A Journalistic Journey Through the Book of Genesis
by Glenn W. Fisher
Read Part 1 - The Evil Gene
Vol. 23, No. 14
Crime Rate Soars
BY HERMAN BRINKMAN
The latest reports show that crime is rampant in our county. A report released yesterday by the county sheriff reveals that burglaries have increased by ten percent, rapes by fourteen percent and murder by eighteen percent. Only one precinct has had no increases in any category.
Homer Bradshaw, author of the recent book The Criminal Society, says that the problem is worldwide. “In 95 percent of the world’s families someone has committed a crime or been a victim of a crime in the last three years.” He goes on to add that the statistics, horrible as they are, understate the problem. “With police so overworked, most people don’t bother reporting minor burglaries or simple assaults.”
Domestic crimes, such as wife beating and child abuse, are reported even less frequently. Bradshaw explains that the statutory language “He shall rule over you” makes it difficult for police to intervene in events occurring within a home. This position is supported by the powerful Civil Liberties Association. The attorney for the association points out that the word “rule” implies sovereignty. The powers of a sovereign are absolute within a jurisdiction unless limited by a treaty or duly adopted constitution. Police may not enter another sovereign territory unless proper authorities have granted express permission. By extension, police may not enter a private home unless invited by the head of the house or authorized by a constitutional court order. A spokesman for the association stated, “It is unfortunate that brutal acts go unpunished, but in the long run every man, woman, and child would suffer if the state is allowed to compromise the sanctity of the home.”
Experts agree that the rapid increase in population is a factor in the rising incidence of crime, but they cite many other contributing factors. Professor Joseph Steiner of the Hebrew Theological Seminary cited the decline in religious faith. In the past, many people believed that there is a God who punishes wrongdoing. That idea has largely disappeared. Modern people, especially the younger generation, devote most of their time and energy to their careers. They work hard, play hard, and dislike following rules. “If it feels good, do it,” is a popular motto.
The most controversial explanation of the increase in crime is advanced by James K. Smith, author of the recent book Evil Genes. Several years of historical and medical research have convinced him that a gene transmitted from primates predisposes men and women to lives of crime and violence. He claims to have gained admission to a jungle area in Eden where he found the suspected gene in the blood of several primate species.
Dr. Randolph Rainey, recently elected head of the Medical Society, dismisses the book as an interesting work of fiction. “Smith could not have obtained access to the Eden jungle. It’s completely inaccessible. Furthermore, there is not a single article in a reputable medical journal that supports the theory that genes cause criminality.”
Smith cites the low crime rate in Precinct Fourteen in support of this theory. In his book, he says that tests of a scientifically selected sample of Precinct Fourteen residents did not turn up a single carrier of the OS gene. “It can’t be a coincidence that this precinct is the only one in the world where the crime rate is not rising.”
Dr. Rainey retorts that this kind of negative evidence proves nothing. “There are very few cases of measles in Precinct Fourteen, but that doesn’t prove that measles causes crime.” Rainey also points out that Smith tested only a very small sample of residents. “Mr. Noah, head of the leading family in the precinct, is something of a recluse, and when he found out about the testing, he ordered it stopped.”
Smith said that he would call a public meeting and invite scientists and representative of the Evil Gene Society to debate the issue. “We think the public should learn about the evil gene theory and then people can make up their own mind.” He added that the society would seek a law that requires the Evil Gene Theory to be taught in the public school.
The Journal Opinion Page
Vol. 23, No. 16
Crime Rate Troublesome
The Journal Editorial Board is gravely concerned about crime in our community. Police reports show that crime rates are high and rising in every precinct except one.
We are personally affected. The daughter of a member of our editorial staff has been raped, and the son of another died of AIDS contracted from dirty needles. The paper itself has suffered. Defalcations by our trusted bookkeeper, aided and abetted by our auditing firm, have so reduced cash flow that we have had to lay off workers.
Nevertheless, it is important to keep perspective. Rumors magnifying the danger and fanciful stories in the tabloid press about fallen angels fathering giant babies produce undue concern.
Residents of the area enjoy economic prosperity and personal freedoms unequaled in the history of the world. Employment is up and will rise further when construction begins on the recently announced entertainment/casino complex. This development will bring money into the area and provide new tax revenue. The legislature will be able to cut the tax rate and provide counseling centers for those who become addicted to gambling.
