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Unluckiest Americans Who Suffered the Worst Fate


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Initial post: Sep 16, 2011 6:06:34 AM PDT
In Ken Smith's 1998 bookRaw Deal: Horrible and Ironic Stories of Forgotten Americans it mentions 21 people of the past (mostly American) who did nothing wrong but suffered bad luck and horrible fate. As a bogus chapter he talks about the prarie dog, because for many years it has been somewhat endangered with mankind trying to get rid of them.
Some examples from the book:
Ota Benga- the African pygmy who was displayed like a freak at the Bronx Zoo monkey house in the early 1900s, escaped and killed himself.
Karen Silkwood- you should know her
Frank Olson- CIA agent who comitted suicide by jumping out of a window after an LSD spiked cocktail thing.
Charles Goodyear- the inventor of vulcanized rubber
Leo Frank- the Jewish factory worked who was accused of murdering Mary Phagan a young girl. He was sort of the OJ Simpson of his day, only he was lynched by a mob.
Floyd Collins- who like Leo Frank has been the subject of a musical.
He was the caver who got trapped in Kentucky's Sand Cave and came out dead rather than alive.
Wilheim Reich- psychologist/ author who was from Austria and wroteThe Mass Psychology of Fascism
but many of his other books were destroyed after his death.
Thaddeus Cahill- inventor of the Teleharmonium, considered the first synthesizer, but only three were made and in this case both him and his invention met with bad luck. He spent the rest of his life bankrupt and all three Teleharmoniums were destroyed and no recordings of the instrument were made.

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 6:23:48 AM PDT
Mickey says:
Yes, but plenty of people have suffered horrible fates.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2011 7:10:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2011 7:12:02 AM PDT
Bubba says:
The Telharmonium was a very interesting early electric organ and it seems to have been an influence in the Hammond tonewheel organ and paper cone loudspeakers. The last Telharmonium was destroyed in 1962, there would have been a possibility to have made a tape recording of the instrument if it was still functional in the 1950s -- any competent organist could have learned to play it.

The sound from the Telharmonium was intended to be distributed over telephone lines, and the telephone systems of the era were very crude, which would limit its usefulness. As an auditorium or church organ, I am not sure that it could have competed with the pipe organs of its period. As it was electro-mechanical, which was a rather crude technology in that era, I question its reliability and durability compared to a pipe organ of that era.

It was definitely a cool invention and it introduced some revolutionary new technologies, it is a shame that some of the other technologies that it used were not developed enough to make it a practical invention.

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 11:50:43 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 7, 2012 11:04:28 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 17, 2011 2:46:46 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 19, 2011 2:33:55 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 5:29:35 AM PDT
K.A.Goldberg says:
On a group basis, it would be anybody unlucky enough to have been a slave or maybe a Native American. Sometimes Jews, Italians and Irish weren't so lucky either.

On an individual basis any victim of violence, be it a crime or a travesty of justice.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 12:17:31 PM PDT
blueskies says:
Imagine being a Native American and taken from your parents and forced to go to boarding school where you are forbidden to speak your native lanaguage, your hair is cut, and you are beaten, starved, and sexually molested. Happened in the thousands in both Canada and US. And no one believed or cared about your experience.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 1:19:13 PM PDT
IGS says:
Imagine you are a Crow or Apsáalooke indian and the Sioux or Lakota move into your ancestral hunting grounds and capture your men and scalp them, except for the more resistant ones, which they spit alive and roast over fire until dead. The women they rape, the children they kidnap except for those too old which they kill outright. Perhaps you are unaware of the history of the North Americas? "Dances with Wolves" don't really cover it. Much richer cultural warfare existed, of a type a little extreme to discuss in polite company. Hollywood isn't the reality. It never has been. It is not "They Died With Their Boots ON' nor is it, "Dances with Wolves". It was and savage existence that the native Americans had. There is nothing whatever to be nostalgic for. Hell, even the horse is European.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 2:45:48 PM PDT
blueskies says:
And this excuses the boarding school debacle for thousands of innocent Native American children how....? Tell me what country or continent does not possess a blood stained history of savagery? I'd be interested to know where such an earthly Paradise was/is.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 2:53:06 PM PDT
Mickey says:
It doesn't excuse it - I think it's just that Native Americans have gone from being demonized to being sanctified, and neither extreme is accurate. Native Americans were neither all saints nor all savages, like the rest of humanity they were a mix - some were wise, some stupid; some were kindly, some cruel and vicious.

IMHO

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 3:19:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2011 3:29:23 PM PDT
IGS says:
blueskies

Thanks ... bullseye. Shall we dismiss the "slaughter of the poor peaceful Indians" line then. They merely had done to them what they did to others. The Hindu's call it karma and it is an object lesson to the noble savage crowd. Being part Indian myself, I am aware of the histories of the Native American peoples they got themselves into a genocidal conflict with a stronger tribe. Was the result draconian? Absolutely, but it was no worse than what they would have done were the roles reversed. The savagery of inter-tribal warfare waged by the Native Americans is absolutely barbaric if the tribal records are to be believed. What was done to them was par for the course.

