Friday, March 1, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, March 1, 1946

THREE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the four-year old girl who had been abducted by her 19-year old nursemaid was safe and sound in the home of the Police Commissioner of Annapolis, Md.ówith, as the somewhat strange photograph shows, her abductor initially by her bedside looking over her.

This is a a picture you would not typically expect. But all's well that ends well.

The case had been solved by the new employer of the nursemaid who had taken the employment in Annapolis utilizing the same alias used in Charlotte, Rosemary Johnson, and giving the little girl's actual name. The woman then read of the story in the afternoon newspaper and connected the dots.

The little girl's parents had spent the night with her at the home in Annapolis, having traveled there when they received the good news that she had been found. The little girl said to her mother, "Hello." When her mother then asked her if she had a good time, she responded, "Yes." Her mouth was smeared with cookie crumbs.

Dr. and Mrs. Taylor and their daughter would return to Charlotte later in the day after a stopover at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The News talked to them by telephone at the Mayflower and the reporter could hear the little girl playing happily in the background. Oblivious to the nationwide attention paid to her disappearance Tuesday, she had obtained three new Superman comic books, replete with a "wicked old witch" in one, plus new shoes and a hat, after a Washington shopping spree during the afternoon. When asked by a reporter if she wished to return home to Charlotte, she said firmly, "No."

The Charlotte Police charged the nursemaid with abducting the child, but she would first be taken to Washington to be questioned by the F.B.I. before being returned to Charlotte. She would possibly face Federal kidnapping charges for taking the child over state lines. The Annapolis Police and the F.B.I. questioned her through the night at the Police Commissioner's home. She broke down during the early morning hours when the little girl was taken away by her parents. She had been permitted to remain with the little girl because the latter had grown attached to her and did not wish her to leave.

They call that, incidentally, surrogate bonding.

The nursemaid said that a soldier had picked up her and the little girl in Charlotte, that she was intending to travel to Richmond and then return with the little girl to Charlotte. She then decided to travel on to Washington to get a job to make enough money to return to Charlotte because she was afraid that the Taylors might be worried about their daughter.

The woman's real name was either Loretta Brozek or Sarah White, or perhaps another of two other aliases used. A "Sarah White" had been involved in previous abductions and the police were checking the woman's fingerprints to see if she was the same person.

As no physical harm had been inflicted on the child, the death penalty under the "Lindbergh Law" was not invoked.

We are left still wondering about the sighting in Kannapolis. Was it real or was it psychic on the part of Homer Lee? adding the "K" for Kashmir? or, perhaps, Korduroy? And, where did Danville come in? What about I Corinthians 10:18-19, and the Sacrifice? Did it involve cookies? How about milk? These are questions, no doubt, which the F.B.I. will yet unravel in Washington. Perhaps, it should be turned over to the new Central Intelligence spy agency, as discussed below by Drew Pearson, to determine first, whether the woman was a part of a Red spy ring, seeking to acquire atomic secrets via the little girl's homogenized, untrammeled perception of Superman comics, unadulterated with dissonance cognitive of the pejorative acquired in majority, and second, whether the Taylors were adequately insured against this sort of incident.

Diplomatic officials indicated that the Government intended to protest Russia's continued maintenance of some 70,000 troops in five provinces of Northern Iran. A deadline had already been set for their departure on March 2. Initially, it was announced by Tehran radio that the troops were withdrawing, but a subsequent announcement from Moscow indicated that only the troops in undisturbed areas would be removed, would remain in such trouble spots as Azerbaijan Province.

Secretary of State Byrnes had the previous night delivered a speech in New York urging that all nations should return their troops home and stop using force or threat of force to obtain political advantage. The U.S. was also concerned about Russian forces in Manchuria and in Austria.

On the editorial page, "The Senator States a Problem" tells of Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan, following his return from the London U.N. Conference, stating to the Senate and several members of the House the problem with Russia and a need for mutual understanding to assure the continued viability of the U.N., that such an understanding could only be achieved by being tough with the Soviets.

The Congress had conveniently ignored the reality that the U.N. had no power of its own, possessed of no sovereignty. The Congress should act on the matter of Russia to stem the armaments race already begun since V-J Day. The Army and Navy appeared to be competing with the Soviets for territory in the Pacific.

It agrees that America should be tough, but first it had to determine that about which it wished to be tough. The editorial hopes that Senator Vandenburg's speech would spark debate on the subject.

