MEDORA, N.D. (AP) -- The mayor of the southwest North Dakota tourist town of Medora is seeking permission for a hanging, and he is sticking his neck out and volunteering to be the first to go to the gallows.
Mayor Doug Ellison wants to erect a gallows on his property to stage mock hangings, and he has taken his request to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.
"This will be entirely safe and professional," he said. "I'm not going to hang random people."
Ellison said the demonstrations of frontier justice would be in "the spirit of the Old West."
"To me, it's kind of surprising how often people ask about, you know, the early days and whether there were any shootings or hangings in Medora and so on," he said.
The jury is still out on Ellison's idea, according to The Dickinson Press (http://bit.ly/GLdvIL ). Planning and Zoning Commission President Kinley Slauter said he is excited about the proposal but Commissioner Mary Griffin-Abrahamson has reservations. She wants a fence in Ellison's application so the gallows display is under lock and key.
"I know that if it's not securely fenced that it will be used or abused," she said.
Ellison said the request is reasonable.
"We want to do this right and not have any misgivings at all," he said, adding that a safety harness would be used during the demonstrations.
"The rope around your neck is a prop," he said. "If anything happens, the rope separates and you just hit the ground. You don't break your neck."