On the night of May 23 when he burglarized the home of Dallas police patrolman Tommy Maddox, Wilbur Percy Ramsey did the thing that was his undoing. A beer can he left after first breaking through a rear door and then plucking a roast from the refrigerator led to his downfall in Judge Joe B. Brown's Criminal District Court.
A jury found the ex-convict guilty as a second-offender burglar and his sentence automatically hit ninety-nine years. The defendant's fingerprints were clean on a still cool beer can found by Maddox in his kitchen shortly after a neighbor spotted the small twenty-six-year-old man leaving the house and called police. When Patrolman A. H. Strebeck arrested Ramsey a half block from the crime scene, the defendant was lugging the roast under his arm. It was still cool.
Canned for ninety-nine years for one can of beer!
The Koran says: "There is a devil in every berry of the grape." Booze, whether beer or wine or whisky, leads to wilds of woe.
I am sure that Wilbur Percy Ramsey, ex-convict, breaker of parole, behind prison bars, agrees with him who wrote.
"The barroom is a bank.
You deposit your money—and lose it.
You deposit your time—and lose it.
You deposit your character—and lose it.
You deposit your manly independence—and lose it.
You deposit your home comfort—and lose it.
You deposit your self-control—and lose it.
You deposit your children's happiness—and lose it.
You deposit your own soul—and lose it.
You deposit your liberty—and lose it.
In bottles of booze and cans of beer discontent seeks for comfort, cowardice for courage, bashfulness for confidence, sadness for joy—and all find ruin."
'Tis known of this great statesman, in his state of Oklahoma, and in Washington, D.C, that he isn't quite as irate these days about capitol "cocktail binges," but he still thinks it is better to drink tomato juice. When the multimillionaire Oklahoma Democrat first arrived in the capital, he loosed a blast at drinking in the capital. He made such statements as: "Alcohol has cost more money, destroyed more property, killed more people and created more ill health and human suffering than all of the wars in the history of the human race."
He still doesn't like the way lawmakers, officials, lobbyists, and social leaders gather over cocktails to talk about government work. He's still being invited to them, and when he goes he's still drinking tomato juice. But he has no missionary zeal to change their ways. He admitted his attacks on such parties did not have much effect.
No, most liquor drinkers, beer guzzlers, and wine bibbers have deaf ears and stubborn wills and shallow brains as to what wise people say about raging strong drink, wicked wine, and befuddling beer.
They do not want to be told that they are lovers of liquor more than lovers of God — in a land where there is one liquor outlet for every eighty American homes and one for every twelve farms. Yet all who think, know that strong drink has never touched an individual that it did not leave an indelible stain, never touched a home that it did not plant the seeds of dissolution and misery, never touched a community that it did not lower the moral tone. It never touched a government that it did not plant seeds of treason and increase the nation's problems.
"What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death" (Rom. 6:21).
Many years ago, when I was a young Salvation Army officer, it was my privilege to participate in a most unique service at a wide street intersection in the heart of the city of San Diego, California.
We had among our adherents a lovely Christian girl, who was saved out of a very ungodly family. Her father was a saloonkeeper and, while kind to his family and in many respects an admirable character, he had no use for "religion," as he called it, nor for the church. But, through the consistent life of his daughter, he was at last awakened to see his need of a Saviour. He realized that she had something of which he knew nothing, and one night we were all surprised to see him in our audience.
At the close of the service, he came forward, weeping, to confess his sins and seek Christ as his Saviour. We pointed him to the Lord and before the meeting closed, he was rejoicing in the knowledge of sins forgiven.
At once he was faced with the fact that the business in which he was engaged was utterly inconsistent with the Christian life. Some suggested that he should sell out and put the proceeds into some other business. He indignantly spurned the suggestion. Realizing that the saloon was a detriment to humanity, he said he could not, since he had accepted Christ as his Saviour and his Lord, allow himself to profit in any way from the stock of what he afterwards called "liquid damnation." Instead of this, he went to the city authorities and got a permit for what some might have thought was a rather fantastic service.
At the intersection of four streets, near his saloon, he rolled out all the beer barrels and made of them quite a pyramid. The Salvation Army surrounded this rather remarkable spectacle and with band playing and Salvationists singing, soon attracted an immense crowd. The converted saloonkeeper had boxes full of liquor piled up by the pyramid, to the top of which he climbed. "Praise God," he exclaimed as he began his testimony, "I am on top of the beer barrel. For years I used to be under its power, but now I can preach on its head." Then he told. the story of his own conversion and pleaded with sinners to come to his Saviour.
As the liquor bottles were passed up to him, he broke them and spilled their contents over the barrels. Then descending, he set fire to the whole pyramid which went up in a great blaze as the song of the Lord continued. What a remarkable testimony to the power of the gospel of Christ to completely change a life! No longer a saloonkeeper, our friend went into a legitimate business, where his life was a bright testimony to the reality of God's salvation.
A man to whom illness was chronic,
When told that he needed a tonic,
Said, "O Doctor dear,
Won't you please make it beer?"
"No, no," said the Doc., "that's Teutonic."
The father of a school boy in New York City wrote to the boy's teacher a letter of complaint. Possibly he welcomed the advent of prohibition—possibly not! Anyhow, the letter was as follows:
"Sir: Will you please for the future give my boy some eesier somes to do at nites. This is what he brought home to me three nites ago. If fore gallins of bere will fill thirty to pint bottles, how many pint and half bottles will nine gallins fill? Well, we tried and could make nothing of it all, and my boy cried and said he wouldn't go back to school without doing it. So, I had to go and buy a nine gallin' keg of bere, which I could ill afford to do, and then we went and borrowed a lot of wine and brandy bottles, beside a few we had by us. Well we emptied the keg into the bottles, and there was nineteen, and my boy put that down for an answer. I don't know whether it is rite or not, as we spilt some in doing it.
P.S.—Please let the next one be water as I am not able to buy any more bere."
The new soda clerk was a mystery, until he himself revealed his shameful past quite unconsciously by the question he put to the girl who had just asked for an egg-shake.
"Light or dark?" he asked mechanically.