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What is the best way to write a buy side equity research report? Is there a good format to follow? Specifics to add? What are must haves to improve decision making from reading it?

Have an opinion and tell a story.You can train a monkey (at least a monkey who went to a wealthy Northeastern prep school and then an Ivy) to distill a pile of 10-Ks and Qs into a spreadsheet that is basically a reduced-dimensionality set of financial statements. But you will end up with information instead of knowledge.Commenting on the trends in the financial statements ("hey, look, their margin trend is terrible!", "look, they are crushing it with negative working capital!") is the schoolboy approach. Comparing the financials and valuation metrics to peers is the kind of lazy-but-hard work that people who've been told what to do their entire lives tend to excel at. It is easy to find this kind of person to do this kind of work if you walk around the Ivies with a pile of two-hundred-thousand dollar bills.What it's not easy to find is someone that will:1. Ask interesting questions2. Answer them3. Develop an opinion4. Articulate and defend that opinionThe very best equity analysts tell stories. The stories tend to have one of a relatively small set of structures, like most narrative. But thinking of research as storytelling can point the way to a set of tools and heuristics that can illuminate things that are invisible if you just look at the numbers in isolation.For example:Who are the players in this industry? What personalities are involved, either as corporate entities, or the specific people involved?What are their inputs and outputs? What's going on in those markets? Is the secular trend in market participants growing or shrinking? How about market size? How about supply constraints?When are they chronologically weak or strong? Are there cross-industry dynamics in time that matter? How about intra-industry? Any regulatory changes on the horizon?Where do these players operate? What's going on in those localities?Why have these players chosen the courses of action that they did? Is there evidence that the criteria they chose to set their direction are the right ones? Do you agree with their professed rationales?How do these players view themselves and their peers? How are they viewed by other powerful actors that matter?Once you've developed an opinion, articulating and defending it is important. Consider studying journalism, which is at its best the study of telling stories with a point. Also consider reading "Made to Stick", a work about how to make your ideas have an effect on their receiver. (Perhaps also Robert McKee "Story".)Firms like Sanford Bernstein have made a niche for themselves by paying up for researchers that are also writers, and who can produce this kind of work. These folks exist at banks too. I'm out of touch with that scene (I haven't worked in finance since ~2008), but folks like Jeffrey Rosenberg, Meredith Whitney, Rod Lache, etc. There are also a number of fantastic examples in the buy side space: Bill Ackman and Whitney Tilson come to mind. Heck, even folks like Fred Hickey.The important thing is this: have an opinion.Whether you are right or wrong matters less than that you express a point of view that engenders a thoughtful conversation with the folks who will commit risk dollars.If you have a heated discussion with a PM or trader and they ultimately do the complete opposite thing from what you thought they should do, and they make money, you are still responsible for honing their understanding of the situation, and they will remember that and take care of you at bonus time.

Is Dr Umar Johnson for real?

Yes he is and yes he has six degrees and a very strong academic and degreed/professional background. He also has the right to change his name.I have recently watched several interviews with him and I would say his value and thesis is 80% correct and valid. There are however biased points that are difficult to reconcile, not because they don't make sense or merit questioning but because the horse is out of the literal barn. By that I mean his views on interracial marriage and admonishing Blacks to seek only Black women as mates because of simpatico and empathy that can't be achieved with mates from other cultures and ethnicities. Since the Supreme court Loving decision this horse is out the barn, Johnson's assertion that there is an element of envy and aspirational interest from Black men marrying outside their cultural group has elements of truth to it for some men and women of color.Community DevelopmentJohnson's further points about community development and translatable power are dead on. Black folk give churches $14 million a week for hope, not community power. Community power includes 4 tenets: stores, schools, banks, hospitals . That lack are why Black people are not in equivalent power to the $1 trillion we pour annually into the American economy.Point in fact, several years ago on my local Manhattan community board we talked in depth about the problem from Columbia University on 110th street the the west side and up to Washington heights at approximately 168th to 190th. There is no economic base. Mainly cell phone stores, grocery stores, hair salons dominate the areas alongside clothing and food restaurants. The problem was twofold: Jobs averaged $10 an hour through the corridor and those making more routinely left the neighborhood to go to other neighborhoods to spend money. The corridor is about 50% Black, 35 % Latino and 15% White. There is no corporate centers, factories, car dealerships, few homes to buy so it stays one, poverty laden and makes it ripe for Columbia’s soft and developer hard gentrification.Validation Through ThingsJohnson is correct in that minorities have forsaken the boon of financial power for the immediacy of disposable doodads and trinkets. That they purchase jewelry, clothing , cars, accouterments that lack anything but liability status because there is not comparative lessons inter-culturally about assets. He makes an excellent point about a speaker, a banker, at one of his events saying potential borrowers are not just skin denied loans but tend to have car leases that suggest if push comes to tight times, a man of color will forsake mortgage payments over his car lease. This is why banks look at a Financial Statement and assess risks. Bad usage of money and lack of credit.I agree here because I recently had a coworker making about $40k a year who'd just re-upped into a car lease, rolling over the past vehicles $14k due to the new vehicle, making It a grand total of $44k due.I blanched, choked even. I pointed out he drove the car mainly on the weekend, 20% of the total time. The rest it sat in the driveway and he and his wife journeyed on bus and train five days a week. At least one week of their work month, or three months of the year were to pay for the car to sit....in the driveway.My former coworker illustrated this to me as I tried to get him to posit that $44k in at the very least, and I consider it a C grade investment at best, a 401k or as a down payment on a home.He and his wife own no property, have no retirement income. They’re in their 60s. Black. Loyal attendees of their church.The car if the payments had been invested are worth 59,342.73 in cash vs a 44k bill.My mother and stepfather were much the same, opting for a Mercedes that they couldn't afford.The psychological validation of shiny things in contrast to being a privileged person is what drives Black people to such insanity. Seeking external and/or object validation.Johnson is right there.EducationAs a teacher I have severe reservations about Special Education designations and ADHD diagnoses. I often watch even on Quora how so many people self limit themselves with a constant diagnostic malady. "I'm type 2 this with overarching depressive this and have a family history of narcissistic borderline that.......here's my recipe for biscuits."There is a mass en-culturing of mental maladies but like anything else those with the less resources take the heaviest brunt of negative cultural events. By that I mean, and Johnson being able to diagnose and counsel pointed it out, Black people are less likely to go to qualified therapy and / or get new, additional feedback. The desire for false validation from doodads also perpetuates false arrogance.Further Johnson's points on the Struggle for parity , equality, sovereignty do point out the issues