NOVEMBER 12, 1953
SEATTLE, Wednesday—A book was sent me in connection with capital punishment called "Anyone's My Name" and I think people who are thinking about this subject will find it interesting reading. It is published by Simon and Schuster.
I will have to confess that I have a further reason for objecting to capital punishment which I did not state in my previous column. It seems to me that no matter how hard we try to make our system of justice as good as possible, we can never be sure that anything human is always right and to take upon ourselves the taking of human life has always been something I shrink from. Though as a matter of fact I feel sure that I personally would prefer a quick death to life imprisonment.
I had a letter the other day which brought up a problem which I happen to have encountered in several different ways of late. The lady writing to me says: "Some years ago I believe you were very much interested in the folks of the mining towns of Pennsylvania. Perhaps you do not know of the tragedy which has befallen these people in the anthracite region, as there has been given very little publicity to it. Some of the mines have been closed permanently, and you can realize what that means to these people."
I can well realize what that means, since the same thing has been happening in southern Illinois and in other mining areas. Since oil is so much used as fuel, coal for the moment is not as much needed. There is no question in my mind that there are ways of using it which will shortly make it as valuable as ever but in the meantime unless people living in the coal mining areas are given a little help to help themselves they will have a very difficult time.
In talking with Mr. Poston of the University of So. Illinois he told me of a community development plan that they were working on for this situation in this area through the university. Anything that helps a community in one area should of course be used in every area and I hope that what he is able to do will be shared in all these towns.
I was so happy to have the King and Queen of Greece at Hyde Park recently and to have them see the country on a pleasant day, even though they have missed the brilliance of the autumn foliage. Their trip here is designed to show their gratitude to the American people for all we have done for Greece, but I think if they tell the story of the sufferings of the people in the islands which have just had the earthquake as they told it to me, there will be a great desire to go on helping.
They said, for instance, that thousands of people were living in tiny tents under the olive trees with no means of rebuilding their homes and the government is unable to afford to give them substantial help. The winter rains have started and that would mean deep mud everywhere and we in this country should be able to understand what tent living will mean under such conditions to women and children.