Thinkin’ Out Loud: The Long Arm Of The Law

By Lewis Willis

You know what I mean by that heading, don’t you? The idea, at least as it is expressed in the country music song by that title, is that ultimately the violator is caught by the law. He gets by for awhile but, unexpectedly, he is finally nabbed. This is an article about a violator of law that was finally nabbed.

Strangely, it is not about a person, but an institution – a high school. The Akron Beacon Journal (3/11/83) reported the success of state law enforcement agents who nailed the institutional criminal.

A local high school embarked on a fund-raising campaign to relieve a financial burden in the athletic department – not an uncommon problem in school systems today. It was one of those common, ordinary fund-raising efforts, except for one basic difference. On November 26, 1982, the school conducted a “Casino night,” with all of the usual “Las Vegas” trimmings – Roulette, Poker, Blackjack, Bingo, etc. – with beer served to add a little spice to the evening’s activities. But this whole “innocent,” noble effort went awry.

The BJ got its information from Mr. Bob Collier, the investigator in charge of the state liquor department district that includes Akron. A liquor control agent attended this gala function at the local high school, paid his admission into the event, where a volunteer gave him a beer. Collier said, however, that the school did not have a temporary beer permit which is required for all sales of alcoholic beverages. Charges were filed and the high school was fined $100 (3/10/83) when’ Municipal Court Judge Robert Harnett found the school guilty of illegally selling beer.

What was the school to do? They paid the fine. “The Rev. Joseph Kappes, president of the school, said the school now gets a temporary license for events at which beer is served.” Officials at Walsh Jesuit high school had been unaware that the school needed a permit before going info competition with all the bars and taverns in Akron. This local Catholic school was nabbed by the “long arm of the law” for their illegal activities. My daddy always said, “Doin’ wrong always catches up with ya.” This Roman Catholic Church operation got just exactly what it deserved. Let us all stand and give three cheers for this law enforcement agency! They know more than the local Catholic hierarchy about what the church is supposed to be doing and, they had the guts to nail this priest and his bud dies for their illegal activity. I perceive this as somewhat noteworthy.

Years ago I heard about an erring church member out in West Texas who had rebuffed every effort of the local church to restore him to faithfulness. One day he was bit-ten by a huge rattlesnake, and being on the verge of death, he called the local preacher to come to his bedside. Re-questing prayer, the preacher recounted before God how all of their efforts to restore this erring Christian had failed until his encounter with the rattlesnake. Allowing as how this erring brother had been brought to repentance by his snakebite, and allowing as how his whole family was unfaithful, the preacher prayed, “Lord, send us more rattlesnakes to bite this man’s wife, and his boys, and his girls. . . .” Perhaps concerning the situation under consideration herein, we should pray, “Lord, send us more liquor control agents.” Maybe they could get religion out of the tavern business!

I was just thinkin’ – my first recollection of parochial schools was they would provide a more wholesome atmosphere in which parents could educate their children with confidence. Boy, this shoots that idea down, doesn’t it? Hot dogs and cokes no longer present worldly Catholics with enough excitement to capture their attention. It now requires gambling and beer to draw the crowd. I wonder.

Guardian of Truth XXVII: 15, pp. 453-454
August 4, 1983