As far as worst fate ... USS Indianapolis has got to be right at the very top of the list.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 3:34:23 PM PDT
blueskies says:
I'm goin'
There was no line about "slaughter of the poor peaceful indians" in any of my posts. I merely posted about the boarding schools operated by the Canadian and US government until well into the mid 20th century as being an example of an unlucky fate. I never claimed that Native Americans were superior, inferior, or different from the rest of humanity. (Which if you are a student of history, contains some very blood thirsty members indeed) None of the children who were forced into the boarding schools were free agents and many were taken from their families at gunpoint. The history of some of the boarding schools is horrific and some of their past practices are outlawed under the Geneva Convention. I am at a loss as to how any child deserves such treatment.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 3:47:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2011 4:55:08 PM PDT
IGS says:
blue, the implication was clear. Their fate was no different from that of any people in the way of migratory wars.

As far as the Amerind is concerned ... what I find most interesting of all is that the white children kidnapped by the Indians ... frequently did not want to go back into "white" society. This was especially true on the plains. Indian life there was quite simply, more fun . It was hard in it's own way, but very free compared to the excessively rigid frontier life of the whites.

I took your post as implying some special cruelty meted out against the AmerInds. They got the shaft, certainly (no pun intended), but no worse than what they would and did visit on their foes. If I misunderstood, you have my apologies.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 3:50:45 PM PDT
Mickey says:
I don't think they did deserve such treatment but, as I said, plenty of people have suffered horrible treatment. What's the point of turning it into a contest when the list of candidates is endless?

"Humanity is beastly and stupid, aye, and there's an end to it."
Sir Harry Flashman
"Flashman and the Redskins"

That probably sums it up pretty well.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 4:21:20 PM PDT
blueskies says:
I'm going'

We agree to disagree. I think it was especially cruel to take children away and mistreat them in an institutionalized setting. The reverberations of that continue to this day in native American families. But, I'm a parent and a soft touch to child torture. BTW, the Jesuits just paid out a record amount of money to settle sexual abuse claims from Native Americans. It was common practice back in the day to dump pedophile priests on Native American missions and yes, boarding schools. Peace out.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 4:43:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2011 5:14:54 PM PDT
IGS says:
blue

you know the weird thing is that they thought they were doing those kids a favor. It was not true, but it was not done out of cruelty. Other things done were done of cruelty. But I beg to differ when you say that institutionalized education was worse than scalping ones parent right in front of them and then torturing them to death. The native Americans, in many cases, were not nice people. It seems as if your statement is ... people are cruel. History is one long chain of dreadful events. They real pity is that it is far from over. But, no, the Indians were quire as capable of meting out extreme torture on those that they did dislike and no institutionalized schooling did not leave an particular damage to the Indian community. Have you ever lived on a reservation? Worked on one? Visited one? I have done all. Heavens my wife worked as a physician at Round Valley and Vieja in California. It is boredom and lack of economic development that is doing the lasting damage. That and drugs. But it wasn't the white mans education.

As for your other point regarding the Jesuits ... "common practice" ? How many pedophile priests do you think there ever were? What's the incidence 1 for every 2,000? It was very uncommon in the first place. So no it wasn't common to dump anything. Jeez, where do you get your information. I don't like people who come to an issue with a mindset (rather than a question) and then looking for evidence, any evidence, to support it while disregarding contrary facts. They call that telling at least one side of the story. Prosecutors get fired for that kind of *&%*&. An action that I am sure you would laud, so lets not get caught in the same trap shall we.

What is true:

1. The Indians/Europeans fought a savage string of wars for no particularly good reason beyond white greed.
2. The Indians were very good at slaughtering their neighbors and enemies in the cruelest ways conceivable as a matter of practice.
3. Dreadful atrocities were committed by both sides of these wars.
4. The Indians lost.
5. The whites claimed a fallacious moral authority to these acts.
6. As far as being a parent is concerned, I rather think that kidnapping is every bit as bad as anything else that could be done.
7. I also think that sad though it was, the Indians were far from immune from committing acts of child torture and child murder.

