The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 19, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that there was a sharp increase in new cases of polio reported this date by the Public Health Service for the week ending May 14, with 206 cases reported, an increase of 30 percent over the prior week, compared to 151 new cases reported during the same week the previous year, and an average of 116 cases for the same time period of the previous five years. For the first time since the vaccination program had reported breakthrough cases of persons contracting polio after having been vaccinated, that number remained unchanged, at 77 confirmed cases. There had also been 23 cases of polio reported among those who were not inoculated but had come in close contact with children who had received the vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, Calif., the source of the vaccine in most of the breakthrough cases, with the children in those 23 instances not having contracted the disease. As a consequence of those reports, the Health Service had announced the previous evening that it would suspend all further clearance of the vaccine for several days to provide another re-examination of the "whole very confusing picture", there having been a recommendation for cessation of the program throughout the prior week after the initial reports of breakthrough cases, before resumption of the vaccination program had been approved the prior Monday following a study of the Parke-Davis and Eli Lilly & Co. manufacturing processes, among the five manufacturers of the vaccine. Surgeon General Leonard Scheele said that the further delay in supply of the vaccine should not be taken as a reflection on the vaccine or the companies whose manufacturing and testing processes were presently under study.

The President this date vetoed a bill to increase the pay of 500,000 postal workers by an average of 8.6 percent, providing a veto message to the Senate stating that he regretted the action and hoped and recommended that the Congress would quickly consider and enact postal pay increase legislation which would be in the public interest and fair to all of the postal employees, stating that he had vetoed the measure because it imposed a heavier burden on the taxpayer than was necessary. The President had stated previously that an average 7.6 percent increase was about as much as he was prepared to allow.

In Trinidad, Colo., the Purgatoire River this date spread over the town as too much rain had come from widespread drought areas of the Southwest, where dust storms had raged only two weeks earlier. Both business and residential sections had been inundated by the river. It was an area from which some of the worst dust storms of the year had blown across the Southwest. Rain continued after more than 30 hours in Trinidad, and the river flooded the mainline tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad, knocked out phone lines and threatened water mains. About 75 National Guardsmen had evacuated families from the threatened area. In Eastland, Tex., 11 inches of rain had fallen in 12 hours, but that town and two others said that they believed they had the situation under control insofar as flooding. A dozen tornadoes hit Texas, and Oklahoma was under a tornado alert much of the previous night, but little damage had been reported and there were no injuries as the tornadoes failed to touch ground or struck in thinly populated rural areas. Oklahoma appeared to have suffered the most damage to crops in a 3 to 4 mile wide area around Temple, where official rainfall estimates for the previous 24 hours had been 8.5 inches.

In Raleigh, the State Senate and the State House confreres this date agreed on a revenue measure to raise about 9.768 million dollars per year in new revenue to balance the budget for the ensuing biennium. Five Senators and five Representatives agreed to recommend to the two houses the tax bill passed by the Senate, with one major change, that instead of a two-cent per bottle increase of the tax on beer, it would be only a penny per bottle, estimated to raise 1.76 million dollars per year, with the entire amount going to the State, whereas the Senate's original proposal was to divide equally the tax between the State and the local governments. The conference also agreed to strike from the measure beer price fixing provisions included in the Senate bill. The measure would have to be adopted on three readings in each house on separate days, before going into effect, the Governor of North Carolina at the time not having any veto power.

In Charlotte, a Superior Court judge sentenced a man to five years in prison on six counts of crimes against nature, the heaviest sentence meted to 11 male defendants, with three teenage boys, described by a local detective as "male prostitutes", having been turned over to the probation officer for investigation. Several of the charges had been reduced to an attempted crime against nature, avoiding the five-year minimum sentence. Two of the defendants received one-year sentences, suspended on condition that each pay $500 plus costs, and a fourth teenager, 19, who had five charges against him, was sentenced to between 12 and 18 months, the court having also reduced that charge, with the consent of the prosecutor, to an attempted crime against nature. The latter defendant would be sent to a first offenders' camp. It provides the names and sentences of the others in the case, in case you want to write those down so that you can know who is an offender against nature in your community. Keep off the grass...

