Mrs. Austin Has Her Say
We are strangers, but I am not modest
about addressing a stranger when I have something to say. I am heartily
disgusted with The Truth Seeker editorial on the assassination of
McKinley. It sounds cowardly and it sounds hypocritical.
If the “enactment of repressive laws”
would be “proper enough to protect our representatives,” how can
anything that is thus proper work “injustice to innocent people”?
Wouldn’t it be more in line with common sense to protest flatly
against the enactment of repressive laws, which cannot be right
or proper under any circumstances?
Besides, I cannot see as our representatives
deserve special laws for their protection any more than the hod-carrier
or day laborer, who on the whole is a far more useful member of
I am sorry to see The Truth Seeker
grow rabid in its denunciation of Czolgosz. The line of reasoning
adopted by the Editor, namely, that Czolgosz cannot complain at
the infliction of the death penalty, because he resorted to “deadly
weapons; that if he could reason he had the right to use them, then
he must admit others have the same right”—this line of reasoning,
I say, is probably the one Czolgosz followed. The ruling classes
murder men, year in and year out, legally of course. Their first
resort in every difficulty is deadly weapons.
Czolgosz simply followed their example.
 He presumed it was his duty
and a benefit to humanity to remove a certain man, and he did it.
The man had never harmed him directly, it is true; neither had the
culprit in the felon’s dock who received the death sentence from
a murderous judge ever harmed that judge directly, but the judge
presumed he had a duty to perform in removing that man, and he did
it. I can see no difference in the two acts; both are the wilful
[sic] taking of human life, but if obliged to choose between the
two I should say Czolgosz’s motive was the nobler of the two. His
act meant self-destruction, and this proved his sincerity to a mistaken
idea of duty. On the other hand, no judge would sentence another
man to death, if the sentence meant his own doom. This proves that
their idea of duty is a hypocritical pretense. The assertion in
the editorial that “the savage has assassinated our liberties as
well as our representative and there is but one deserved fate
for him, death!” has a good old-fashioned [?] to it, something
like “an eye for an eye,” etc. Perhaps if the ruling class would
set a less bloodthirsty example before men, there would not be these
few occasions to weep and wail over the untimely taking off
of one of their number. That talk about “assassinating our liberties”
is bombast. No man can kill liberty. The spirit of liberty will
die only when the race is extinct.
For three weeks the pulpit and press
of this country have so far surpassed Czolgosz in their exhibition
of murderous frenzy that the latter seems an angel of light in comparison.
They have done their best to incite the mob spirit in the ignorant
fanatics, and this while innocent men and women are under
arrest, with no shadow of evidence against them. The Press has so
lied about and vilified an innocent woman that, if acquitted,
her life is in danger. Yet you infernal headlights of The Truth
Seeker dare not write an editorial in condemnation of this spirit,
or say one word in defense of our imprisoned comrades, whom you
know to be innocent. I’d hate to feel as small as you must,
and I know you will not get angry at anything I say, for you will
feel you deserve it. One consolation: I learned in The Truth
Seeker news items who that miserable cur John J. O’Rorke is. His
letter is circulating far and wide in the press, and unspeakably
defames Emma Goldman. The one who made the comment, “that his statement
so far as the Manhattan Liberal Club is concerned is a lie,” might
just as well have said the whole letter is a lie. O’Rorke
is a fine specimen of humanity; no use wasting breath condemning
Czolgosz while [?] as he disgrace the earth.
Well, I’ve said my say, and I feel
heartsick over the cowardice and brutality of this age. Sincerely
| Caplinger Mills, Mo.