The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 24, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the 22 American prisoners of war who had refused repatriation had failed to show up this date for a scheduled news conference which they had requested to explain their choice to remain under Communism. Instead, three South Koreans, who had converted to Communism, appeared, saying that the Americans had changed their minds about stating their positions publicly. The South Koreans denied reports that fear had caused the Americans to remain. The Americans returned to the prison compound in the demilitarized zone, leaving the area where they had spent their final days of the 90-day explanations period, ending at midnight on December 23, during which the allies had tried to woo them to return home, finally resorting to broadcasts of Christmas music and a lengthy letter. The prisoners who remained would be provided a special Christmas menu of beef, chicken, pork, fruit, wine and beer furnished by the Communists. The latter also planned special athletic events for Christmas afternoon. The prisoners resisting repatriation would be released by their Indian guards on January 22, as civilians. The Americans, as of this date, were listed by the U.S. military as AWOL, and would be listed as deserters 30 days hence.

In Moscow, the Soviet Government announced this date that L. P. Beria, 54, the former Vice-Premier to Premier Georgi Malenkov since the prior March following the death of Stalin and longtime head of the secret police, arrested by the Government the prior June and denounced as a traitor to the state and to Communism, had been shot by a firing squad the previous day after a secret five-day trial, in which the Soviet Supreme Court found him guilty of high treason. Six of his henchmen received the same verdict and sentence. According to the Soviet announcement, Mr. Beria, as early as 1919, had been a "secret agent" in Azerbaijan in northern Iran, acting with groups "under the control of British intelligence organs". It said that in the years prior to his arrest, he had continued and extended his "secret connections with foreign intelligence services".

In Paris, the National Assembly and Senate had, on the 13th ballot, finally elected a new President, 71-year old Senator Rene Coty, receiving 477 votes, with 436 needed for election. He was generally unknown and would take office for a seven-year term on January 17, at which point the Cabinet of Premier Joseph Laniel would resign and a new government would be formed. His stand, for instance, on the European Army was not publicly known, as he had been ill when the Senate had debated that program. He had been a member of the Parliament for nearly 30 years, was known chiefly as a member of the Conservative "free enterprise", independent party, and an advocate of constitutional reform to strengthen the executive and eliminate the frequent changes of governments. His duties were largely ceremonial and social, though he had to select a new premier whenever the Assembly turned the cabinet out of office with a vote of no-confidence, even then, the Assembly having the last right of approval of the choice. Never previously had the selection process proceeded beyond two ballots, but no candidate had been able to achieve a majority during the first 12 ballots on this occasion.

In Indo-China, the French high command announced this date that French and Vietnamese troops had repulsed a large ambush by Vietminh troops in the southeastern part of the Red River delta, killing 196 rebels and capturing 145.

In Colombo, Ceylon, the second of Siamese twin girls born to a 27-year old peasant woman two days earlier had died the previous night, after the first had died several hours earlier. (We assume that the little piece is supposed to make you feel thankful for what you have on Christmas Eve, as there appears no particular salutary or precautionary purpose to inclusion of the story on the front page.)

In the vicinity of Ellington, Mo., nine members of two families died early this date when fire swept through their separate farmhouses, 60 miles apart, with eight of the victims being children. Both fires were attributed to overheated wood stoves.

In Patchogue, N.Y., authorities had identified a body found on Long Island as a missing Air Force sergeant and former college athlete at Elon College in North Carolina, who, according to police, had been beaten and possibly buried alive. An anonymous letter had been received by police saying that a "friend" had been "accidentally fatally injured" in a hunting accident, providing instructions to find the body, which was buried in a shallow grave under a brush pile. The mouth of the decedent had been stuffed with leaves. He had graduated from Elon in 1947. He had received a 12-day leave from his Air Force base in Massachusetts on November 4 but never appeared at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, as directed at the end of his leave, and so was declared AWOL. He was last seen by friends on November 8 in Manhattan.