Also in Charlotte, on Saturday, Armed Forces Day would be observed with a mock battle being staged, as Marines and National Guard artillerymen "captured" the Navy Shell Depot during the morning, in preparation for Saturday's full dress show at the Depot. At that time, Air National Guard jets would fly over the field, dropping mock napalm bombs, while howitzers would deliver mock shells and dynamite charges would be detonated. The public would be invited to drive to the Depot and observe the battle at no charge. But do bring your own camouflage, helmet and flak jacket, just in case. Mistakes will happen.

In Washington, 43 elementary school spelling champions remained in the running this date as the 28th annual National Spelling Bee recessed for lunch, after 19 of the 62 entrants had been eliminated during 3 1/2 hours in five morning rounds. The field came from 31 states, and was a record number. The runner-up from the previous year remained in the competition as did the younger brother of the previous year's champion, as well as all three of the black children who were in the contest, two girls and one boy. There were 37 girls and 25 boys at the start of the competition, but 13 of the 19 who had been eliminated had been girls, reducing the disparity between the sexes. The contest was sponsored annually by the Scripps-Howard newspapers in conjunction with other papers. If you wish to see how the North Carolina contestants were faring, turn to page 2-A. If you do not have that page, you have no idea what you are missing, for the headline suggests that those from both North Carolina and South Carolina had been eliminated.

On page 3-B, parents rate their teenagers. They can't spell worth a tinker's damn.

In New York, the movie industry reported that box office receipts for American-made films in 1954 had risen by 35 million dollars above the 1953 total, to 2.21 billion dollars.

On the editorial page, "Taxes: Beer Should Bear Its Share"—which appears to be a deliberate tongue-twister to test the bungmeister sister who perhaps tipples one more cerveza than her service will muster—finds that after stumbling around for 19 weeks, the General Assembly had finally put together its tax programs for the coming biennium, such that now only a conference committee had to resolve differences in the programs between the State House and the State Senate. Both had agreed that about 1.8 million dollars in revenue had to be raised to balance the budget, with the Senate having proposed a two-cent increase in the beer tax, raising it from 2.5 to 4.5 cents per 12-ounce bottle, and the House having proposed a tax on newspapers at the retail rate of 3 percent, a 25 percent increase in privilege taxes, including automobile licensure, and a one percent increase in the tax on hospital associations, with the privilege taxes accounting for 1.45 million dollars.

It finds that the Senate had the fairest and most realistic approach to the problem as beer was a luxury which could easily bear an extra penny or two in taxes. Also, the state would have little trouble in the collection process, as the machinery for it was already available and in operation. The House plan would have three different sources, each considerably less of a luxury than beer and the tax collection machinery was not yet available in either case. There would be considerable difficulty, for instance, in trying to collect pennies from thousands of North Carolina newsboys. The newspapers of the state usually operated as wholesalers and not retailers, selling their papers to the delivery boys who in turn sold them to the readers. The circulation tax was a retail tax, and so the state would have to track down every single delivery boy to collect it, with that process conceivably costing as much as the tax would raise. Moreover, the tax would have to be passed along to the consumer. Besides, how would it look for a grown man to tackle a little boy and start grabbing his nickels and pennies? He might wind up in court charged with a crime against nature.

It concludes, therefore, that if the tax burden had to be increased to balance the budget for the coming biennium, beer should bear its share of the load—unless your sister, inebriated, could be defibrillated long enough to be percolated after her night of being self-flagellated.

"Strong Support for a Bold Idea" finds that even as the Atlantic Union concept had lost a great spokesman, with the death two days earlier of former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, it had found a new spokesperson in General George Marshall, who said the previous day in a statement that he supported the idea.

It indicates that the essential fact of Communist strategy and power was forced unity, while freely chosen unity was the essential need of the free world, one which had to be met for freedom to survive in the conflict against organized slavery. The Atlantic Union idea proposed to go further than NATO, in which allied military power was combined into a unified command representing all 15 member nations, and would combine not only defense, but economic and political aspects of those nations as well. General Marshall had asked for bipartisan support in Congress of the proposal to hold a meeting of the NATO nations to study Atlantic Union. It finds that he had wisely supported the exploration of the idea and also urges its adoption.

