The Charlotte News
Tuesday, May 24, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles, with special authorization from the President, had rejected this date any policy of neutrality for Germany, whether only for West Germany or a potentially unified Germany, clarifying uncertainty resulting from the President's remarks at his press conference the previous Wednesday regarding the matter. Secretary Dulles said that the West German Government had been officially notified of that position. He said that he did not believe anyone seriously thought that the German people were designed to occupy a role of neutrality, given the level of industrialization in Germany and its strategic position and power resources. The President had said at the previous press conference that Austria had an armed neutrality in the wake of its new independence treaty, and was not in the status of a military vacuum, prompting speculation that the U.S. might have a similar role in mind for Germany as a negotiating point in the prospective meetings with Russia. Secretary Dulles also said that there was no change in U.S. policy of supplying military aid to Yugoslavia, despite the fact that Soviet leaders were expected to pay a visit with Marshal Tito very soon, that the mission to Belgrade by Premier Nikolai Bulganin and Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev was an "humble pilgrimage" to honor a defector from Soviet Communism, which Mr. Dulles viewed as bound to increase unrest and demands for freedom in the Soviet satellite states. He also stated that it would be surprising if Russian press criticism of U.S., British and French plans for the Big Four summit meeting were designed to change the purposes of the meeting, that the Western powers had proposed that the heads of state would deal only with procedures for solving problems with the foreign ministers assigned the task of arranging the details of any agreements. A harsh editorial in Pravda the prior Saturday had demanded that the heads of state undertake to resolve the major issues. The Secretary also stated that the dispute between Russia and the Western powers over the flow of traffic between West Germany and Berlin might be discussed at the upcoming conference. Soviet zone authorities had imposed very high taxes on truck shipments to Berlin. He further stated that the U.S. Government had made no decision on whether to move American occupation forces out of Austria into Italy to back up NATO defenses when those troops would be withdrawn, pursuant to the Austrian treaty, within 90 days of its final ratification by the signatories.
The Senate appeared ready to decline to override the President's veto of a bill providing for an 8.5 percent pay increase for 500,000 postal workers, but it still might pass a lesser increase during the session. Three hours of debate in the Senate was allotted prior to the showdown vote, expected late during the afternoon. With Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts having returned the previous day to the Senate after being absent since October because of his critical back surgery requiring a long period of recuperation, during which he suffered several complications and had to undergo subsequent surgery, the Democrats now anticipated having all of their 49 members present to vote on the matter. To override the veto, however, they would need 15 Republicans to join all 49 Democrats to provide the necessary two-thirds vote, which would also then have to be duplicated in the House. Republicans stated that they were certain that there were fewer than 15 of their membership who would vote to override, and they expected to pick up two or three Democratic votes. Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, the floor manager for the Administration on the matter, said that he would have ready another bill to provide an average 8 percent increase, somewhat higher than the 7.6 percent which the President had previously set as his upper limit.
Secretary of Labor James Mitchell this date appealed to Republican Congressional leaders for action on the Administration's bill to increase the minimum wage from 75 to 90 cents per hour, making the appeal in the presence of the President at the regular Tuesday morning meeting with the Republican leadership. House Minority Leader Joseph Martin told newsmen after the session that Mr. Mitchell had said that he was anxious that Congress do something about the minimum wage measure, which was still in committee in both the Senate and the House, as there were several measures being studied, most of which were proposing to raise the minimum wage to more than 90 cents per hour. When Mr. Martin was asked whether it was true, as Drew Pearson had charged in his column, that the Administration bill was locked up in the House committee chaired by Representative Graham Barden of North Carolina, he replied in the affirmative. Mr. Martin said that there was also discussion at the conference of the Administration's bill to create a new military manpower reserve program, which the House had set for debate the previous week but had laid aside when two anti-segregation amendments were tied to it with the aim of defeating it. Mr. Martin said that he believed they could make arrangements to pass that measure during the ensuing week or so, but declined to provide details.