are not as completely prevalent as Jim Crow, socially, but are more governmental, systemic. I am happy to hear criticism of Obama, who I always felt was the appeasement President, not the person, but his administration as an example of shifting social focus and primacy to LGBT issues and financial matters. I am wary in "liking" a political leader, I don't need to like you. I need you to be effective. I agree partially with his assessment of Trump as a truth teller who mobilized poorer Whites but the question of where were the millions of women who marched after election day and how many voted for Trump? I believe that women and minorities vote like abused spouses: Bloody lipped, bruised, resentful and resigned but ultimately compliant.The whole pan Africanist vs socialist Africanist movement with relationship to Marcus Garvey and such is dynamically problematic in the sense that I think Johnson is evidence and agent of another consciousness system at work.Spiral Dynamics.Black people are Level 3s and 4s, (Red/Blue) family/tribalism and government /legality, respectively.Level 5 is where Me as a person of self interest, expansive development and capitalism reside.However Clare Graves the inventor of SD posited that individuals, cultures, societies pass through each level in 3 stages: Entering, Closed and Exiting.One could argue that all the Quoran questions about entrepreneurs, money, business etc pointedly coming from overseas suggests Entering Level 5 consciousness about work, money, career----their religion, social and political issues notwithstanding.I think Johnson is suggesting, with out the SD paradigm, and with heavy racialism, is one of the intra and popular criticisms of the Civil Rights Movement, that it stopped at equal legal rights and though Whitney Young did lots of negotiative horse-trading, the social freedom was pressed before financial growth.Hence 40% of Blacks are in permanent, generational poverty, 30% in fluctuate ----school, unemployment, transitions and 30% in Middle Class or higher , stably, earning $40k a year, savings, home ownership, career, etc, there is then a micro 10th of a percent that is Transcendent (Oprah, Obama, Jordan, etc.) who possess possible or conclusive wealth.By comparison, Whites are about 20% in generational poverty and Latinos 50%. However Latinos don’t have the same fluctuate percentage, they tend to leave poverty and solidly occupy Middle Class, the working theory is community, la familia, gives domestic and international stabilization for upward mobility which translates to navigating the American business and educational system better. The same for Asians who come to America.Johnson is pushing for Exiting Level 4 but he's still saturated in the rhetoric, the racialism of Level 3 & 4, Black culture, to both understand and be understood. He literally can't possess his level of education and be accessible to Black people without "speaking their (level) language".The language includes race as a central identity theme----which is not so much where I strictly disagree but diverge. It is still Black Power rhetoric and therefore, to my 21st century sociopolitical sensibility, passe. Foundational, yes but not wholly translatable to a globalization mindset. But I believe Johnson is a teacher, like me, and understands you must teach people to swim before you get them to deep sea dive.Potentially polemic, I think Johnson is the burgeoning Exiting 4, Entering 5 consciousness that Civil Rights halted at, which is why so much of his ideas ring very mid-century segregationist, a present day impossibility.What is possible and must happen is a good inculcation of financial services and skills-----did I mention how many of my Black and Latino coworkers over the past are not 401k participants?A lot of them dress and ride fly, trying to fill a capitalist equation of success being material worth/money and if you can't have or generate that then you are worthless. But if you can sport a Mercedes, like my stepfather, who got his GED at 45, and desperately wanted the glitter of being a business owner but none of the work, then you are validated as somebody.I bring up my own family to illustrate how we diverge intra-family so sharply within families and as previous posts have attested, such mentalities wrecked havoc in my family.I'm maybe one of five from an extend group of seventy relatives not in debt, with savings, a business, a financial plan that isn't just to get me stuff but work, education, to improve , which radiates beyond simply racial lines, to foreseeing my efforts making resources available for my great grandchildren.There's at least three living generations in Black culture that en masse lack financial intelligence because we are so consumed with race, a false, delusional concept, created for financial profit, that we are distracted to try and externally compete with white /capitalist materialism. Which I think might also include Johnson eventually moving to dismantling the social construct of race....for Black people.You can't ascribe to the control based designations of an oppressor and "flip the script" and expect Blacks not have cognitive dissonance. I can't be a nigger yesterday and your nigga today without some serious investigation. I also can't try to validate a delusional constructed category and expect liberation. Johnson's points to rap, culture, TV, films, point to this dissonant lived experience.Perhaps deeper, Johnson's pan Africanist cultural attenuation offers that respite. He's young enough that he can do books and YouTube videos and hopefully construct a salient, constructive, progressive platform that teaches more to swim and why it's so important.#KylePhoenix

If you want to compare a real life person to "The Joker" character, who you will be apt?

Well, I'd have to go with this guy- shown here after a rather nasty beat-down by a extremely loyal, brave and talented English butler on the family estate of one of America's greatest financial and banking dynasties... (WARNING- I might have gotten a bit carried away, and I've written a extremely lengthy answer, going into tht guy's story in great detail. Even so, it's well worth reading; and by the time you finish reading it, I'm sure you'll agree that he's probably the most fitting real-life Joker-analogue):This man is Erich Muenter, a University professor who taught German language. Accounts of his early life are sketchy. Muenter was apparently born in Germany about 1871 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1890; however, he would in his later life fabricate a host of stories as his tenuous grip on reality slipped away. He alternately claimed to have been born in Texas or Wisconsin, the son of German immigrants, or in the South as the son of landed aristocrats, or that he was of Finnish extraction forced to emigrate to the United States by Russian persecution. As such, his origin story, and thus his true identity, is still a mystery to this day (just like that of the Joker).Regardless of the fictions he contrived of his own origins, Muenter clearly evinced a natural gift for languages. He demonstrated fluency in German, French, Spanish, and Finnish. His German accent was almost imperceptible, except on the few occasions when he was seen by friends to explode in rage; most who met him thought he merely had a mild speech impediment. Muenter took his Bachelor’s degree in German at the University of Chicago, graduating in 1899. In 1902 Muenter married a young woman named Krembs, who acquaintances described as “a pleasant German-American woman,” and as a “a woman of striking beauty.” She taught school in Chicago for a brief period. 