The culprit may have been the same guy who wanted to fill in the 38-foot deep hole in which the puppy was trapped.

In Charlotte, Donald MacDonald of The News reports of a 25-year old sheet-metal worker, who was being held by police for the slaying the previous day of his 30-year old neighbor, having told police this date that he had cut the man in the neck with a penknife because he had to do something, as the man was coming at him with a pistol. According to the accused, the altercation had developed out of an argument between the arrested man's brother and the decedent, after which the decedent then apparently mistook the accused for his brother, whom he resembled, and approached him with a gun sometime later, cursing at him and saying that he was going to kill him, at which point he pulled out his pocketknife and cut his neck. The man had struggled to his front door, where he collapsed at the feet of his pregnant wife as she unlocked the door, and he was still gasping for breath when police arrived on the scene. The defendant waived his right to a preliminary hearing in City Recorder's Court during the morning and was being held without bond for trial in Superior Criminal Court. It was the 23rd homicide in Charlotte during 1953. It is not explained how the police got from the apparent self-defense scenario to the conclusion that it was either murder or manslaughter, the actual charges against the defendant not being provided on the front page.

In Charlotte, Emery Wister of The News reports that the Dacam Corp., manufacturers of cartoning machinery, would establish a new shop and office buildings at Gardner and Chamberlain Avenues, near the plant of the Old Dominion Box Co. (For Republican conspiracists, the latter, we assume, has no connection to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or missing ballots in the 2020 election. But, who knows, as there was always Box 13...)

With Christmas Eve upon the world, millions in Europe believed that the threat of war had diminished after the signing in late July of the Korean Armistice, with indications since by the Soviets that they were paying more attention to the welfare of the people at home than to spreading Communist propaganda around the world. The end of the war and the release of thousands of prisoners of war had also positively impacted homes in America. But there were trouble spots, such as in Indo-China and Malaya, where Communist guerrillas were at work, and in Kenya, beset by anti-white Mau Mau tribesmen. In Korea, a special airlift had flown tons of Christmas mail to the thousands of American troops still stationed there, and special services, including more than a dozen masses celebrated by visiting Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, marked Christmas Eve observances. Pilgrims poured into Bethlehem, dispelling fears that the border tension between Arabs and Israelis in Jerusalem might frighten away tourists.

In Dallas, Tex., former Democratic Congressman Ed Gossett, a staunch conservative during the Roosevelt-Truman Administrations, was telling of a couple who were watching the neighbors prepare for the Christmas celebration, with the wife commenting, "Well, I see the Joneses are carrying in the Yule log," to which the husband replied, "No, Jones."

The Midwest and Rockies were still snow-covered, but most of the nation was dry or without enough snow for a sleigh ride, and the prospects for a white Christmas appeared dim. The story indicates, however, that Santa Claus was a versatile traveler and, if he had to resort to a jet plane, would get to his rounds.

In Albion, N.Y., the village gave motorists who had over-parked at parking meters forgiveness, with tags placed on windshields which said: "Santa Claus asked us to let it go this time." Now, that's Christmas spirit…

The News wishes readers, in a bold header, "Merry Christmas", but offers no respite the following day for its employees and special agents, as it had in prior years without war involving the U.S. And so, we shall have to persevere...

On the editorial page, "On the Surface, All Is Not Well" indicates that Newton Aiken, editor of the Baltimore Evening Sun, in one of a series of articles regarding his recent tour of the South, had indicated that if there was a time for a two-party system to be established in the region, the period after the 1952 campaign appeared to be that time, but also finding that such hopes had been deferred, as most of the Eisenhower Democrats had returned to the Democratic fold, accepting the one-party system as inescapable.

