Page 5


REAL, LIVE ECONOMIC BARONS The Three Musketeers AUSTIN The three musketeers of county weekly journalism in Texas, Ernest Joiner of the Ralls Banner, H. M. Baggarly of the Tulia Herald, and Archer Fullingim of the Kountze News, have taken up their lances and charged on the Sept. 9 state Democratic convention. Joiner wrote: ti Daniel went liack on his convention promise to honor senatorial district caucus nominations and kicked two such nominees off the state executive committee. He stamped his tiny little feet and he pounded with his tiny little hands. Shove a balcony under him and he was another Mussolini ; a mop under his nose, and another Hitler…. The governor is a political kleptomaniac. He has an overwhelming compulsion to steal, even if what he wanted to steal has already been surrendered to him voluntarily…. It took Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Allan Shivers, and a dozen other master-politicians working full time to keep this pusillanimous pipsqueak in the driver’s seat. They all must be very proud of the governor of Texas today. The gutless wonder of Texas politics…. He is a big man, once safe. He has to prove it. All small men do. Baggarly wrote : Ai All the major dailies, including the Republican Dallas News and those at Houston, San Antonio and other downstate cities, condemned Daniel for his stupidity and dishonesty…. The daily press once again pulled out all the stops in an effort to make it appear that in San Antonio it was Johnson-Rayburn-Daniel vs. Yarborough. This was the same press that told us last spring that Daniel, Johnson and Rayburn were lined up behind Bill Blakley. Even though Johnson and Rayburn did seem to follow the dictates of expediency in their effort to achieve unity ‘at any price,’ they did go on record as opposing the treachery of the governor. 97 Fullingim wrote : Ai Once a man like Daniel turncoats on the political party that made him you can never trust him again. Reason for this is that that turncoat ,stripe is an inch wide right down the middle of his back…. Before the betrayal by Daniel at San Antonio, Johnson and Rayburn had thrown in with him to keep Daniel in control, so all three would be in control in 1960. But it is not going to work out that way, Lyndon. You lost your chance at San Antonio. Every loyal Democrat in Texas is going to have only one thing on his mind until next May and that is kick you out with Price for the treachery at San Antonio. Even though Lyndon may have got down on his knees and begged Daniel not to betray the Democrats of Texas in the final minutes, Johnson is also a betrayer. And from this day forward, for the first time I’m going to put Johnson in the same class with Shivers, Daniel, Ikewhat else has he done anyway in the last five years but try to make Ike, Nixon, Daniel look good? Have you ever heard Johnson open his traitorous mouth against the Republicans ? Henceforth, I never knew Lyndon Johnson…. For I’ve had enough of Lyndon Johnson, not only at state conventions but in the U. S. senate. I’ve had enough of his betrayals. He did it in 1956 at the state convention and now he does it again in 1958. … Let us see him henceforth as he is, The Enemy .. AUSTIN Lincoln Steffens, William E. Borah, William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, names honored by the republic, repeated and repeated again the warning : special interests can dominate a democracy to the exclusion of the public interest, even the most mandatory public interest ; the people must be vigilant against economic barons. In the days of Hogg, Texas heard the warning, heard its governor when he counseled “when the monopolists . shirk their public duty, the public must hold them to it.” But in a modern era of corporations grown respectable and responsible, aware of public _ opinion, fathering cultural foundations, bargaining with labor, the cry of “robber baron” does not widely apply. If there is today still such a thing as a corporate evil, it does not often manifest itself in the open purchase of public officials, the total debasement of a legislature. The will of a special interest is to. : day expressed more subtly. These. past weeks the Hale-Aikin Committee of Twenty Four, authorized by the Texas legislature to study the public school situation. in Texas, has been hammering together its report. In one sense the committee is composed almost exclusively of two special interests antagonistic to each other : the oil lobby and the teacher lobby. On crucial issuescrucial not only for the interests but for the public interest as wellthe division has been sharp. The teachers wanted more money. They marshalled the votes and they rammed through their proposals, which will be presented to the next legislature. The oil lobby focused on expenditures ; its spokesmen, Stone Wells, lobbyist for the Tennessee Gas Transmission Company, and Charles Bring AUSTIN We are guilty of killing. Our most recent victim was Marshall I.amkin, a 54 year old Luling man. Since we told him of our decision, last June, 1957, that was, we have kept him alive on the chance we might change our minds. Twelve times we set the time, twelve -times he counted the days and half-days before his death, twelve times we decided to wait a little longer, and he, like all the others we have killed, stumbled barefoot a little further along the broken glass path of desperate hope. Then, last Friday, the thirteenth time he had begged us, we decided it was time to go ahead with it. He wanted to see his wife and children, but they didn’t come ; she did not want to, or she could not bring herself to. We went to the death room with him and he said to us “Just keep on praying and maybe God will make everything all right.” We strapped him in, you his left hand, I his right, you his left foot, I his right. He looked very sad and mumbled, “I just don’t understand it.” Together we sent the white fire through him, burning him to death from the inside, and after we made sure he was dead, we went home to bed. What didn’t he understand? His wife not coming probably. He had been a shoe shine boy, and he had been found guilty of shooting a white man with a shotgun, so it may not have puzzled him, who took a life, perhaps, to have us kill him back. But how do you feel, fellow killer, fellow citizen.? I do not feel so good. FIRST there is the fact one finds in Jack Donahue’s article in the Houston Post that Don Reid, editor of the Huntsville Item, who has seen 156 men die in the electric chair at Huntsville, is convinced that six of them were innocent. He will not name them, it being somewhat too late. Let’s see, six, 156, one in 26, one murder per 25 “capital punishments.” Well, he