In Washington, an advisory group met this date to try to work out the complicating factors in approval of the polio vaccine supply, which had arisen when breakthrough cases started cropping up involving patients contracting polio after they had received the vaccine, most of which had occurred with vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, Calif., with the head of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was supplying the vaccine free to first and second-graders, the most vulnerable group to polio, demanding this date that the Government release immediately the results of its study of the Cutter supply and manufacturing process. Of 79 post-inoculation cases thus far confirmed, 59 had been among children receiving the vaccine from Cutter. Surgeon General Leonard Scheele declined to comment on the demand of the Foundation regarding release of the report on Cutter, but a Public Health Service spokesman said that they had preliminary information but no final report on the matter. This date's conference plus the previous day's meeting of the Government's medical advisers regarding the vaccine indicated that decisions of major import might be in the offing.
In Charlotte, the City-County health officer said this date that plans for resumption of the vaccination program after the close of school would have to be approved by the City and County Boards of Health and that those plans would be submitted to those boards, with the vaccination volunteers marking time pending the clearance of additional vaccine at the Federal level. The schools would close June 3, and unless the approval came within the ensuing few days, the program would have to be extended beyond that closing date. The previous year, during the experimental summer vaccination program, the shots had to be extended beyond the close of schools, with the health officer saying that the program had been relatively successful because of the cooperation of parents who had taken their children to inoculation clinics, and he looked forward to the same level of cooperation in the event the same procedure was necessary. That was before the children knew that the vaccine was derived from monkey kidneys.
A New York garment manufacturer, Leon Levy, a partner in Bonita Originals, Inc., testified before the Senate Investigations subcommittee this date that he had provided $6,700 in cash payoffs and gifts to Government employees involved in three contracts which he had transacted on behalf of the armed forces in 1952 and 1953. He had come to the country from Lebanon during his boyhood and gave the testimony from notes maintained in his native Arabic language. He said that most of the money had gone to Maj. Eric Parnell, former chief of the clothing branch of the Army Quartermaster Corps in New York, to David Pollack, the former head of the cost-price analysis section of the Armed Services Textile and Apparel Procurement Agency in New York, to Mrs. Mella Hort, former ASTAPA contract administrator in New York, and to Joseph Porreca, former chief of inspectors for that agency and presently a New York feather dealer. Mr. Levy also gave details of other payments he had made for the same purposes. The gifts had included a $25 coat, a freezer, lingerie, liquor, two men's topcoats and some material for men's slacks. Amid laughter, Mr. Levy had said that the fabric was intended for a Capt. Wool but that another man to whom the gift had been entrusted had used it to make slacks for himself.
In Atlanta, Communications Workers of America members had voted to approve the new contract with Southern Bell Telephone Co., in consequence of which picket lines would be removed at midnight this night in the strike which had begun on March 14.
In Raleigh, the State Senate the previous night gave quick, unanimous approval to the second reading of the revenue bill to balance the budget, with the third and final reading expected to be approved the following day. The bill called for new taxes on building materials, hotel and motel receipts, coal and coke sold in carload lots, with the bulk of the 9.768 million dollars in new revenue coming from a penny increase on the taxes on liquor, wine and beer, with additional increases in taxes on automobiles, insurance premiums and sales of vehicle parts and accessories to fleet owners.
The Legislature also approved submission to the people of a proposed amendment to the State Constitution to change the time for convening each biennial legislative session, giving the power to fix the time to future Legislatures. Presently, the State Constitution said that the Legislature had to convene biennially on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January following its election, and the amendment proposed that it would meet on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in February or on such date as the Legislature would fix, the theory being that a January start to sessions was too soon for the Legislature to become aware of the amount of revenue to be derived from tax receipts for the year to afford proper planning of the budget, that a February or other date would provide for closer proximity to the time of tax collection. A bill also passed which would regulate the automobile industry, providing broad powers to the State motor vehicles commissioner, and requiring that all automobiles salesmen, dealers and representatives of distributors and manufacturers apply for licenses, which could be granted or not and potentially suspended or revoked by the commissioner, based on certain criteria.
In Winston-Salem, three police
detectives set out on a raft constructed from three oil drums, scrap
lumber and three seats, planning to navigate the Yadkin River from
the bridge at Donnaha to High Rock Lake, one saying that if they did
not make it by Thursday night, he would be out of a job as he had to
be back at work on Friday afternoon. The story does not indicate any special
purpose for the journey, apparently undertaken just for the sake of it
In Miami, Fla., a 44-year old
substitute teacher at a junior high school had resigned this date,
charging that the school was a "blackboard jungle". A
former Federal narcotics agent, he said that he had taken a revolver
from an eighth grade student and that the principal of the school was
"indifferent to the incident". But the principal said that
the substitute teacher's charges were "gross exaggeration from a
person who won't be coming back next year." The teacher had
taught in parochial and public schools for several years and stated
that the pupil from whom he took the revolver was seeking to imitate
the characters in the movie, "The Blackboard Jungle"
As long as they ain't got no bullets, what's the big deal, manny, manny? Like, teach is trippin'.
