“One most important reason why it is hard to punish murder in San Francisco is that in a great number of cases the majority of the people do not want it punished. They rather approve of murder in certain contingencies, and consider it the best redress for injuries that cannot be righted through the courts.
To verify this assertion it is only necessary to recall a few cases. When Cox shot Charles McLaughlin, a capitalist against whom he had failed to secure judicial redress, the act was applauded by pretty nearly everybody except the dead man’s friends and a thoughtful few who believed that murder was murder. Cox was triumphantly acquitted, and as a further mark of admiration he was recently nominated for Governor.
Adolph Spreckles tried to murder M. H. DeYoung, and succeeded in inflicting upon him an almost fatal wound. Thereupon a great multitude of people who, for one reason or another, did not like DeYoung, exclaimed “Well done,” “Served him right,” or “Pity that he did not finish the job.” When young Spreckles was acquitted through the power of money, there was no special indignation, and the Enquirer has never heard that his standing in fashionable society in San Francisco was hurt by the crime he committed.
Dr. McDonold shot and killed young Mish and was acquitted of a charge of murder. When the verdict was announced the crowd that filled the court-room made it ring with their shouts of approval, and the general public received the result with a stolid indifference, because it believed that McDonald had grievance against Mish, or what amounted to the same, thought he had.
The lesson of these cases, when taken in connection the Mamie Kelly affair, is that it is never safe to encourage murder any reason whatever.”