"Ike Can See the Booby Traps" indicates that the President was aware that there were potential appeasement booby-traps within the planned Big Four summit conference for some time in the summer, as indicated in his television address along with Secretary of State Dulles during the week, explaining why they would participate in the conference. The President had reflected the theme again at his press conference the previous day when he had said that he could not believe that the American people thought he would appease the Russians at the conference.

It agrees that the people trusted the President, even if the Senate Minority Leader, William Knowland, and Senator Styles Bridges, chairman of the Senate Republican policy committee, had reservations. It finds that the President had properly pointed out during his television address that the Big Four heads of state would only explore avenues in which agreements might be made in more extensive later meetings between the foreign secretaries. It believes that statement ought reassure those who were concerned that any contact between the President and the Russian leaders would result in suicide for the cause of freedom. Both the President and Secretary Dulles had said that they did not know what to anticipate from the Russians, but had made a good case for finding out if there had been any change for the good since the reshuffling of the leadership of the prior February, less than two years after the death in March, 1953 of Joseph Stalin.

"Qualifications for an Expert" indicates that for a nation more familiar with Charlie Chan than Confucius, it had an uncommon number of "experts" on the "Oriental mind", who were numerous and full of advice. The only qualification for being such an expert was the belief in the rule that force was the only power the "Oriental mind" respected, whether it was of India, China, Ceylon, Pakistan, Burma or Thailand.

It does not accept that there was such a thing as an "Oriental mind", any more than that there was such a thing as a "Southern mind". It believes that most minds were pretty much the same everywhere, resenting force, cruelty, slavery, and liking peace, kindness and freedom.

The shooting down of two Communist MIG fighter jets over the Yellow Sea by American jets the previous week had been a simple demonstration of U.S. will to resist attack, but that incident had been perceived in some quarters as gaining face for the U.S. within the Oriental mind. It finds that the incident probably increased Communist respect for the U.S. position, but that all Orientals were not Communists, a distinction which often was not realized. The incident had caused more fear in many non-Communist Oriental minds than respect for the U.S. or the Communists.

It concludes that the talk of "face" was mainly nonsense, and that Orientals, as well as Americans, based their respect on quiet strength rather than force, and peaceful works rather than incidents of conflict.

The talk of "face" and the Oriental mind, incidentally, had largely been an incident of the war, when there was enforcement in place of a lock-step mental state in Japan and its satrapies throughout the Pacific, just as in Nazi Germany and its captured or annexed countries and regions. At that time, therefore, the uniformity attributed to the Oriental mind made more sense than in the postwar days when degrees of freedom and democracy, outside Communist China, gradually dissipated that enforced uniformity.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Which Citizen Is Whose?" finds that the Republican Party had a rough time over Lincoln's birthday, with one wing, represented by Attorney General Herbert Brownell and Secretary of Labor James Mitchell, likening President Lincoln to President Eisenhower, and indicating their hope that the latter would run again in 1956, while Mr. Brownell had said that the Administration reflected "a philosophy of government first enunciated" by President Lincoln. The other wing of the party, represented by "Senator McCensure", likened President Eisenhower to former President Truman, with Governor J. Bracken Lee of Utah having said that he honestly believed the country had "gone further to the left in the last two-year period than any two-year period in the history of the country."

The piece indicates that the reader could take their choice between the two viewpoints, that what President Lincoln had said about fooling some of the people all of the time was not quite accurate in that instance, even if it kept some politicians in power.

The Democrats, in their Jefferson and Jackson Day celebrations, had also had their difficulties, managing to overlook some of the "historic rascality" of former President Jackson, doing so with a straight face.

