The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on August 16, 1981 · Page 212
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 212

Shreveport, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 16, 1981
Page 212
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SSGNSFSCE JWMTB,B8$ by Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace Nation Without Guns 1 4 1 i ; - In these days of controversy over handguns, it may be surprising to learn that one technologically advanced nation voluntarily gave up guns for more than 200 years. That nation was Japan. When primitive guns were first introduced to Japan in 1543, master craftsmen immediately improved upon the weapon. Soon Japan had better and more guns than any country in Europe. Why then did Japan reject the gun and turn back to the sword? The reason was a cultural one. Before guns, battles were filled p with pomp and ceremony. As chamnion warriors fsamii- ''V4 rail from onnosine sides stepped forward, intro- duced themselves and jjp fl. boasted of their nasr .""f , heroic feats. ing magnificent fighting swords, they went into combat. The gun, however, destroyed the noble rituals of battle; the machinery out-shined the man. As Noel Perrin writes in his book Giving Up the Gun: "It was a shock to everyone to find out that a farmer with a gun could kill the toughest samurai so readily." Abandoning the gun was a slow process. There was some confiscation, but Japanese rulers reduced the number of guns mainly by restricting manufacture of the weapon. The last major I y- battle ot that period using guns occurred in 1637. ' T- I 051 . I It '. M 1 nr. in 133J, tne civinzea west came to Japan in the form of Matthew Perrv of trip IIS Navv $J He opened trade with the isola tionist country ana convinced its leaders to modernize their defenses namely, to bring back the gun. dm- Samurai in battle dress, before firearms put end to pomp in Japanese warfare The biblical story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale just an ancient fish story? Don't be too sure. As recently as 90 years ago, a human being was swallowed by a whale and lived. In February 1891, a young English sailor named James Bartley was a crew member on the whaling ship Star of the East, which ranged the waters off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, searching for marine leviathans. Suddenly, three miles out, the sailors spotted a sperm whale that later proved to be 80 feet long and weigh 80 tons. Two boats with crew members and harpooners one of them Bartley were dispatched to kill the whale. As they closed in, one harpooner catapulted his eight-foot spear toward the sea beast. The instant it The Other Jonah struck, the whale twisted and lashed out with its fanning tail. The tail slammed into one rowboat, lifted it into the air and capsized it. But the sailors soon subdued and killed the wounded mammal. When the rowboat was righted, Bartley and another crewman were missing and written off as drowned. The crew pulled the carcass of the whale alongside Star of the East and worked until midnight removing the blubber. The next morning, using a derrick, the sailors hoisted the whale's stomach on deck. According to M. de Parville, science editor of the Journal des Debats, who, investigated the incident, there was then a movement in the whale's belly. When it was opened, Bartley was found unconscious. He was carried on deck and bathed in sea water. This revived him, but his mind was not clear and he was confined to the captain's quarters for two weeks, behaving like a lunatic. Within four weeks, Bartley had fully recovered and related what it had been like to live in the belly of a whale. He remembered the whale's tail hitting his boat. Then, reported de Parville, Bartley was encompassed in darkness and felt himself slipping along a smooth passage. His hands felt something slimy all around him. The heat was unbearable it was thought to be 104 and he lost consciousness. When he awoke, he was in the captain's cabin. For the rest of his life, Bartley's face, neck and hands remained white, bleached by the whale's gastric juices. The Highest Hunibered Street in the U.S. First Streets, Second Streets and even Ninth Streets are common in the United States, but in the entire country there is only one 704th Street. You might mink that it would take a big city to have a 704th Street, a city with at least 703 other streets. But, no. The American, city with the highest-numbered street is Orangetown, N.Y., which has a population of 42,000.. During World War II, 704th Street was part of Camp Shanks, which housed GIs on their way to Europe. After the war, Shanks saw service as a veterans' housing community and as student housing for Columbia University. Bit by bit, the old barracks gave way to new development until all that remained of Camp Shanks was 704th Street. In 1981 some builders started a movement to give the street a less urban and more commercially appealing name, but the residents" of 704th Street (all four of them) successfully petitioned the town board of Orangetown to retain the original name. INVITATION TO OUR READERS Do you know an unusual fad that might fit into "Significa"? If you do, please send it to us with the exact source of your information. If we don't already have it and if we print it, we will send you $50. We look forward to reading any other comments you might have. However, because of the volume of mail, we cannot reply to your letters. But thank you one and all. Write: Significa, Parade, 750 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017. C JS8I, Irving WaDace. David Walkdmuky. Amy WWIoc 16 PARADE AUGUST 16. 1981

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