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Murder, Mayhem and the Trial of the Century

"I was crazy to come to this country!"
--Nicola Sacco, on trial for murder in Massachusetts.

At the beginning of the 20th century, terror, assassination and bombs in your mailbox are the order of the day. To the people of the United States this also means the Italians and the Jews because whenever one of these terrorists is caught, he or she is usually Italian or Jewish, or someone like that is urging him on. (FYI, I am Jewish. This stuff makes me cringe, but some assassins of the 20th century were Jewish in ancestry... not in faith. Dear God, not Jewish in faith! Let's move on.) Several men rob a shoe company in Massachusetts, brutally murdering the guard and the paymaster. The usual suspects are rounded up, and one of them fingers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti who are Italian. (Natch.) The evidence is thin, so witnesses for the prosecution are "convinced", and ballistic evidence is doctored. There are witnesses in favor of the accused, but they are mostly Italians. (These guys are hosed.) The foregone conclusion is that Sacco and Vanzetti are bad men who must be stopped dead. Sacco and Vanzetti are going to fry, but before that happens, their case will become a world-wide sensation. Poetry will be written. Long essays that would be laughed at by most third-grade grammar teachers will be praised as worthy works of erudition. It makes no difference. Seven years later, Sacco and Vanzetti will be dead along with any sense of justice or common sense. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The question remains, "Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty?" I am convinced that they were dangerous men, but they PROBABLY were NOT guilty of this crime. We'll never know because either the government or the defense tampered with the evidence either accidentally or with intent to deceive. Regarding the bigotry of the time, it was part of the eugenics war building to World War 2. Most people blame the Nazis, but eugenics did not originate with them. British and American philosophers led the way with pseudo-scientific arguments on race and "survival of the fittest". In a real sense, science had become a religion, and remains so for many people today. Here is the test. If someone says, "I believe in Global Warming," that is a clear faith statement. Religious people recognize faith statements. On the other hand, "Global Warming has been building for thousands of years," is NOT a faith statement. It is either true or false, but not a matter of faith. [4] [5]

The Brownshirts Are Here!

The newly formed German Nazi Party is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is Adolf Hitler a gifted speaker, but his "Brownshirt" regiments are making sure that his political opponents are paying close attention to his every word. Hitler is preaching freedom of religion as long as that religion is in the best interest of Germany. (shudder!) A fight breaks out between the Brownshirts and the Reds meaning the German communists. To avoid government scrutiny, Hitler calls the Brownshirts the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the Nazi Party. The German government has its hands full right now. Hyperinflation is showing its ugly head. The German mark is trading at 75 to the dollar. By November it will be 283 marks to the dollar. Next year it will be 400 marks, and the year after that, 7,000. Something must be done! So they'll do something. No one is shouting "Sieg Heil!" yet, but Hitler's youthful energy is infectious... sort of like a bad cold. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Hitler eventually came to the office of Chancellor in 1933 using the Democratic system as constituted at the time. It was recognized that he was a problem, but no one else could rally the people to a cause like he could. The world leaders trusted that the Germans would eventually come to their senses, and give this little guy the boot. As FDR came to power, he seemed to spend little concern over who was sent to Germany as ambassador. FDR sent a tweedy little history professor from the University of Chicago named William Dodd and his Nazi-loving daughter, Martha, who was willing to give her all for German-American relations... and Soviet-American relations. All kinds of relations! Apparently she was on a mission to save mankind... one man at a time. [8] [9]

Notable Births

  • Steve Allen (Entertainer who popularized the TV talk show format as the host of "The Tonight Show".) [10]
  • Gene Roddenberry (Fighter pilot, policeman and creator of something called "Star Trek".) [11]
  • And on the political front... (First Lady Nancy Reagan, astronaut and Senator John Glenn, Senator Jesse Helms, and Betty Friedan, founder of NOW) [12] [13] [14] [15]

