The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 10, 1940



Last Laugh

The Law Blunts Its Sword On Old Jim Massey

Old Jim Massey may not know it, though being by nature crafty he may. But Anyhow the last laugh seems to be indubitably his.

Up until a year ago the bald-headed Negro bootleg king had practiced his trade in Charlotte for well over twenty years. And in that time he had been hauled into court on innumerable occasions, the charges including not only bootlegging but virtually all violent crimes from murder down. But aside from a few months on the roads once and fines which totaled up to a license fee of about $150 a year, old Jim had somehow always been able to get out of his brushes with the law. The cops, we were told, found him too valuable as a stool-pigeon to want him convicted and sentenced.

But a year ago, it looked like the law had eventually caught up with old Jim. In open court he was convicted of bootlegging and sentenced to a year in jail. More, he was immediately ordered to jail to begin serving the term. Old and ailing, Jim seemed to be about done for after all.

Not so, however. A few days after his commitment old Jim was removed to Good Samaritan Hospital because his ailment--one common to old men--required that he be looked after. And there he has remained until he was released Tuesday, costing the County $2.00 a day. It wasn't even a boon to old Jim to have his sentence end. For if he gets hospitalization now--and he undoubtedly needs it--he'll have to pay for it himself.

Lying in his bed at his home, old Jim can look back upon his career and smile. Life in Mecklenburg has been kind to him, and the law hasn't been his nemesis but his friend--still is miles from ever catching up with him.


An Omission

Japs Can Still Get Most Valuable War Material

The State Department's order Tuesday cutting off the flow of subsidized wheat to Japan was long overdue. Wheat is quite as much a material of war to Japan as scrap iron, for she cannot supply her own cereal needs. And to send her wheat for which the Government of the United States is partly paying--the subsidy amounts to that--has been absurd all along.

But if wheat and scrap iron are to be barred to Japan, why, one wonders, does it happen that she can go right on buying all the oil she wants here? Yesterday The News carried on the front page a picture of long rows of huge drums of oil, which were being loaded on a single Japanese freighter.

Dozens of freighters like that are crowding into American ports and feverishly carrying away American oil. And that oil is the most immediate material of war among them all. For it will be used to fuel Japanese warships, which will be the main fighting arm against us in case of war.

It is easy to understand the President's reluctance to embargo war supplies to Japan. If he had cut off iron and wheat even six months ago, the uproar would have been tremendous. "Dictator" would have been the kindest words used against him.

But Mr. Roosevelt is not merely a candidate for the Presidency, he is President. And ultimately he must accept the responsibility if his failure to act results in disadvantage to the nation.


Dubious Test

Strictly, Only a Mob Can Commit a Lynching

Some time ago, noticing the discrepancy between the lynching figures of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and those of Tuskegee Institute, we opined that the circumstances indicated that many of the NAACP "lynchings" were in fact simply murders and that it did no good to confuse the situation that way.

But The Greensboro News has its doubts, suggests that the real test of a lynching is whether or not the criminals are apprehended and convicted, or at least whether the community bestirs itself to apprehend and convict them--and especially whether or not the cops "recognize" them.

Still, we are unconvinced. If that were true, then the lynching record for many parts of the South would have to be greatly extended--would have been Gargantuan in the past. It is common knowledge that in some parts of the deep South the murder of a Negro by a white man was for long unlikely to result in more than a perfunctory trial and very often not even that. The lynch spirit lay and still lies behind such crimes.

Nevertheless, ordinary murder is a crime committed by one or a small number of people, without mob action. Lynching is murder by a mob, which by Mr. Webster's definition is a crowd under the influence of mass emotion.

We still think that the distinction ought to be preserved, even though it is recognized that it is the lynch spirit or at least indifference to the lynch spirit which causes the community to fail to act against the criminals.


Jitter Tactics

The Jackal Comes Down With A Very Bad Case of Nerves

The German nerves are a little better, though not much, as the open resort to pure terrorization tactics against London indicates. But the Wops are plainly in a blue funk.

Day after day Signor Gayda and other of Mussolini's newspaper jackals have been bleating at the United States, trying to seduce it with their promises of the hope of profit on the one hand, and to frighten with threats on the other. Yesterday Mussolini's own newspaper, Il Popolo d'Italia, went all out.

If we would just be good, it wailed, the Axis would give us Canada, Newfoundland, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, and even Australia and New Zealand! But if we didn't be good, it blustered, and "cooperate" with the Axis then we would have committed "suicide."

But Signor Appelius, who wrote this for the Duce, might as well take his nerves in hand. The American people aren't interested in his promises. If they wanted the territories in question they would take them for themselves and would under no circumstances consider having them handed to them as a favor by less powerful nations. And they know well the value of Nazi-Fascist promises, having observed what happened to Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, etc.

They understand the tactic of lulling one intended victim to sleep while destroying another.

But as a matter of fact they have no interest in these territories, don't want 'em. The policy of the United States, if Signor Appelius hasn't heard, is the Good Neighbor policy. And the American people thoroughly resent the implication that they can be won to join a gang of thieves by anything, let alone thieves' promises. But above all they take unkindly to threats--and Signor Appelius is only making more certain what he dreads when he resorts to them.

The fate of the jackal in this war is already hard. He rushed in to aid his feral master only when he thought the kill had already been made. Discovering that it hadn't, he obviously begins to be tortured by the thought that there's going to be a kill all right but that he is going to be on the wrong end of it.

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