The treatment of Miss Reichenbecher by the police as a...

St. Louis (Mo.) Star

The treatment of Miss Reichenbecher by the police as a common felon and a member of the criminal class, is one that every citizen should protest against. Her offense, if any, is merely a statutory one, and of a nature in no sense indicating criminality or viciousness. She could be dealt with by indictment, if a grand jury felt disposed to indict her upon such evidence as the police possess. There is no excuse for subjecting her to the same treatment as is given those who commit crimes of violence and theft. There was no occasion to arrest her as she was arrested, nor to submit her to the indignity of a search.

For what was she searched? What was expected to be found upon her? Was she, an exponent of the gospel of love and peace, expected to have a concealed weapon? Was she, a teacher of the art of healing without drugs, expected to have poison in her possession? Was she expected to have burglars' tools or contrivances by which she might break jail concealed in her clothing? It is not only an outrage, but an absurd one. The Star believes in the enforcement of the laws, but it believes in decency also; and more, for it there is not decency there can be no real enforcement of law and observance of it.

The question at issue is largely academic. It is not a crime of turpitude for a person to practise some theory of treatment of the sick contrary to the generally accepted standard of the medical profession. It has been made an offense against the statutes of the state, and there is a proper and decent method of procedure in such cases. That taken in the instance of Miss Reichenbecher is neither proper nor decent. The safety of the people does not demand such oppressive and brutal methods. On the contrary, the real safety of the people demands that citizens be not subjected to such treatment needlessly. It is on a par with the unspeakable "third degree," and should never be witnessed without protest. No citizen knows when his turn may come for like treatment through no fault of his own.

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