It finds, on the surface, the conclusion valid, that the Eisenhower support had largely come from independent action rather than through the Southern Republican Party, even though Republicans had made progress in the battle for supremacy in local and state elections. The black vote remained largely Democratic—the result of large strides made economically and in terms of civil rights progress during the Roosevelt-Truman Administrations and the Federal courts, whose judges were appointed during those Administrations. The piece suggests that with President Truman no longer in office, the major causes of Southern Democratic disaffection, at least among many whites, had been removed—that disaffection having largely centered on the Truman civil rights program and such "socialist" programs as compulsory health insurance to be subsidized by the Government, which had never come to fruition because of a stubborn Southern bloc, combining with old guard Republicans in Congress to block such programs by filibuster.

It finds that Mr. Aiken had underrated two factors, first, that many thousands of Southern voters had broken with precedent for the first time when they voted for General Eisenhower as a Republican, which it regards as a positive thing, as it was a vote for the General and not against Adlai Stevenson, as had been the case in 1928 when Governor Al Smith of New York had lost much of the Southern vote because of his Catholicism and his stand against Prohibition. Mr. Aiken had also overlooked the rapid industrialization of the South, attracting new residents from other areas of the country where the two-party system thrived, as well as expansion of the middle and upper-middle classes, traditionally the stronghold of Republicanism. It thus finds that the potential for a two-party system was present.

Unfortunately, beset during the latter 1960's and onward by the specter of "law and order", the fear of encroaching urban unrest among blacks and long-haired youth, the heavy turn rightward steered by money-grubbing televangelism, intermixing religious fervor with politics of the rightward variety to counteract the civil rights and peace movements with their roots in the churches, both white and black, the convenient use of the emotional tools supplied for "moral majority" checkboxes on political candidates, "pro-life", "pro-gun rights", anti-immigrant, anti-everything which the least smacks of progress, as equating with "socialism", synonymous in the minds of many with Communism, the result in the South has been, in large part, at least, with stutter steps away from it on occasion, a one-party system, flipped instead to the Republicans, characterized by an occluded mindset of obscurantism and inherently paradoxical stands on ad hoc issues about which no candidate has delivered in 50 years because no candidate has that power, either alone or in league with even Republican conservative majorities in all three branches—as what such supporters of that mindset actually want is essentially a dictatorship, contrary to the founding ideals and principles of the nation embodied in the Constitution—which most of them do not bother to study very thoroughly as a whole document, but pluck out words and phrases which they think underscore their particularly slanted authoritarian views of government or lack thereof, as the whims of fancy on a given morning suggest itself as most convenient.

Perhaps, we might see Georgia emerging from that occluded state into the bright morning of awareness, if only by a slim thread of a margin, suggested by recent polls, in the upcoming two Senate races, which will determine control of the Senate for the ensuing first two years of the Biden Presidency, come January 5, the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

Give the man a chance, Georgians, and stop breathing the foul air of Fox News, and the other Onionized Asinine news outlets, geared toward brainwashing you for their own economic well-being and that of the rich fatcats whom they actually serve, having no interest whatsoever in your plight or welfare, either economically or in terms of your civil rights. That is just a bunch of hogwash repeatedly fed you, and you do not seem, except perhaps sporadically, to emerge from that darkness into the light. Try to see, for a change, through these benighted fatcats, represented by that stupid woman who wants to be "more conservative than Attila the Hun", for instance, and that other crook, both of whom are merely telling you that which you want to hear, while ducking and running into the shadows afterward and serving their fatcat pals, who continue to funnel money into their campaigns to spread the brainwashing cult among you in vicious circle, ad nauseam