Besides, I don't think war was the concept of the OP. I think maybe (?) the post was directed to single events (who can say). Like the Titanic, the Hindenburg, or even the WTC victims. I could be wrong.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 5:36:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2011 5:51:10 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Greetings! I was thinking along the lines of the Johnstown Flood (2200-5,000 dead, 1889) or those citizens (1,000's) who went to the beach in Galveston, Texas to watch the tidal wave come in (6,000 dead, 1900). Some making it a picnic!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 6:12:14 PM PDT
blueskies says:
I work on an Indian reservation. As for the Jesuit practice of dumping pedophile priests; it was common enough practice for the Jesuit order to be paying out $165 million settlement to native Americans in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska who were victims of said priests. The institutionalized "education" of native American children in Canada and the US has been documented as being brutal and not particularly educational. This message board is about opinions and I stand by mine. Warfare between tribes differs quite a bit from taking children away from their families and putting them in institutions with barbaric treatment. For one, warriors were willing to fight on both sides and were trained to do so. It sounds like you had a bad experience on the res. Sorry but nothing I said was untrue and it remains my opionion that it was an unlucky event for the native American children to be taken away to boarding schools against their will, in mass numbers. Even if what you say is true--and you have nothing to substantiate it--any tribe that commit said acts of child torture or murder did so in far smaller numbers. In a previous post you mentioned that white children who were taken by a tribe did not want to return to their white families. You are arguing out of both sides of your mouth.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 6:24:49 PM PDT
M's back says:
He Go Surfin speak with forked tongue!

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 6:26:14 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
There's proof the Mississippi Indians practiced cannibalism. No telling how many fellow Indians they ate.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2011 7:18:31 PM PDT
IGS says:
blu

They paid because one and knowing is enough, not because it was some massive pattern.

As far as institutionalized education is concerned forced shipping off to boarding schools is horrible. One wonders why it was done at all. It is this exploration that is interesting.

Which reservation? Do you like it. My experience was rather saddening. But in California the reservations are in fairly desolate places. And when I say desolate, I don't just mean remote, some of these places might as well be on Mars.

What I am saying is that the Amerinds were capable of both. They did kidnap children and raise them as their own. Some loved the experience. Others did not. The Amerind way of life, in many tribes, was a much freer way of life. On the other hand, they were capable of incredibly barbaric acts and they engaged in them as the rule rather than the exception. It is best to accept them as they are and were. I am not talking out both sides of my mouth, I am merely acknowledging that both things happened and pointing out that both are true. I will stand by my posts as well. I can frankly admit that I don't know much about what happened to Canadian tribes in this regard. They don't really pass around much literature or speak of it at the nation gatherings or pow wows (which can be quite huge).

Besides, the Indians weren't unlucky, they were ignorant. Had they known what they were up against, they would have made different choices. Would it have worked out better for them? Perhaps not, given the extremely racist nature of the European stock that hit the continent. But they made it no easier for anyone.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 7:45:18 PM PDT
blueskies says:
Pacifice Northwest and New Mexico. Both very remote areas.
Yeah, I think they were unlucky. But not every tribe was the same. The Hopi for example were peaceful. The Plains Indians were more warlike but they were fighting for their homes. I think they did know what they were up against. They had no illusions about the tender mercies of the white race after a few tribes got death marched to desolate lands farther west. The Pottawatami were one such tribe and were forced out of Indiana and Illinois and Michigan to be resettled in the barren lands of Kansas and Oklahoma. Those lands were later taken again when settlers came that way.
The Plains Indians were fighting for their lives and they lost. Happens all the time in history. But it is bad luck, just the same, to be on the wrong side.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 1:39:21 AM PDT
Blueskies and Surfin':

I have no doubt that some pedophile Jesuits committed terrible acts against children in those mission schools and deserve the severest condemnation while the victims deserve full compensation.

But as Surfin' suggests, these pedophile priests were a small minority. I went to a primary school run by the Jesuits and never had anything but good experiences with the priests. (The good sisters who did most of the teaching at that school, now that's another matter.) The same good experiences continued when I again fell into the hands of the Jesuits (metaphorically speaking, of course) at university.

As W.H. Auden once said, it's more morally confusing and upsetting to be goosed by an archbishop than by a layman. Priests and the Vatican were supposed to protect the children, not the predators. But blaming the vast majority of priests who were innocent of the crimes and ignorant of the acts of the guilty priests is like the racists who point to horrid crimes committed by blacks or Muslim fanatics and try to say this shows that all members of those groups are criminals.

By the way, I agree with Surfin' and Mickey that the Original Americans were not quite angels with shining faces, and the white settlers and the leaders of the white establishment in those days certainly weren't. Both were, by turns, victims and then perpetrators. In the final count, the Original Americans were probably greater victims, as they were eventually outnumbered, out-gunned and out-done.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 1:44:21 AM PDT
Catherine Goltz:

Good opening post. However, I do have one quibble with your list: Leo Frank was evidently innocent of the murder he was accused of. As his second, wrongful death trial showed (and the first trial would have showed if the prosecution had not made a bumble of it while the defense turned it into a low-grade realtiy show), O.J. Simpson was guilty of the two murders he was charged with. It's unfair to Leo Frank, himself murdered by antisemitic vigilantes, to compare him to Mr. Simpson.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 10:24:03 AM PDT
IGS says:
Richard

You have captured my point more clearly and with more articulation than I did. I spent a lot of time studying Red Cloud when I was a kid. He and Touch the Clouds were among my favorites ... but nice people ...
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  165
Initial post:  Sep 16, 2011
Latest post:  Apr 17, 2012

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