By now, I reckon everyone is mighty familiar with the right sad occurrences that transpired in the church of Friar Tuck roundabout last week. For those unacquainted with the goings-on or, as I would be none too surprised to learn, those who have swallowed the whole kaboodle of the media’s spin on the events, here’s what happened straight from the old horse’s mouth. I was just doing my duty last Sunday evening when I dropped by Friar Tuck’s church to collect taxes for his majesty Prince John. When I attempted to have a friendly engagement with the Friar and two church mice, he started exhibiting right erratic behavior, and I got it into my head that he could well be a danger to himself or the others.
Sure enough, when I attempted to engage with the Friar and calm him down, a struggle ensued and I’m sad to say that I was forced to use enhanced de-escalation techniques to subdue him, which is why we aim to hang him from the gallows come daybreak.
Now, that’s the whole story. It’s always a tragedy when an honorable sheriff has to hang anyone—let alone a beloved friar—but I’ll say again that I was just doing my duty.
Now the elephant in the room, and the person this here open letter is addressed to, is Robin Hood. On the eve of Friar Tuck’s lawful hanging, there are many in Nottingham who’d like to see justice turned every which way by an outlaw who swindles taxpayer money with phony disguises and, when he doesn’t get his way, falls back on disorderly conduct and even violence with that there pea shooter he’s so fond of.
Never mind that the Friar was disobeying the law. Never mind that Robin Hood, through lies and chicanery, has actually stolen money from the royal treasury. Oo-de-lally.
It’s beyond the purview of this letter to get into just how topsy turvy it is that Nottingham should be glorifying a violent outlaw while the peace-keeping sheriff of this town gets derided with names like “bushel britches.” I understand that ankle biters might get all sorts of fancy ideas about how much fun it might be to cause a ruckus, but when you’ve got adults and even men of the church calling Robin Hood a hero, it’s no wonder Nottingham is in this sorry state.
And lookie here, Nottingham is in a sorry state. Nobody understands that better than me. Every town has its ups and downs. And, yes, sometimes, certain members of our army might get carried away in their administration of justice. If you had to stare death right between the eyes every time you laced up your boots, I suppose you might make an error in judgement here or there too.
But to use these unfortunate truths as an excuse to break the law is not the behavior of a grown up society. It was just a couple of weeks ago that Robin Hood disrupted a royal archery tournament (at which, it must be said, many children were present), resulting in thousands of farthings of property damage. Golly, what a day.
If Robin Hood loves Nottingham as much as he says, why is he tearing it apart? I have a few theories here, not the least of which is that he and his fans are enamored with the sort of violent music that inspires lawlessness—including one right popular tune that calls Prince John “the phony king of England” and goes so far as to call for a “p-x” on him. With folk singers inciting this sort of violence in the hearts and minds of our young’ns, it’s no wonder they’ve gotten to idolizing an outlaw. Next thing you know, we’ll have minors firing bows and arrows all willy-nilly (indeed, we’ve already received some reports of just this), thinking they’re doing some sort of good by “robbing the rich to feed the poor” (as if taxpayer dollars weren’t already going to that very purpose.)
But nevertheless, I happen to believe that most of the people of Nottingham are truly good at heart and, in their own way, think they’re doing this city a favor. When the ups outnumber the downs, it’s only natural to blame our leaders, instead of looking inward at how we can all make ourselves better by just doing our duties as responsible citizens. Neither I nor any member of his majesty Prince John’s army have any intention of getting in the way of any peaceful protests or speaking your mind. Peaceful dialogue is healthy for a any mature society. Rest assured, Prince John and I take every complaint and sound-minded critique very seriously (within reason, of course), and are just as interested in making Nottingham a better place as you are (again, within reason.) But when those protests turn violent, don’t be surprised if the whole kit and kaboodle of the law lands on your tail.
The knowledge that that fat friar is gonna dangle from the gallows come daybreak brings me no pleasure, nor does it bring any pleasure to Nutsy and Trigger, who will carry out the execution as the law requires. But it would bring me far less pleasure to let this sort of foolery run wild. Now is the time for cool heads to prevail, and for justice to run its natural course.
And if, in spite of all this and in direct affront to reason, Robin Hood does try some funny business, let him know that the law is coming for him too. I can spot him through those phony disguises.