The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 11, 1940


In Our Midst

Registering Aliens Won't Do Innocent Any Harm

Judge Hoyle Sink's order to police officers of the County to have all aliens register with the clerk of court turns up a North Carolina statute that most people, including ourselves, did not know existed.

However, there can be no rational objection to the measure or its enforcement. Aliens who have nothing to hide will have nothing to fear. And the procedure is mild enough. The alien merely has to register once, does not have to report at intervals thereafter as he would have had to do in any European country--including England--at any time since the last war. Moreover, if the law is strictly enforced, it should turn up any aliens illegally in this country, some of them perhaps of an undesirable type.

None of this is to suggest that Charlotte and Mecklenburg are in any appreciable danger from aliens. There are not many of them to begin with. Most of them are beyond question glad enough to be away from their native countries, particularly if they are Germans or Italians. There are a few Hitler sympathizers in town of course. But there are at least as many natives as aliens among these. And when they are aliens they are usually naturalized, and so cannot be got at by such laws as the one we now have. And so long as they only talk they are within their rights and constitute nothing worse than a nuisance.

Nor is it likely that they can--even if they wanted to--do much besides talk. Charlotte, after all, is hardly a great military objective.

Loud Silence

Which Seems a Little Odd in View of Past

We are still straining our ears, but that roar has not come. We mean the roar against the removal of the bodies in the old burying ground on Queens Road where the new Little Theater is to be built.

Not that we favor any such roar. The dead, we are persuaded, will not sleep any less soundly for having their bones removed from one spot in God's earth to another. True, it is not wholly as though these dead were nameless and forgotten. The father of one living woman is known to lie in the old graveyard. And others must be of known identity. But the Little Theater is handling the matter with full regard to all the decencies and to the rights of everybody. And there is no rational ground to object.

What sets us to expecting a roar was that we remembered the terrible outcries which have invariably arisen when somebody proposed, not to remove the bodies from the old churchyard behind the First Presbyterian Church but simply to put some paths in the plot, set benches on the paths, let people use the place as a park. It has always seemed to us that if the dead who lie there were sentient they probably would not be averse to the company of human creatures still in the flesh. And that if they weren't sentient, it couldn't possibly matter to them.

But invariably the project has excited protests that it would be "to desecrate the tombs of the dead."

No, to be candid, we didn't really expect that roar. We knew beforehand that circumstances alter cases.

Mob Rule

Vigilantism Comes To Its Normal Flower in Maine

How the undiscriminating hysteria over Fifth Columnists, the vigilante spirit which has sprung up in many places, works out is now evident. At Kennebunk, Maine, it has led to tragedy.

In that town there was a congregation of the sect which calls itself Jehovah's Witnesses. This sect, so far as we know, is neither Nazi nor Communist. It is simply odd and fanatical--and rigorously refuses to salute flags and banners on the ground that they come under the Biblical prohibition against idols.

At Kennebunk the local patrioteers, hiding their sadism and brutality under the guise of zeal for our institutions, got worked up about it, went to force the non-conformists to salute the flag--on the idiotic theory that you convert a man to patriotism by breaking his hand and making him make a gesture to a piece of bunting. Several of the Witnesses were beat up. The rest fled to sanctuary from the mob to the frame building which they used as a place of worship and as headquarters for distributing their literature, barricaded themselves.

An automobile drew up to the vicinity of the building. The Witnesses thought it was the mob, blazed away with a shotgun, wounded two men--who may or may not have been mobsters. The news flew over town, the mob swelled to 2,000 persons, swept down upon the headquarters, burned it. But so thoroughly was the vigilante spirit established in the town that no member of the mob has been arrested. Only the leader of the sect.

It is an admirable demonstration of the fact that dealing with the Fifth Column danger had better be left to the constituted authorities specially trained for the job--if we care to avoid mob rule.


Mussolini Lets Fall An Interesting Remark

President Roosevelt last night pulverized the cynical claim of Benito Mussolini that Italy had sought peace. Far from having sought peace, he had even refused to submit his demands.

Of course nobody in his senses has ever believed that Mussolini wanted peace. He is and has been a party to a cold-blooded conspiracy to overrun and destroy Western civilization and carry off the loot for the Nazi and Fascist scoundrels.

All this is done in the name of propositions which have greatly fooled the unwary. In the case of Germany, it has been lebensraum and the righting of "wrongs of Versailles." And now with Mussolini, "this gigantic struggle is not only a phase of our revolution, but is a struggle against starvers. They are holding all the riches and gold on earth."

But lebensraum and "righting Versailles" we now know to mean the systematic extermination and enslavement of other highly civilized peoples in order to give their possessions to Nazi swine. The only people who starved either Germans or Italians are Hitler and Mussolini--in order to build their war machine for conquest and loot.

But these pious snufflings serve one good purpose; very often the men who vent them forget themselves and give away their true purpose. You observe that Mussolini makes the appointed victims those who "are holding all the riches and gold on earth."

It happens that more than two-thirds of the gold is being held by the United States.

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