By David Baker
This quiz is aimed at New Yorkers, but anyone is welcome to play. It is especially aimed at New York supporters of the Democrat-turned-Republican-for-now, Donald Trump. Who, like their paramour, profess ignorance of what everyone else on the planet refers to as “New York values”.
And because Trump, the crybaby bully, purposefully played his 9/11 victimhood trump card to confuse the meaning of “New York values”, I’ll abide his choice of subjects, to keep this as simple as possible and not confuse him or his devotees further.
Here’s the quiz:
“Before 9/11, what was the single worst tragedy in New York City?”
If you answered the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, you won yourself a big, juicy Bronx cheer. And identified yourself as a product of the New York City school system. That’s because the 146 Jewish-American and Italian-American women who died that day were a catalyst for the mob-connected, Marxist union movement, which helped elevate the unions to a position of prominence in New York City, including the teachers union, and gave them a seat at the table of every industry. A power in many ways equal to the city’s corrupt Democrat machine that has run New York City for two centuries. (Except for the desperate, temporary, “Save Our City” Republican messiahs like Fiorello La Guardia and Rudy Giuliani.)
After all, the deaths at Triangle served a purpose for the Left. And therefore, the unionized New York City school system teaches each student about the horror that was the Triangle fire. And that’s why you guessed wrong. Blame a teacher.
So, if Triangle wasn’t the worst disaster with its 146 deaths, what was?
The steam-powered General Slocum was a grand excursion passenger ship with twin side paddles, designed to carry 3,000 people on its three massive, open decks. This particular day, June 15, 1904, 1,342 were on board for St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church’s 17th annual end-of-school-year day trip. For the children and mothers, to an idyllic beach on Long Island’s North Shore. A long-anticipated, carefree day of fun and frolic after a long school year. The children ran across the broad decks while the women milled about in their long, heavy, Victorian dresses. And, like most urban people of the time, the passengers were largely innocent of aquatics skills.
Further, none of the ship’s fire hoses worked. (As the crew was well aware.) None of the lifeboats worked. (They were painted and wired tight to the ship.) None of the life preservers worked. (Their cork had turned to dust and actually absorbed water when used that day.) None of the passengers knew any of this beforehand. But the crew did and so did the U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service, the federal agency whose local office was under the influence of the city’s corrupt Tammany Hall Democrat machine, which had inspected the ship and certified it as safe just five weeks prior.
The fire started as the ship passed East 90th Street, but rather than immediately turn toward shore, the captain instead powered straight ahead for another 53 minutes through three miles of the most turbulent inland whirlpools in the United States -- aptly named “Hell Gate”.
Racing full throttle into a headwind that fanned the flames rearward from its ignition in the bow, the fire quickly engulfed the entire ship. By the time the burnt-out hull, charred nearly to the waterline, finally beached itself onto distant North Brother Island, the ship was nearly vacant of all life. The passengers had either burned alive or were forced to jump fully clothed into the whirlpools with others jumping on top of them and grabbing onto them as they tried desperately to keep from drowning, dragged down by heavy clothes and corroded life preservers. This, despite the fact that both shorelines had been a mere quarter of a mile to either side the entire trip.
1,021 aboard died that day. Remarkably, 35 of the 40-crew members survived. Many of the crew, including the captain, although suffering burns, clambered aboard a tug that had pulled alongside, near North Brother Island.
Therefore, 78% of the passengers perished, but only 12.5% of the crew. And the dead comprised the vast majority of the children and most of the women of a single, huge Lutheran church, gutting the heart of the entire Lower East Side known as Little Germany. Afterward, many of the distraught fathers and husbands committed suicide or moved out of Little Germany, along with the grandparents too old and babies too young to have made the trip. This transformed the ethnic makeup of the city forever.
But you won’t find many New Yorkers who have even heard of the event. There are but two marble markers commemorating the disaster, and you've never seen either. Because one is in an inaccessible children's playground in what used to be Little Germany. And the second one is in an inaccessible cemetery in Queens.
It’s certainly never taught in schools, as opposed to the Triangle fire. Which is ironic because the German-American community in the 1800s was instrumental in helping to create both the public schools (but not the unions that came to control them) and the free library system in New York City, institutions already established in their homeland. Ironic too because there are more German-Americans than there are from any other country. Ironic three because Donald Trump, of German-American descent himself, is likewise ignorant of his group’s history within his beloved city. The city for which he tolerates no criticism (if its defense serves his political ambitions), dealing instead the 9/11 victimhood trump card from the bottom of the deck.
This is because, in New York City, the General Slocum deaths offered no utility to the corrupt Tammany Hall Democrat machine, unlike the politically-connected groups represented in the Triangle fire. In fact, the Slocum deaths were an indictment of that Democrat machine because of the nefarious collusion revealed by the charade “inspections” performed by the city’s office of the USSIS.
Now, as a matter of jurisprudence, the law stated that one maritime death, caused by malfeasance or negligence, constituted manslaughter. Yet no one served time for the manslaughter of a thousand.
In fact, the only one who served any time at all was the captain, spending three-and-a-half years in prison for negligence beforehand -- for not having conducted mandatory fire drills with his crew, and for not maintaining the fire extinguishing equipment. But no jail time for inexplicably turning his ship into a monstrous pyre that day. Therefore, one man alone served approximately 1,275 days for negligence. But none spent time for the 1,021 deaths themselves.
Not the captain who refused to turn toward shore.
Not the company that knew their ship was unsafe.
Not the safety inspectors who certified the ship as safe.
Hell, the company was even permitted to recommission the burnt-out hull as an industrial barge, making even more money from their ship of death.
Yet, virtually no New Yorker has heard of their own city’s disaster. Schoolchildren are not taught about it, nor its obvious lessons -- both positive, such as the need for swimming and lifesaving training, the importance of fire safety and rescue planning; nor the negative, such as the turpitude of their city’s corrupt Democrat machine and its crony workers, and the resulting mortal danger to the people of New York from these “New York values”.
So don’t feel bad that you never heard of the worst disaster in New York City prior to 9/11, New York Trumpsters. Just understand that the lesson of the General Slocum is what others call your “New York values”. Something you shouldn’t need an outsider to explain. Marxism, sanctuary city policies, a one-party system devoid of any checks and balances, rampant abortion, the purposeful breakup of nuclear families, the electoral exploitation of the poor for the enrichment of the elite, the decimation of the middle class, racial and class conflict as a political tool, ignoring marijuana while targeting tobacco “loosies”, Occupy Wall Street, Code Pink, Not In Our Name, Act Up, the LGBT “rights” industry, ad infinitum.
And, in the instance at hand, it is the fact that greater value is given to the Triangle 146, whose deaths served a political purpose for the Democrat machine with which Trump has made his “great deals” his whole life, than the 1,021 Slocum deaths, which were an indictment of that same Democrat machine.
Besides, your heartthrob, Trump, failed the quiz about the General Slocum too. He's just as ignorant of his own city’s history and "values" as you. And he’s a German-American.
Ship Ablaze by Edward T. O’Donnell