1903 found Muenter and his wife at Kansas State University where he took some graduate courses. There he authored a paper entitled “Insanity and Literature”, and his wife gave birth to their first child, a boy.In 1904, Muenter hit the big time: he was accepted for doctoral work at Harvard University, and was permitted to teach undergraduate courses in German language. One of the faculty members at Harvard said that “in the classroom Professor Muenter was very calm and precise, and had much charm of manner.” Muenter and his wife lived in modest rooms at 107Oxford Street in Cambridge which they rented from Thomas W. Hillier, a local livery stable owner. Hillier later recalled that the only evidence of strangeness Muenter was shown was the strange conviction that “a wonderful new language could be built up out of Gaelic and Scots” (actually, newspapers published the report as a language built from combining “Gaelic and Scotch” — which has a certain interesting potential in and of itself...)Yet his university colleagues saw dark oddities in Muenter’s behavior. There were three separate occasions on which neighbors accused Muenter of blowing out the gas lights in his bedroom in an attempt to asphyxiate his sleeping wife. Muenter claimed that the gas had been blown out by the wind — a common hazard in the days of gas lighting — and the neighbors’accusations were dismissed as over-active imagination. Certainly, his landlord had vouched for Muenter, claiming that Muenter had seemed genuinely concerned for his wife’s fate. Several friends recalled he obsessed over sexual matters (the details of which were apparently too risqué to detail in Edwardian newspapers) and one reported that he had, with some friends, formed “a secret organization for the study of medieval mysticism.”He showed moments of irrational behavior; he “discovered” a poem which he touted as a previous unknown masterpiece of German literature. A German literary society soon pointed out that it was a fairly well-known work of Goethe, and Muenter seethed with anger for months over the affair. Professor Hugo Münsterberg later recalled that while Muenter was at Harvard, “he often came to my laboratory for the purpose of borrowing books on insanity. Some of these he needed to write theses on insanity. Others he would borrow because he was interested in the subject.” Münsterberg thought Muenter was a “pathological study” even before he emigrated to the U.S., and that “the man was always interested in mysticism and metaphysics”. He added “I can scarcely imagine any man being a moreinteresting psychological study that this man Muenter.”While at Harvard, Muenter’s wife gave birth to their second child. By early 1906, she was pregnant a third time. But this time, something went terribly wrong. She was, from all accounts, a strong, healthy woman. Yet with this pregnancy, she seemed to grow weaker and weaker with each passing week. Friends of the family attempted to bring in a physician, Dr. H. B. McIntyre of Boston, to attend her in her confinement (imposed in accordance with the quaint but dysfunctional Victorian custom of keeping a woman housebound during the final months of pregnancy). But Erich Muenter would have none of it; he "did not believe in doctors", and his wife meekly acceded to the dismissal of Dr. McIntyre.On April 16th, 1906, Muenter’s wife died before she could give birth to their third child. There was no attending physician at her deathbed, in keeping with her husband’s requirements. Muenter turned her body over to a local undertaker, A. E. Long, to be prepared for burial; but Long, an experienced mortician, grew suspicious when he began embalming the body. There was something not quite right with the look of the woman’s internal organs. He called in Professor Whitney of the Harvard Medical School, who conductedan impromptu autopsy. He determined that Mrs. Muenter had died from the cumulative effects of numerous small doses of arsenic, and that throughout her confinement, her husband had fed his wife beef tea laced with poison.Long and Whitney went to the Cambridge police with their information, but before the Cambridge police could obtain an indictment for murder against Muenter, the case took a bizarre turn. Muenter took his two children, and his wife’s corpse, placed them all in an automobile and drove to Chicago. On the 19th of April, he had his wife’s body cremated in an attempt to destroy the evidence of his crime, abandoning his children (assumedly at his sister's, who lived in Chicago, but possibly abandoning them on the streets to fend for themselves), and fled the country to Mexico.He immediately set about creating a new identity for himself, selecting the name “Frank Holt”. In early 1907, “Frank Holt” appeared on the doorstep of Samuel Brothers, an American-owned gold mining company operating in El Oro, Mexico, a small gold mining town about a hundred miles north of Mexico City, seeking a position as a stenographer. One of the executives of the company, James Dean, recalled that “Frank Holt” had proved “an excellent stenographer, but kept aloof from every one in the company. This drew many comments and attracted attention to him. He had a worried look and gazed abstractedly into space for a long time frequently. He never spoke a word about his past, even when questioned closely.”While in Mexico, Muenter did not fully sever his ties to old acquaintances made before his wife’s murder. As he created his new persona as “Frank Holt”, he sent abusive letters back to his former associates at Harvard, still writing as Erich Muenter. He even took time to publish a rambling pamphlet which burlesqued the death of his wife, “and told in gruesome fashionhow he had put into practice his theories of revenge.” In it, he stated that the law had taught him that revenge was right. Police were quickly tipped off as to Muenter’s whereabouts, and dispatched investigators to Mexico City to track him down. Muenter was still a few steps ahead of them though: days before they arrived in Mexico, he had quit his job with the mining company, packed his few belongings and moved to Dallas, Texas, where he elected to enroll in a small Texas college, the Agricultural and Mechanical College, believing that in this intellectual backwater, it would be less likely that any of his former Harvard co-workers would stumble across him and reveal his identity.While there, he met a young lady, Leone Sensabaugh, the daughter of a prominent Dallas minister. They were soon married. He graduated in 1909with a degree in German language, and during the 1909-1910 term, he served as Assistant Professor of German at Oklahoma University. A local newspaper carried a notice when he joined the faculty: “Mr. Frank Holt, the new Instructor in German, is a graduate of the Fort Worth Polytechnic Institute and has spent several years of his life in Germany and speaks German as well as English. He has had several years of experience in teaching the language and comes highly recommended. He also speaks Spanish and French fluently and has studied at the University of Berlin, and studied in Rome and Paris and has traveled over Europe. He gave lectures on German literature in Berlin.”Most of the notice appears to be a concocted fiction of Muenter’s fertile imagination, an attempt to establish a past for the fugitive from Harvard. The university accepted his claims at face value without ever investigating his veracity. Muenter’s employment there was to be short-lived, however. He was frequently afflicted with insomnia, and would disappear from campus for days on end. Brooding over fancied injustices to himself, he grew increasingly angry that the chairmanship of the languages department had not been given to him, rather than to another professor who had served atthe university for many years, and he was soon dropped from the faculty.He left Oklahoma State University and then went on to take positions at several other prominent colleges. By 1912, he was back in the Ivy League, lecturing at Cornell. But Muenter never forgot that he was still a fugitive from justice. Learning that a former Harvard colleague, Professor Kuno Francke, was planning to visit the Cornell to give a short series of lectures, Muenter decided to take a short vacation to New York City rather than face being exposed. He did not return until the day after Francke departed.Then, everything changed with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. While the United States would not enter the war until 1917, there was still considerable anti-German feeling which made “Frank Holt” even more of an outsider than before. Though insisting he was born in the United States, Holt still spoke with a distinct German accent which aroused suspicion despite his being careful to hide his pro-German beliefs. Many prominent Americans were already pushing for U.S. entry into the war, including financier J.P. Morgan who had lent millions to the Russians and the British to promote the war effort. For all that he insisted he was a pacifist, Holt was outraged and wrote numerous letters to newspapers denouncing Morgan's use of his wealth to promote the war against Germany.Muenter informed the university that he would be resigning to accept a professorship teaching Romance Languages at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, which was scheduled to open for its first classes in