85 days to the millennium - 85 years ago - Monday, Dec. 7, 1914
Paper: The Carson City Daily Appeal, published each evening except Sunday by the Nevada Printing Company
Editor: T.D. Van Devort
Manager: H.J. Coogan
Subscriptions: 1 year in advance by carrier $12. One year in advance by mail $9.
A Washoe County jury said Wednesday Siaosi Vanisi should die by lethal injection for the January 1998 murder of University of Nevada Reno Police Officer George Sullivan.
The jury took three and a half hours to decide he should die. Their choices were a sentence of life in prison with parole, life in prison without parole and the death penalty. The decision will automatically be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court before the execution is done.
Today, we look back 85 years at a 1914 editorial from the Carson City Daily Appeal regarding the death penalty.
Under the headline "What is Mercy" the Appeal reprinted the following from the "New York World": Governor Hunt of Arizona commuted until December 19th the death sentences of eleven murderers. He hoped that the voters would do away with capital punishment on election day; but as they did not, he says the eleven men must die at once, and if possible "in the public square." When eleven men have been hurled into the darkness of eternity together," he says. "I hope every single voter will feel a personal guilt."
How about the "personal guilt" of every voter in the shocking murder record made by our country because murderers are not punished?
New York has for America, a reasonable murder rate - only 7 to the 100,000 against 13 in San Francisco, 33 in Atlanta, 48 in Savannah, 68 in Memphis. But the rate in Berlin is only 2 per cents to the 100,000; in Paris 4; in London less than 1. The New York rate means more than one murder a day throughout the year. London has one about every ten days; but when a murder occurs there the murderer is commonly executed. The result is that counting murdered and murderers together, little more than one person a week perishes against our seven or eight. If we punished our murderers we might save 300 lives per year - lives more valuable than those our false mercy spares.
What is mercy? Is it to let murderers go free and license murder? Or is it to punish murder every time, and save in one city alone 300 lives a year, and thousands in the entire country? - New York World
In the same column, it was reported by the "Nevada State Herald" that residents "Should Take Warning": From many quarters comes the statement that a concerted effort will be made to induce the coming session of the Nevada Legislature to re-open gambling in this state. The people of Nevada have decisively spoken on this matter heretofore, and that voice was unquestionably against gambling. So decisively was the matter disposed of that it was presumed that the subject had been settled for all time to come.
And there was no agitation regarding it until some Republican orators attempted to inject it as an issue in the past campaign. Since that time there has been an organized effort on foot, it is said, to reopen gambling in Nevada. But they had best halt. The people are not in a frame of mind on the gambling question to tolerate any foolishness and they will retaliate with other measures, should the gambling fraternity insist upon attempting to throttle their action taken a number of years ago. They should bear in mind that prohibition is a weapon that is now in the hands of the people of Nevada. The result of the recent election gives the women of this state the right of suffrage and it will only be history repeating itself that the matter of prohibition in Nevada is sooner or later to be made an issue. Under reasonable conditions this issue may be delayed for a number of years, but should the gamblers move to again make Nevada a wide-open state, the prohibitionists will very likely retaliate and demand that prohibition measures be voted upon. With the farming communities of the state strongly in favor of prohibition, together with the votes of the greater portion of women and many voters in many towns favoring the movement, it would not be surprising if Nevada should be placed in the column of state forbidding the importation and sale of intoxicants.
The method by which this can be hastened is for the gamblers to insist upon again permitting games of chance in this state. - Nevada State Herald
According to "History of Nevada," by Russell R. Elliot gambling was outlawed in Nevada Oct. 1, 1910.
Elliot said the fight to stop gambling in Nevada dates back to Gov. H.G. Blasdel in 1867 when he vetoed an act to legalize gambling. The 1869 legislature overturned his veto and legalized gambling. The fight continued, but without much fervor until the 1900s when it was led by a band of Progressive Reformers.
The 1911 legislature made certain card games such as poker legal again, but a 1913 act outlawed all gambling.
It was reinstated in 1931.
Elliot's history says Editorials at the time "pointed out that the gambling bill of 1931 simply meant that what had been done previously in secret could now be done openly, that it had moved operations out of obscure second-floor or back-room hideaways into ground-floor quarters on the busiest streets.
Prohibition was brought to Nevada through the initiative process in Nov. 5, 1918. With a vote of 13,248 to 9,060 Nevadans outlawed the manufacture and sale of all intoxicating liquors. This vote was followed by the ratification of the 18th Amendment.
The 1926 election saw two antiprohibition ballot measures pass overwhelmingly in Nevada, but it wasn't until the 18th Amendment was repealed when the 21st Amendment was added to the constitution repealing prohibition in Dec. 5, 1933 that the state was wet once again.
The paper also contained the following items:
"PUT IT TO A VOTE"
The way for the supporters of the proposition to give the high school scholars a gymnasium and a place for entertainment is to go ahead and put the matter to a vote without delay. There is but little doubt that it will carry once the people realize the pressing necessity of such a building.
Ormsby county should not be so niggardly or narrow as to refuse to issue bonds, especially so when it can be shown that the building to be erected can be made practically self-sustaining. But if the building is to be utilized for public purpose it should be centrally located and not erected on some side street blocks from the main thoroughfare.
"TO COMPILE GOOD ROAD LAWS"
The fourth American Road congress, which held its sessions in Atlanta throughout the week of November 9, was productive of two results which should have a far-reaching influence on the progress of road improvement throughout the United States.
During the week of the congress state highway commissioners and engineers from nearly every state in the Union organized an official body to be known as the "Association of state Highway commissioners and Engineers," for the purpose of correlating the work of the various departments and to consider and deal with the larger questions of national policy as an organized body representing all of the states.
The newly formed association will hold a second meeting at Washington on December 12th at which the report of the committee on constitution and by-laws will be presented.
Another result of the great road congress was the authorization by the American Highway association of the permanent legislative committee to complete, in cooperation with the United States office of public roads, the exact compilation, indexing and charting of the road laws of each of the forty-eight states and to co-operate with state legislatures in bringing about revision of road law along lines of simplicity and efficiency.