It concludes, however, that the country would likely live through it, as it always had.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Herman Welker of Idaho having more relatives on his payroll than any other member of the Senate. He gave jobs to friends and relatives but then they would continue in college at the University of Idaho, using taxpayer funds to defray their collegiate costs. One such son of a friend received $3,200 per year, and did nothing for the Senator or his constituents except for himself. He told the column that he worked on the campus for the Senator, but was not at liberty to say precisely what job he performed. The Senator's nephew had the same arrangement, refused to talk about it.

The Senator had placed his brother-in-law, father of the aforementioned nephew, in a well-paying job through Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay, ousting in the process a career man supposedly protected by civil service.

He had also given his brother, formerly a driver of a gasoline truck, a $5,200 per year Government job in 1953. The former chairman of the Republican state committee had been drawing about $5,000 per year, though actively engaged in the real estate business in Boise. The Senator's sister-in-law had also been on the payroll during summer, 1954. Former Idaho Governor C. A. Bottolfsen was reportedly going to be the Senator's new office manager in Washington.

A letter from Congressman Charles Jonas of Mecklenburg County tells of having read a story in the newspaper on April 25 regarding attendance and voting records and encloses, to clear up some confusion in his case, the official record of all roll calls during the two sessions of the previous Congress, showing that he had a perfect record of voting during the first session, and had missed one roll call vote in the second session and one other quorum call. On the roll call that he missed, he had paired with Congressman Albert Thomas of Texas, on a day when his committee had attended the launching of the submarine Nautilus, indicating that he would not have attended the ceremony had he realized there would be a roll call on a bill, despite the non-controversial measure having easily passed. He says that he did not remember missing the quorum call, believed he had been present in the House that day and responded on the call, but could not argue the record. He indicates that the story had not been entirely fair because it had selected out a three-month period for comparison to the present year, especially since the record for the entire prior two sessions was available. He says that he had enclosed the official records so that the editors could check them.

A letter writer from Hamlet, 74, stating that she had lived in the state all of her life, suggests that she could speak with some authority on the subject of segregation, finding that it would be interesting to know who had "masterminded the Supreme Court's decision to do away with segregation in the South and force (there is no other word) the children of both races to attend the same schools, and all of this without consulting parents, children, or the states as to the wisdom of it." She regards it as simply "'opinion'" and politics, finding indignation and consternation to have gripped the hearts of parents and children of both races as a consequence. "The two races are separate and distinct, each side accepting it without confusion or strife. Both have their own society, churches, and are satisfied. The children abhor the idea of going to school together and intermingling. They do not want any part of this and are expressing themselves in no uncertain terms." She thinks that "a good law" should be as unalterable as the Ten Commandments. "Trying to force something onto divergent races who are separated by bounds fixed by Our Divine Creator Himself is both presumptuous and dangerous. Never, while the world stands, can a man or group of men change the immutable laws of God. Why try? If, in a measure, the court's decision should succeed, it will be a half-measure, for there will be trouble because our two races will not tolerate interference to a custom which we both have accepted for generations." She thinks that history informed that before the "so-called 'Dark Ages' some of the South European and Asia-Minor countries forced absorption of many alien groups, and in the course of time a 'brilliant antiquity' came to a close," and that if they were not careful, the country would repeat that history and the South might be "overshadowed by a part of the 'Dark Ages of Antiquity'."

You're a nut.

Quote as you and your ilk might, completely out of context, some Biblical passage from the Old Testament which you interpret as your God-given notion of separation of the races, and even subjugation of one by the other, we would quote, more to the point, from Thomas Jefferson, in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, a section not included in the final version because of objections registered, primarily, by South Carolina, which would have, if left intact, prevented passage of the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress:

"[King George III] has incited treasonable insurrections against our fellow citizens, with the allurements of forfeiture & confiscation of our property; he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's [sic] most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die [changed to "dye" in the second draft], he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another." [Emphasis of selected words omitted.]