Tell us how, in more than 50 years, since the Nixon Administration, after Mr. Nixon fed you that bunk in the 1968 campaign, things have changed for you toward "law and order" and economic and physical security for the better, or how your precious ad hoc issues have advanced, whether they be pro-life, pro-gun, or any of the rest of the bunk. Were it otherwise, you would not still be clamoring about the same old song, "liberal Justices and judges and the liberal media" not serving your interests, etc. The problem is that you do not really know enough about our system of government to understand how to get what you desire for your own actual interests or what your own actual interests really are, in terms of policy, having nothing at all to do with pro-life, pro-gun or the rest of that bunk. Return to reading for a change, that is assuming you can, and read mainstream publications, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other such publications, the result of a liberal tradition in this country going back to its Founding, never founded on "conservativism", but rather as the most liberal democracy in the history of the world. Any time you hear some charlatan talking about conservatism, remember what they are really talking about—control of your rights, to the extent possible, by gaming of the Constitution and established Congressional rules, in derogation of your interests and your rights, in favor of the corporate interests controlling their campaign purse-strings, sold to you repeatedly as trickle-down economics on the string-along promises of all those goodies in the stockings, pro-life, all the guns you want and "law and awda". Witness Mitch McConnell...

If you want a Federal judiciary dictated by the Federalist Society, find out who that Society represents and what it is before signing on for the sake of your ad hoc issues, which will never be for their patent unconstitutionality, and thankfully so, because those stands disserve your basic interests, do not advance them, provided you understand the history of the country and the reasons for its advancements.

"As Others See Us" indicates that two North Carolina newspapers had taken a look at the Charlotte police corruption scandal investigated by the local grand jury, observing it from their vantage points and arriving at the same conclusion, that the Charlotte officials who had rushed to the defense of Police Chief Frank Littlejohn should have let the law take its course. The Sanford Herald said that it had no information regarding Chief Littlejohn's activities but had more confidence in the American jury system than did City Manager Henry Yancey, when he had commented that the Chief was "neither guilty of negligence nor wrongful acts". The Greensboro Daily News believed, similarly, that Charlotte officials had overdone their defense of the Chief. It recounted that the Greensboro Police Department had come under attack two or three years earlier, was cleaned up, reorganized, and a new chief appointed, after several of its former members had gone to prison. It suggested that perhaps the same kind of housecleaning might improve the situation in Charlotte, without resorting to such drastic action, that the result in Greensboro had been a good Police Department.

The piece indicates that perhaps those two newspapers had a point, although it had been the observation of The News that the city officials had not implied unwillingness to have the next appointed grand jury in January to proceed with the inchoate investigation, but rather had spontaneously expressed personal confidence in the Chief's innocence, not incompatible with proceeding with the investigation.

"To Inform, To Evaluate, To Act" indicates that one did not hear so much about the responsibilities of American "freemen" as the protection of the rights and privileges against assaults from within and without, a favorite topic of orators on American freedom. One did not hear that democracy was a risky business, that the freeman took his chances in an uncertain world, facing the danger of having to think for himself.

It imparts that 13 weeks earlier, under the sponsorship of the Charlotte Junior League, television station WBTV had launched a series of panel discussions titled "What Matters Most?" with Dr. Frontis Johnston of Davidson College as moderator. Guests appeared each week to talk about responsibilities of the American freeman, measuring how well he had taken advantage of opportunities, that series having ended the prior Monday night. The object, similar to a newspaper's editorial page, was to inform and evaluate issues of the day, and encourage participants then to act. It finds the series to have been a worthwhile project handled deftly by Dr. Johnston, with good and lasting results for the community and region.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "North Carolina Writers", indicates that the state's literary heritage might be, for the most part, fairly new but had become very respectable nevertheless, both in terms of its quantity and quality, as was evident from perusal of Walter Spearman's 1953 revised edition of North Carolina Writers, a 52-page booklet published by the UNC Library Extension Division. Mr. Spearman discussed Hinton Helper, whose "incendiary" The Impending Crisis, published in 1857, had been used as a handbook by the nascent Republican Party in the 1860 election, helping the fateful nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency. In contrast, Mr. Spearman also discussed the impact of Thomas Dixon's The Leopard's Spots, the racist novel celebrating the origins of the Klan as a vigilante organization formed after the Civil War to put down the freed slaves and carpetbaggers of the "negro party", published in 1902; and the baroque ostentation of The Balsam Groves of Grandfather Mountain, published in 1892, by Shepherd M. Dugger, which contained a description of the heroine: "Her mouth was set with pearls adorned with elastic rubies and tuned with minstrel lays, while her nose gracefully concealed its own umbrage, and her eyes imparted a radiant glow to the azure of the sky. She was probably the fairest of North Carolina's daughters." The piece quips that the author's restraint was indicated by the word "probably".

