THE THING TO SAY
After the assassination of President Kennedy there was a predictable clamor for restrictive legislation that would make it difficult—but not too difficult—to buy firearms. Nothing much came of it, except that Senator Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut was encouraged to concoct a bill that looked askance at the purchase of firearms by mail—presumably on the theory that weapons that pass through the post office are more lethal than those obtained from the neighborhood sporting goods dealer—and would otherwise meaninglessly discommode the person who wanted to buy a rifle or shotgun for hunting or plinking purposes. Nothing in the bill would have done more than inconvenience the Kennedy assassin or the nut who retaliated by killing Lee Harvey Oswald.
Time cooled political passions, and the bill seemed headed for deserved oblivion. Then a shallow-brained misfit murdered eight Chicago nurses, although not with a gun, and a psychotic student mounted the University of Texas tower, after murdering his wife and mother, and slaughtered 14 more.
Political reaction was instant. President Johnson demanded legislative action of a wonderfully unspecified kind. All hands, including the President, conceded that no legislation, contemplated or prospective, would have had the slightest effect on any of the deranged killers or would have saved their victims. But, in the emotional climate of the moment, "Let us pass a law" seems to be the expedient thing to say.
The merger between the NFL and the AFL, which nine weeks ago seemed a fait accompli, now appears, after all, to be neither a fait nor accompli. Pete Rozelle, the would-be commissioner of the combined league, said last week that he was seeking a bill from Congress that would specifically exempt pro football from antitrust laws. Rozelle added that without such legislation the merger might be ruled illegal.
As we have previously stated, the benefits of a merger would largely accrue to the owners; it seems of little advantage to the fans whether they see NFL ball, AFL ball, NFL-AFL ball or ETAOIN SHRDLU ball. What the fans are aching to see, however, is the AFL-NFL championship game, scheduled for sometime next January. If the merger does fall through, we hope at least the dream game survives.
THE WORM DIGGERS TURN
As we go to press the airline strike is in its 32nd day, but you will doubtless be cheered to hear that the blood-worm diggers' strike is over. One hundred diggers laid down their shovels in Wiscasset, Me. last week, demanding a price hike of 25� or $2.50 per 100 worms.
Since the worms are highly prized as bait by saltwater fishermen, the bloodworm dealers averted a crisis by capitulating after the diggers had been idle only 24 hours. As a result of the settlement, the wholesale price of blood worms in New York has soared from $2.75 to $3 a hundred, and the cost to the fisherman is up from 80� to 90� a dozen. Although the pay boost, which means $10 to $15 more a week to the diggers, grossly exceeds the President's anti-inflation guideposts, the White House has so far been silent.