Aberdeen Herald
Aberdeen Herald
Contributed by Gigimo

Description: Rufus YOUNG. A Man Who Passed His Life in Stealing Horses.

Date: December 21 1903

Newspaper published in: Aberdeen, WA

The career of Rufus YOUNG, the horse thief who died at the Rutland county jail yesterday, says the Rutland Herald, is typical enough to be more than a curiosity. It is no sporadic case. Years ago in New York State he ran a hotel; but this was only his avocation. His vocation was that of a horse thief. His hotel was only a side issue. He was the leader of a gang of men who picked up other people's horses and sold them. It could hardly be said that YOUNG had a passion for making money. He never made any amount of money at stealing horses, and he spent at least thirty two years of his life in prison as a penalty for plying his trade. He simply had a propensity for taking horses wherever found. He probably never tried to break into a jewelry store nor a bank, nor was he ever known to hold up a lonely traveler or to adroitly "touch a man's leather for his money." YOUNG was after horses, and he wanted to sell them, too, the moment he captured one. He finished a twenty two year term in prison less than two months ago, and probably half a dozen times between that and his death he broke into barns in search of horses.

We would say that YOUNG was mentally sick. We do not think that he was amenable to religious instruction. So far as horses are concerned, he had no sense of right and wrong. He was beyond the influence of prayer or moral tuition. He needed a doctor rather than a minister. Why should he not have been placed in a hospital for incurables rather than in a prison? Scientists tell us that the criminal impulse runs in families. YOUNG's disease, if we may so term it, may have been a case of atavism, a revival or recrudescence of a criminal disposition that could be traced back to his ancestors. In that event the person to punish would be YOUNG's great-grandfather, perhaps, and not him. He needed medical treatment and care. We wonder whether the world will so develop in wisdom on these matters that the insane criminals will be eventually separated from the vicious and placed where they cannot harm the community.

Submitted: 02/21/16

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