We urge legislators and citizens alike to resist the special interest groups that use fear of crime to justify government regulation. There is no evidence that pornography causes crime or that smoking marijuana leads to hard drug addiction. The nation’s experience with prohibiting alcohol shows that prohibition only increases crime.
The Board believes that censorship laws are unnecessary. The movie industry’s rating system provides a guide to parents who want to protect their children. Clubs and casinos do a fine job of excluding children from the adult shows. The gentleman’s clubs are discreetly out of sight of those who might be offended by them.
Individual initiative made our country great, and we can solve this problem if we put responsibility where it belongs–on the individual. We urge our readers to spend more time with their children. Teach them to be honest. Tell them that crime does not pay and ask the local school to offer conflict resolution classes. Teach your children how to handle guns safely. Urge them to use alcohol in moderation. Make sure they practice safe sex.
Citizens should get involved in local affairs, volunteer for community service activities, and support the United Charities. Ask United Charities to allocate more money to child protection, drug treatment, and the Second Chance for Offenders program.
The Editorial Board.
Vol. 24, No. 21
Mystery Construction Project Underway
UNIVERSAL BUSINESS NEWS SERVICE
SPECIAL TO JOURNAL
Noah, a prominent resident of Precinct Fourteen, recently installed a sawmill on his property. He and his three sons are busy cutting nearby cypress trees. It appears that a major construction project is under way, but they refuse to say what they are building.
Noah responded to requests for an interview with a polite refusal. “I’ll make a public announcement at the proper time, but for now I have no comment.”
The Noahs live a quiet life as grain farmers, but they appear to be expanding their business to include a diversified livestock operation. Neighbors say that they don’t know a great deal about the family. On occasional visits to a nearby pub, they eat and drink sparingly and have never been known to visit The Casino. Doormen at the gentleman’s clubs report that none of the Noah men have ever patronized their club.
Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law are active on the boards of several charitable organizations. Alice Halley, the president of the Music Club, says they are faithful in carrying out assigned duties and give generously to the scholarship funds.
Noah himself spends lots of time walking. One neighboring farmer reports that he talks to some invisible companion as he walks. “I think he has some kind of altar in the woods, but I’ve never been close enough to see what it is.”
Noah’s banker refused to discuss his financial records, but he did say that Noah was absolutely honest. “I’d lend him anything he wants on a signature loan.” He refused to say whether Noah had secured a loan to buy the sawmill or finance the construction project.
Vol. 24, No. 40
Construction Plans Revealed; Builder’s Sanity Questioned
BY HERMAN BRINKMAN
At a news conference yesterday, Noah announced that the Lord told him the world is going to be destroyed. “The Lord is distressed with all the wickedness in the world. He considered killing everybody, but decided that I am righteous, and that he would spare me, my family, and some breeding stock.”
Obviously excited, Noah explained that he is building a large boat. He called it an ark. After he, his family, and the livestock enter the boat, the Lord will close the door and cause it to rain for forty days. “Unless people turn from their evil ways, the whole earth will be covered, and everything that breathes will drown.”
This announcement created anger, amusement, and concern in the community. Many reacted angrily to Noah’s arrogance. Chris Morris, president of the United Charities Board, declared, “Imagine thinking you are the only righteous person in the world, and that some god has singled you out to be saved.” Morris thought for a moment and added, “Come to think of it, he does deserve to be famous. He must have both the world’s biggest ego and the world’s most active imagination.”
A resident of Precinct Thirteen, who asked us not to use his name, said, “I always thought there was something strange about the guy. He is polite and easy to do business with, but he has a superior attitude.” He added, “I once told him some great traveling salesmen jokes, and he barely smiled.”
The sheriff expressed concern. “That precinct has the lowest crime rate in the county. If that guy goes off his rocker and kills a lot of people, it will ruin the record.”
County officials report that no building permit has been issued. The county engineer said, “The county commission has never adopted a construction code for boats, but if he asks for a building permit, I’ll have to issue it. I’ll classify it as a miscellaneous building. That means that the structure can’t be more than forty-five feet high.”
The archives contain no information about this “Lord” that Noah says talks to him. There is an entry for “landlord,” a mythical being who is said to have created man. According to old traditions, the landlord placed man in a beautiful garden, and then expelled him for misbehavior.
