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Website brings criminal justice history to life

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The website EyewitnessToHistory.com is one of those informative and interesting websites to get lost in for hours. For those interested in criminal justice, it is an online goldmine.

The site claims "History through the eyes of those who lived it" with written, video, and audio accounts. Time travel to the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, see children at work in the early 1900's, go gun to gun with Buffalo Bill Cody, and learn just what it was like to be a Pony Express Rider. The site is sectioned into: Ancient World, Middle Ages/Renaissance, the 17th-20th centuries, World Wars I and II, and features an index if you want to search by a location, for example, or by a specific date. The information includes criminal activity, for crime has always been a reflection of society.

There is a first-person account of a "shoot-out with Bonnie & Clyde" from 1933 where one of the "gang" members, Blanche Barrow (Clyde's sister-in-law) details the Platte City gun fight between the gang and law enforcement officers.

Two people recount a dinner with Attila the Hun in 448 AD. The customs and rules were carefully recorded: "One attendant went round to each man in strict order after Attila's personal cupbearer had gone out."

"Drop that gun! Texas Ranger McNelly roars in an 1876 arrest by the Rangers on a group of desperadoes. "Drop it, I say, or I'll kill you." The life of a Ranger was exciting and dangerous.

Hear Tokyo Rose broadcasts to American troops in the Pacific on August 14, 1944. Following the defeat of Japan, she was brought to the U.S., tried, and convicted of treason. She served almost seven years of a 10 year prison sentence. President Ford pardoned her on his last day in office.

A spy in the 1500s describes what it was like to be tortured in the Tower of London in 1597; his account is as interesting as the narrative of his work. The spy managed to escape and miraculously slipped out of England … perhaps it was his profession that called for divine intervention?

A murder investigation taking place in 1300 mirrors some of the investigative techniques used today. "The royal presence within London was exercised through the office of the Sheriff who acted as the King’s representative. A few years earlier, London had won from the Crown the privilege of selecting its own Sheriff in return for an annual payment of 300 pounds," according to the Introduction. Thus the history of the Sheriff's Department.

The site has a printer-friendly option. Besides being interesting to peruse, it is excellent material for instructors, students, and anyone studying crime. Photos, drawing, maps, and more accompany each page.

Check out "Eyewitness to History" by clicking HERE

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Photo of J. Yates CREDIT

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