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Maxed Out

Fear not, Secret Plan X is coming



Right on, Hugh!

In the closing days of the battle for the Alamo – a Catholic mission near San Antonio in what was then Mexican territory and what is now Texas – General Santa Anna, leading a force of Mexican troops vastly outnumbering the contingent holding the mission, sent an emissary to its gates to sue for peace. Even to Santa Anna, who was reputed to be sly, crafty and somewhat bloodthirsty, a reputation significantly enhanced post-Alamo, it seemed pointless to slaughter all the mission’s defenders.

The scene inside the Alamo was grim. What had been a small force to begin with was reduced to just a handful of men facing certain death, some of them notable in the mythology of a young country. Fallen comrades had been propped up along the inside wall of the Alamo, their muskets tied to their dead hands, facing out toward the enemy. The Mexicans thought this was hilarious and reportedly danced around chiding the dead Americans to give it their best shot.

Inside the Alamo, Davy Crockett – he of the coonskin cap – and Jim Bowie, famous knife maker and great-great-great grandfather of glam rocker David Bowie, and John Wayne were pretty much all that was left. When they weren’t propping up dead guys and tying muskets to their hands and wondering why the Mexicans were dancing outside the walls, they were waiting for reinforcements that would never come.

When the Mexican soldier sent by Santa Anna knocked on the mission door and offered to let the remaining men go free if they came out without their weapons, Davy Crockett replied, "Give me liberty or give me death." No, actually it was Patrick Henry who said that. Davy Crockett said "Remember the Alamo" or something like that, but it didn’t matter because the soldier Santa Ana sent didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand what Davy said. Jim Bowie, according to historical records, said "Wham, Bam, Thank-you Ma’am", a line later stolen by his great-great-great grandson and used successfully in Suffragette City. John Wayne didn’t have a speaking part in that movie.

But what they all did agree on was this: "You can’t trust a Mexican." They all died when the Mexican troops stormed the Alamo after they got tired of dancing.

Not too long after that, Santa Anna – America’s original Sadam Hussein – faced defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto, another Texas town known largely for inbreeding and trailer parks. General Sam Houston, memorialized in Texas history as the territory’s first governor, sent an emissary to Santa Anna’s camp under the flag of truce to tell him he was going to kick his ass and if he wanted to give up at dawn, the Texans wouldn’t wreak revenge over what the Mexicans had done to Davy and Jim at the Alamo.