He's cranky. He's bellicose. He enjoys his liquor a bit too much. And he's been known to discharge his firearm inappropriately.
The fictional Rooster Cogburn, made famous in Charles Portis' novel True Grit, is a bit too idiosyncratic to be a successful modern-day U.S. marshal; but his story, set in the 1870s, nevertheless reveals many truths about his particular line of work.
U.S. Marshal Anthony Gasaway examines the professional duties and dangers dealt with regularly by Rooster and how they compare with those facing today's marshals in U.S. Marshals: A Popular History of the Nation's Oldest Law Enforcement Agency on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Among the duties shared by Rooster and modern-day marshals are courthouse security, apprehending fugitives, securing and transporting prisoners, and protecting witnesses.
The event is part of the Kansas City Big Read which this year features True Grit. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
Gasaway is the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service-Western Missouri Region.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.