The Dastardly Past: April 19.
Oklahoma City National Memorial by Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Some days in history are darker than others, and they fall within living memory. April 19th in Waco and then later in Oklahoma City is one of them. One of my intentions with this blog is to never celebrate the perpetrators of dastardly acts. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to instead remember the innocent people impacted by these events—I won’t call them victims; first because nobody wants to wear that label and, second, because in the years since these events, they have overcome and tried to move on. And please also remember the hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who rendered aid, gave comfort, and pursued justice, all while abiding by the rule of law.
The Dastardly Past: the New York Doctor’s Riot.
In April of 1788, a young boy peeps through a window into a dissecting room. The medical student waves a dismembered arm at him and tells him it belonged to the boy’s recently deceased mother. Upon investigation in Trinity Churchyard, the family discovers that the mother’s grave is indeed empty, and public sentiment boils over. In the absence of regulated sources for cadavers, students of “physic,” as it was called then, had necessarily turned to robbing graves for bodies to dissect. As long as the bodies belonged to the poor or to minorities, New Yorkers turned a blind eye. This time an angry mob reacts against the desecration of their loved ones. They march on the hospital and destroy the anatomy room. The incident becomes so heated that it results in a two-day riot. The militia and cavalry finally quell the mob, but not before almost 20 people die.
From the Archives of Human Folly: Mankind vs. Cats.
Let us all take a moment to pity poor Philip McGloin of San Patricio County, Texas, whose circumstances we can all relate to. Twenty-five-year-old Philip, sound asleep in the middle of the night, was rudely awakened by the yowls of an unfulfilled cat. In 1906 few, if any, people neutered cats and dogs. He might have tried a number of methods to quiet the animal or drive it away by shouting and throwing objects; as this was probably not the first night’s slumber the creature had disturbed. Is it any wonder that Philip took up his shotgun with the intention of eliminating the noise at its source? In a bizarre twist, however, the goddess of cats intervened to protect the feline. As Philip strode onto the porch steps, they gave way and his gun went off as he fell. Philip died of a shot to his head—a martyr to interrupted slumber.