September of 1915. He packed his wife and children off to Dallas to livewith his father-in-law just before the term ended- and as he left Cornell, Muenter informed his colleagues that he intended to spend a few days in New York City doing research before rejoining his family in Dallas. But his wife and university colleagues hadn't realized the extent of Muenter’s obsession over American munitions shipments to Europe. With twisted hypocrisy, the man who'd had no compunction about slowly murdering his pregnant wife with arsenic had convinced himself that American arms shipments to the Allies were immoral, and must be stopped. The sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania by a German warship on May 7, 1915 had made American involvement in the war all but inevitable; and it would behis holy cause to bring an end to the bloodshed in Europe.While his wife was getting settled in their new home in Texas, Muenter checked in at Mills Hotel Number 3, located on Seventh Avenue at 36th St, for two weeks. It was a large but certainly not lavish hotel, where rooms rented for 30¢ a day, paid in advance. Clerks at the crowded hotel only recalled Muenter having stayed there because of the inordinate amount of mail he received, and because he had gotten into an altercation with another guest over a war notice posted on a newspaper stand which required intervention by police to stop. Muenter devoted his first week in New York City to gathering together the materials he thought he would need to end the flow of weapons to Europe.He traveled to Jersey City, New Jersey, where he purchased a .38 caliber Iver and Johnson revolver from John S. Menagh, a hardware dealer. With a box of cartridges, the pistol cost Muenter $2.25. He asked the hardware dealer if the gun came with a guarantee to “work every time.” Menagh frowned and explained that "revolvers didn’t come with that sort of guarantee". Muenter had actually wanted two pistols, but the .38 was the only handgun Menagh had in stock. Obligingly, he suggested that Muenter try the pawnshop of Joseph Keechan across the street. There, he purchased a used .32 caliber revolver. For both transactions Muenter gave his name as “C. Hendricks.”Muenter then rented a cottage in Bethpage (at the time called “Central Park”) from Louis Ott, a local real estate broker. He gave his name as “Mr. Patton” and told Ott that his physician had ordered him to move to the country for his health, and that he wanted a quiet, isolated place to live in. The two-room bungalow Ott offered him was perfectly situated off the main road and completely hidden by trees. The largest of the two rooms was only about ten feet square; the second, smaller room was used by the cottage’s owner are a storeroom for furniture. But it suited Muenter’s purpose, who divided his time between his rooms in New York City and the Bethpage cottage.he rented a bungalow in New York City under the name of “Patton”, and used the bungalow to put together his own quiet campaign against the U.S. government.For the next few days, Muenter traveled through New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to find the single most important item he needed to execute his grand design. He was frustrated again and again, but finally, he found a company in Long Island City that offered to sell him what he so desperately wanted: a case of dynamite. The sales representative informed him that the company did not, of course, keep any dynamite on hand; it would have to be special-ordered and would be freighted to Bethpage by train. Every day for the next week and a half, Muenter visited the Bethpage Rail Road Station’s freight office with clockwork regularity, impatient for his shipment of high explosives.Muenter was so annoyingly insistent that the freight agent, George B. Carnes, finally lost his temper with him. Although the manufacturer, Keystone Powder Co. of Emporium, Pennsylvania, had shipped out the explosives immediately, the dynamite had lain in a Long Island Rail Road warehouse for nearly a week. The railroad’s safety regulations required that dynamite had to be moved on special trains that carried no passengers or regular freight. Finally, on the 28th of June, the first two of three cratesarrived for “C. Hendricks,” the same alias Muenter had used to purchase revolvers a few days before in New Jersey, each containing 120 pounds of 60% dynamite. Several small explosions started happening in Central Park, near the bungalow he had rented, as he started to create his own experimental bombs.He would later explain to Captain Thomas Tunney, head of the New York City Police Department’s “Bomb and Anarchist Squad”, that he made his devices by taping together three sticks of dynamite, then hollowing out a depression in one of the sticks and filling it with the heads of “trick matches” which he had obtained in a novelty joke shop in New York City. The matches were designed to explode when struck. He placed a glass vial filled with concentrated sulfuric acid, stoppered with an ordinary cork, upside down next to the hole filled with match heads. The sulfuric acid would eat slowly through the cork, until a few drops of acid landed on the match heads, causing them to ignite and explode the dynamite — a slow chemical detonator. Muenter had experimented over and over again with this arrangement until he could accurately estimate how long it would take forthe acid to detonate the bomb. The timing was perfect; The Fourth of July weekend was only a few days away, and now, Erich Muenter was ready to set off some fireworks of his own.Building the first of what would be several bombs, he traveled to Washington, D.C. on June 2 and managed to plant the bomb in the reception room of the Senate Capitol building (he couldn’t plant the bomb in the Senate chamber itself as he had originally intended), leaving the building at about 4 p.m. Passing a mail box, he dropped a handful of letters, addressed to the President of the United States and to the four major newspapers in Washington DC, into the slot and returned to his boarding house. He packed the few belongings he had brought with him into a valise, and for the next few hours, he wandered aimlessly around the streets of Washington. Late in the evening, he was back in the street outside the Capitol. At 10:30, Muenter was seen by a young couple, who were standing on the Senate terrace, pacing back and forth and staring at the windows of the reception hall. Muenter then apparently took a quick walk around the perimeter of the Capitol building before returning to his vantage point at the Senate terrace. Then he sat down on a bench at a nearby trolley stop.At 11:23 PM EST, the bomb exploded. Though there were no fatalities, since the building was unoccupied at the time, the Senate reception room was destroyed, and the blast even caused some damage to the Vice President’s office. The bomb blast was heard a mile away, and within a few minutes,the East Plaza outside the Capitol was filled with curiosity seekers. Satisified, Muenter walked three blocks to Union Station, arriving in time to catch the 12:10 train from Washington back to New York City. Both conductor J. L. Riland and head brakeman J. N. Purcell recognized Muenter when shown a picture of him. He wore a “cheap suit of light material with a stripe running through it” and a stiff brimmed straw hat, and was reported to have been wearing an extremely broad grin at the time.Muenter was sprawled out in Berth 6 of Car 27- and in one of the many little ironies of the case, Washington’s Chief of Police, Raymond Pullman occupied Berth 4 in Car 26 on the same train, going to New York City to follow up a lead on the Capitol bombing. In the letter he'd wrote to D.C. newspapers (which he signed “R. Pearce”), Holt took credit for the explosion which he intended as a statement about the supplying of arms to the war effort in Europe. “Sorry I, too, had to use explosives. (For the last time, I trust.) It is the export kind and ought to make enough noise to be heard above the clamor for war and blood-money. This explosion is the exclamation point to my appeal for peace! One editor said: There are times when one government may be expected to speak on behalf of other countries and of humanity in general. God bless you Mr. Editor, that was a timely word in this blood-money madhouse. Let us stop this colossal American crime!”But the bomb was only the beginning for Holt. Changing trains in Manhattan, Muenter boarded the Oyster Bay branch of the Long Island Rail Road. At about 8:30 a.m. on the morning of July 3rd, Muenter stepped off the train at Glen Street Station. He carried a suitcase filled with newspaperclippings which he hoped to use to convince Morgan that he should stop armaments shipments to Europe. Also in the suitcase were several sticks of dynamite. In Muenter’s coat, he carried two revolvers and a stick of dynamite. At Glen Street Station, Muenter hired Arthur J. Ford and his automobile (first in the fleet of Glen Cove’s “Yellow Taxi Company”) to drive him to the estate of J.P Morgan Jnr. and his family, a distance of two miles.Once at the mansion, Muenter started towards the house, before abruptly stopping and returning to the taxi. “Oh, I forgot,” Muenter said. “I have to get my card.” Ford watched Muenter open his suitcase, and thought he saw him withdraw a revolver and slip it into his pocket. Muenter then walked rapidly to the house, walked up to the front door and rang the bell. At the door, Muenter was met by Henry C. Physick, the Morgan family butler. “I want to see Mr. Morgan,” Muenter said, and handed him a worn business card which read: SUMMER SOCIETY DIRECTORY- Thomas C. Lester, representing.