On the editorial page, "Segregation:
The Long Chain
It wonders whether the decision would stand the tests of the future, commenting that it was likely that it would not, that it was at best a delaying action, which the Board undoubtedly realized. It was designed to give the people of the state the maximum amount of time necessary to adjust to desegregation, a process which would likely not be confined to the primary and secondary grades, but would also eventually extend to undergraduate public education. It would not take long, as a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in the fall would order the admission of the three students who had been denied entry by the Board, Mr. McKissick, incidentally, appearing as one of the attorneys for the students.
It comments that the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had held on March 14, in a case out of Baltimore, that segregation in public parks and playgrounds was on the same level as segregation in public schools, violative of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, the opinion stating that it was obvious that "segregation cannot be justified as a means to preserve the public peace merely because the tangible facilities furnished to one race are equal to those furnished to the other." That decision had received relatively little attention in the South, which it finds interesting, as the decision had been rendered by Judges John J. Parker, Morris Soper and Armistead M. Dobie, commenting that it had been Judge Parker who had authored the opinion in the case challenging segregation in the Clarendon County public schools of South Carolina, subsumed at the Supreme Court under the Brown v. Board of Education decision, after the special three-judge District Court had upheld the separate-but-equal doctrine, while ordering equalization of the facilities found not substantially equal. Now, based on Brown, Judge Parker had changed his position. (That was not remarkable, of course, given the state of the law under Plessy v. Ferguson prior to Brown and the change thereafter, Judge Parker not having changed some personal position but rather precedent by which the courts were now guided having changed.)
It finds, therefore, that whether the South liked it or not, it appeared that the die was cast and that new challenges to segregation in public facilities would follow, that it would take time for those cases to be processed through the courts, but the principle of desegregation had been firmly established in Brown and the lower Federal courts were now giving every indication that they would follow that principle. It finds that the danger would be that blacks might push too far, too fast, stirring trouble and destroying any chance for orderly, peaceful solutions to take place. It counsels patience by both whites and blacks, remaining calm and avoiding extremes.
"Fair Wind for Winnie's Boy" indicates that evangelist Billy Graham was acting to attract crowds for the general elections in Britain, despite being interested in spiritual as opposed to political salvation. He had been preaching to as many as 60,000 people nightly, while the Conservative and Labor Party leaders were lucky to attract crowds numbering in the hundreds, given the general apathy regarding the elections. There was no real issue on which Labor could attack the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden, as prosperity was generally high and the Government had cast itself as a peace party by seeking and agreeing to the planned Big Four summit of the heads of state. The Government had also strengthened the welfare programs which had been instituted by Labor.
Those facts had left the opposition without much ammunition, and on top of that, Labor suffered from intra-party conflict, while the Conservatives had found new unity behind Mr. Eden. The polls and much of the British press believed that the Conservatives would retain power in the elections the following Thursday, and might perhaps increase their narrow majority in Commons.
It suggests that most Americans were probably pleased at those predictions, as Americans perceived the Conservatives to be the stronger British Government and more friendly to the U.S., despite there being little basic difference between the two parties on either domestic or foreign policies. But the anti-American diatribes and neutralism of the Aneurin Bevan wing of Labor had undermined the confidence of many Americans in the other faction of the party, the moderate wing following former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, still the party leader but in an increasingly divided party.
Americans also had respected the leadership of Winston Churchill when he had been Prime Minister, and he had groomed Mr. Eden as his successor. So, it concludes that Americans would give the Conservatives a vote of confidence, as would likely the British.
"Facts and Figures Do Too Lie" finds that the year's most flamboyant example of political daydreaming came from the Democratic high command in Washington, with the Democrats having figured up the distribution of electoral votes in the country according to how states had voted for the heads of the tickets in both the 1953 off-year and 1954 midterm elections, finding that Democrats had been elected in states representing 367.5 electoral votes and Republicans, in states representing only 163.5 electoral votes, concluding that the Republicans would have fewer electoral votes than James G. Blaine had polled in 1884 against Grover Cleveland.
