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There were other

earthquakes in St. Joe

Monday’s News-Press story about St. Joseph and earthquakes led me to turn to Chris Rutt’s 1905 history to refresh my memory about our city’s 19th century history with earthquakes.

Rutt says St. Joseph was “violently shaken” by an earthquake on April 24, 1867. An “ominous rumbling sound” at 2:35 in the afternoon, then a “rocking movement” from east to west, west to east, for 20 seconds.

“The alarmed populace sought the streets and there was extreme excitement,” Rupp wrote. Public school buildings shook, plaster cracked and seams appeared in the walls. Children screamed and the teachers, “bewildered and perplexed,” dismissed the students and left the buildings to go home.

“Never before was there such consternation in the city,” Rupp wrote. Soon the air was calm again, no one was injured, property damage was not extensive and the “face of nature” was placid and harmonious as though nothing unusual had happened.

A September 1871 “shock” led to fears the old 1846 courthouse might collapse; it didn’t, but was soon replaced by the present one. There was another earthquake in the fall of 1896, but apparently was nothing significant, as Rupp dismisses it with a single sentence.

Bob Slater

St. Joseph

Death penalty is

savage and cruel

Our country has put to shame the Eighth Amendment of our Constitution that forbids cruel and unusual punishment.

In my lifetime, the U.S. has executed offenders by hanging, electrocution, poisoning by gas, firing squad and recently, death by lethal injection.

Assisted suicide, rising in both popularity and legality, is not the same death by injection that death row prisoners feel. A prisoner may not willingly choose death that is chemically enhanced to be painful. Putting a dog “to sleep” is far more humane.

Jesus asked forgiveness for the crowd of killers who murdered him. In the spirit of forgiveness, we may repeat this often said prayer:

“Eternal rest, grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

I am not alone against the death penalty. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and the United Kingdom all oppose this savage and cruel practice.

Don Beaulieu

St. Joseph