The Charlotte News
Thursday, May 23, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Think of how much history could have been changed, how many lives prolonged, how many permanently crippled and maimed left straight and strong, if in the sixty-two years since this editorial appeared, society would have heeded Cash's stern admonition re guns. But, the hunters, always the hunters... Damn the pansy, cry-baby hunters and damn their instruments of destruction. Our great-grandfathers and before hunted because they had to. We have Safeway. "The Second Amendment," they whine. "Right to bear arms," they, half-read, insist, skipping conveniently that part about it being for the purpose of maintaining a well-regulated militia, i.e., in modern terms, a police force. "The criminals will have the guns while we are left unprotected," they claim, not realizing that statistically the person who carries the gun or who possesses it in their home is far more likely to be shot, either accidentally by use of the same gun or during the commission of a crime, than the citizen without. But they go on with their cops and robbers tv shows played out in their heads, themselves always cast as the good guys, no matter what the evil is which they practice, and their petty whining continues about how they must have their precious gun. And they are louder than most of us and join organizations which pay a lot of money to a lot of politicians who keep us all tough, strong, and well-armed so that we may be made weak, crippled and dead--in our places of work and play and even now in our schools. Oh yes, God bless America, wherein, as in Afghanistan, Somalia, and other gun-drenched vacation spots of empyreal fun and cheery-eyed optimism, one is free to carry his or her gun in the sun. Always, anywhere. And those of us who don't are left behind the barbed wire, long lines, and security posts of a once free society. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes...
It Is High Time These People Put Up Their Weapons
City Police Chief Nolan may be violating the letter of the law in ordering that non-strikers and strikers alike quit carrying guns at the Nebell Knitting Mill. But for once nobody will blame him.
The episode last night was simply the inevitable result of the situation. When the non-strikers armed, it was natural that the strikers should do the same thing. Nor is it any excuse that the strikers had been guilty of violence beforehand. It is the business of the police to afford protection to the citizen, in the exercise of his legal rights, not of the citizen to take the law into his own hands.
In this case also there are other unpleasant suggestions. Whether the band of armed non-strikers which strode into the Federal courtroom while the Compensation Commission hearing was in progress the other day--whether this band was actually up to intimidation we don't know. They claim that they had merely come to hear after getting off from work, and that may be true. But they should have avoided the appearance of belligerency.
In any case whatever, it is plain that the law, as at present written, leaves the way wide open for intimidation by armed bands, and for the turning of strikes and all other disputes into potential battles with firearms. It ought to be changed. In a civilized, well-policed society no private citizen has any business carrying a gun, concealed or unconcealed.
Reichenau Sees Clearly The Price of Failure
General Walter Von Reichenau, the monocled mincing commander of the Nazi army in France, yesterday told Louis Lochner, Associated Press reporter:
"Every German soldier knows why he's fighting. It is to be or not to be for Germany. I have talked to many English and French prisoners in their own language. They do not really know what it is all about."
The general, of course, was referring primarily to the standard Nazi lie that Germany is fighting only to defend herself from Allied aggression. There may be, and probably are, a lot of poor boobs in the Nazi ranks to actually believe that. But the picked Nazi troops understand better and so does the general. They know well that what Germany is engaged in is an attempt to enslave all Europe, and ultimately the Western World. Fortunately the Allied troops know that also, the German general to the contrary notwithstanding. And in that lies the best hope that the Nazis will yet be defeated.
General Reichenau, however, had good ground for his statement that it is to be or not to be for Germany now. No real dupe of the Nazis, he understands very well that Germany's course in this war is criminal to the hilt, that her purposes are even more criminal by every civilized standard the world holds dear. And he knows that if she loses there will be no question of begging off and obtaining mercy this time. For one day the Allies will want full revenge for their murdered women and babies, their burned and looted towns. But far more they will want to make sure that this criminal attempt to enslave the West shall not be repeated ever again so long as the world shall last.
A Scheme for Fighting England at Once
The Hon. Lundeen who serves Montana as a Senator and who, like the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds, has often expressed his admiration for the wonderful things Adolf Hitler has done, is sadly upset.
We are not, it appears, really quite neutral. Thus we warn Japan to keep her hands off the Dutch East Indies. But we say nothing at all about the fact that, according to Lundeen, the British and French are now in the Dutch West Indies and Dutch Guiana. That, he roars, is a flat violation of the Monroe Doctrine. And he goes on:
"We should be in the West Indies, Dutch, British, French, now."
That is, we ought to make war on Britain and France immediately, for they would certainly resist any attempt to take their possessions by force. In point of fact, Britain has merely dispatched a warship or two to see that the Nazis or their agents in South America did not take over the Dutch West Indies and Guiana. And in doing so she is rendering a distinct service to the United States. She has indicated no desire to take them over, will certainly hand them back to the Netherlands, which owns them, if the Allies win the war. If they don't then we shall certainly have the blessing of England at taking over all the West Indies by way of keeping them out of the hands of the Nazis, with Italy our only possible foe in the West.
There is therefore no occasion for this demand of Senator Lundeen--unless, of course, you would like to see the United States fighting side by side with Nazi Germany to destroy Britain and France.
Evidently Mr. Landon Thinks They Are Republican
If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, he had nothing on American politicians. They keep right on playing their little game, in which personal and party profit is the great stake, while the world of free men steadily collapses into incalculable disaster--a disaster which may quite conceivably engulf America before the year is out--precisely because of this game they play.
At any time, it would have been a gross violation of the decencies for Alf Landon to use a Presidential luncheon invitation, issued for the purpose of offering him a Cabinet post, as a springboard to get in a plug for the first of all his values, the Republican Party. At times like this, it becomes good reason to despair of the survival of the Republic.
Whether the President ought to run for a third term is an open question. Millions of Americans plainly think so. On the other hand, it can be argued that it is precisely about him that the greatest line of division in the country is drawn. But if you pursue that logic through, you come inevitably to the conclusion that what we need is a weak and neutral personality for the job! Only such a person could hope half to reconcile the domestic conflict, unless we have sense enough to submerge our internal rows before the common danger.
Who in the Republican camp is actually of the caliber to measure up to the job under present circumstances? The isolationist stuffed shirt, Arthur Vandenberg, who is still declaiming in the manner of 1880, that "thuh funt-shun of this Re-pub-lic is to me-di-ate" between a wolf and his prey? The gang buster, Tom Dewey, who wants to advertise to the beast in Europe that we won't fight even if he eats us up? Little Alf Landon himself? Hoover, who spun around for four years of solid indecision while the Depression raged forward?
The sole available Republican is Wendell Willkie, and at the handling of the job of statesmanship he is a totally untried quantity.
As for the Democrats, does somebody want to take his chances with Paul McNutt or Jack Garner? Mr. Hull is more reassuring, but there is nothing in his record to suggest the administrative qualities now demanded for the Presidency.
Franklin Roosevelt has his grave faults, has made almost intolerable mistakes. But he has courage and decision and the power of inspiring confidence in the people generally. He has commonly performed best in a crisis. And he has been everlastingly right about the European situation while the Vandenbergs, Deweys, Landons and so on are sticking their heads in the sand and hollering that it wasn't so.
A great many people, ourselves included, would like the chance to repudiate Roosevelt's domestic policies. But the war has left them no choice as between that and the fundamental consideration of preserving the Republic.
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