may be wrong, of course. Capital punishment is an interesting euphemism. Capital ! that punishment. Simons, executive vice-president of Mid-Continent Oil and Gas, are most of all worried about taxes in the next legislature: Little fault can be found with either group for taking counsel of its own needs, as long as in so doing it does not betray the public purpose for which the committee was formed, to draw up a plan for improved public school education. Since increased teachers’ pay may well result in better education, the wishes of the teacher lobby coincides with the public interest at least to this extent. But the proposals of Simons and Wells seem to be wholly’corporate in origin with a thought not for the public interest. THEY WOULD HAVE the state discontinue the school lunch and milk program, “a responsibility of parents,” and they would have the state refuse to accept federal aid for vocational aid to education because they are “more concerned about bankruptcy of the federal government.” They would have the state withdraw from the field of ad valorem taxation, allocated under the state constitution to pay for school textbooks. That self-interest can be so truculent in the public forums of the state’s committees may not, at this late date, be news, but the alacrity with which. certain of the people’s representatives bent an attentive ear to the utterances Of Mr. Simons and Mr. Wells should be. The Hale-Aikin committee is named for Senator A. M. Aikin of Paris, chairman, and Rep. DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi, vice-chairman. While trying to steer the politician’s course between the teachers and the oilmen, Hale and Aikin were at times pressed by events to take stands. For instance, Simons suggested’ that Hale change It helps us to forget the burning flesh. Only in one way could a civilized modern man justify capital punishment; by believing it deters violent men from crime. An informed man cannot really believe this, because the statistical facts prove it is false. Texas, for example, which kills, has 10.6 murders per 100,000 persons last year ; Michigan, which does not kill, has 4.1 \( Michigan’s maximum sentence is rates for capital punishment, and then life imprisonment states, respectively, as they are closest in population : Georgia, 13.9, -Wisconsin, 1.7 ; Alabama, 16.2, Minnesota, 1.0 ; Colorado, 3.9, Maine, 1.2 ; Arizona, 13.9, Rhode Island, 1.2. The figures for Western Europe, as one recalls, are the same : at the very least one must say that they do not show that killing deters killers. But if we cannot believe reasonably that executions deter violent crime, we believe it sophistically, we cannot hear the vengefulness we yield to now and then, cannot bear to accept it as part of us. When you were in a fight, did you beat him more than you needed to, to protect yourself ? We have hired judges, jurymen, jailers, the deed itself we leave to an electrician of some kind, we hire a doctor to be sure he’s dead,. but as all the paratroopers in El Biarat Algiers, where the French torture -the Algerian rebels, are “all caught up in the machinery, all of them already beyond forgiveness,” we are all implicated in the killing we leave legal without protest ; the life we judge to death is portioned to each of us impartially, a black shadow sleeping everywhere. Tarrou, in The Plague, tells of his horror when he learned that his father being a prosecuting attorney meant sending men to their deaths. One day he went to the court to watch his father at work. “That little man about . 30, with sparse, sandy hair, seemed so eager to confess everything, so genuinely horrified at what he’d done and what was going to be done with him, that after a few minutes I had eyes for nothing and nobody else. He slightly the wording of part of the committee’s report. Hale complied so rapidly he did not pause to ask the committee to vote. The changes were innocuous enough ; the procedure edifying. Again, Hale took it upon himself to “explain” to the committee that a one per cent raid on the permanent fund was not really a raid at all. He told a long story to illustrate his point. After thus demonstrating his good will to Simons, he voted against the raid, with the teachers, and with, unquestionably, the weight of informed public opinion in the state. AIKIN was more fortunate. His position as chairman freed him from the awkward necessity of voting, and it was not until the very close of the meeting he was forced to accommodate the oil industry \(although ultimately, of course, he will be loyal to largely done, the committee has now only to draft its report in final form and get it out to the public. Simons, on the drafting committee, told Aikin he wanted to delay things for a month, as he had an oil convention to attend. It is not unfair to surmise that the interests Simons represents are not too anxious to have a report calling for millions of dollars in new expenditures circulated widely among the people. Dana Williams, superintendent of Corsicana schools, said he was anxious to get the report distributed to the people and asked Aikin to appoint somebody to replace Simons. Caught between the purpose of the committee on one hand, and Simons on the other, Aikin paused, coughed, ignored the request, asked various members if they could be on hand at the date agreeable to Mr. Simons, and declared the meeting adjourned until that time. L.G. looked like a yellow owl scared blind by too much light. His tie was slightly awry, he kept biting his nails, those of one hand only, his right … I needn’t go on, need I ? You’ve understoodhe was a living human being.” For capital punishment is not only the killing ofinnocents, it is even more the killing of the guilty, our judging them, each of us who has hated, pronouncing the one whose hate has conquered him unfit for life and killing him. What is so different from a guilty man killing, and guilty men killing a guilty man? BUT it has been a long time, brothers, since the people of Israel came into the wilderness of Sinai, and on the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people trembled, and God descended upon the mountain in fire, and the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain quaked greatly, and God told Moses : “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money. “When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him ; and he shall pay a6 the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or feMale, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free for the eye’s sake.” And much has passed, and become firm. R.D. Page 3 September 26, 1958 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Your Own Guilt