COLUMBUS: That blast of air felt in the region around Washington, D.C. today was from a collective sigh of relief. They caught the snipers asleep, along I-70 headed west.
One was an Army veteran, John Williams (now John Mohammad), the other a 17-year old, John Malvo, who is in this country illegally.
It was this younger fellow that finally got them caught. Like many teenagers, he simply could not stay off the telephone.
These guys got around. They lived in Tacoma, then went to Alabama and killed a clerk, then to Camden, New Jersey, apparently to get a good deal on a 1990 Chevy Caprice.
Camden is the most curious stop for these two. Local police are checking their records for recent murders. See, in Camden ten murders in a month is kinda routine. Mohammad and Malvo probably figured out, “We can’t scare anyone around here with killings, let’s try Maryland.” So they left, but before they left they mailed in their absentee votes, for Senator Toricelli.
Do you remember my suggestion from October 7? Well, I almost forgot it myself, but here it is. I said, “Putting on a war just to take out one man seems kind of excessive. Maybe they should just find the guy shooting those people in Maryland, and ship him to Baghdad.”
I think we’ve got what negotiators like to call a win-win situation. Our Air Force can drop those two murderers (alleged) into Iraq. If they can knock out Saddam, we pardon them, but leave them there. If Saddam catches them… well, it saves the millions we would otherwise have to spend on their trials.
This idea will offend some of you, and I don’t blame you for being upset. But for the last month there’s been millions of men, women and children around our nation’s capital who have had their whole lives upset, so they would probably vote in favor of the plan.
Johnny Cochran is trying to get in touch with the suspects. I’m not quite sure whether he wants to defend them, or to ask ’em if they are the murderers O. J. has been searching for the last few years.
Well, finally, radio and television broadcasters can get off these snipers and back to what Americans want to hear about. Politics.
Speaking of broadcasters, the past two days I got to meet and listen to two of the best, Walter Cronkite and Sam Donaldson. Mr. Cronkite started off the annual convention of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, and Sam ended it. They had some other speakers in between that you might not have heard of, but they held their own. Keith Harrell, Chris Lytle, Frank Pacetta and Jones Loflin did a marvelous job of teaching and training and motivating.
You might be interested in some of what Mr. Cronkite told those folks. He said he is disappointed with network news today. They spend too much time on fluff, not enough on the important news. Instead of using scandal and entertainment to attract an audience, what they need is better writing and more thought on the important stories. That’s what will make it more interesting and draw an audience. He said we can’t afford to have an ignorant nation.
He has known and talked with every man who has served as President from Hoover to George W. He said they are all smart, but the smartest of them all is Jimmy Carter.
He was born in Missouri, and had his first broadcasting job in Oklahoma City. He has worked in journalism more than 60 years and will celebrate his 86th birthday on November 4. If that date seems familiar to you, perhaps it is because another great man who did some broadcasting will be honored on the same day for birthday number 123, Will Rogers.
Tonight I was invited to speak to the Hilliard Kiwanis Club which meets just down the road. They’re a fine bunch of men and women, and do some great things for the local community and around the world. This Saturday they are scheduled to paint a giant map of the United States on the asphalt playground at an elementary school. They were picking out colors. I suggested Ohio ought to be red, in reflection of the state budget problems. But about 40 states have the same problem and they can’t all be painted the same color. Our kids need all the help they can get with geography.
Gene Autry’s Angels are still alive in the World Series, and headed home to Anaheim for two games.
Historical quotes from Will Rogers: (from a speech to Kiwanis International convention, 1933)
“I am here tonight as kind of a peace offering. I have told a lot of jokes about these eating outfits, service clubs, or whatever you want to call them. …I have told a lot of jokes about these service clubs, or eating outfits, because I could not see much sense in them. But they were beneficial to the hotels, because they got rid of a lot of bad food.
All of that was back in the old days. It looks like you have really got a mission to fulfill now; you are doing something. You have reformed and you are going along all right. I know from personal experience that you are getting along fine and doing something worth while.”