Worship of the landlord has largely died out, but continues in remote areas and among certain sects. An accusation that Noah is a member of one of these sects was fueled by the recent book Evil Genes. The author, John K. Smith, claims to have traced a connection between the garden myth and the low crime rate in Precinct Fourteen.
Vol. 145, No. 97
Ark Nearly Complete
BY JOHN DAVIS
It has been 120 years since Noah and his sons installed the sawmill and began construction of the giant, landlocked boat called The Ark. All seems to have gone well. The county engineer reports that Noah follows every regulation. There were a few complaints about construction noise and the odor created by the growing herd of livestock, but neighbors report that Noah or his sons have responded to every complaint in a courteous manner.
Construction has been slowed because Noah often takes time off to preach about the need to return to “The Lord.” Many who visit the site say that Noah often stops work to lecture them about the god that he claims talks to him. This has caused some to stop visiting the site, but it remains a popular tourist attraction. Residents often take their visitors to see the crazy man and the boat that he is building miles from water. Children enjoy looking at the large collection of animals, and teachers sometimes bring classes to see animals not normally found in this area.
Some who earlier expressed outrage at Noah’s claim to be the only righteous man now find it humorous. Charlie Morrison, the locally popular comic, unveiled his new show, The Flood, at a recent Tigers Club meeting. He advised members of his audience that they can get a free around-the-world cruise if they repent of their sins and ask Noah to take them along. He added that the chances of acceptance will be greater for those who agree to muck out the livestock deck. He counseled the audience, “If you don’t go on the cruise, at least make sure your flood insurance is paid up–and don’t make any long-term investments.”
James Anderson, editor of this paper, was master of ceremonies at the club luncheon. At the conclusion of the show, he thanked Charlie for the advice but urged members not to cancel their subscriptions to the paper. “I’ll personally refund the value of the unused subscription to everybody who drowns.”
Ironically, members of the audience were greeted by an unprecedented downpour as they left the building. Two days later the heavy rain continues. We’ll consult statisticians and meteorologists as to the odds of such a coincidence and publish the result in a later edition.
Vol. 146, No. 117
Disastrous Flood Ends
Flood waters have receded from most parts of this city more than a year after the beginning of the most disastrous flood in history. The residents who survived the flood are burying the dead and attempting to resume normal life. Communication with neighboring cities is slowly being reestablished.
The flood began with a forty-day rain that meteorologists and civil disaster experts agree was unparalleled by any storm for which records exist. The chief meteorologist at the local weather station said that he was unable to explain a forty-day rain. “Even a perfect storm wouldn’t last for forty days. It simply isn’t in the textbooks.”
City streets are blocked by debris and covered with mud. The stench of rotting animals and stagnant water is overpowering. Residents are clearing paths around the largest piles of logs, but have been able to move or burn some of the piles of brush and building materials. Health experts have conscripted labor to bury dead animals and they warn that all water should be boiled before drinking it or using it for cooking.
There is intense interest in the fate of Noah, who predicted the flood, sailed off in a large boat which he called an ark, and is now reported to be safe in Armenia. One resident, who asked not to be named, claimed that when the waters began to rise, he begged Noah to take his wife and small son aboard, but that his pleas were ignored. “They both died, and Noah is responsible.” Many of the people we interviewed say that Noah must have known something. Many ask, “Who is this Lord that he talked about?”
This newspaper will send a reporter to interview Noah as soon as possible. Unfortunately, transportation facilities are so badly damaged that it may be many months before a reporter can reach Armenia and return with the story.
Editor’s Note: We were able to salvage one printing press and some plastic-wrapped rolls of newsprint. This enabled us to print this brief, limited edition. We hope to resume full publication in a few weeks.
Vol. 146, No.200
Religious Revival Sweeps Country
BY JOHN DAVIS
Residents struggling to rebuild their homes and businesses are also rebuilding an almost forgotten faith in God. Among the survivors are some older people who remember their forefathers telling of a god (sometimes called Lord or the landlord) who created the world, asked that man worship him, and demanded that his laws be obeyed. Unfortunately, few know how to worship or just what the laws are.
