okay, I'm in a mood, so it's time once again for classic lyrics analysis;
here's the link to the lyrics
Now, I've probably heard this song 1,000 times or more, but it was going through my head for some reason recently and it finally struck me what a hypocrite the song's fictional author is.
Her brother is found on the back porch of a guy who's been shot dead. He just fired a shot. The guy had recently admitted cheating with the brother's wife. The brother had motive, opportunity and was found at the scene with a gun he had just fired. (this was before DNA and bullet tracing was available). The trial was quick and he was hanged.
As it turns out, the fictional author of the song is the real killer. She says "the judge in the town has bloodstains on his hands." and we're supposed to feel contempt for the judge because he rushed to judgment. Yet, the sister (our fictional author), who knew her brother was innocent, never piped up (at least not before he was hung) to say, "wait, it was me." We know she was at the trial because she gives us a first hand account - "he slapped the sheriff on his back with a smile..."
So, she's so devoted to her brother that she kills not only the guy who was cheating with the wife, but also the wife. But she's not so devoted that she wouldn't watch him hang for the crimes she committed.
This isn't a song about a corrupt judicial system. It's a song about a psychotic triple killer with no remorse.