The Democrats had found that the national trend had been "lopsidedly Democratic" since the presidential election of 1952, and were hopeful that it would result in the election of a Democrat as President in 1956.
It finds the trend impressive, but cautions that when presidential candidates would be heading the tickets in 1956, the results might be very different. "Besides, where politics is concerned, if there is anything so fallacious as facts, it's figures."
A piece from the Durham Morning Herald, titled "Blush Pink for GIs?" indicates that Representative Clarence Brown of Ohio had warned about a change in Army uniforms which he believed the country ought to take seriously, the Army planning to change to green uniforms during the latter part of 1956, costing an estimated 5 million dollars. Mr. Brown worried that style changes in Army colors might become frequent, resulting in comparable costs to the Government on a regular basis. In questioning Assistant Secretary of the Army Frank Higgins, Representative Brown had been unable to obtain assurance that the Army might not soon decide that maidens-blush pink would be a better color than green and switch to that.
It suggests that perhaps Mr. Brown had made a good point, and that the following season, the Army might switch its uniform color to chartreuse, henceforth changing every season. It further indicates that now that the Air Force had decided to have blue uniforms, which reminded Southerners of the Union Army during the Civil War, the Army should go one better by returning to the buff and blue uniforms of the Revolution. It acknowledges that there were not too many buff and blue uniforms, just as there were not too many Confederate gray uniforms, but the combination was associated in the popular mind with the Revolution. It finds, on second thought, that the combination might be too much of a reminder that the issue of taxes had figured in the Revolution, and with taxes being what they were at present, the taxpayer should not be reminded of the matter any more than necessary.
Drew Pearson provides the inside story of the Air Force mix-up over whether the U.S. was ahead of Russia in air power or vice versa, informing that Air Force chief of staff General Nathan Twining and General Woodbury Burgess, chief of Air Force intelligence, had, before a closed-door Senate committee meeting, denied that Russia was ahead of the U.S. in air power. But earlier, General Twining had prepared a speech to be delivered in Los Angeles on Armed Forces Day three days earlier, in which he would have given a solemn warning that Russia had made terrific progress and might be forging ahead of the U.S. in air power. On the same day, Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott had also planned to deliver a similar speech, warning that the U.S. was falling behind Russia. The President, however, and Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had asked the latter not to make that speech, as both had recently denied that the U.S. was falling behind Russia, telling him that they did not want to alarm the public. Secretary Talbott had heard of General Twining's proposed speech and had called the General, not ordering him to change his speech but conveying Secretary Wilson's advice, and that he had rewritten his own speech accordingly and suggested to the General that they would be in an embarrassing position if they gave speeches with opposing viewpoints on the same day. He also indicated that Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri, who had been Air Force Secretary under President Truman, had publicly charged that the U.S. was falling behind Russia and suggested that for the General to side with a Democratic Senator would be embarrassing to the Administration. As a result, General Twining wrote a new speech. Meanwhile, nevertheless, General Burgess made a speech in Detroit, stating, in effect, that Russian air power might be ahead of the U.S.
Mr. Pearson indicates that General Burgess and Senator Symington, as well as Secretary Talbott and General Twining in their planned speeches, had based their concerns on the jet bombers which American observers had seen in Russia on May Day, where there were 15 giant 37-type jets on display, compared to one the previous year, whereas the U.S. had two B-52 jet bombers of the same size a year earlier and now had only three. Ten days later, those observations were confirmed by a spokesman for the Defense Department, but on May 18, the President said just the opposite. General Burgess, however, being an intelligence officer, had given an unvarnished speech before the American Legion in Detroit, and his facts and conclusions had been correct. Nevertheless, General Twining called him to inform him that the speech had gotten them in trouble because of its timing, with hearings set before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
General Burgess, General Twining and Secretary Talbott then appeared before the Committee in executive session, with General Burgess claiming that the Associated Press report on his speech had misquoted him. But Mr. Pearson presents what he had stated to the American Legion in Detroit, having urged that the U.S. should neither overestimate nor underestimate the Russians, that they were just as smart as American scientists and weapons developers and "maybe smarter", had an Air Force just as good as that of the U.S. and "maybe better". When General Burgess got back to the Pentagon, he was called in to see Secretary Wilson, who was cordial in saying that he had placed his foot in his mouth, showing cartoons which had lampooned Secretary Wilson for his statements the previous year regarding "bird dogs" and "kennel dogs", in referring to unemployed young men eligible for the draft, preferring those who would go out and hunt for their food.