Mr. Spearman had recounted in North Carolina's poets the need no longer to rest on the laurels of John Charles McNeil, as it could now boast the likes of Carl Sandburg, transplanted from Illinois, James Larkin Pearson, Randall Jarrell, Charles Edward Eaton, Helen Bevington, Anne Blackwell Payne, Lucy Cherry Crisp, Thad Stem, Frank Borden Hanes, and many others. (How about Apple Scruff?)

In short stories, North Carolina's earlier favorite sons, O. Henry and Wilbur Daniel Steele, had been joined by many others, such as Frances Gray Patton and Marian Sims. In novels, the late Thomas Wolfe had become preeminent, with Paul Green and Kermit Hunter having contributed the symphonic drama.

In a chapter of Mr. Spearman's book titled, "They Examine the Past", he assessed the works of Inglis Fletcher, former News editor Burke Davis, LeGette Blythe, James Boyd, Chalmers Davidson, Ovid Pierce and Elizabeth Boatwright Coker, the latter of whom was claimed by virtue of summer residence at Blowing Rock. In another chapter, "They Stayed at Home to Write", he looked at Bernice Kelly Harris, Jonathan Daniels, Fred Ross, Tom Wicker, Josephus Daniels, Robert B. House, Peirson Ricks and others. In yet another chapter, "Those Who Left to Write", he examined Worth Tuttle Hedden, Edythe Latham, Robert Marshall, Gerald Johnson, News editor Pete McKnight's brother, John McKnight, columnist and occasional book author Robert C. Ruark, former News reporter Marion Hargrove, Joseph Mitchell, former News reporter Tim Pridgen, Sam Byrd, Frank Slaughter and May Davies Martinet. And in the chapter, "They Came to Write", he examined Carl Sandburg, Betty Smith, James Street, Josephina Niggli, Noel Houston, Lettie Rogers, Peter Taylor and Robie Macauley.

Mr. Spearman, it should be noted, had, during the 1930's, worked at The News as a reporter, drama and literary critic, before joining the faculty of UNC as a professor of journalism, around the time of the start of World War II when professors were suddenly in shortage. In April, 1941, after the publication that February of The Mind of the South, which he lists in North Carolina Writers under "additional reading", he invited W. J. Cash to speak at a symposium for aspiring high school journalists, sponsored by the N.C. Scholastic Press Institute, headed by Mr. Spearman, where, in the audience, was Joseph L. Morrison, then a recent graduate of the University awaiting military call-up, eventally to become a UNC professor of journalism and, in 1967, Cash's first biographer.

Drew Pearson discusses the goal which Christ had set for the world 2,000 years earlier and toward which the world had been struggling with indifferent success since. He recounts that 18 years earlier he had co-authored a book, The American Diplomatic Game, in which the authors predicted that world war would occur in five years, a prediction which was optimistically prescient by three months—though he fudges a bit in calling it a prediction, as they actually said that war might come "almost immediately" or might "not come for five years". He finds that there were parallels between the 1930's and what was taking place in the world presently, and that the only way repetition of world war could be avoided was by examining the events leading to World War II. His 1935 book had described the time of September, 1931 by saying: "An age was dying. It was an age of international optimism—of disarmament drives, of good-will pilgrimage—the aftermath of the war to end war. An age was dying, but it did not know that it was dying." And his quote goes on to describe some of the cultural events taking place in that time of 1931, concluding with: "An age was dying, and the world, too absorbed in its own woes, did not sense impending tragedy." At that point, the Japanese attacked Manchuria, eight years before the Nazis rolled into Poland in the Blitzkrieg of September 1, 1939, but it had been in Manchuria that World War II actually had begun. The Japanese warlords had carefully timed their attack for a time when the Western world had turned from international optimism to murder mysteries. He finds the temper of the people presently not dissimilar, not sensing impending tragedy, more ensconced in the news of the division in France or the war in Indo-China or the Bobby Greenlease kidnaping of September 28.