“What is your business with him?” Physick asked. “I can’t discuss that with you,” Muenter replied. “I am an old friend of Mr. Morgan. He will see me.”“You must tell me the business you have with him,” Physick reiterated.Muenter pulled out both revolvers, and shoved Physick out of the way.“Don’t dare try to stop me!” Muenter yelled. Muenter demanded where Morgan was. Physick thought quickly. Although he was well aware that Morgan was in the breakfast room with his house-guests, he told Muenter that he was in the library — at the opposite end of the house. Muenter raced down the hall towards the library, with Physick following a few paces behind. As Muenter entered the library, Physick turned and ran towards the breakfast room shouting “Upstairs, Mr. Morgan! Upstairs, Mr. Morgan!” Afraid to go into the breakfast room, for fear of tipping Muenter off as to Morgan’s exact location, Physick darted down a staircase to the basement to rally the staff to defend the household.“We were at breakfast in the room on the ground floor, when the butler was heard shouting from the main entrance by the library to Mr. Morgan to go upstairs quickly,” the British Ambassador, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice (who coincidentally happened to be attending the residence as a breakfast guest of the Morgans on that very day) later recalled. “We did not know what was the matter, whether it was fire or burglars, and the whole party left the table and ran up the rear staircase, which was nearest to the door.” At the top of the rear staircase they found Rosalie McCabe, an elderly nurse employed by the Morgan family to look after their youngest children. “What has gone wrong up here?” Morgan asked. “What do you want me for?”“Nothing has happened up here that I know of,” McCabe replied. “Everything has been quiet.”Morgan and his guests began a room by room search to try to figure out what had caused Physick to yell out. Sir Spring-Rice ran up to the third floor, where the guest and servants’ quarters were located, and noticed nothing amiss. A moment later, McCabe, who was standing near the headof the main staircase, located in the center of the house, criedout that a stranger was coming up the stairs. Muenter, realizing that he had been fooled by the butler, had started back to the main staircase.Along the way, he heard voices from a small side room. He entered to find Morgan’s younger children at play. He pointed a pistol at them. “Where is Mr. Morgan?” he asked. The children didn’t answer. Muenter demanded they follow him. Finding the main hallway deserted, he started up the main staircase, the children following a few steps behind. As Muenter reached the second floor landing, a loaded revolver in each hand, he yelled out “Now, Mr. Morgan, I have you!”Seeing the pistols, Mrs. Morgan heroically tried to place herself between Muenter and her husband. Morgan pushed her aside, and lunged at Muenter. Muenter fired two rounds into Morgan before he was smashed to the ground by the 220-lb bulk of the millionaire. He pulled the trigger two more times, but the gun misfired both times. Morgan landed with the weightof his body squarely on Muenter, and they struggled for a moment until Morgan managed to twist the revolver from Muenter’s hand. Completely by chance, Morgan had landed in such a way that he had accidently pinned Muenter’s left hand, holding the second revolver, to the floor in such a way that Muenter was unable to fire it.Morgan’s wife, Spring-Rice and Miss McCabe pried the second revolverfrom Muenter’s grasp. “I have a stick of dynamite in my pocket,” Muenter shouted. “Take care of it!” Realizing his attempt had failed, Muenter was overheard by Morgan’s valet, Bernard Stewart, to cry “Kill me! Kill menow! I don’t want to live any more. I have been in a perfect hell for the last six months on account of the European war!” By this time, Physick and a small phalanx of household staff, armed with make-shift weaponry, had reached the second floor. Physick had armed himself with the closest weapon that came to hand: a large chunk of hard coal. He used it to pound Muenter into insensibility as he lay beneath Morgan on the floor. After taking away his guns and tying him up for the police, another servant noticed the dynamite sticking out of Holt’s pocket, and the dynamite was immediately placed in a pail of water, just in time to avert an explosion which could have destroyed the Morgans' Manor.Satisfied his attacker would not escape, Morgan went to the telephone andcalled Dr. William M. Zabriskie, a local physician who lived on Highland Road and who attended to many of the Gold Coast millionaires when they were summering in Glen Cove. He calmly informed Zabriskie that he had been shot, and his services were needed. It was only then that Mrs. Morgan and the household realized that Morgan had been struck by Muenter’sbullets. Morgan assured them that he wasn’t in pain, and that the injuries were slight, as they indeed proved to be. Dr. Zabriskie then attended to Muenter’s injuries. Muenter was still dazed- when Zabriskie asked who he was, the only reply that Muenter would give was “Christian gentleman.” Although he looked much worse for wear after his encounter with Morgan and the coal-wielding butler, battered and bruised beyond recognition, all of Muenter’s injuries were superficial.A few minutes later, Justice of the Peace William E. Luyster, who presided over the Glen Cove Court House, and the local chief of constables, Frank E. McCahill arrived at the house. They collected Muenter and his pistols and dynamite and suitcase filled with newspaper clippings and carted him off to the Glen Cove Court House. Inside the Glen Cove Court House, Luyster and McCahill searched through Muenter’s pockets. They found a small slip of paper, on which was written the names of Morgan’s four children. He also had three ten dollar bills and an editorial cartoon clipped out of the Philadelphia Record. The cartoon showed Lady Liberty pointing to a crate of fireworks, representing the European war, and admonishing Uncle Sam that they are “dangerous fireworks”. More ominously, they found a schedule of sailings for merchant vessels leaving New York, on which several ship departures were circled.Muenter, still clinging to his identity as “Frank Holt,” explained to Luyster and McCahill in a quiet, methodical manner exactly what his plan for the Morgan household had been. “I have a well-trained mind and I studied for a long time as to what would be the proper course for me to pursue before Idecided to take the matter up with Mr. Morgan personally... I wanted to go to every manufacturer personally, and persuade him to stop this traffic. It was physically impossible for me to do this, but Mr. Morgan, with his great influence could do what was impossible for me, and so I decided to apply to him.”He explained that it had been his intention to take Morgan’s wife and children hostage. Muenter intended to seal them into a room while he forced Morgan to do his bidding to stop munitions shipments to Europe. He had planned to cut a small hole with his pocketknife in the doorway of the room he placed the Morgan family in, through which he intended to pass food during what even he perceived would have been a lengthy siege. At first, Muenter claimed that his shooting of Morgan had been accidental. “I