"The Mint Is No Sick Chick" comments on the promise of aid to the Mint Museum by the Charlotte Junior League, that it was not taking under its wing a sick chick. The Mint Museum had been established by three people, Mrs. Lewis Burwell having shouldered the load of bringing art to the collection, working practically for nothing. While not a great museum for lack of adequate support in the community, it had acquired a decent national reputation. With Mrs. Burwell's retirement as director, a new director was being sought. The Junior League was going to pay a $3,000 per year salary to hire a professional.

"How Not to Write a Satire" comments on a book by Morton Thompson, titled How to Become a Civilian, self-labeled a satire on the readjustment of soldiers to civilian life. Mr. Morton had spent 17 months in service, but all in the United States. It did not qualify him as the purveyor of laughter regarding the bitter experiences of servicemen who served on active duty overseas and in combat.

Thus far, it remarks, no great literature had been born of the war's service experience, probably still being digested by the would-be chroniclers of it. Everything to date had come from correspondents or soldiers who never allowed the Army's claim on them to interfere with their writing.

The book in question had no conception of total war. The same was true of Beach Red, a novel by Peter Bowman, who underwent a few weeks of amphibious training in Virginia.

G.I. Joe's humor bordered on tragedy and was "rough as a shell fragment". His laughter was rooted in contempt. No one who had not experienced what he saw could laugh for him.

It finds the dedication on the flyleaf to be an instant brake to the soldier reader: "To the unknown baby who will become the man who will become the Unknown Soldier of World War III."

It posits that many things might make the combat veteran laugh, but World War III was not one of them.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Diphtheria Rate Climbs", informs of a 100 percent increase in the rate of diphtheria in the state during 1945. The Health Department could always predict such a rise by the decrease in demand of the immunizing agent against diphtheria, toxoid, indicative of diminished immunization. It was incumbent upon parents to have their children immunized.

Drew Pearson comments on the seeming penchant which President Truman had for Missouri insurance men, first George Allen, now Admiral Sidney Souers, made Director of Central Intelligence, operating from the White House as the new sleuthing agency. He had previously been deputy director of O.N.I. (It should be noted that, while the C.I.A. grew out of this agency, the C.I.A. was not formally authorized by Congress, pursuant to the National Security Act, until July, 1947. The agency in 1946 was created by executive order.)

The duties of the new agency were to determine what other nations were doing with regard to secret preparations for war, including atomic research.

Admiral Souers, he reports, had been a vice-president of the Missouri State Insurance Co. when it filed for bankruptcy in 1933, causing 250,000 policy holders to have virtually worthless paper. Boss Pendergast's friend, the State Insurance Commissioner, was appointed as receiver and obtained court authorization for sale of the company to General American Life in New York for two million dollars. The receiver then reinstated Admiral Souers as vice-president. Later, the same Insurance Commissioner was convicted of taking a $62,500 bribe from insurance companies and went to prison.

Admiral Souers was also a director of Aviation Corp., of which George Allen was also a director.

He next tells of the dropping out of sight of former Senator John Townsend following his controversial appointment as a Republican to be an alternate delegate to the U.N. But he had shown up in London, albeit perceived, for his advancing age, as an elderly bodyguard to Eleanor Roosevelt, a delegate to the U.N.

He next reprints a brief message from the Army to a mother of a missing soldier, explaining that they would continue searching in the Pacific for him until May 1.

Finally, he reports of the War Department having received a query from Australia as to why none of the 23 Japanese war criminals convicted since December had been executed. Shortly thereafter, General Yamashita and two others were hanged.

Marquis Childs reports that a thousand wheat elevators in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Montana were so full of wheat that they could not accommodate any more. The number of carloads of grain moved in January was close to an all-time record set the previous year. Still, the necessary wheat for Europe was 150,000 tons short during February and would be even more so in March. The Department of Agriculture, however, appeared to take the shortage with a grain of salt, as it had the previous summer, when some public servants resigned in anticipation of the shortage in Europe.

Agriculture had sought to blame lack of transportation for the problem, but the railroads had revealed near record loadings. The problem, instead, appeared to be with Government allotments for Europe, complicated by high consumption and waste at home, plus the tendency of grain elevator-men and speculators to hold back grain from market until price ceilings were raised.

It was incumbent on the Congress to let the speculators know that there would be no rise in prices and the responsibility of Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson to get the wheat to the ports for shipment overseas.

Samuel Grafton, with the quite unwitting title adorning his piece, "Bikini Is Futile", suggests that the Bikini Atoll tests of the atomic bomb would not resolve the ultimate argument of how to stop an atomic bomb from entering the country illegally. Whether the bomb could destroy all or only some of the 97 test ships would not help answer this question. The decisive test would be, he suggests, to plant a man in Africa with a bomb in a suitcase and then determine whether he could get it into New York.

