The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 18, 1940



Site Ed. Note: For more on the Belk case and the murder capital of the United States per capita which was Charlotte of this period, as again commented upon in "Exhibits A & B", see "Careful", July 10, "Good Start" and "Gross Lapse", December 2, "Jim Crow Code", December 8, "Narrow Squeak", December 13, "Proper Flower", December 16, "Good Start", December 17, "Good Work", December 19, "First Murder", January 6, 1941, "A Remedy?", January 19, "Only One Side", January 29, "Cure for Crime", January 30, "Hot Potato", February 25, and "A Puzzler", February 26. We note that it is improbable that Cash wrote all of these pieces, and indeed it appears unlikely that he wrote the following piece, but we include them all for a look at the overall picture as it existed at the time.

For more on the subject of "Negro Officers", see "A Remedy?", January 19, 1941.

Exhibits A & B*

They Are Basic Ingredients In Many a Murder by Negroes

The same policy that restrained any pre-trial comment about the white dime-taxi driver Belk's deliberate murder of the Negro, operates in the case of the Negro Miller who killed a white man. The policy, that is, of letting the courts try the accused instead of arraigning him in the newspapers.

But there are, in general, circumstances about this latest killing which have become all too familiar. The youth of the confessed killer, for one--he is only seventeen. But principally--

1. He had been drinking.

2. He carried a pistol.

Given the combination of youth, race, drinking and a deadly weapon, you have almost a certain murder or at least an assault with intent to kill. Analyze the 40-odd Negro murders in Charlotte so far this year, and the chances are that in most of them you'll find the basic ingredients to have been drink and a gun.

If this is a correct statement of conditions--and the police should know--then it is immediately obvious that the prevention of murder will have to proceed along the lines indicated. There will have to be tighter enforcement of the prohibition laws, for whatever that may be worth, and there will have to be tighter enforcement of the law against carrying concealed weapons, or perhaps a new law requiring the registration of firearms and permission to possess them.

But whatever the remedies decided upon, the combination to be broken up to prevent murder seems to be this lethal one of drink and a gun.


Very Late

Italian Defeat May Drive Hitler To Strike Soon

Aid-Britain spokesmen in this country have been saying that we have only 90 days in which to get help to England in time to defeat Hitler's next great offensive. But it may be that we haven't even that much time.

Italy seems to be pretty near the end of her rope. And that Hitler knows as much is apparent from the fact that he hasn't come to her rescue. But if Italy is whipped the odds in the war will be drastically changed. Until she is whipped England has to keep a large part of her fleet in the Mediterranean. But once she is out, the whole fleet will be available for service in the Atlantic. And with the full power of Britain's navy operating against his submarines, Hitler will have less hope in winning a long war.

Chances are, therefore, that he may attempt to end the struggle before Italy is knocked out. Or at least before Britain has time to get effective aid from the United States.

The elevation of Pierre-Etienne Flandin in France may herald an all-out offensive. Flandin is far more pro-Nazi and anti-British than Laval was. And it is possible that he has been made Vice-Premiere of the Vichy Government by the Nazis in order to persuade old Marshal Petain to declare war on Britain and hand over the French navy to Hitler. Under those circumstances, an invasion of Britain would be much more feasible. Weather conditions at present are unfavorable, but Hitler may think that the surprise element will balance that out.


Negro Officers

They Would Bring Racial Understanding to the Job

Whether the addition of two or more Negro patrolmen to the police force would aid in curbing crime in Charlotte we don't know, of course. The policy hasn't been tried here, and experience is the only test.

But the probabilities certainly favor it. Other Southern cities have used Negro policemen successfully. And it is reasonable to suppose that a Negro will have a better understanding of his race than a white man. Many white people like to boast of knowing the Negro thoroughly. But it is doubtful that they do. The Negro is secretive in dealing with the white man, and knows how to mislead him. Certainly, the average white policeman has little understanding of him.

This matter of understanding is important in dealing with crime. It is important from the standpoint of information, for often valuable tips will be forthcoming for the man who has the confidence and sympathy of the Negroes generally. And it is important also from the standpoint of discovering the making of the crime before it happens and so heading it off.


Loan Fiction

Grants to Britain Should Be Called by Right Name

Having sent up their trial balloons and found the public reaction generally favorable, the British and the Administration apparently decided to call the hand of the isolationists. The latter have been squawking that consideration of loans for Britain was premature since the British hadn't asked for them, and claiming that Britain still had ample resources to continue purchases here. They will have to change their tack now, for Britain presumably knows whether she needs loans or not.

However, the isolationists of course want to leave Britain in the lurch, and some of them undoubtedly would like to see her fall even though it meant trouble for the United States. For us who more reasonably want to aid her there is still a legitimate criticism of the present program. We ought not to indulge in wish-thinking to the point of calling the grant of credit to Britain a "loan."

Britain can't and won't pay it back. Moreover, she shouldn't. The theory on which we will advance the money is that she is fighting our battle and that it is a lot cheaper to let her do it rather than try it for ourselves. We have talked about "aiding" her a good deal, but in fact we haven't aided her at all save as a horse-trader aids the man to whom he sells an honest nag. But if we give her credit we will have begun actively to aid her--to save lives of Americans.

Under those circumstances, we will deserve the name of Uncle Shylock if we attempt to maintain the fiction that these grants are loans to be paid back like any others. And we shall do ourselves no service. A great deal of what is going on in the world now is the result of our attempt to live up to that fiction about the grants of the last war.


Quite Certain

But One of These Sure Things Must Be Wrong

Dr. Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister, was quite confident. In Hamburg yesterday he told workers in Blohm-Voss shipyards that:

"... today nobody can stop the Reich."

But Sir Kingsley Wood, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, was equally confident. Yesterday he moved the second reading of the bill to insure British property worth approximately $32,000,000,000 against damage by air raids. And went on to say:

"No country, unless they were confident of victory and particularly of defeat of the enemy in the air, would proceed with these proposals."

Maybe there was some whistling in the dark on both sides. Hamburg has been the special object of the attentions of the Royal Air Force, and the shipyards in Hamburg most of all. And of course Britain has taken a great deal of punishment lately.

One thing, however, is certain. Either Dr. Goebbels or Sir Kingsley Wood is mistaken. They can't both be right.

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