The Charlotte News
WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 1940
Site Ed. Note: So many things change, but so many things remain the same. So it is in the case of the gun and its reckless use. When shall we learn 'tis no longer the wild west? And speaking of the wild, we see that the Afghan peasant has a long tradition of shooting his gun high into the air in celebration of the latest village wedding; and now with heavy Russian-made bullets in supply with which to load his gun, they rain back to earth with sufficient gravity to enter the cranial cavities of his earthbound wedding guests. Such is the way with peasants. But, then we have the noble huntsman who shoots his gun high into the air...
Whether Cash penned this first editorial, incidentally, is not clear but we include it for its latter day pertinence.
As to the article on Simmons, we are likewise not sure whether it is a Cash contribution, but it is noteworthy, as Cash's first American Mercury article,"Jehovah of the Tar Heels", published July, 1929, concerned the subject, with considerable sardonism in play. Cash had begun his open attacks on Simmons while in his stint as editor of the Cleveland Press in fall, 1928. (See editorials of October 16, November 2, and November 13, 1928.)
Weapons Should Be Kept From Hands Like These
At Asheville, Carolina Berry, the twelve year old daughter of Lieut.-Com. George A. Berry, USN, retired, played a game with other children--in which they ran up to front doors, rang door bells, fled. They rang the door bell of Mrs. Laura Berger, a neighbor of the Berry's. She called a watchman she kept on the place, one Jules Harbin, and he rushed out with blazing gun. Carolina is in the hospital near death, a bullet through her lung; Harbin is at liberty under $1,000 bond.
The whole story is heartbreaking in its asinine idiocy. And not the least asinine role in it is played by the State of North Carolina. This man Harbin obviously had no more business being entrusted with a gun than a three-year-old boy.
And the people who hired him for the job and put the gun in his hands have a heavy responsibility in the case. They may not have known his propensities for target practice, but they certainly ought not to have hired him for such a post without examining into his qualifications thoroughly.
But the State of North Carolina is guilty in the premises, too. It is much too free in allowing guns to get into all sorts of hands which have no business with them. For that matter they often get into the hands of the sort of policemen who have no business with them. And such restrictions as we are supposed to have actually keep nobody who wants a gun from getting it.
The staggering murder rate in North Carolina is undoubtedly directly correlated with that fact. The Sullivan Law in New York may be too strict, but we need a law under which guns could be owned only under close license (save perhaps in the case of a farmer's shotgun)--to keep them out of the hands of people as irresponsible as Harbin.
Taking Forts Off Trondheim Is Now Perhaps Best Bet
Can the British and French stay in Norway and still win?
The answer to that seems to depend on whether or not they can now proceed with more energy and dispatch than they have so far shown.
What seems to be needed for the land operations is fewer English soldiers, who, whatever bravery they may possess, are poorly trained and poorly armed; and more of the well trained and well equipped Frenchmen, especially those from the Alps, the Pyrenees and the central areas of France--men who are familiar with the Norwegian type of country, as the poor Yorkshiremen certainly are not.
What seems called for by sea is a good deal more daring on the part of the British Navy. Battlewagons are properly regarded as ace cards to be held in reserve until times of great emergency. But the time of great emergency seems to be at hand. And the forts at the head of Trondhein Fjord can probably be taken, if attacked from land by a sufficiently armed force from Namsos and from the sea by the navy. And if they were taken, the cleaning out of the German ships in the fjord ought to be Narvik all over again. It is probable that the navy would suffer heavy losses in any such action, but the Allies need to take Trondheim at almost any cost.
They Have Their Reasons To Exaggerate Gains
That the British and French have suffered a grave defeat in Norway is unquestionable, however much we might like to believe otherwise. But that it is as sweeping--as yet at least--as the Nazis claim may be doubted.
The German is as boastful as barbarians have generally been, and is always inclined to assume victory well before the fact. He assumed it in September, 1914.
Moreover, the Nazis have excellent reasons, besides their native brag, to exaggerate their gains. One of them is that the Norwegian camp has undoubtedly taken a great toll of Nazi dead, mainly at sea. The Nazi Government does not appear to be reporting casualties to their families, but not even the Nazis can keep rumors of this sort of thing from sweeping back home. Thousands of German homes are beginning to realize that the mastery of the West cannot be won by mere announcements of invincibility. And Nazis need more thrilling news to counteract the gloom and the shock of that.
Far more important: the Nazis also undoubtedly hope to stampede the neutrals generally into deciding that the Allies are incapable of giving them effective aid and are bound to lose the war--so to make them conclude that the best thing is to get what terms they can from the destined master of Europe. Above all, perhaps to nerve Italy to take the plunge and join the war.
He Was a Giant in Tar Heel Land in Old Days
It has been a long time since Furnifold McLendel Simmons rode up to fame in North Carolina with the Red Shirt movement, which he is generally credited with organizing. And it is even a long time since he split the state and carried it into the Republican column with his opposition to Al Smith. There are men grown to manhood in the state now who hardly recall having heard of him.
But few men have ever more completely dominated a state's political life than he did North Carolina's for 40 years, 30 years of which he spent in the Senate. For loyal Democratic Party men, his name was a sort of oriflamme, and a battlecry right on deep into the Twenties, and "the Senators says" (nobody ever doubted what Senator was meant) settled everything.
Only once was he seriously challenged, 1912 when W. W. Kitchin came near unhorsing him. But that rift heeled quickly, and once more the ranks closed solid behind him, to stay that way until the Smith campaign opened the way for Bailey to defeat him.
Whether he fully deserved all that confidence is for sober history to decide in the time to come. Many men have doubted his political philosophy, which was remarkably like that of Herbert Hoover: that the primary business of government is to take care of business and property, on the theory that prosperity at the top eventually seeps down to the bottom. He was probably the first Southern Democratic politician to give his support to the idea of a high tariff.
But whatever the merits of his philosophy, he certainly ranked as a giant in the Senate in his time. And that he had courage and integrity he proved in 1928, when he stuck to his opinions (with the value of which we are not concerned here) in the face of the fact that it probably meant the end of his career--as, in the outcome, it did.
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