shot to frighten him. You see, I wanted to talk to him. He came running angrily towards me as soon as I saw him and I shot to frighten him so that it would be possible to avoid a mix up and so I could place my arguments before him... The bullets which I intended to go wild struck him.”Muenter added that he “would not have been shot if he had not been violent,” concluding that “I admire Mr. Morgan’s courage. If hewould display a quality of moral courage equaling the physicalcourage he showed towards me, he would go down in history asa very great man.”But Muenter faltered in his story on at least one occasion, and admitted that his purpose had been to assassinate the financier. In Mineola, the interrogation of Muenter continued. The prisoner was weak, had lost a fair amount of blood from the pummeling that Frank Physic had given him, and had eaten little or nothing since he was brought to the Mineola jail. Thejailers were concerned that he had taken poison, and brought in Dr. Cleghorn to examine him. Cleghorn announced that Muenter merely had “an intestinal disorder which frequently was associated with mental diseases.”Throughout the interrogation, Muenter claimed that he “didn’t want to hurt any one” and that his singular purpose was to end America’s role in the carnage in Europe. A New York City police detective asked Holt if he was ananarchist. He shook his head. They asked him if he was a socialist. He said quietly “Not yet.” One New York City detective bluntly asked Muenter whether or not he thought he was insane. “I haven’t been able to settle that question yet,” Muenter responded matter-of-factly. Luyster and Weeks were extremely circumspect in offering their opinions relative to Muenter’s sanity; both suspected Muenter would try to raise an insanity defense at his trial. But Chief William J. Flynn of the United States Secret Service was more forthright. He pronounced Muenter “unbalanced.” The jail’s physician, Dr. Cleghorn, pronounced him “a fit subject for Matteawan.”Captain Tunney, New York City Police Department’s bomb expert, asked Muenter for details about how he had made the bomb which he had detonated in the Capitol, which the newspapers had dubbed “the infernal machine.” He played on Muenter’s ego, feigning amazement at how the German-languages professor could have devised such a brilliantly-conceivedtiming mechanism. “There wasn’t any guesswork about it,” Muenter saidproudly. “I had experimented, not once, but many times. I knew just what I was doing, and how to do it. I really didn’t take any chances, for all my observations had been checked up, and I knew when the bomb would go off almost to the minute... I knew how much time I had. So I hung around while the acid was eating its way through the cork. I pulled out my watch and said to myself that 'it ought to be going off pretty soon'. And, sure enough, it did go off pretty soon. Then I hurried to catch the train to New York.” Here, Muenter slipped again, explaining that the reason he'd had to hurry back to New York was “to kill Mr. Morgan.”Muenter also took a few minutes to complain to Warden Hults of the Mineola jail that the guards had shown him disrespect by calling him by his first name, and requested that he be referred to as “Mr. Holt”. The warden provided him with the latest New York City newspapers, in which he read the accounts of both the Capitol bombing and the shooting of Morgan. He pronounced the coverage “very satisfactory”, and told CommissionerWoods that he thought the publicity garnered from the acts would help him to "obtain his objective". He even offered his opinions on the Kaiser, the King of England, and the Czar of Russia: “It would be a good thing if they were blown up. Then the people would have some chance of getting their rights.” In his cell, Muenter was described as “a grouchy sort of man, not a crook... But a highly educated man with fine sensibilities... He is easily insulted, andquestioning him had to be a matter of extreme tact.”Throughout hour after hour of interrogation, Muenter refused to provide certain details about his plans, and especially about the quantity of dynamite he had on hand. Cryptically, he would only state that on Wednesday, July 7th, he would tell all. Some of the detectives working on the case believed that Muenter was trying to give his co-conspirators, either German agents or violent pacifists, time to escape the country. But otherswere beginning to feel that Muenter had something more ominous planned, something scheduled to occur in spite of Muenter being securely behind bars.It took several days for police to track down the trunk Muenter had placed in storage in New York City. They traced it to a warehouse operated above a livery stable and garage at 342 West Thirty-Eighth Street. The effort was well spent, however. The trunk contained an anarchist’s delight: 134 sticks of60% dynamite (carefully packed in sawdust), a box of blasting caps, coils of fuse, batteries, nitric acid, windproof matches, six wooden containers of mercury fulminate, smokeless powder, and three recently completed home-made tin can bombs. Each was five inches in diameter and eight inches high.New York City’s Inspector of Combustibles Owen Egan declared it “the greatest equipment for bomb making ever brought to New York.” The owner of the warehouse, R. L. Vaughan, was lucky to be alive; for days, he had been tossing it around the warehouse without a care. “Muenter was ready for anything with his little arsenal,” explained Egan. He added that “there is nothing in the argument that he must have had financial backing, for a good deal of what he had could be bought for fifteen cents a pound. I dothink, however, he must have had somebody to instruct him in bombmaking, for I do not see how he could have learned all he evidently knew unaided."It was not until July 6th that Muenter had the benefit of legal council. Muenter’s Cornell colleagues retained attorney Thomas J. Reidy, of the NYC firm of Clocke, Koch and Reidy to defend him. Reidy had known Muenter at Cornell, and in fact had been his landlord for much of the time he was there. He announced that “Frank Holt” had told him that he was wasn’t sure where he was in 1906 — he might have been in Germany studying German — but that he was “positive he was not Muenter.” While in jail, Muenter wrote out a lengthy polemic addressed to “The People” and gave it to Reidy to instructions to release it to the press.Reidy, instead, pocketed the document. “I intend to keep the notes which the prisoner has given to me,” Reidy told reporters. “Enough of his writings and statements has been printed already.” He asked that Muenter not be subjected to any more interrogations by the Secret Service or police. “He is very weak and his condition is serious. They must have obtained all the factsthey want from him by this time, and further ordeals might put his life in danger.” The Nassau County District Attorney consented. A few details were still unresolved, but in the three days they had to interrogate him, they had learned enough to put a solid case together.Muenter’s father-in-law hired attorney Martin Littleton to assist in his defense. Littleton met with Muenter in the afternoon. Muenter asked repeatedly whether his act had stopped the shipment of arms to Europe. He offered to waive a public hearing, saying he “did not want to cause the Morgans any more trouble,” and asked repeatedly as to Morgan’s condition.“I talked with him some time,” recalled Littleton. “It was obvious I was simply talking to an insane man. He would close his eyes and apparently doze off. I would ask him a question and he seemed to wake suddenly.”Muenter told his lawyer that the jail guards were refusing him access to newspapers. He grew so upset that Littleton stepped out into the corridor and grabbed a daily paper that a guard lad left lying there, giving it to him before leaving the jail. Dr. Cleghorn had received a report from Cambridge which detailed several operations which had been performed on Muenter. Reidy’s ban on police interrogation didn’t apply to physicians, so Cleghorn went to the Mineola jail and examined Muenter to see whether or not there were scars which matched the descriptions. They matched exactly. The Nassau District Attorney was also notified that a large contingent of Cambridge residents would be setting out that day for Mineola to try toidentify Muenter.Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald, a psychiatrist, was brought to the Mineola jail to interview Muenter. MacDonald pronounced Muenter a “paranoic of the reformatory type,” adding that his statements “...for the most part seem logical... when the subject is an abstract one, his mental weakness does not come out strongly. In his discussion of concrete facts, however, his wildnessis more apparent, notably when he describes how he thought he could imprison the Morgans, barricade the door on them, and prevent their rescue by laying a stick of dynamite on the table.”“Don’t you think you made a mistake in going there with two revolvers and trying to influence Mr. Morgan that way?” MacDonald asked. “The mistake I made was that I walked ahead of the children instead of after them,” Muenter responded. “If I could have gotten him and his family into the rooms and imprisoned them all there and kept them there with myself while he was planning the work, that is the work, that is why I brought thefamily there, so they couldn’t shoot off into the room, it would have set this off. If they shot into the room it would have exploded the dynamite. I would lay it on the table and say: ‘This is dynamite. If you shoot at me, go on. It is for the protection of all of us.’”“Didn’t you think that was an unusual way to protect them?” MacDonald asked. “The children were innocent of any wrongdoing.”“If the father wanted to kill the children by shooting into the room, he could do so, but he was informed beforehand that the dynamite was there,” Muenter repeated. “I would tell him that — ‘There is dynamite on this table, therefore don’t shoot into this room.’ It was to keep him from rescuing the children."“But suppose Mr. Morgan had told you that he would decline to accede to your plans?”“I would have said ‘All right; until you are tired.’ I would have held his family in prison.”MacDonald next asked Muenter whether or not he thought he had a legal right to take action against Morgan. Muenter responded that it had “nothing to do with legal right. My dear sir, this is war, you are mistaken.”“But we are not at war.”“You are wrong. We are at war. We are actually at war, we are killing thousands of people every day.”“But we haven’t declared war,” MacDonald reminded him.“Yes, we are doing it underhandedly,” Muenter replied.“Do you think that you, single-handed, could arrest the whole trend of an age?”“No, but Mr. Morgan could.” Muenter lamented over his failed plan. “It was the only thing that could have been done. If it had succeeded it would havebeen a very fine thing.”On that same day, on the 6th of July, Muenter’s wife received a letter fromher husband which had evidently written in the few hours while he was in Washington, when he'd been placing his “infernal machine” in theCapitol building. Of greatest concern was the paragraph stating that a ship would be sunk en route to England on the 7th of July. Muenter’s wife immediately brought the letter to the authorities in Dallas, who telegraphedthe Department of State in Washington that a bomb may have been planted aboard an England-bound steamship. The Department of State immediately forwarded the telegram to Secretary of the Navy Daniels. The news was quickly disseminated to the Secret Service agents, as well as to the New York City and Washington D.C. detectives.New York Police Commissioner Woods later recalled that “We had been worried for several days about what Holt, or Muenter, expected to happen on Wednesday. He had said several times that he was going to tell his story on Wednesday... On Sunday, when I tried to get him to talk to me about the dynamite, he said ‘I will tell you all about that on Wednesday, but on Wednesday the whole world will know.’ We did not feel that we could afford to regard his threats lightly, as if they were the boasts of an ordinary crank, because he had proved that he was a man of ability and one very likely, in view of the seemingly impossible things he had done already, to do what he predicted that he would do.” Woods sent his personal secretary, Guy Scull, by automobile to Mineola to beg Muenter to tell them which ship he had planted the bomb on. Unfortunately though, Scull would arrive ten minutes too late to get his answer.Muenter had already tried to kill himself on the night of July 5th, by slashing his wrists with the metal eraser retainer on a broken pencil. The effort was wholly ineffectual; a guard simply pulled the pencil from his hand. County jail authorities were certain that he was trying to starve himself to death, and gave instructions that if Muenter was not taking solidfood by the 7th, the guards were to force-feed him. Jail authorities were certain that he would try to commit suicide again, and he'd been placed on suicide watch, but personnel shortages made complying with the instructions impossible- only one guard was available per shift. The guard assigned to watch Muenter during the evening shift was Jerry Ryan, who'd arrived at 8:10pm. On the instructions of the jail warden, the cell door had been left open, to enable the watchman to rush into the cell and foil any more attempts by Muenter to commit suicide and escape the hangman's noose.“Oh, I want to sleep so bad,” Muenter told Ryan. Ryan told him to try to get some sleep. “I shall do everything I can to get some sleep,” Muenter said.“Then I’ll do all I can to keep things quiet for you.” Muenter laid down on his cot, face towards the cell door, and put his arm over his head. He seemed to doze off immediately, and for half an hour seemed to sleep. At 10:35 on the evening of July 6th, Ryan walked out of the cell to investigate a noise made by another prisoner, inexplicably leaving the cell door open and Muenter unguarded. With his guard no more than fifteen feet away, Muenter managed to slip out of his cell, scrambled up the cross-bars onto a railing on the second floor of the jail block, and dove head-first onto the concrete floor of the jail corridor, a distance of nearly twenty feet.His head struck the floor with such tremendous force that the noise of the impact sounded like an explosion, giving rise to a short-lived rumor that Muenter had smuggled a pressure-sensitive mercury fulminate blasting cap into the jail and had detonated it between his teeth. Ryan rushed back to the cell, nearly tripping over Muenter, who was lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood. The noise of the impact had sounded to Ryan like a pistol shot. He called for another jailkeeper to send for Dr. Cleghorn, that Muenter had shot himself. “As soon as Dr. Cleghorn came he flopped the body over, and I helped him,” Ryan later recounted to reporters. “I said, ‘He must have had a gun, because I heard an explosion’ and the doctor said ‘It looks as though he had blown his nut off’.”Cleghorn had been mislead by the reports provided to him by the jail guards. But more careful inspection failed to show any bullet wound; an autopsy later determined that he had died of a compound fracture and a cerebral hemorrhage. About ten minutes after Muenter killed himself, a team of New York City police detectives led by Guy Scull arrived to interrogate him about his plot to blow up a munitions ship at sea. Frustrated, a few of them went on to Bethpage, hoping to find a clue in his bomb laboratory there, while the remainder returned to the City. Nassau County District Attorney Smith was furious, as Muenter’s death had cheated him out of what would have been one of the most celebrated court cases of the era. In Dallas, the Rev. O. F. Sensabaugh stated that he would not inform his daughter of Muenter’s suicide until the morning. “Of course, we are terribly sorry to hear of Frank’s death, but there is little I can say.”Investigators working on Muenter’s threat to sink either the Philadelphia or the Saxonia learned that both ships had left for Liverpool from NYC on the 3rd. Both were owned by J. P. Morgan. However, although he had originally intended to target the Saxonia or Philadelphia, Muenter’s plan had run afoul of an anonymous shipping agent’s cost-cutting efforts. Muenter hadn't specified that he wanted the package shipped on a specific vessel, so the shipping agent had held them aside for a few days to get a lower shipping rate onboard another Morgan-owned vessel, the SS Minnehaha.The Minnehaha was registered to the International Merchant Marine, a Morgan subsidiary. It was valued at $1 million. On the day Morgan was shot, she had been berthed at Pier 58, at the foot of West Sixteenth Street in Manhattan. The next day she was moved to Gravesend Bay in Queens to take on a cargo of more than $6 million in war