The people understood the futility of discussing anything, from war prisoners to Korea and peace, and were becoming more isolationist. But in the background lurked the ominous clouds of recession, with steel production off 19 points and layoffs in the automobile industry, farm income on the decline and unemployment insurance payments doubling since the previous year. Far worse clouds of depression hung over Russia, with its worst crop failure in years, early blizzards wiping out cattle, special meetings in the Kremlin to consider the farm crisis, all potentially good news for the West, except that sometimes when dictators became desperate over domestic problems, they blamed the outside world and turned to war as an escape.

"And in democracies, when times are bad, people throw out international cooperation and begin drawing into their own shells. The more they do this, of course, the greater the chances of war.

"It takes strong, idealistic leadership at such times to reverse the trend. It also takes faith on the part of many small people."

Thus, would come on the scene, perhaps in the nick of time, John F. Kennedy as President on that frosty, snowy morning in January, 1961. Maybe, history, albeit not so characterized by the quality of youth as were the early 1960's, but rather bearing in mind the still vivid memory and light of that earlier idealistic time, has the opportunity to repeat itself, perhaps, this time, getting it right and not devolving to hopeless tragedy in the blink of an eye, too much of which we have seen through time, including the less visible tragedy of 2020, marked by one tragedy-laden word—coronavirus, much as 1931 was also marked by one tragedy-laden word, depression.

Frederick C. Othman, substituting for vacationing Marquis Childs, discusses the Russian announcement recently that they were willing to talk about the proposal of the President that an international body be established into which there would be sharing of nuclear technology and materials by all nations presently possessing atomic capability. He allows that the Russian willingness might be another false promise, but it would not harm anything to begin thinking of atomic power as the greatest gift science had ever provided mankind, and that even if the Russians balked, there would be the advantage of some constructive thinking on atomic energy.

He suggests that the large furnace in his cellar might one day be replaced by an atomic reactor the size of a cigarette lighter, contained in a lead case, keeping the house warm or cool for the remainder of his life—or, as he might have observed with due prescience, what would then be his half-life, for probably about five years, as the lead container slowly leaked the radiation or mayhaps one night there came a core meltdown.

He discusses atomic-powered submarines which were presently being constructed, with most of the work strictly secret, but some reports indicating that the vessel would be able to circumnavigate the globe at least twice on its original charge of uranium. He reckons that it hearkened the coming of atomic-powered ocean liners, if only the Russians meant business about peaceful uses of atomic energy. From there, he suggests, it was only another couple of steps to outboard motors powered by atomic energy.

He allows that skeptics would say he was just dreaming, that the lead shields would have to be so thick that they would sink the boat, but also indicates that atomic shields were becoming more efficient and simpler, with scientists and engineers talking about the prospect of an atomic-powered airplane—which would be fine until a crash into an unsuspecting neighborhood, say, in Brooklyn.

Atomic energy could make food grow faster, help fight diseases, and by use of tracer elements, make other medicines more effective. Atomic energy plants could be located in deserts and polar regions, anywhere that power was desirable, turning deserts into gardens, with almost limitless possibilities. On the small Dutch island of Curacao in the West Indies, so lacking in water that the Dutch were operating giant steam plants burning oil to distill fresh water from the sea, an extremely costly project, causing everything consumed to have to be imported from the mainland of South America, an atomic power plant to turn the sea water into fresh water could transform the island into a paradise in the ocean.

"If those Russians are smart, they'll forget about bombs. The atomic age can do as much for them as it can for the rest of us."

Richard L. Strout, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, begins by quoting the opening line of "'Twas the Night before Christmas", taking issue with the notion that all in the house was quiet as a mouse, for it was at night that you could hear the house breathing, the sounds of peace and security, by which whole eras could be recalled.