A letter writer comments on the nine-week strike by the Communications Workers of America against Southern Bell Telephone Co., impacting nine Southeastern states, indicating that several Southern governors and Senators had called for both parties to enter binding arbitration to resolve the remaining issues between them, that the union had accepted the suggestion but that the company had refused, on the grounds that it would not be in the public interest for a third party to decide how to end the strike. He finds that the board of directors of AT&T in New York had appointed a "late model carpetbagger" to decide what the best interests of the Southern people would be in the case, supplanting the wisdom of leaders in Washington and the Southern governors. He wants to know who had elected the chairman of AT&T as president and when would be the next election.

A letter writer, a first lieutenant in the Air Force, indicates that Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had set aside May 21 as a national day of tribute to the armed forces, with the approval of the President. He indicates that Armed Forces Day observances had, from its inception, emphasized the basic concept that national security and freedom depended upon the power of American teamwork and national unity, and informs that the slogan for Armed Forces Day in 1955 would be "Power for Peace". He further informs that in Charlotte, there were over 200 military personnel on active duty, with several thousand reservists representing all branches being trained in the city. He hopes that residents of the county would share in the celebration of the day and visit the units stationed within the county during an open-house which would be held by the units on May 21. He provides the units which would be open, their addresses, and the hours during which they would receive visitors.

A letter writer indicates that people wondered why there was so much killing, suggests that some of it was the fault of parents, when they placed a cowboy suit on a tot and gave him a holster and toy guns, teaching him to play cowboy and to point the gun toward other boys and pull the trigger. Sometimes, the other boy would scream and fall as if shot, and then the parent would laugh and the child would laugh also. He finds that by the time the boy was 10, his heart was so hardened that he could use a real gun and kill someone while laughing about it, as a boy in New York had recently done, while a 12-year old boy in Dallas, Tex., playing hookey from school, watched tv, became bored, searched for and found a .22-calibre rifle his parents had hidden, also found the separately hidden bolt mechanism, loaded the rifle and shot, as a sniper, from a second-floor window of his parents' apartment, intending, he said, only to scare a nine-year old boy he did not know walking home from school on the sidewalk, fired once, missing, then hit him in the heart, killing him with the second shot. An old man had given his grandson a toy gun and asked him to shoot at him, turned and staggered as if wounded. He believes that the boy might kill someone later, that children should be taught not to point even toy guns toward anyone. "So many have a gun in their hands threatening someone else. The other party, trying to get the gun from them, claims it fired accidentally. Sometimes they get off light that way. But they had the gun for some purpose to start with." He cites the recent case which had arisen a week earlier in Raleigh where a young man, subsequently claiming that he had been playing with a pistol in his hotel room when it had accidentally discharged, had killed a woman on the sidewalk below the window of the hotel room, with the defendant, now charged with murder, claiming that he did not know the bullet had exited the window or had hit anyone, had then checked out of the hotel room ten minutes later and had gone to Chapel Hill, where police subsequently located him from evidence found in the room, and arrested him. The letter writer appears not to believe his story. He suggests that if people who shot others could not get away with their crimes any other way, they claimed to be crazy, like a millionaire who had killed his wife, the jury having found him not guilty by reason of insanity, resulting in him being sent to an asylum, subsequently proving that he was sane, then freed—assuming the linked case was that which the writer had in mind. He concludes that a gunman should have his gun taken away and the person should not be turned loose on the public armed.

We say again that we agree with the late former Justice John Paul Stevens, who, four years ago, stated in an op-ed piece in the New York Times that he favored repeal of the Second Amendment because of its anachronistic relationship to modern society, having been ratified in 1791 at a time when the country was largely a frontier, where provender had to be either directly hunted and killed or grown, and where there were forces in the wilderness, bereft, outside the towns and cities, of any strong law enforcement, necessitating each settler on the frontier therefore to be armed against those threatening forces, whether they were man or beast. Those concerns, except in the most remote parts of the country, are no longer with us, and there is really no excuse for maintaining the "right to bear arms", which obviously was intended to be for the sole purpose of raising a "well regulated" militia. Anyone these days who claims otherwise is not only stupid and ridiculous, but is a heartless bastard, and if they be judges or legislators, should be forthwith removed from the bench or legislature by whatever peaceful and democratic means available to the people.

