The Charlotte News
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1937
Two Faces East
James A. Mills, Associated Press correspondent in China, reports that observers, who witnessed the Japanese attack on the gunboat Panay and four British gunboats, agree that it was deliberate and that flags were too prominently displayed for there to have been any mistake. The commander of the British ship Bee reports substantially the same thing.
Yet yesterday the Japanese ambassador was almost abject in his apologies and the foreign office at Tokyo was reported as plunged in gloom. Naval Minister Yonai held his head in his hands.
How to explain this curious contrast? It is perhaps not so difficult. Under the peculiar Japanese system, the brass hats in command of the army and navy in China are beyond the control of the government at home. Drunk with victory and a law to themselves, they perpetrate whatever comes into their stupid heads, and leave the job of explaining to the government. So far, that government has had no great difficulty, but yesterday it seems to have been genuinely alarmed, hence the humble attitude.
*A Governor's Bravery
Governor Olin Johnston of South Carolina is not, as we have been at no pains to conceal, one of our heroes. His seizure by armed force of the highway department in the early part of his administration was one of those incredible performances which couldn't happen in a well regulated commonwealth; and of course he has been swinging on to Roosevelt's coattails with both hands.
But twice in recent weeks we have felt a spontaneous admiration for Governor Johnston. The first time was when he replied forthrightly to a query of the Greenville Klavern of the Ku Klux as to his intentions toward CIO, saying that they were the same as his intentions toward any men who observed the law of the state. The second time was yesterday when we read of the Governor's courageous efforts to save the life of the prison captain whom desperadoes held hostage.
It took nerve, standing there in easy range of men believed to be armed and knowing themselves to be cornered. But for two hours the Governor kept talking to them, trying to reason with them, exposing his own person to save a friend. It took nerve, and Olin Johnston had that nerve.
The evidence is that Guard Captain Sanders of the South Carolina penitentiary was stabbed to death with an ice pick or an instrument sharpened like an ice pick. And here, messires, is one of the most lethal weapons ever devised for household use.Six inches of rounded steel, slender and fine-pointed and held firmly in a wooden handle that just fits the hand--and you have a poignard superior to that with which Italian bravoes of the Cinquecento murdered so efficiently and insouciantly.
That the handiness of the ice pick has at last been discovered by those given to violence is palpable on all sides. To a considerable degree it has replaced the straight razor as standard equipment for quarrelsome ladies and gentlemen of color. It has figured in any number of fracases which wound up in the local police courts, and surely there must have been twice as many times when it has been raised threateningly or in defense of domestic tranquility, only to be put down unbloodied.
We think something needs to be done about the ice pick. We think its blade needs to be shortened or its handle removed and a button substituted or a pronged implement, which would do ugly but not necessarily fatal damage, used in its stead. As it stands,it pierces too easily to the human vital organs.
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