would take all my money of about $3,800, ruin my computer, and not return both unless I bought gift cards.

I laughed and said, “I give up. You have robbed me, but I am the Wicked Witch of the West, and I am calling Wells Fargo.” Heroes all, “Wells Fargo to the rescue!” I can not say enough about these Fraud Rangers on white horses, with or without masks. The computer bandits ended with nothing. Let’s speak to the Scam Scoundrels. I read this on an email: “Hello, I am the I.R.S. You need to pay me $1,500 in Walmart gift cards or you will be placed under the rest.” OK, cyberpunks, we in the Old West have had it. We Not Alone Rangers are not too tired to ride your sorry butts out of Dodge. Or our computers. Roaring Mouse unplugging… everything. Out.