Squatting among the sagebrush and creosote of southeastern Arizona’s desert, Tombstone forms one corner of a triangle along with Sierra Vista and Bisbee. Though the huge Fort Huachuca dominates the culture and economy of Siera Vista, Bisbee and Tombstone are still very much remnants of the gun-totin’ Wild West of Wyatt Earp.
In fact, the legendary 1881 Gunfight at the OK Corral took place (for real) in Tombstone when Wyatt and his brothers and Doc Holliday faced off with the notorious bandit clan, the Clantons, who had a ranch nearby. This fight was won by the Earp side and today is recreated with a nostalgic sigh and tourist-friendly support of about 500,000 annual visitors, including RVers from all across the country.
Tombstone was back in the news this week, not because the Clanton relatives sought to even the old score with the Earp relatives, but because of an act by Tombstone’s mayor, Dusty Escapule, who Last week, signed a proclamation declaring Tombstone “America’s Second Amendment City.”
“Tombstone became famous because of guns,” the mayor, a fourth-generation Tombstone resident, told The Washington Post. “Guys carry guns every day.”
It seems fitting then that this town, already dubbed the “Town Too Tough to Die,” would earn another nickname involving weapons. “This particular area is known for a lot of drug trafficking and illegal aliens,” the mayor went on. “If we have no way of protecting ourselves, the citizens of this part of the country would actually be under attack.”
Johnny Rowland, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, said the gun advocacy organization supports the proclamation, describing Arizona as “the most gun-friendly state in America,” the Sierra Vista Herald reported.
So depending on your personal position on possession of guns Tombstone is either the safest city in the country – since everybody carries a gun you are protected from the bad guys – or the most dangerous city in the country because everybody carries a gun.
But whatever position you take, Tombstone is worth a day trip if you are ever in the neighborhood and want to relive the days of an authentic-as-it-gets Wild West town. But don’t worry, the gunfights you will see are not real – at least as far as actually getting shot by real bullets.