The Charlotte News

Monday, June 17, 1940


Site Ed. Note: You tell me over an over and over again, my friend, you don't believe... (And all you youngsters under 35 or so on Napster have to get wise to the fact that it was not B. Dylan who sang or composed that lyric but B. McGuire, formerly of the New Christy Minstrels, who sang it in 1965 and P. F. Sloan, at the ripe age of fifteen or thereabouts, who composed it. We know. We were there. Anyhow...)

France Falls

Fate of Her Navy Is Of Vital Concern to Us

The terms of France's capitulation are not known as this is written. But from the fact that the two Royalist generals, Petain and Weygand, are at the helm, it is easy to foresee that France is to be made into a puppet kingdom under one or another of the Bourbon morons, who will take orders from Berlin.

What immediately concerns Britain and the United States is a question of whether or not France will hand over her navy or allow the Nazis to give control of it to the stooge government which is coming.

If she does, the Axis will have a navy more powerful than that of Britain or our own. And Britain will perhaps have to get out of the Mediterranean at once, for she will be outweighed two to one in that sea. What is far worse is that her chances of repelling a Nazi invasion will have been greatly diminished. Indeed, unless the United States abandons its interests in the Far East for the time being and sends our navy over to help protect her, chances are that she will not be able to repel the invasion.

Moreover, if Britain falls and the British navy, or what remains of it, flees to Canada, the Nazis will be in position to bring the war to American seas at once.

Complacency has brought France to destruction, Britain to the eve of it, and the United States into the most dangerous position it has ever occupied.

Why One?

We Might as Well Amend This Bill by Additions

The Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds is hot to get out of committee into the Senate and hurried through the bill, passed by the House, to deport Harry Bridges. That man, he says, is an enemy of our form of government.

Quite probably. But he has never said so, and it has never been proved. Not that we aren't perfectly willing to get rid of the fellow. We are. He is certainly likely to be a troublemaker now. But we still have our doubts about the wisdom of a bill aimed at an individual--a bill without precedent in the history of the nation and one obviously opening the way to many abuses--would really like to see him got with a little more regard to American tradition.

Moreover--how does it happen that Bridges is singled out? Somehow, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the forces working to get him are entirely disinterested. And least of all the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds.

If we are going to do this thing, let's do it right. If Bridges is against our form of government, so are many thousands of other people in this country. What about the membership of the Communist Party? Of the Nazi Bund? Germans and Italians openly and joyfully proclaiming that Hitler is going to take us, too? What about Coughlin? What about old General George Van Horne Mosley? Or Deatherage or Pelley? Or Senators of the United States who loudly bawl their admiration for Hitler and want to leave the United States open to his attacks?

To be sure, some of these people are naturalized or were born here. To be sure, it would be highhanded to throw them out and make them wend their way to their respective Utopias. But then, it is militantly highhanded to single out Bridges in the first place. If we are going to be highhanded we might well do it up brown and make a clean sweep at once.

War Lesson

Offensive Is Again Proved To Be the Best Defense

One thing this war has again demonstrated is that the best defense is an offensive that carries the war to the enemy territory.

The Maginot fortress, not without reason, was called impregnable. But the Germans flanked it, then found it easy to take.

There is nothing new in this. The Greek success at Marathon was prepared by the destruction of a Persian fleet off Syria. Napoleon went to Moscow and so eventually to Waterloo because the English had first taken Spain from him. The United States came whole out of the War of 1812 partly because of the European necessities of the British but also because the American naval fighters had carried the war to English seas. The South was enabled to wage its long and magnificent fight because General Lee took the offensive and carried the war to the Yankees.

Much of this was forgotten after the last war, and a whole school of "purely defensive" theorists arose in all armies, including the British, French, and our own. Gamelin and Maginot were such men. And France is in her present position at least partly because of their theories and practices.

Trouble with the "purely defensive" system is that it allows the enemy to determine the grand strategy, to decide where and when he will attack. In a country so large as France, it is difficult to defend all possible weak points. It may be impossible in a country so small as England. It is almost certainly impossible in a country with the vast coastline of the United States.


Speaking of Grand Juries, Let's Look at Coroners

Judge Sink, speaking as a State official, and Mr. Harkey, speaking for the County, agreed that the grand jury system is superfluous, useless and expensive. The jurist says the procedure before the grand jury is simply repetition of testimony that has been heard once in lower court and will be heard again in big court, and Mr. Harkey concurs that it is a waste of time and money to grand jurors, court officials and taxpayers alike.

They may have something there. But at the moment our thoughts are concentrated on another juridical institution which not only costs Mecklenburg County a few thousand dollars a year but, worse, disposes of murder cases before they have been heard by any court or grand jury at all.

That is the coroner's jury. Of 29 manslayers arrested in Charlotte in the first ten months of this fiscal year, ten were cleared and turned loose by the coroners jury.

One advantage of grand jury hearings over these is that the State's prosecuting attorney is on hand to present the State's side of the evidence. Whereas the coroner, trained in anatomy rather than the law, proceeds to dispose of grave offenses with only so much prosecution as witnesses happen to offer.

Whether or not the office carries this authority to conduct trials rather than inquests, the lawyers will have to say. But on our own book we can tell you right now that it is absurd for a minor officer and a jury of only six men, usually regulars, to be set over matters of life and death.


There's a Law Against 'Em, And It Ought To Be Enforced

Suppose, just for the unfun of it, that you are a pedestrian crossing an uptown street with a traffic light, and that unobserved a car makes a turn behind you and to notify you to get out of the way emits a fiendish, terrifying blast-noise which nearly makes you jump out of your skin and certainly makes you feel mad and look silly.

Or suppose you are sitting in your office and have New York on the telephone when traffic stalls outside and some bird in a great gray green roadster sits on his horn button and shatters ears and nerves and telephone conversations in the whole busy neighborhood.

In either case, have you any recourse? Indeed, good sir, you have, and you have our permission to make use of it. Just go up to the policeman on that beat and say, "Officer, arrest that little guy with the big horn. He's violating Paragraph 3 of Section 470-A of the City Code of Charlotte."

The cop probably wouldn't know what you were talking about, since it is not usual for cops to recognize ordinances by name and number. Nevertheless, they are supposed to know what's lawful and what isn't, and right in the City's book of laws it says:

It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to blow or cause to be blown any horn or sound-making device which emits an excessively loud, unnecessary noise or signal upon any motor vehicle upon any of the streets of the city of Charlotte, excepting, however, the ordinary and usual motor vehicle signaling device.

The kind of horns we refer to aren't ordinary, and usual, they are cruel and unusual, and as such ought not be tolerated.

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