He indicates that if he were to awaken to the sound of a certain clock striking, he would know that he was back in Flatbush, in his old house with all of its accouterments, which he recounts. "Everything was all right." Not always...

Or, there would be noises from his grandfather's white farmhouse in New Hampshire, which he also describes, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees below zero, and in the distance, at about 2:30 a.m., there would come the whistle of the locomotive from the Portland Express.

Modern houses also carried their own kind of "mechanical conversation" at night, from their complicated gadgets, which he also describes.

"The creaks and whirs and vibrations of the modern home are thrown in extra. They haven't got into literature yet because nobody has thought to mention them, but they will, in time, because they represent a particular point in the art of living. They are all there, murmuring together calmly and expectantly on the night before Christmas."

A letter writer takes the side of the teacher in a controversy involving the three-day suspension of a student because he had been caught smoking in a school locker room, finding incorrect the parent of the student objecting to the punishment on the ground that the schools had allowed smoking in certain areas and at certain times out of the school building, thus stimulating the habit. He finds that the parent was stirring up a problem over something trivial in an age of serious problems. He counsels that that the parents ought realize that school officials had to stick by their guns or lose the respect of the students they governed, unable to make allowances for anyone because the parents believed that their child was special and therefore above punishment. He indicates that they were in the field of teaching, but were forced to spend too much time listening to unreasonable demands of "bullying parents", unable to answer them without causing trouble for their superiors. As a result, they had to smile and provide affirmative responses, while later having to make peace with their consciences. As far as smoking was concerned, the schools had to make rules and then enforce them. The child had pounded into their heads daily that leading doctors had found no damage to the respiratory organs from smoking cigarettes, as promoted in cigarette advertising, while leading researchers agreed with that prognosis, and those who had found correlation between cancer and tobacco tars had been unable thus far to present proof. Thus, with no ground for claiming smoking to be immoral, teachers could not give their students any good reasons why they should not smoke and teachers who provided written permission for their children to smoke during school hours left no alternative for school officials except to establish a time and place for smoking.

Sgt. Joe Friday smokes, and then smokes 'em on the job. Hey, if it's good enough for him...

A letter writer addresses the same issue, from the perspective of a Sunday School teacher of ninth graders, quoting some of his students' responses to a recent query as to what was wrong with adults, having said such things as adults did not understand the problems of teenagers, did not think that teenagers worried, talked about things they had done when they were young, but when the teenagers did the same thing, considered them wrong, that adults were too stern, did not want teenagers to have fun, did not trust them, did not think teenagers knew anything, etc. (Sunday Schoolers, the biggest cut-ups and discipline problems during the week in school, because they are of the misapprehension that Christ has forgiven them all their sins in advance...) He says that he had read the letter from the parent several times and circled certain things within it, which he proceeds to list, concluding that with three cheers for the principal of the school for standing firm on the suspension.

Just don't smoke in the first instance, dolt. Then you do not have to worry about the lure of the hard stuff and a consequent life of crime to follow to support your habit, all beginning with sneaking smokes behind the gym, while your fellow-students diligently studied the history of the nation, its government, and the world, and its literature, in the classrooms on the hill above the unaware park below the school named for the founder of the local tobacco company.

A letter writer, who was a recent graduate of a local high school in which smoking in the locker rooms was prohibited, indicates that students were informed of the rule and the consequences for its disobedience at the beginning of each school term, that students had plenty of time to smoke during lunch and in places designated by school authorities, that the majority of students believed it was not an unreasonable rule. Locker rooms were too overcrowded for smoking, troublesome to non-smokers and creating a fire hazard. Consequently, she believed the three-day suspension was not too severe, as a lighter punishment would not have accomplished anything.

Turn that student over to Sgt. Joe Friday or Dan Matthews of the Highway Patrol, and they will sort things out double-quick.

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