Some information comes from the survivors of a group called the Evil Gene Society. Leaders say that the fellowship had a small but loyal membership before the flood. “We kept a low profile because many people regarded us as a fanatical sect, and our faith was often dismissed as superstition. Scientists were especially scornful of our belief in the OS gene.” The spokesmen added, “We hired a scientist to prove that the gene existed. He concluded that it was impossible to prove, but he did assure us that it’s impossible to prove that it doesn’t exist.”
After further questioning, the spokesman admitted that the sect's knowledge of God and his laws is incomplete. “Noah probably knew more than anybody. He talked to God almost every day, and God talked to him a lot.”
Steven Trent, formerly manager of The Casino, is heading a group to investigate the matter. He said, “This couldn’t have been a coincidence. That guy Noah had inside information or he controlled the game. Whichever it was, I want to be on his side.” Trent added that he would personally finance the investigation. “Perhaps there is some archival material that has survived the flood. Some people may remember stories passed down by parents and grandparents.” He plans to interview those who might have information and to hire trained historians to compile and analyze their stories. He concluded by saying, “Noah is the key. I’ll spend whatever it takes to find him and bring him back.”
Vol. 147, No. 4
Noah in Jail
BY JOHN DAVIS
After many months, the expedition sent to find Noah returned with the news that Noah is in jail in Armenia. Steven Trent, who helped finance his trip, called a meeting of those interested in hearing his report.
The leader of the expedition, Samuel Lowery, told those in attendance that they found the ark high on the slopes of Mount Ararat. Local residents who witnessed the landing say that the door to the Ark remained unopened until the waters receded and the ground dried. Then Noah, his family, and the animals came out. Animals and people seemed delighted to be back on land, and all seemed to be in good health. Only one dove was missing.
Noah immediately built an altar and sacrificed some of the animals to the Lord. Then a voice, which Noah identified as the Lord’s, spoke from the sky. It lauded Noah and promised that the world would never again be destroyed by water. The voice asked only that everybody observe some simple dietary laws and not commit murder.
Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed:
for in the image of God
has God made man.
As Lowery read these lines from his notes, some in the audience raised their hands and cried out:
Praise the Lord,
We will worship Him,
We will keep His commandments forever.
Lowery silenced them with a wave of his hand and continued, “Where is Noah?”
A bystander replied, “He’s in jail.”
“In jail! Why?”
“Nobody answered me when I asked that question, so I went to see the sheriff.”
The sheriff listened to my question and replied, “He was convicted on one count of drunkenness, one count of indecent exposure, and three counts of disorderly conduct.”
I asked, “What did he do?”
“As soon as the grapes in his new vineyard were ripe, he made wine. He didn’t even wait for it to age properly. He just got drunk, took off his clothes, and passed out. His sons covered him up with a blanket or something, but when he woke up he cursed all three of them.”
The sheriff offered me a cigar. “We welcome immigrants, especially when they are hardworking people who bring their own livestock, but we don’t like his kind. Maybe a stay in jail will teach him to stay sober, stay dressed, and stop cursing.”
Lowery paused. “I told the sheriff we were eager to have him come back home. He took a big drag on his cigar, blew a perfect smoke ring, and said, ‘I’ve already told you that we don’t like his kind. You’re welcome to him, but first he must serve his sentence. Judge Tanner sentenced him to twelve months, and when he hands out a sentence he expects it to be carried out.’”
Steven Trent banged his gavel and called for order, but the noise of people leaving the room drowned out the sound of his voice. When the noise subsided, members of the Evil Gene Society sat silently, heads bowed, until their spokesman rose and in a barely audible voice said, “We were so sure he didn’t have the gene.” As the group walked from the room, Trent banged the gavel, “The meeting is adjourned.”
© 2005 Glenn W. Fisher
Glenn Fisher is the author of Not to Reason Why (Xlibris) in which he takes the reader into his world as an 18-year-old army draftee in World War II. Wounded during the Siegfried Line campaign in Germany, he spent nearly a year recuperating in an army hospital. This is his story of a "One-Eyed Infantryman in World War II." Glenn also writes fiction and is active in Scribes & Scribblers, his church's creative writing group.
Read Beginnings, Part 1 - The Evil Gene
This is Beginnings, Part 2 - A New Start
Next Issue: Beginnings, Part 3 - Confusion