Mr. Pearson notes that an order by General Twining had been issued for a complete review of the U.S. air program to see where the U.S. stood in relation to Russia.
Marquis Childs, still in London, tells of the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden heading into the general elections as shoo-ins for retaining power, campaigning on the notion that Britons had never had it so good. He finds that both Labor and Conservatives operated on "pathetically amateurish and improvised" standards, compared to U.S. politics.
The Conservatives had more money to spend and carefully planned their television appearances for utmost effect, trying to give the appearance that they were the class best fitted to govern.
Labor was divided between the fiery Aneurin Bevan and his followers, and the regulars led by mild-mannered former Prime Minister Attlee, a divided party which was evoking a great deal of emotion over the threat of the hydrogen bomb but was offering little in the way of sober advice. Additionally, the promise of further nationalization by Labor did not hold any appeal for the voters, which was why the Socialist campaigners were saying almost nothing about it. It had long previously become evident that exchanging a private monopoly for a public monopoly, as in the railroads and coal mines of Britain, did not automatically result in better wages and hours, the nationalized industries being in trouble, with more ahead because of rising prices and stagnant wages.
Almost no one talked about the high sales tax, or "purchase tax" as it was called in Britain, despite it contributing greatly to the high cost of living, and, surprisingly, Labor was not pointing out the absence of a capital gains tax in Britain, enabling the wealthy who dealt in stocks and bonds to achieve untaxed profits. That, plus the agricultural subsidy, enabled the thinning ranks of the upper class, having adjusted to the welfare state, to imitate the old assured upper-class existence, determined to preserve what was left of what Labor denounced as "pride, self and privilege".
John Cogley, writing in Commonweal, finds several words and phrases which were made to mean what they did not mean, sometimes the exact opposite, such as "intellectual", which he says referred to two types of intellectuals, the "pseudo-intellectual" or the "true intellectual", the former being a man with whom one did not agree but whose vocabulary one could not match, while the latter was a man whose vocabulary was no more extensive than one's own and whose views were identical to one's own.
"Liberal" referred to several types, such as soft-headed, mush-headed, knuckle-headed, etc., and that when in doubt, one should put the word in quotation marks to suggest the general category, there basically being, however, two types, "so-called liberals" and "true liberals", the former believing in liberalism while the latter hated liberalism.
"Jeffersonian Democrat" referred to a reactionary Republican.
"Left Wing" was a broad category embracing everyone from members of the Communist Party to Eisenhower Republicans.
"Fifth Amendment" was "something behind which Communists hide." It proved beyond any doubt that a person who invoked it was "guilty of any and all charges made against him."
"Sophisticated Anti-Communist" referred to a person who frequently quoted the Daily Worker, used Marxist terminology and considered any distinctions made between actual party members and those who joined the front organization in 1944 to be hairsplitting.
"Civil Liberties" was something over which eggheads and so-called liberals, aided and abetted by bleeding hearts, raised a hue and cry.
"Democracy" was "that which the United States was not intended to be."
"Republic" was "that which the United States was intended to be."
"Natural Law" was "the law that proves that high tariffs, racial segregation, the open shop and abolition of personal income tax are all divinely favored."
One would have to add nowadays, especially if indoctrinated by Fox Propaganda, that the natural law includes the right to have any goddamn gun one wants anywhere one wants and as many goddamn bullets available for it as one goddamn wants, free to do what one goddamn wishes to do with it, carry it in public, carry it into a school, carry it into a kindergarten, carry it into a church, carry it any goddamn place one wants, and if it happens to go off, well, so be it, as it is just a natural consequence of a "natural law".
That Foxy "natural law", it might be noted, has become so ingrained in the collective mindset of a younger generation never exposed to the military draft, and consequent enforced reflection on the actual horrors attendant warfare, that YouTube, for instance, appears to provide no age restrictions at all on a whole host of homemade videos on guns and explosive devices, homemade silencers and the like, how to make them, how to use them, the stuff of "manliness", "independence" and "self-defense" after all, while it does impose age restrictions on such scientifically instructive videos as one we ran across during the past year involving a medical film from the 1950's showing heart surgery, accompanied by a doctor's narration, presumably because, oooooo-oooh-oooooo, that's icky, mommy.