We cannot grieve as a nation for strangers practically every other day of every other week, every time some person picks up a gun and decides to shoot one or more people, either someone they know or someone who is a perfect stranger, for no apparent reason, the result each time being the same tired television litany, with reporters and legislators, more often than not, not getting to the heart of the problem amid the heartfelt sympathies of the moment for the families of victims. The solution is to do away with guns, not to pass laws to try to predict who might become a problem with a gun, such "red flag" laws only to invite abuse by people who bear petty grudges against their neighbors or relatives, leading to absurd situations involving so much time of the courts that they will begin issuing rubber stamp approvals of the categorization, branding people, making the situation even worse, developing a caste of untouchable persons in the society, labeled troublemakers and dangerous to themselves or others, alienating those individuals from society and causing them, especially the young and immature, potentially to become troublemakers when, had they been left alone, might have grown out of whatever it was ailing them of the moment, or, perhaps, were never a troublemaker in the first place, but were simply sought to be branded as such by someone with a minor grievance, possibly the grudge-holder being the actual troublemaker. So we do not support "red flag" laws at all, of any type, as there are enough such stupid laws already on the books regarding terrorists and domestic violence and all sorts of such issues, which are never fully adjudicated with due process rights afforded the accused or resort available, in the case of proven false accusation, to either criminal prosecution of the false accuser or a civil defamation claim, leaving people with stained reputations, sometimes for the rest of their lives when in fact they did nothing. Such preemptive laws are laws for fascist societies, not the United States. Democrats who are proposing such laws need to stop and think. There are better and more responsible solutions.

As to the rest of the proposed stricter legislation, of course, we need far more restraints on the ability of someone to purchase firearms of any type and, moreover, the ammunition for those firearms—all firearms, not just assault weapons.

But there will be no real solution until we get rid of the Second Amendment completely and re-educate the society, from the first grade forward, to the fact that we do not need guns, that a gun is a sign of a weak, cowardly person, a brain-dead idiot, regardless of education, who has not sat down and really thought about modern society, where they are in time, that we no longer live on the wild frontier with Davy Crockett, that we do not need a gun of any sort to protect ourselves or others around us, that the gun is more likely to be used to injure ourselves or others than it is to protect us, and, on balance, therefore should be thrown in the ocean, or turned over to the police. That is where we need to go as a society, as all of the gun control laws in the world are not going to prevent the determined shooter from shooting someone or a mass of unsuspecting people. We need to reorient the entire society to a new way of thinking about the evil, the inherent evil, of any gun, unless it is being carried by the armed forces for the common defense of the nation or law enforcement for the common defense of a community, those being the equivalent of a "well regulated" militia, the amendment having been phrased at a time when there was no standing army.

We note in this regard that at least one website which promotes the Second Amendment as the crowning glory of the Constitution, a "right to bear arms" which it, as with the stupid letter writer above steeped in the preachments of segregation, views as being handed down as an inherent order of God, has quoted the following from Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” First, the quote, as with all such self-serving quotes, is completely out of context, as it was from an 1824 letter which dealt with the idea that when America was founded, it had no experience with self-government; second, notably, did not include the parenthetical phrase, "and of the United States"; and, third, stops short of the rest of the sentence which went: "...that are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press." Mr. Jefferson went on to suggest more effective ways of structuring the representation in state legislatures, his focus in the letter, not, in any manner, discussing arms or limitations thereon, still, of course, in 1824. It might be noted that he left out of his list of freedoms asserted by "most" of the state constitutions, the primary freedom of speech, suggestive of the casual nature of the listing as a mere incidental to his major point in his letter, written only two years before his death, his focus not having been to list all of the freedoms granted by state constitutions or to pass on their propriety, but rather to example the nation's early form of self-government.

The same website also included, again out of context, a quote from another Thomas Jefferson letter, providing advice on a regimen of study to his 15-year old nephew, recommending that, as a break from study, he utilize "the gun" for exercise, rather than ball games, walking in the woods while carrying a gun, obviously referring to hunting for exercise, in 1785.

