A story came out today that AP writer Jules Loh had died. The story held out Loh’s work as some of the best ever, and noted that his article on the killing of Ken Rex McElroy was in the APs collection of best stories. It reprinted much of the article.
The truth is Loh’s article was typical of the superficial, hysterical, incorrect and inflammatory writing about the killing. His article contains very few facts; most of its superlatives about what a scary guy McElroy was. He repeats as fact that McElroy fell off a hay wagon as a youth and had a steel plate implanted in his skull and that was what made him so mean. This was a story, not a fact. The autopsy showed no steel plate, but it made for good snappy writing. I never ran into anyone in Skidmore who met the guy. He probably got his story over the phone. He sure as hell didn’t fact check it.
The press generally reported the killing as a “vigilante” killing, which means that the town, or at least a group of citizens, conspired to kill McElroy. I spent three years in the town and never found any evidence of such a conspiracy. “Vigilante” made for a good headline, however.
Little wonder that the press has such a poor reputation with the general public. Writing like that in Loh’s article, which ran nationwide, doesn’t help it.
The number of inaccurate stories and articles on the elimination of Ken Rex McElroy is rampant .
Everything from getting his
name wrong to calling McElroy a “farmer”.
There were no winners here- only some battered
survivors and it makes matters worse with story
after story littered with
theatrics. Most accurate
account is Broad Daylight
book- though the piece
in Rolling Stone ‘The
Public Execution of Ken
Rex McElroy “is more
accurate than most.
The worst magazine article on the case was the one in Playboy. The local boys played that guy like a violin. He was scared to stay in Maryville, so he booked a room in St. Joe. The locals met him down there, fed him full of bullshit, and drank on his bar tab. Anybody read Judgment Day? If it had been a good book, mine would never have been written. I don’t think authors spent more than a week or so in the area.
The guy was SCARED to stay in MARYVILLE? Sometimes I wonder who is the most naive and uninformed; the “run-of-the-mill, rank-and-file, riff-raff rubes” (in the elitists minds) that inhabit “Flyover Country,” or the elitists who live in a self-contained “mutual admiration bubble,” and seem to think nothing important happens and no one is enlightened outside of Manhattan or the Beltway. After having been to Maryville dozens of times in my life, I wish I would have known this and could have been there; I would have been glad to hold his hand and protect him from the “uneducated, beer-swilling, shoot first and shoot often rowdies in the pick-em-up trucks.” Guess you can’t expect much more from some pop culture writers. Surprised he even wanted to stay in St. Joseph; might have been afraid some of Jesse James’ descendants would accidentally catch him in a crossfire during one of their weekly shoot-it-out brawls. Would love to own one of those tourist-trap gift shops somewhere out in Wyoming or Montana, for those times an occasional Eastern know-it-all ventures (tentatively) into this unexplored territory. I would regale him with tales of recent triumphs over the last holdout renegade Native Americans while selling him a “jackalope.” Then we’d see who was truly naive.
Ken McElroy “only left battered survivors”?
Who are you, this guy’s fairy Godmother or something? He burned peoples’ houses down, shot everyone he could, repeatedly raped small children, stole cars, pigs, cattle, tools, threatened law enforcement, and even scared the holy hell out of judges for miles around… and you have the #&$*%&! to defend this indefensible piece of work?
Hitler killed a few folks he didn’t agree with, but he was a gourmet chef and loved kittens, so let’s not go exaggerating everything. And Charles Manson; all he ever did was smoke dope. He never even killed anyone.
How dare you minimize the atrocities this unwashed animal provoked! If vigilantism was ever justified, this bastard proves it.
Even if all the fancy phrases and crepe paper were stripped away, McElroy still needs to burn and torture in hell for all eternity.