Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Will the Feds Come Calling?

Jackie's a little concerned because I sent 20 letters and one package to various Communist Party offices around the country. She visualizes FBI agents knocking on the door and hauling me off to some secluded prison where I will be waterboarded and have my fingernails ripped out. Even worse, she fears the same thing might happen to her.
Forget it, I keep telling her, there's no law against sending letters to communists. There's no law against being a communist. If I want to promote a book this way I have a perfect right to do so. I'm not sure she's convinced. It even worried her when I called up the Communist Party website on the Internet. As I don't happen to have the addresses of all the regional offices stored away in my mind there wasn't much of an alternative, but she feels I might have found one if I tried harder.
Anyway, from the time I was a a 9-year-old street urchin I've never had much use for the FBI. That was the time when the Feds staged a raid on the Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin in hope of killing John Dillinger and his gang. They didn't, but they did manage to gun down several innocent people. Humorist Will Rogers wrote this about the affair:
“Well, they had Dillinger surrounded and was all ready to shoot him when he come out, but another bunch of folks come out ahead, so they just shot them instead. Dillinger is going to accidentally get with some innocent bystanders sometime, then he will get shot.”
That evening Dillinger and the members of his second gang returned fire, then escaped out the back of the lodge. During the course of events one of the gang named Baby Face Nelson killed an FBI agent. Later he killed two more. Nelson was a little guy who liked to be called Big George but a bank clerk tagged him with the "Baby Face" moniker. No one ever called him that to his face because he was a psychopath who was happiest with a submachine gun in hand. Even the other members of the gang didn't like having him around.
When we were kids we played a lot of cops and robbers when we weren't playing cowboys and Indians. Most of us preferred to be robbers. Just about everybody wanted to be Dillinger or Baby Face Nelson or Pretty Boy Floyd. This seems a bit odd because if we had been called Baby Face or Pretty Boy under normal conditions we would have set up a howl. Or slugged somebody. Nobody wanted to be a prissy Junior G-Man although I suppose that may not have been true in more affluent neighborhoods.
To understand how a great many Americans looked on things during the 1930s, the bank failures must be kept in mind. The desperadoes who went into banks with guns drawn were heroes to those who had lost their life savings and looked upon bankers as the enemy.
Anyway, I have always found FBI agents a little humorous because those I've had dealings with have been so puffed up and sold on themselves. Perfect examples of the old saying, "I'd like to buy him for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth."
In the late 1950s when I was an investigator for Pinkerton's National Detective Agency's office in Cleveland the agency had the world's best file on jewel robberies and the men who commited them. One day a couple of FBI agents oozing self importance came to the office and asked to see the files. The manager smiled pleasantly, nodded his head and said, "Of course. We'll open our files to the FBI the day the FBI opens its files to us." The visitors turned and left in a huff.
So I'm not worried about sending all those letters. I figure I'm already in the bureau's records because of some of the things I've written. Adding a little more fuel to the fire won't hurt. Maybe Jackie will come around to my way of thinking. She should because she was the one who took the letters and package to the post office and was seen mailing them. I could say I was just an innocent bystander except they're often the ones who get shot.


Anonymous Carol Zanetti said...

Uh oh. This means I must be on the Watch List, too, since we have exchanged emails. I know! I'll tell them I was working undercover and had planned to turn over all my evidence once I had enough on you. Hmm, maybe Jackie and I should talk and exchange information...

I sent you an email. I hope the AOL addy is the current one, since that's where I sent it. Then again, maybe by now the email has been diverted to the FBI.

Carol Zanetti

3:33 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

WHAT? You're going to testify against me? Well, that's the way it goes, I guess.

8:13 AM  

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