supplies bound for Great Britain. The cargo included 2,800 cases of shrapnel shells, 1,723 cases of artillery cartridges, 1,000 cases of cordite explosive, 1,400 cases of TNT, 3,000 barrels of motor oil, 66 hogsheads of rum, 230 horses bound for service with the British Royal Artillery, and several hundred tons of desperately needed food bound for the British people — wheat, flour, pork, beef, and poultry. Unlike the Saxonia or Philadelphia, she was also carryinggeneral freight.Minnehaha left the Port of New York at 7:14 p.m. on July 4th. At half an hour past midnight on the morning of July 7th, her wireless operator intercepted the message, intended for the Philadelphia and Saxonia, that bombs may have been placed aboard England-bound vessels. Her captain, a long-time International Mercantile Marine employee named Claret, orderedthe small boats swung out in case an explosion occurred and it was necessary for the crew to abandon ship. At 4:15 in the afternoon of the 7th — right on time with Muenter's threats — the bomb exploded, with the blast flinging crewmen ten feet into the air. Following the explosion, a largefire broke out, filling the ship with dense smoke. Fighting acrid smoke and flames, the crew had to shift a large portion of the cargo in the hold in order to get at the fire. Then they closed the hold and flooded the compartment with live steam to try to suffocate the flames. Luckily, the general freight had been placed in its own separate hold, on the opposite side of the ship from the high explosives- and it was in the general freight compartment that Muenter's bomb had been placed.The assorted residents from Cambridge, sent down at the request of the Cambridge police detectives to try to positively identify Erich Muenter, arrived the morning after his death. A police sergeant checked Muenter’s dental records with the teeth of the late “Frank Holt”; it was certainly the right man. His former landlord, the two newspaper reporters, and the mayor of Cambridge all positively identified the body as being that ofErich Muenter. Muenter’s death certificate filed with the Hempstead Boardof Health officially listed him as “Frank Holt”, rather than Erich Muenter, born in Wisconsin, rather than Germany, on 25 March 1875. Originally, the Sensabaugh family had planned to have the body buried in Ithaca, rather than Dallas, to spare Leone the horror of a funeral. However, she decided that she wanted him buried near her home.On July 9th, County Coroner Walter P. Jones convened a formal inquest at Hempstead to determine the cause of death. After the short testimony of Dr. Cleghorn, Jones announced that he was satisfied that Muenter had committed suicide by leaping to his death from the bars of his cell. However, for the sake of thoroughness, he adjourned the hearing until the 16th. He wanted to hear the testimony of several of the other inmates of the jail present when Muenter killed himself. At the same time the inquest went into recess, the Nassau County Board of Supervisors announced that they would be undertaking a full investigation to determine whether or not negligenceat the jail was responsible for Muenter’s death. In 1914, the Nassau County Jail had scandalized the region when it was revealed that prison guards were engaging in “orgies” with female prisoners. Five guards were indicted and found guilty. Certainly, the Board of Supervisors wanted no part of another such debacle.Ryan began to feel that the county was planning to scapegoat him for Muenter’s death. He gave a protracted interview to a newspaper reporter at his home in Spring Valley, steadfastly held to his story that he was not asleep at his post. “I had plenty of sleep before I went to work. I particularly remember that I had slept all day Tuesday. I didn’t dare to go to sleep while I was watching Muenter, for I had my revolver on me and he knew it. I was afraid he might try to take it away from me.” He showed his revolver to the reporter. “It has been loaded this way for two years, so you can see he wasn’t shot with my gun.”“I have never decided whether Muenter jumped to his death or was shot or shot himself. It seemed to me like there was an explosion. Whatever it was that made the crash, I am not going to make a crack now, but everything is coming out. I am not going to be made a goat of in this thing. Now, I want it understood that I had nothing to do with the door’s being open. Thatwas all arranged for when I got there. After I had gone to see what the noise was I had heard up the cell block, leaving Muenter apparently asleep, I heard the explosion and ran back to find him lying in a pool of blood. When the officials came I walked away; I was sore because he had put one over on me.” As to his not closing the cell door before he investigated, Ryan said, “That was probably carelessness on my part. I knew he could not get away. I knew I would only be away a second. Yes, I did violate my instructions when I left the prisoner alone."At the end of the investigation, after the Board of Supervisors convened a meeting behind closed doors with District Attorney Smith, they issued the following typewritten statement to the press: 'The Board of Supervisors, at a conference with the District Attorney, agrees with the District Attorney that there has been a great neglect of duty at the jail as to the custody of one Frank Holt, who committed suicide on July 6th, 1915. The District Attorney is doing everything in his power to investigate and find out who is directly responsible for the act and will lay the whole thing before Sheriff Pettit on his return, and, if the facts warrant, further action will be taken and the persons responsible dealt with according to law...'However, after the press conference, District Attorney Smith said that the Board of Supervisors was “creating false impressions” and that in facthe was not investigating the jail. “What is all this fuss about?” he asked reporters. “There is no question that there has been negligence. We all know that.” Smith laid full responsibility for laxity at the jail in the lap of Warden Hults. “There is nothing to investigate. It is admitted there was negligence. The Warden is responsible. He made a mistake in judgement. He should have had two guards. He had, however, to deal with Holt, who was so weak a ten-year-old boy could have handled him. Two doctors had examined him and we were thinking of sending him to the hospital.” Newspapers called Muenter “the most loosely guarded and most important prisoner ever in the custody of Nassau County.” A former Nassau county official told reporters from the steps of the Mineola Court House “Nassau County is lucky Holt killed himself. If he hadn’t, he might have walked away from us.”So, there you have it. A story where it isn't just one man, Erich Muenter, who can be compared to The Joker, but where practically every other individual of any significance involved along the way can be compared to other Batman characters; the Morgans can be compared to the Waynes, Henry C. Physick can be compared to Alfred T.C. Pennyworth, D.A. Smith can be compared to D.A. Harvey Dent, Dr. William M. Zabriskie can be compared to Dr. Leslie Maurin Thompkins, Commissioner Woods can be compared to Commissioner Gordon, Dr. Cleghorn can be compared to Dr. Hugo Strange; the list goes on and on, and it's just about the most perfect fit imaginable.Basically, think of this tale as our Earth's take on the foiling of a near-perfect clone of Batman's origin story- one where the Joker decided to try and kill Thomas and Martha Wayne by storming Wayne Manor instead, but where Alfred Pennyworth's quick thinking and rallying of Wayne Manor's staff managed to foil his assassination effort and save the Waynes' lives, and the Joker subsequently managed to successfully kill himself on the second attempt (unlike in the comics, where he's tried to kill himself innumerable times and always failed).Perhaps on a parallel earth, Erich Muenter succeeded in his effort to kill the Morgans, and elected to escape Mineola prison and resume his insane campaign of terror on the streets of NYC, deeming it to be more worthwhile than killing himself in the spur of the moment. And thus, provided the incentive for the orphaned Morgan children to don their capes and cowls ,and become that particular reality's version of the Bat-Family. With a bit of Captain America-style war patriotism and anti-German sentiment added to the mix for good measure, of course...

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