MOB OR GOVERNMENT?
The "retirement" of James D. Norris from boxing promotion is good news—provided it is irrevocable. It is, of course, a prelude to his appearance December 5 before the Kefauver subcommittee of the U.S. Senate. Norris presumably hopes the committee will be less interested in a retired promoter than in an active one. We hope not. The committee has an excellent opportunity to dig deep and fully expose the dirt that has encrusted the Norris-dominated prizefight racket.
Where do we go from this point? We believe boxing should be supervised by a federal boxing commission, with its own investigators and licensing power, and with the right and duty to call in the FBI, Treasury agents and anyone else who can catch the crooks and get rid of them. The sport of boxing will not be clean until reputable people are able to engage in it enthusiastically without having to cut in types who belong in jail instead of at ringside.
The state commissions have not done the job. They have been made up too often of appointees who owe their jobs and gratitude to shady politicians, in some instances friendly to criminals. They sometimes have competed for fights with other states in order to make money for local hotel proprietors and bar and grill owners. In this understandable effort to bring business to their communities the commissioners have walked through corridors lined with gangsters to welcome the mob's pseudorespectable front men.
By recommending federal supervision we are not saying boxing should be taken from the underworld and handed over in its entirety to the government. Bureaucratic intervention should be limited to rigid investigation and licensing. Then it ought to be possible to interest honest businessmen in boxing promotion.
The game is in a bad way right now; but Americans still love a good prizefight.
THE INFRA-RED WILDERNESS
A lot of hunters enjoy the scramble over rough terrain, the slow stalk of elusive quarry, the glory of the autumn woods, the loneliness of a chilly marsh, the clean challenge of the clean shot. Apparently, a lot of others do not. Judging by the latest "advances" in the hunting field, the woods and marshes will shortly be full of sybaritic duffers whose only interest is to go easy, take potshots and brag late.
Item: The Wall Street Journal reports the impending release, for commercial sale, of an infrared telescopic sight for high-powered rifles, similar to the infra-red scopes used on night patrols in Korea not so long ago. Well, why not? The deer don't know that it is illegal to shoot them at night.
Item: In the Middle West, as Albert Hochbaum reports on page 65 of this issue, a state vehicle will take you right up to your duck blind, and if you can't shoot any better than you can walk, a benevolent game supervisor will correct your aim over a public address system.
Item: The Army and other experts have just announced that a fluorescent Blaze Orange is the safest color to wear in the bush during hunting season. It will protect the wearer from hunters but not from the cheerful nitwits who have been shooting red-hatted and yellow-hatted hunters.
We decry the night-shooting rifle scope and we regret the necessity (it is a necessity) for Blaze Orange. What we need more than the right color, however, is education and a licensing test to protect both game and hunters from the lazy, lethal unhunters who have been invited into the woods and marshes. Hunting is a legitimate sport. It must not be allowed to degenerate into a motorized industry with sadistic overtones.