Publication information
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Source: West Coast
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “The Lion’s Den”
Author(s): Lummis, Charles F.
Date of publication: January 1913
Volume number: 13
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 35

Lummis, Charles F. “The Lion’s Den.” West Coast Jan. 1913 v13n4: p. 35.
society (criticism); presidential assassination.
Named persons
John Wilkes Booth; Leon Czolgosz [misspelled below]; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; John F. Schrank.


The Lion’s Den [excerpt]

WE are the World-Beaters! We crow louder, have less manners—individual or national—than any other people now extant; we squander more than would feed and furnish another nation; we brag harder, invent more, hurry faster, live less, have more divorces and fewer children, more business and less art, more sky-scrapers and fewer homes, more murders and less Justice, more laws and fewer enforcements, more crimes and fewer convictions, more suicides—race suicides, abortions, fads, contempt of courts, rotten politics, orphan asylums, soldiers’ homes, churches, women’s clubs, railroads, trusts, reforms, freaks, philanthropies and other indices of Acute Civilization, than any other land the sun blinks upon. We are IT. We admit as much ourselves. And having the worst newspapers in the world and the yellowest magazines and the damnedest undammed flood of the worst books—we have plenty of corroborative evidence.

Our Long Suit

     Particularly we are Heavy on Murder. We are the only folks on earth that still “bring the children” to enjoy burning someone at the stake, and pick up pieces of the roasted human flesh as “souvenirs.” We have roasted, in this land of the Free and Home of the Brave, more “fellow critters” than the Inquisition ever did. Ain’t we The People!

We Lead the World

     Likewise, we maintain our Proud Preeminence for what historians call “Assassination”—that is, not the vulgar murder of spare individuals, but the anarchistic slaughter of them in authority, just because they ARE in authority. No monarchy on earth has matched our record of assassination in the half century since we adopted ALL our bad habits. Once in a while a Czar of the Russias is exploded, or a dictator of Central America; but these peaceful and law-abiding countries are a poor second to the Great Republic, when it comes to official and every-day murder.
     Let’s flap our wings and crow some more! Let’s Pity the Poor Effete Nations a little yet! Let’s light the kerosene on a few more “niggers” to illume our self-satisfaction! And let us unanimously pass this resolution:
     Resolved: that while we deprecate the ill taste of such as habitually shoot our chief magistrates or other officers of the law, we are “The People.”

Forty Per Cent

     In the last fifty years there have been ten presidents of the United States. Three of them have been “killed dead” in office—or nearly one-third. Another was assassinated after his term—but was too tough to stay dead. Proud Record, no?
     Don’t put it off on the cheap devils that pulled the trigger. It’s comfortable, but not true. The blood of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Roosevelt—isn’t that a proud list?—lies not so much on the head of Booth and Guiteau and Czolgos and Schrank as on the head of this Republic—and on you and me and every one of us. These four crazy assassins were “inspired” by something. Chiefly by the contempt of law which has come to its climax in this Republic. Ever think who is mostly responsible? Who laughs at the law and daily flouts it?
     But there are still elements of strength in the Republic. It speaks well for us that the assassin of our ex-president was not made the Headliner of a Bonfire; but by due process of law was tucked away to an insane asylum. Our courts are humane—but they are about the only thing left us that’s dependable—so far as they are. They need revising—but not by the Mob.



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