One of the Foxy brain-children, appearing with the "Blossom" and Messy Wawtas, yesterday proclaimed it, in the same breath with that "natural law" "self-defense" firearm "right", an "impeachable offense" for President Biden to propose gun control legislation to Congress. She may have, indeed, demonstrated a "red flag" suggestive of being sufficiently non compos mentis to warrant a hearing on whether she should be permitted to own a firearm.
John Steinbeck, writing in the Saturday Review, discusses juvenile delinquency in the country, suggests that the Middle Ages had some salutary aspects, even if the methods of punishment for crime tended toward the barbaric. But there had been, he posits, community and family responsibility for crimes by members of the communal and family units during the Middle Ages, serving as a deterrent to the worst of the criminal transgressions. For if the individual tendency of the young perpetrator of crimes was toward self-sacrifice, as was often exhibited, he observes, among modern juveniles, the tendency to ask, when caught, for immediate admission to the electric chair, to "get it over with", then holding the family unit responsible, including parents and siblings, could serve to cause the perpetrator, often given to sentimental feelings regarding their immediate family members, to think twice, that it would not only be their own skins being sacrificed should they commit the ultimate crime of murder, but also, perhaps, members of their family.
He recognizes that such vicarious liability for crime would receive strenuous objection from the doctrinaire members of society, of whom he counts himself as one, but suggests that the notion ought at least receive some level of serious thought.
The thought immediately comes to mind, however, of Lidice in Czechoslovakia, following the car-bombing by the resistance in late May, 1942 in Prague, which resulted in the death of the Nazi gauleiter for Bohemia, Reinhard Heydrich, leading to the rounding up and killing of every male in Lidice, razing of the village, and imprisoning of the women and children, because the Nazis believed that the village was harboring the group of individuals who were responsible for the killing of the man who had approved earlier in 1942 the "final solution" at the infamous Wannsee Conference.
Obviously, Mr. Steinbeck had no such community punishment for individual crime in mind, but, when taken far enough in an atmosphere of collective madness, such results can occur in any community or society where punishment becomes an obsession based on excessive publicity given to individual crimes, leading to a type of hysterical desperation to end all crime through repressive measures, exchanging individual freedom for excessive preoccupation with security, dispensing with the proverbial baby, as it were, while disposing of the bathwater.
While there is a point at which parents should become responsible for the extreme actions of their juvenile offspring, under circumstances where the parents supply or knowingly permit possession of the dangerous instrumentality, such as guns, utilized in a serious crime, such as murder or attempted murder, and have actual or constructive knowledge that the child is not sufficiently mature to use that supplied instrument in a responsible manner, there is also the necessity for the community to take responsibility as well for such inevitably undue parental tolerance, and take it into account, assuming its presence, when passing local ordinances or state statutes, such that juveniles below a certain age are absolutely forbidden from purchasing, having or using such instrumentalities, with or without parental supervision or permission, prior to an age where there is at least sufficient general maturation within the population to afford the likelihood of responsible behavior, holding the while not only the parents or guardians responsible but also the immediate sellers and suppliers of the instruments to the person below the requisite age, with substantial punishments for violation.
In the case of guns, however, as, say, contrasted with an automobile, no specific minimum age provides more than a modicum of such assurance of reliable use and care, as the gun is an inherently dangerous instrumentality, which, on balance, has such limited social utility under ordinary circumstances, beyond national defense and professional law enforcement, and has become so ensconced in the public mind through time with notions of glamorous exertion of authority and will over others, a symbol of raw power, born of decades of movie and television programming to that effect, the association of the gun with "toughness" and moral suasion, with insufficient counter-association regarding its possessor's inherent weakness, the need for the gun being rather uniquely effeminate in character, when boiled down to actual cases, a quick resort to mama's apron strings rather than wits when the going gets tough on the street or in the home or at the workplace, so much so that there is little if any rationale for allowing its sale to persons of any age, even with complete background checks which meet all rational criteria. (Recently, in May, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2 to 1 ruling in Jones v. Bonta, with two Trump appointees, naturally, constituting the majority, held California's law requiring a person to be 21 before being allowed to purchase long guns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Hopefully, the matter will be heard en banc by the Court and we have not heard the last of this decision, and so we shall await further proceedings before making direct comment on it. Such a decision does point up the problem, however, in resort to formulaic recitative checkbox formations of the law, applied to obtain a preconceived outcome commensurate with the ukases of the Federalist Society, rather than exerting rational thought, without Skinnerian preconditioned constraints, especially in areas of the Constitution, as with the Second Amendment, where there is very little case law available for guidance, to reach decisions salutary for the society, all of the society, in which we daily must live, not in 1791 or even in 1991, but now. If it appears bizarre, even quite insane, to suggest that, despite the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, the government can place age limitations on the otherwise unfettered right of exercise of the franchise but not on the substantially qualified "right" to bear arms under the Second Amendment, then you need only go so far as consulting the rhetoric attached to guns fomented on the society by the Federalist Society and its adherents to obtain explanation for that insanity. You will not find it deeply ingrained in the legal traditions of the United States, at least prior to about 1980—when the two judges who drafted that absurd decision were still young children.)
