CORRESPONDENCErnLetter From Alabamarnby Jeffrey TuckerrnThe Truly Dangerous SnakesrnSomeone must have put a snake on arnfence, because it’s raining for the firstrntime in weeks. ]cxx the Barber knowsrnwhat causes weatlier changes, and if yournare fortunate enough to count yourselfrnamong his clientele, he’ll explain it. Forrnexample, Jerry knows a woman in Waver-rnIv, Alabama, who can break a storm. Shernstands on the porch and shakes an axernhandle at the offending cloud. It splitsrnand floats away. She learned how to dornthis after her neighbor put a snake on thernfence without asking others if they wantedrnrain, that’s considered rude.rnJerrv seems to know everything, butrnsometimes his advice is only half usable.rnHe gave me his moonshine recipe, butrnwarned me not to cook it too long. Atrnsome point, he said, it turns to “gasoline.”rnHow long is too long? It dependsrnon manv things (the weather, the mixture,rnthe cooking temperature), and yournhave to get the hang of it. Also, Jerryrnfailed to tell me that the reason moonshinersrnwork in the woods, away fromrnother people and houses, is that you canrnsmell the stuff brewing a half-mile away.rnThat’s how they’re caught.rnAt least one person in Lee Countv, Alabama,rnis getting away with it. The localrnliquor control board fined several barsrnand restaurants for violations. Theyrnfound drinking under age, drinking onrnSundav, drinking with a fake ID, drinkingrntoo late, and some place sellingrnmoonshine. My regret: the local paperrndid not list the bar.rnInspired b’ the moonshiners, modelsrnof rugged individualism, Ward Allen (arnstudent of agrarian Donald Davidsonrnin literature and life) and I decided tornrecover the lost art of making hams. Thernhams ou buv at the store, it turns out,rnhave been pumped up with a salt-waterrnsyringe. According to one book I found,rnthis method cannot create a real ham.rnI told Andy Barnett of our plansrnto moonshine a ham. A distinguishedrneconomist and a rooted Confederate patriot,rnyndy remembered rubbing hamsrnas a bov, and so called his dad in SouthrnCarolina to find out more. Within seconds,rnAndy’s dad was reading from hisrn1952 Department of Agriculture pamphletrnon raising and eating hogs. It wasrnjust sittin’ by the phone.rnA real ham is periodically handrubbedrnfor several weeks with sugar, salt,rnblack and red pepper, and saltpeter. (Arnnewer book says to drop the saltpeter “forrnhealth reasons,” advice we rejected.)rnThen it’s smoked (sadly we had to use arnmodern smoker—this time) and thenrnaged for several months up to a ear. Asrnwe rubbed our fresh hams early one Saturdayrnmorning, Mr. Allen wondered ifrnthe ancient Egyptians used this methodrnas they preserved bodies. Who knows,rnbut if so, I asked, how are bodies preservedrntoday? “Do you suppose,” hernasked, “they pump them up with a saltwaterrnsyringe?”rnMr. Allen gets his hair eut more oftenrnthan I do, and so he gets to see Jerrvrnmore. This is useful, because Jerry isrnright on in all matters of politics, fromrnthe New Deal to Newt Cingrich. Thernsocial science professors at the universityrncould learn a lot from him. Jerry’s welfarernreform plan is straightforward: takernall them bums on welfare in New York,rnthrow ’em in Alabama swamps, and letrnthe snakes eat their eyes and lips.rnOf course he approves of the newrnchain-gang law in Alabama, which thernNew York Times recoils from in horror.rnInstead of lounging around prison, criminalsrnclean up the roads, linked withrnthick and unbreakable cords. It keepsrnthe highways clean, provides proximaternsocial restitution, and the humiliatingrnsight itself deters future criminals.rnWhat’s wrong with that? Right on cue,rnliberals denounced it as cruel, reactionary,rnunworkable, and all the rest. Butrnaccording to real people in Alabama, seriousrncrime deserves a swift and seriousrnresponse.rnin Auburn’s neighboring town ofrnOpclika, there are some gang problemsrnin the high schools and pett) theft, butrnmostly people live in security. Localrntranquillity was shattered earlier thisrnyear, hoyvever, with what folks are callingrnthe worst crime since Reconstruction. Arnboy of 15 shot and killed three widowrnwomen as they were strolling through anrnindoor flea market in Opelika. He thenrntook their purses. One victim yvas myrnneighbor, and she was a saint.rn1 expected an uproar. Surely, a crimernthis appalling will get some attentionrnoutside of Lee County, probably evenrnfrom the New York Times. It didn’t. Apparently,rnit’s considered too sensitive arnsubject when a black boy (who is toornyoung to be eligible for the death penalty)rnkills three older white women. Peoplernmight get upset. Three days after therntriple murder, even the local newspaperrnstopped reporting the details.rnReceiving extensie coerage instead,rnthanks to roving reporters from the AssociatedrnPress, were the latest goings onrnin Wedowee, Alabama. A former highrnschool principal accused of being impoliternto a mixed-race girl was hired for anrnadministrative job by the school district,rnover the objections of outsiders demandingrnever more minority “rights.”rnThe events in Wedowee ha’e beenrncovered in the New York I imes for morernthan a year. Ward Allen says I’d be generallyrnhappier if I put off reading that paperrnuntil late in the afternoon. In thernmornings, I should visit Jerry. Or maybernI’ll go see that woman in Wixeriy to seernif she can shake an axe handle at the mediarnand make them float away.rnJeffrey Tucker is research director of thernLudwig von Mises Institute in Auburn,rnAlabama.rnET US KNOWrnBEFORE YOUrnGO !rnTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofrnCHRONICLES please notify us inrnadvance. Send change of address on thisrnform with the mailing label from yourrnlatest issue of CHRONICLES to:rnSubscription DepartmentrnCHRONICLESrnP.O. Box 800rnMount Morris. Illinois 61054rnNAMErnNEW ADDRESSrnNOVEMBER 1995/43rnrnrn