It might be noted also that a letter of Thomas Jefferson from 1780, in suggesting inducement of members of the militia, once discharged from service, to return their arms, had asked his correspondent whether withholding of their future pay would serve better to effect their return of arms than to have them retain them and the worth of the gun deducted from their pay. The overall point, of course, is that any such quotes from any of the Founders or anyone else prior to about 1900 comes from a very different age in the development of the nation and of the world and is not worth the paper it is printed on when regarding the subject of weaponry.

In this regard, some charlatan we ran across on YouTube, a person who brags about being "louder" than everyone else, claims that the Founders were not dealing only with musketry, that there were in fact all kinds of guns capable of rapid, multiple fire available in colonial times, something he undoubtedly discovered through casual perusal, sans contextual thought, of Wicked-pedia or its equivalent, and that the Founders, therefore, must have had those guns in mind when drafting and passing on for ratification the Second Amendment, never once considering that the Revolution was fought, insofar as personally borne firearms, only with muskets, not with the forerunner of the Gatling gun or its equivalent, those weapons having had the inevitable drawback of being too expensive to manufacture and too costly to purchase for mass use, too heavy and cumbersome to carry into battle, limited in mobility to foot or horse, even wagons and carriages being few and far between in colonial times with the state of roads in primitive condition, and that such weapons were notoriously inefficient, unable to dissipate heat properly in rapid fire, more apt to kill the user than any target, thus relegated to novelty status, museum pieces from their introduction, toys of the wealthy, certainly not employed by any militia, never coming into general usage until the development of the Thompson submachine gun in 1918, originally intended for use in World War I against the Germans, taken over notoriously, after the war and the passage and ratification of the Prohibition amendment, by the gangs of Chicago and others bent on cornering, rata-ta-tat-ta-ta-ta-tat, the market on illicit speakeasies, shooting their way into accumulation of wealth and securing their "way of life" from interdiction by law enforcement, while acquiring payoff for their protection offered the small business owner, movies about which in later years having attracted a whole younger generation of boobs to that "way of life" played out, not on the stage, but rather with real guns, either in revivification of actual gangs of urban or rural origins, the latter to protect the modern equivalent of backwoods moonshining practices, drug labs, or in semi-make-believe as weekend warriors out in the woods, reliving what they fancy their great-great-granddaddies must have done out in them woods when the Injuns or the Yankees were a-threatenin' their "way of life"—speaking of which, one cannot ignore the inclusion by Thomas Jefferson in the above-linked 1824 letter of "freedom of person", which would have to include, in addition to the inherent right of freedom of unencumbered travel within the country, the right of privacy, as embodied in the Fourth Amendment, inexorably implying, via the Ninth Amendment and due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, the right to be free from governmental deprivation of liberty without due process of law, the right of a woman to choose whether to terminate her own pregnancy prior to viability of the fetus, a part of her own body, dependent for its survival on the mother until reaching the point of viability, the point at which, by medical definition, it can survive outside the womb. As procedural due process entails, at minimum, the rights to have accusations stated with particularity, to confront and cross-examine accusers and to present evidence in one's own behalf in a hearing before an impartial fact-finder, where, we might ask, absent the protections enunciated under Roe v. Wade and its progeny, in the process of a state purporting to take away that basic human liberty, on the pretextual notion of asserting the state's police powers over protection of life of an unborn fetus which has not yet become viable, is the due process protection of the mother, such that she should be afforded an individual judicial hearing forthwith, as time is of the essence in pregnancy, before being denied her liberty interest in making the choice over her own body to terminate the pregnancy? You do see where overruling Roe and leaving the matter to each state will lead, don't you? Indeed, it would not be out of line for a woman, so constrained in the end to bear to term a child, to sue the state for its lifetime maintenance and support, including its higher education, under 42 USC 1983 for violation of her civil rights under color of state law, perhaps creatively utilizing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, in addition to the constitutional right to privacy enunciated by Griswold v. Connecticut, irrespective of any overruling of Roe, that prospect leading only, in any event, to repeated individual litigation challenging state laws on restricting pre-viability abortion for decades to come, until, on one fine and glorious spring day, the present politically constructed Supreme Court majority, not responsive to the people or established law but rather only to the winds of transitory politics, goes the way of all such majorities. But we digress somewhat.