The "shooters" we repeatedly see during the previous four decades in news stories have usually undergone and passed routine background checks to obtain their legally purchased guns, have shown little, if any, "signs" of aberrant behavior which might serve as "red flags" in advance of shooting day, with the parents and associates sometimes not even aware that the individual has the gun, "red flags" that is, save in a fascist society where suspicion is drawn to persons by virtue of their status, not actual violent personal behavior. The shooters have, more often than not, lain low for the most part until they decide to act one day after months or even years of careful, secret planning for their day of infamy, whether to get even with a society for its rejection or simply having given up to the point where "suicide by cop" appears to be the only viable option left, or any number of other individual motivating factors which lead to violence aimed generally at a mass of people.
Reducing the availability of guns and ammunition to all, not just to those deemed a "risk", is the only way, ultimately, to end the cycle of gun violence which obviously feeds on itself, especially among the young and immature, through too much media attention paid to these individual crimes through time on a regular basis. Prior to the advent of 24-news via cable, such routine mass violence aimed generally at anyone in the line of fire was not known, except in quite exceptional circumstances. The only variable is the wall-to-wall routine coverage of the crime scene, not just as a two-minute segment on a local newscast as in earlier times, but hours upon hours of incessant, obsessive coverage, coverage of the shooter, the scene, the police involved, the victims, the victims' families, the heroes, the villains, the coping with the grief, the funerals of the victims, until it all dissolves finally into a kind of unkind tale told by an idiot to the point where people cannot any longer feel anything except contempt for a society which continues to allow guns to be sold at all to anyone.
More drills, more lockdowns, more repressive measures, more ways of "detecting in advance" "mental illness", as ill-defined as such terms become in the hands of the lay public, dangerously so, to the point of intolerance toward anyone exhibiting even a slight form of behavior considered aberrant by the community, whether in style of dress, hair, speech, what have you, all born of hysterical fear, are obviously not the answers—curtailing or chilling of necessity fundamental liberties to make way for a "liberty" in use and possession of guns never intended by the Founders lest "well regulated militia" would never have been included as the initial modifying phrase of the Second Amendment "right", at a time when cumbersome, slow-firing, inaccurate, short-range musketry were the only personal weapons in common usage, lucky to hit the broad side of a barn door at twenty paces.
The places hit by gun violence usually are well-drilled, perhaps too well-drilled, to the point of militaristic discipline insanely imposed on a civilian society, typically by ex-military whiz kids feigning possession of all the answers for their home folks, accomplished through overactive police and politicians not paying attention to the real problem in their midst, or, in some cases, deliberately distracting from the obvious so as not to lose their place of respect and authority in the increasingly insane community, the toleration, even the encouragement, of a culture of stress on guns, all at the expense, and in some cases, the deliberate diminution of intellectuality, rational thought and encouragement generally of culture in that same community, as it descends gradually but certainly into collective behavior dissociative from any reality beyond that concocted and instilled by moviemakers, tv producers, radio gabfests, and "news" organizations, all bent, at the end of the day, on competition for the attention of audiences, engorging the perception that the predatory jungle is just a half-step away and intruding steadily and stealthily, with every high tide and lap-lap of the sea, onto their middle class comforts and security measures, the carefully, stone by stone constructed Trumpian walls surrounded by the community moat and drawbridge at the borders to keep out the riffraff from "our community", all "checked" thoroughly and approved or not by the local checkers, slowly become the equivalent of Berlin in 1938—all as contrarietal as it gets to the society envisioned by the Founders when they drafted, passed and sent to the states for ratification the Constitution, some communities even becoming an extension of their third-world heritage, replete with its hell-on-earth fascist aspects, merely transplanted to the United States, all with the happy-happy approval of the Sing Along gang representing them in Congress, when they deign to come home to their "fine, fine, god-fearing" wunderkind to tell them how well they are fulfilling their forebears' intentions, as those communities keep them in power and as stars of the reality tv show broadcast daily on C-Span.