In Other News

  • 15 million have died from the Plague in India so far. This is the 25 year accumulated death toll. [16]
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma is now under martial law. The Tulsa Race Riots have forced a crack down on the KKK. It's bad. It's real bad. [17]
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt is stricken with polio. He lost his Vice-Presidential bid to Calvin Coolidge last year. He is 39 and in a wheelchair. His political life is over. Isn't it? Not quite. [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1921, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Watson, Bruce. Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind. Viking Adult. ISBN 9780670063536. “Until 1901, anarchists in America were frequently harassed but rarely rounded up. Then that September, President William McKinley was gunned down by a drifter who boasted, "I killed President McKinley because I done my duty. . . . I am an anarchist." For the next two decades, anarchists were Public Enemy Number One.” 
  2. Sacco and Vanzetti - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Sacco's .32 Colt pistol is claimed to have passed in and out of police custody and to have been dismantled several times between 1925 and 1961 for the conduct of various examinations, most notably in the demonstration performed by defense firearms expert Albert H. Hamilton in which he removed the original barrel from Sacco's .32 Colt. It has been alleged that this dismantling and the exchange of barrels between Hamilton's two .32 Colt Automatic pistols and Sacco's gun effectively interrupted the chain of custody of the evidence.”
  3. Crimes and Trials of the Century, 2 volumes - Google Books. books.google.com (October 30, 2007). Retrieved on 22 December 2016.
  4. Chain of custody legal definition of chain of custody. legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Proof of a chain of custody is required when the evidence that is sought to be introduced at trial is not unique or where the relevance of the evidence depends on its analysis after seizure. A proper chain of custody requires three types of testimony: (1) testimony that a piece of evidence is what it purports to be (for example, a litigant's blood sample); (2) testimony of continuous possession by each individual who has had possession of the evidence from the time it is seized until the time it is presented in court; and (3) testimony by each person who has had possession that the particular piece of evidence remained in substantially the same condition from the moment one person took possession until the moment that person released the evidence into the custody of another (for example, testimony that the evidence was stored in a secure location where no one but the person in custody had access to it).”
  5. eugenics - genetics - Britannica.com (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Social Darwinism, the popular theory in the late 19th century that life for humans in society was ruled by 'survival of the fittest,' helped advance eugenics into serious scientific study in the early 1900s. By World War I, many scientific authorities and political leaders supported eugenics. However, it ultimately failed as a science in the 1930s and '40s, when the assumptions of eugenicists became heavily criticized and the Nazis used eugenics to support the extermination of entire races.”
  6. Sturmabteilung - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Their primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League (Rotfrontkämpferbund) of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists, and Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.”
  7. Adolf Hitler - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two further parliamentary elections—in July and November 1932—had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and Hugenberg's party, the German National People's Party (DNVP). On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The NSDAP gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring Minister of the Interior for Prussia. Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany.”
  8. Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 9781595551382. “The German mark, which had begun to slide two years earlier, went into free fall. In 1921 it dropped to 75 marks to the dollar; the next year to 400; and by early 1923 it plunged to 7,000. But this was only the beginning of sorrows. Germany was buckling under the pressure of meeting the payments stipulated by the Versailles Treaty.” 
  9. Larson, Erik. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. Crown. ISBN 9780307408846. “
    Hanfstaengl took a liking to Martha as well but did not think much of her father. 'He was a modest little Southern history professor, who ran his embassy on a shoestring and was probably trying to save money out of his pay,' Hanfstaengl wrote in a memoir. 'At a time when it needed a robust millionaire to compete with the flamboyance of the Nazis, he teetered round self-effacingly as if he were still on his college campus.' Hanfstaengl dismissively referred to him as 'Papa' Dodd.
    'The best thing about Dodd,' Hanfstaengl wrote, 'was his attractive blond daughter, Martha, whom I got to know very well.' Hanfstaengl found her charming, vibrant, and clearly a woman of sexual appetite.”
  10. Steve Allen - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 December 2016. “Stephen Valentine Patrick William 'Steve' Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) was an American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He graduated to become the first host of The Tonight Show, where he was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show. Thereafter, he hosted numerous game and variety shows, including The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, and The New Steve Allen Show, and was a regular panel member on CBS' What's My Line?”
  11. Gene Roddenberry - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “American television screenwriter and producer. He is best remembered for creating the original Star Trek television series. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a police officer. Roddenberry flew eighty-nine combat missions in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department where he also began to write scripts for television.”
  12. Nancy Reagan - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Nancy Davis Reagan (born Anne Frances Robbins; July 6, 1921 – March 6, 2016) was an American actress, and the wife of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. She served as the First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.”
  13. John Glenn - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters to the Air Medal.”
  14. Betty Friedan - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan co-founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which aimed to bring women 'into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men.'”
  15. Jesse Helms - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “American politician and a leader in the conservative movement. He was elected five times as a Republican to the United States Senate from North Carolina. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001 he had a major voice in foreign policy. Helms helped organize and fund the conservative resurgence in the 1970s, focusing on Ronald Reagan's quest for the White House as well as helping many local and regional candidates.”
  16. Black Death in Asia: Bubonic Plague, Kallie Szczepanski, About.com. quote="A similar outbreak in British India left about 300,000 dead in 1896-98. This outbreak began in Bombay (Mumbai) and Pune, on the country's west coast. By 1921, it would claim some 15 million lives."
  17. Tulsa race riot - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “On May 31 and June 1, 1921, hundreds of whites led a racially motivated attack on the black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing some 300 people, mostly blacks. The attack, carried out on the ground and by air, destroyed more than 35 blocks of the district, then the wealthiest black community in the nation. More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and more than 6,000 black residents were arrested and detained, some for as many as eight days. The official count of the dead by the Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics was 39.”
  18. Franklin D. Roosevelt - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “In 1920, Roosevelt was presidential candidate James M. Cox's running mate, but the Cox/Roosevelt ticket lost to the Republican ticket of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Roosevelt was stricken with debilitating polio in 1921, which cost him the use of his legs and put his future political career in jeopardy, but he attempted to recover from the illness, and founded the treatment center for people with polio in Warm Springs, Georgia.”

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