Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Mc Kinley [sic] Shot”
Author(s): Twitchell, E. A.
City of publication: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of publication: 19 September 1901
Volume number: 9
Issue number: 10
|Twitchell, E. A. “Mc Kinley [sic] Shot.” Representative 19 Sept. 1901 v9n10: p. .|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); anarchism (dealing with); penal colonies (anarchists); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); anarchism (laws against, impracticality of); McKinley presidency (criticism); economic system (impact on society); anarchism (laws against).|
|Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; J. Pierpont Morgan; John D. Rockefeller; Charles M. Schwab.|
Mc Kinley [sic] Shot
For the third time within the memory of middle-aged
men the telegraph flashes the startling news that the Nation’s President is
shot. President McKinley was shot while at the Buffalo Exposition Sept. 6th,
by Leon F. Czolgosz who claims to be an anarchist. Assassination like lynching
is an act which receives the condemnation of every well balanced mind. In the
public mind the assassin’s failure to kill his victim would count but little
in mitigation of his offense. Already thousands of leading citizens are expressing
themselves as to the proper and best method of dealing with anarchists. A few
hot-heads put anarchists, Socialists, Populists and even Bryanites into one
basket and vociferously demand that the whole outfit be deported to some desert
island. These jingoes forget that we already have as stringent laws as human
ingenuity can devise against all degrees of homicide. These hot-heads forget
that many of the states punish murder with death and that statistics show that
the death penalty diminishes very little if any the number of murders committed.
Some of the more conservative recognize the fact that penal legislation cannot
under any circumstances be safely extended beyond overt acts. A few of the college
professors and more thoughtful have recognized the constitutional difficulty
in legislating against anarchists, basing the legislation upon the man’s mere
belief or opinions concerning government in the absence of any overt act. In
other words they hesitate about defining as a crime a man’s opinion concerning
government or religion. They fear to form a precedent. They are afraid it would
be “too expensive.”
Their fears remind us of the following anecdote:—
A law once existed in England making it a misdemeanor for any one to say “To hell with the King.” The offence was punishable with £100 fine half of which went to the officer making the arrest.
An Irishman somewhat groggy was sitting in an alley and between his sleepy intervals was repeating to himself with a flourish of his fist the offensive words “To hell with the ——,” [sic] An officer passing and noticing that Pat did not finish his sentence tapped him on the shoulder and inquired “To hell with who, Pat?” Pat looking up and thinking of the £100 replied, “Say it yourself, mister, its [sic] too expensive.”
When these expert law makers [sic] attempt to make laws that shall deport political factions be they ever so small in numbers, they will find they “have put their foot in it.”
Overt acts which amount to crime against society are and of right ought to be punishable. A republic contemplates the existence of political forces opposed to the policies of the administration. These forces may be and often are a majority of the voting population. When a minority administration adopts policies that make it possible for Morgan, Schwab or Rockefeller to starve or reduce to squalid poverty hundreds of thousands of their employes [sic] and their families it can hardly be wondered at that some of the oppressed should become perhaps unreasonably excited. Conservative and rational citizens can see that such excitement should find expression at the ballot box in a peacable [sic] overthrow of such administration. All men are not conservativeo r [sic] rational, some men are cranks. Some cranks shoot with guns and can be best dealt with under penal legislation.
Other cranks shoot with their mouths and it would be subversive of the fundamental principles of a republic to attempt to subject these to a penal code.
We would suggest that the most efficient legislation against the so-called Reds would be legislation imposing a little wholesome and much needed restraint upon the robbing proclivities of consolidated corporations.
When rulers of nations and all great captains of industry call around them an army of private detectives as a body guard [sic], such actions can hardly be construed as the highest evidence of a clean conscience. Men who fear God and do right have little fear of assassins. Governmental support of trusts may yet prove in this country “too expensive.”