September 25 - 1938: Looting on Cape hampers clean-up after surprise hurricane

1690: America's first newspaper published, British authorities "shoot the messenger"
The first newspaper in the Colonies was published on this day.

1938: "Guardsmen ordered to 'shoot to kill' after bands of thieves rob homes after hurricane"

The aftermath of "the wind that shook the world"

On this day in 1938 Cape Cod was all over the front page of the nation's newspapers as looting here hampered the clean-up after the famous September hurricane.

This storm was a complete surprise to Cape Cod and the rest of New England as it had gone out to sea after brushing the east coast of Florida a week earlier. 

Called "The Wind that shook the world", this surprise storm was next seen by surf-casters on the south shore of Long Island as they saw a 70-foot high wall of ocean heading for them.

It came within a mile of completely crossing Long Island, and was the subject of a book by Everett S. Allen of the New Bedford Standard-Times. Except for a junior forecaster in the U.S. Weather Bureau who predicted the storm but was overruled by the chief forecaster, the Weather Bureau experts and the general public never saw it coming.

Later that day, the greatest weather disaster ever to hit Long Island and New England struck in the form of a category 3 hurricane. Long Island, New York and New England were changed forever by the "Long Island Express."

Case studies have shown that the next time a storm like the Long Island Express roars through, it might be the greatest disaster in U.S. history.

The front page headlines in the New York Times on this day continued:

DAYLIGHT TIME EXTENDED - Four States Postpone Change to Aid Relief Work
Akin to Martial Law - Telephone Lines Repaired

The Northeastern States swept by Wednesday's hurricane dug out from under the debris yesterday and came to grips with problems presented by wholesale looting and the necessity for immediate relief and long-range rehabilitation... Read the rest below.

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1690: First newspaper published in the American Colonies

English authorities "shoot the messenger"

On this day in 1690, Boston printer Benjamin Harris produced the first issue of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in Britain's North American colonies. Readers were enthusiastic, but the governor was not. Under British law, "no person [was to] keep any printing-press for printing, nor [was] any book, pamphlet or other matter whatsoever" to be printed without the governor's "especial leave and license first obtained." In short, it was illegal to publish without the government's approval, and Harris had failed to obtain it.

Within a few days, the governor and council had banned publication of the paper. Authorities collected and destroyed every copy they could find; the one copy known to have survived is preserved in the British Library.

What alarmed the British masters

The first (and sadly the last) edition of Harris' newspaper began thus with the spelling in the original:

It is designed, that the Countrey shall be furnished once a moneth ( or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener, ) with an Account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice.

In order hereunto, the Publiſher will take what pains he can to obtain a Faithful Relation of all ſuch things; and will particularly make himſelf beholden to ſuch Perſons in Boſton whom he Knows to have been for their own uſe the diligent Obſervers of ſuch matters.

That which is herein propoſed, is, Firſt, That Memorable Occurrents of Divine Providence may not be neglected or forgotten, as they too often are. Secondly, That people every where may better underſtand the Circumstances of Publique Affairs, both abroad and at home; which may not only direct their Thoughts at all times, but at ſome times alſo to to aſſiſt their Buſineſſes and Negotiations.

Thirdly, That ſome thing may be done towards the Curing, or at leaſt the Charming, of that Spirit of Lying, which prevails amongſt us wherefore nothing ſhall be entered, but what we have reaſon to believe is true, repairing to the beſt fountains for our Information. And when there appears any material miſtake in any thing that is collected, it ſhall be corrected in the next...

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