In modern times, you are a coward, an inherent coward, if you own or possess a firearm for any other purpose than being in law enforcement, true law enforcement, employed by a proper law enforcement agency, or in the military. And unless we reorient the nation to those basic facts, we will never again be truly safe in the society. Indiscriminate mass shootings in the country have gone on periodically for a long time, since at least right after World War II, gaining particular notoriety with the incident in August, 1966, in which Charles Whitman killed 14 people from the top of the tower of the Main Building on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, after having killed his mother and his wife earlier that day. In the wake of that incident and the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963, and Senator Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, a law was passed to restrict the sale by mail of handguns and rifles. That, plus enhanced security, has largely, since 1968, prevented political assassinations in the country or their attempts, but obviously something more must occur before the society will finally eliminate the consistent violence against either individuals or masses of people by handguns and assault rifles or any other form of firearm, an assault on the sensibilities of every American and visitor to the country which has been occurring on a fairly routine basis since about 1979. We are all, in that sense, victims of gun violence, and, recognized or not, the subconscious awareness of the threat impacts our daily routines, even if consciously we have put it completely from our minds when we go shopping or to work or school. The possibility is always there.

It is, of course, stupid and insensitive to suggest that preventing school shootings can be accomplished by keeping all doors to the school, save one, locked, and even more ludicrous to suggest that arming teachers would be a reasonable solution. (For starters, where, with all the doors locked all day, do the children play, indoors, as if every day were a cold, rainy day? Where do they play football, baseball, soccer, in a gym? School systems do not have the money to build the elaborate indoor recreation facilities for each school which major college football programs have. And no active, healthy child between the ages of 5 and 18 wants to stay indoors all day for six to seven hours at a stretch on a nice fall or spring day, hardly conducive to concentration and learning in any event, with the rustling fall leaves or the budding of the flowers beckoning one into nature. So, you build around the school grounds high walls, topped with barbed wire, with armed guards at each corner? Worried about access via ladders? Maybe also construct a moat with a drawbridge leading to the entrance of the walled off schoolyard? Or make the medieval picture complete by equipage of each student with a knight's helmet, shield, armor and lance?) Those are unthinking suggestions which ignore the basic problem, that easy access to guns and a mentality in the society which basically approves of guns and depicts the gun-toter as having somehow greater strength and exhibiting more rugged individualism, perhaps even the utterly stupid belief that the gun-toter might have a bigger sexual device, than the person without a gun, encourages the mindset that resort to gun violence to settle disputes and arguments is acceptable and traditional in the country, and that without it, there is even an absence of patriotism—a view which ignores the country's actual history and overemphasizes the relatively brief period of about forty years of westward expansion over the prairies, largely over by the 1890's.

Get rid of your cowardly guns. Make it plain in every movie, and in every television program, in every advertisement having anything to do with firearms, that they are the instruments of cowards, and will not protect the possessor from anything, will only lead that person to his or her own self-destruction, one way or the other. And that goes for the goddamned hunters, as well.

Repeal the Second Amendment. Then, we might actually make a start on a new day, free of goddamned guns, a society which values again, as did our Founders, free speech over goddamned guns. We have said it before, and we shall say it again, that there should be laws passed at the Federal level and in every state making it a felony, punishable by a minimum of ten years in prison, for mere possession in a public place of any firearm, unless you are a member of the military or a law enforcement officer. The only responsible movement is one toward repeal of the Second Amendment, and, in the meantime, to undertake a re-education of the society regarding not whether one should have a gun but why one should never own or possess one in modern times.

And by the way, fat boy on the old folks' walker, we shall tell you who the "sick son of a bitch" is. Just ask us. Make our day...

A letter from the chairman of the "Show Committee" of the Charlotte Coin Club thanks the newspaper for its coverage of the club's exhibition held in the Union National Bank during the previous two weeks, helping to make the show a success.

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