I had mixed feelings last night when it came time to watch the last segment of Hatfields & McCoys mini-series on the History Channel, wondering how it would affect my dreams and interrupt my sleep. Though these two families did make their appearance in my nighttime adventures, it wasn’t as intrusive as the night before.
As stated in my previous blog post, I was a bit wary this story would end without a resolve, forcing my brain and consciousness to provide one, or struggle from its absence. The History Channel didn’t let me down, and provided a partly sad, and partly hopeful, resolution.
Through careful determination, I reserved my judgment on either family, knowing this wasn’t a work of fiction, but based on historical facts and real families, until the conclusion of the matter. I wanted to view this tragic story through unbiased eyes, being grateful I had not already had previous knowledge of the legend. The only thing I knew before watching this series was that in the television show, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, their famous family feud was based on the Hatfields and McCoys, and that it was the basis for the game show “Family Feud”. Actually, I had forgotten that last piece of information until my son reminded me yesterday.
My judgment today: I think this tale would make a great illustration for several moral principles, such as: sowing vs. reaping, generational curses, righteous indignation, religious hypocrisy, and the cause and effect of faith, grace, love and mercy, and the lack thereof. But the greatest lesson: the effect of hate and who really pays the price.
There are always many ‘reasons’ for hate, and in this particular case, it seems to have started at the end of the civil war with a blue coat amongst a gray coat society and mindset, but there are no ‘excuses’. Hate is a personal choice. In this particular environment, hate was prevalent, but it didn’t start with the Hatfields or the McCoys, but long before them both in a feuding country. This particular feud was the fruit harvested after much sowing. I could literally see the ‘devil in the details’ through the side-line instigators on both sides, shooting their bullets from the shadows, stirring the anger, and fueling the fires of hate.
Who ultimately paid the price? The children. Neither William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, nor Randolph “Randall” McCoy recognized the fruit of their hate until it became evident in the graves of their dead children. While they sought mercy, they refused to grant it. I watched a skeptic turned into a believer, and a believer turned into a skeptic. I observed hate destroy love, and love overcome hate. I witnessed grief destroy hope, and hope rise out of grief. This is why this story captivates hearts and imaginations.
In the end, am I team Hatfield or team McCoy? I’ve always been partial to a Damascus Road experience – a murderer who seeks and finds redemption. It’s the foundational concept in my novel series, “The Blood of Cain”. So, I have to say, based on the evidence and story resolution presented, I’m team Hatfield.
Till next time,