Contributed by Loren H
Description: A Brutal and Calllous MurderDate: October 1933
Newspaper published in: Madison Wi
Source: my granary
The brutal and callous murder of Gunder Felland,one of the Dane county's most highly respected farmers, in the meeting between farmers pickets and the escorts of a big truck on the Sun Prairie road last night is the worst outrage that has been committed in this community,in many a day.
Gunder Felland was the last man in the world to resort to unwarranted violence of any kind. He has always been known as a peaceful hard working farmer, a man who was liked and respected by those who knew him. He was in the role of a bystander last night with his neighbors and friends when the assailant wantonly shot into the crowd andkilled Mr Felland.
Consider the facts:The big truck came along the Sun Prairie road escorted by a car in which were two occupants.The truck and the excorting auto went through the crowd of farmers at the interesection of the Sun Praire road and Highway 51. The only act of violence was that someone threw a piece of wood that broke one of the headlights of the truck.The truck and the car proceeded to the Madison city linmits without further molestation.They had reached their destination.Then for some reason the occupants of the car decided to return to the place where the farmers were congregated.When they returned to the scene one fo the occupants of the car got out of the machine, whipped out a gun and yelled:Now come on -----------------and I will let you have it.
the crowd of farmers began to back away in the face of the menacing gun.While the farmers were backing away the assailant fired the fun and Mr Felland was killed.
Even after Mr Felland had fallen mortally wounded the assailant again defied the crowd and said that he would give the others the same dose.
When the farmer on previous occasions has gone out on strikes to demand tht he be given conditions that will prevent him from losing his farm the newspapers have always been quick to play up violence and attribute the cause of theh same to the farmers.
That happened in the last strike. Months after, when the facts had been sifted, it was usually found that violence had been provoked by immature deputies and guardsmen who had clubbed and beaten farmers in an effort to break the strike.
Yesterday the headlines carried the story that officials ofDane county were marshalling their resources to fight the farmers out on strike.DA Risser said:
We have decided that Madison will receive its normal milk supply. This will be done by having ten trucks do the collecting each day. Each truck will cary a Red Cross sign.Sheriff Finn has agreed to keep the road clear for this emergency milk. Deputies will accompany the trucks.
Why were DA Risser,Sheriff Finn and City Health Officer Bowman so quick on the trigger in announcing that the official resources of Dane county would be used to fight the strike in Dane county? Have not the farmers already announced that emergency milk for hospitals, the sick, and babies would be brought to Madison and that the farmers would gladly cooperate in such a plan? There was nothing anywhere to indicate that the farmers were back of any plan to deny emergency milk to the unfortunates in the city of Madison. Indeed, the averge farmer is more sensitive to the needs of the unfortunate than are those who pass as the friends of the unfortunate in order to break a strike. DA Risser can always get into action in a hurry when the farmer who is the victim of cruel injustices seeks to get justice for himself.But when those who have rooked and brought the farmer to his present estate through criminal violations of the law are asked to fac e prosecution for their misdeeds,then it is quite a different story.
The farmer always gets the worst of it in the court of public opinion. If an occasional milk can is dumped, the cry goes out in the newspapers"Milk is being dumped while babies are starving" If there is violence the violence is always attributed to the farmers no matter what the provocation may be. The newspapers tell them that strikes are futile and ask the farmers to go back and swill the hogs.
Can the farmer be blamed for revolting against present conditions? he has become desparate. he can't pay his interest or taxes. he has been given promises month after month,year after year. Now his plight is worse than ever. He is worse off than he was six months ago. he now finds that everything he has to sell is going lower, while everything he has to buy is going higher. he sees the day when his farm and his home will be taken away from him. Can he be blamed for having the spirit of revolt?
The wwhole plan bgack of this strike is that the farmer shall withhold the products of his farm until he gets a decent price for what he has to sell. Is ther anything wrongi n that? Hasn't he the same right to withhold what he produces as others who withhold their products if you don't pay the price? If you don't pay the price asked by the gas company for your gas, the gas is turned off. If you do't pay the price asked for electricity, your electric lights are turned off.If you don't pay the price asked for food and ice, your food and ice are cut off Why hasn't the farmer the same right to do the same thing without newspapers seeking to inflame public sentiment by resorting to propaganda about babies, the sick and the unfortunate?
Last nights wanton killing only illustrates the above contention. The killers had reached their destination in safgety.Then they decided to return and the shooting followed. It was an indefensilbe outrage and we hope now that the resources of Dane county will be quickly and effectively marshalled to bring justice for the death of Gunder Felland as they marshalled yesterday to oppose the farmers.