An Explanation

Recently, a request came up regarding an M103 Heavy Tank that was located on a public island on the Mississippi River.  The island has been subjugated to numerous floods over the years and so has the tank.  I decided to jump into the newspapers to find more information about the tank when I found an interesting exchange of words over the span of three weeks.  Unfortunately it had nothing to do with what I was researching, but you can see why it came up in my search.

Opinion pieces are surely something anyone who has read a newspaper is familiar with.  Someone observes something in the community, or responds to an article already published, and it in turn gets published in the paper.  At least, anymore, it's only the really good ones.  Go back a number of years and the restrictions are a bit more loose.  One such exchange took place in 1916, where a local man known as "The Prophet" got in a public argument with the U.S. Weather Bureau over weather prediction.  This tale, however, takes place more recently in 1984.

The original articles are abridged here, but the most interesting of the responses is included in it's entirety.

The Original Post

Give us some peace and quiet in Rock Island

SOUNDOFF: I want to know why the police in Rock Island don't do anything about the noisy mufflers and screeching of tires in the middle of the night. A person can't hardly sleep at night.

If you have the windows open, some fool with an old wreck of a car will accellerate at a stop sign and make the tires squeal for most of a block. Or kids - I imagine they are kids, because a grownup would have more sense - will go by with the radio turned up full blast. It makes my husband jump right up out of bed sometime.

Where are the cops when these idiots are waking everybody up? It's been really bad this week with firecrackers going off besides the cars and radios.

I thought firecrackers were illegal. If there isn't some kind of a noise pollution law in this town town, there should be. They ought to have their old rattletrap cars fixed or else not drive them on the streets and wake up innocent people. My husband has to get up early and go to work. These kids probably don't even have jobs.

-- Signed, Bags Under My Eyes in downtown Rock Island
Dated 07 July 1984

The Plotting Post

Listen, lady, we're sick of Rock Islanders

I would like to reply to the lady who complained about the noise level in Rock Island. It is unfortunate that she and her husband are losing sleep and I can't begin to tell her how sorry we are and we wish to assure her that we will try to end the noise soon.

In her letter, she surmised that the noise was due to kids. This is not true - kids have nothing to do with it. Look, lady, what you have been experiencing is a well-organized group of commandos who have crossed the river to gain valuable information and intelligence. During these missions, it has been necessary at times for our men to take off with jack-rabbit starts, along with occasionally having to return fire.

So see, lady, you can relax - nobody is setting off firecrackers after all. What's more, soon all the noise will be over with. For in the future, we will begin our amphibious assault against Rock Island.

You see, there is a large portion of the Davenport population that has grown tired of you Rock Islanders. We are tired of your lousy drivers who infect our streets, your radio and television stations that pollute our airwaves. But more than anything, we're tired of sharing our Centennial Bridge with you.

For these reasons, we are going to conquer your city and call it Davenport Jr. At this very time, the greatest collection of civilian generals in Davenport's West End are preparing for our pre-dawn invasion, which will be staged from Credit Island point.

Why do you think we've allowed the road which services the point of Credit Island to deteriorate to such a condition? Did you think our city leaders were stupid or what? We let the road deteriorate so that if the day came when we had to invade you, we could prepare such an invasion without being noticed.

If all goes well, we will be able to commence our operation within the next week or so. At this moment, we are bogged down in our efforts to get the Credit Island tank operational. We figured that it might be needed, should you people attempt to repel our invasion.

Of course, we people living in Davenport's West End regret that there is a need to invade your city. But what can we say?

Since the council voted down the wall, we feel that our security is at stake. What's more, we are certain that Davenport will sanction our invasion, even though it is not approved yet by the council, like the Mt. Joy operation which is scheduled for September.

We know, though, that Napoleon Peart will want the credit once he sees our plan, and that is O.K. Even we have to answer to our local dictator. But in the meantime, prior to our invasion, should you want to not be bothered by our commandos, we suggest flying a white flag outside your house and getting your neighbors to do the same. Our commandos will then leave your neighborhood alone.

-- The Davenport Militia
Dated 21 July 1984

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