We reiterate that the only way to end the cycle of violence is for everyone to exert responsibility, not increasingly holding parents responsible for the actions of their minor children, only encouraging extreme discipline in the home which can result in making a good child turn to delinquent behavior for the undue suspicion cast on them, in reaction to which spite becomes seemingly justified toward the too strict parent who has sought only to avoid parental liability over imagined danger never in fact obtaining outside the tv-reality in the parents' minds. That ultimate responsibility is to repeal the anachronistic Second Amendment which has no place in modern society and has, in practice, lost its original meaning having to do with the maintenance of a "well regulated militia", to the point of absurdity, macabre absurdity, resulting in routine deaths of citizens every day to gun violence, too often en masse and without any immediate connection to the shooter.
During the Vietnam War, it took, finally, four months in 1971, following decades of talk about lowering the national voting age from 21 to 18, to pass and ratify the 26th Amendment. The people got fed up and it represented a symbolic way of expressing that anger and frustration over sending young people involuntarily into war via the draft when they could not even yet vote for the representatives making those decisions impacting their chances of surviving to age 21.
Until the country really gets enough motivated to end this cycle of death by repealing the Second Amendment, nothing much is going to change. The society will never know whether such repeal will lower the violence until it has been given a chance over the course of a decade or so to work.
Assuming that process of amendment will only be transacted slowly, however, the society, in the meantime, must hold accountable the gun manufacturers and ammunition manufacturers with unlimited potential for actual and punitive damages under strict liability for any unlawful shooting accomplished with their product, legally obtained, manufactured within 25 years of the illegal usage. That accomplished, the means of undertaking such shootings will soon leave the society, just as the old fascination and fantasy surrounding cigarettes for decades following the Civil War has largely left the society over time and in response to serious local, state and Federal regulation; and sustenance of the wild west show on which some members of Congress and members of state legislatures seem to thrive for obtaining votes from naive, gullible constituents, will soon end.
We do not allow private manufacturers to produce atomic bombs. There is no ground for assertion of "free enterprise" when it comes to the manufacture of an inherently dangerous instrumentality with virtually no redeeming social utility, as in the case of guns in the hands of the citizenry in modern times. Motor vehicle manufacture is more closely regulated by the government than are firearms, a patently absurd situation. Require manufacturers of new guns to place microchip tracking devices on every gun sold, removal of which would automatically disable the gun; require sellers of used guns to place such tracking chips on all used guns sold, with felonies and mandatory prison sentences for violation; impose taxes of $250 per gun annually on every gun sold, new or used, not dissimilar to the modern motor vehicle taxes, with the fees collected going to a fund for victims of gun violence, and, voila, the fascination with guns, especially among the young, will quickly dissipate by virtue of the pocketbook and the beneficially paranoid notion that, with a gun, the central character of 1984 is, indeed, peering over one's shoulder at the gun range, tending to eviscerate quickly that imagined wild west scene in which one is with horse, boots, spurs and gun, alone, insular, patrolling the desolate prairie for marauders, the forces of evil and injustice, preying on the weak and fragile things, the little gophers and groundhogs, until one catches a glimpse in the mirror of the actual evil at work on your psyche.
Obviously, people can drive vehicles into crowds and can use knives or poisons or homemade bombs or poisonous snakes and spiders to kill, but the chance of avoiding serious injury or death from such contrivances is much greater than with the use of a gun, simply because of the need for immediate proximity in the use of a vehicle or most other instrumentalities to inflict death or great bodily injury. There is no rubber bathtub available for any society and there will always be exceptions to the rule, but to sit and do nothing in the face of daily or weekly mass gun violence is to participate in the definition of insanity: repeating the same pattern of conduct in the face of known untoward consequences.
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