The Bikini tests were large-scale experiments in physics and had been greeted by scientists with a big yawn. It appeared that one of the objects of the tests was to try to make the bomb seem only as another weapon rather than as an instrument which had the power to change the nature of warfare.

It had been said that every port in the United States could be destroyed in a night by atomic bombs. Thus, a better test of the Navy might be to deploy into open sea for several months on a moment's notice.

Bikini was shaping up as a kind of gymnasium test in which a man allowed his friends to punch him in the stomach to show how long he could take the punishment. It promised little in the way of valuable data on self-defense. It could not show that the Navy was either still necessary or obsolete. The Navy had a bomb-carrying capability not being tested at Bikini.

So, the people would have to remain in the dark as to whether or not they had actual defense mechanisms to the bomb. It was likely that more information determinative of the future would come from the next meeting of the U.N. than would be derived from these tests in the South Pacific.

It somehow brings to mind the story today from Ambridge, Pa., regarding the false alarm of another school shooting, this one by dint of mishearing the lyrics associated with a pre-recorded cellphone message, heard by a receptionist at a doctor's office seeking to confirm a medical appointment of a student with a speech impediment, who apparently sang the song himself, that not being made clear, but also irrelevant. She phoned it in as a veiled threat, resulting in the entire school system being locked down, and the student being questioned by police for three hours.

What is wrong with this picture? Assuming this is not a joke seeking to mimic the humor of "The Daily Show", replete with a tv reporter named "Artist", who may or may not look back and who may be formerly known or unknown, we have to begin to question the collective sanity of our country, because we care.

First of all, we confess to having never heard of the tv show in question or, consequently, its theme song, because we attend movies to acquire any sort of stimulation from animated visual media and refuse to watch tv sitcoms and dramas, having gotten over them decades ago, perhaps still in recovery from the experience and occasionally suffering flashback to it, as you, youngster, will come to realize as you get older. Second, we have to question why the person at the doctor's office became so disturbed by a message on a cellphone as to alert the police.

The point is that when we keep society constantly in fear of gunmen or Terrorists, or, as it was in our youth, rioting black people with spears and tomahawks coming across the tracks with blood dripping from their mouths, unsatiated by the meat of other black people, to get YOU, and only YOU, such that you needed to go fight for your country in the rice paddies of Vietnam to escape THEM, constantly thrilled by the instant replay of violence and more violence, it all begins to appear that it does indeed begat more violence and more stimulation of the need for the daily fix of the violent news story to feel secure in one's own absence of titillating excitement, to be able vicariously to experience the excitement of someone else facing imminent death and dying from it, the while therefore in even worse condition than one's self, kidnaped by boredom, such that "incidents" have to be deliberately incited in the hope of pushing some unsuspecting mark over the line, and obtaining thereby as an innocent bystander that crucial fifteen minutes, or, more likely, as the frequency of these stories increases, fifteen seconds or milliseconds, if not winding up as an extra or, even worse, consigned to the ignominious cutting-room floor; then, in such a milieu, we are bound to have consequent craziness of this sort, conducive to anything but learning, which is the purpose of school.

How, pray tell, may students learn if surrounded by the constant reminder of the potential for violence in their midst?

When Charles Whitman went to the top of the Tower of the Main Building on the campus of the University of Texas in August, 1966 and shot up the place, we certainly did not experience fear of similar incidents taking place in our own environs, despite the presence of plentiful heights from which a gunmen's perch could be had, and that despite live coverage on NBC of the event during a summer's afternoon, which we still recall. But that episode was unique to its time. It did not repeat. Perhaps, because it was being covered by real journalists, not fruitcakes, frustrated comedians or gossip columnists, seeking to stimulate further such episodes to sell cornflakes, because that is what their bosses direct them to do and they march to the beat of the large paycheck they receive, not the dedication of the Fourth Estate to informing the public for its betterment and good.

Get rid of the guns and the problems will evaporate, and students can be students again without being threatened by the news networks and their stupid, parroting "experts" regularly dragged out of mothballs in such episodes to tell everyone how to behave, the behavior patterns for which to be on the alert and on which to conduct one's own sleuthing, to form a private Holmesian profile in aberrant behavior, and so forth, and so on, ad nauseam.

The reason, we posit, for the alert in that Pennsylvania town was not genuine concern for the safety of students or reasonable belief that a shooting was about to take place, but boredom, and the belief in the need for speed to conquer it. Sorry. We care and so we shall be critical. You appear stupid to us, lacking any inclination to step outside your own limited perceptions, constructed as they are by television, not the reality around you. Look at yourselves with some degree of objectivity, not that subjective, "Wow, cooo-oool, isn't that a lovely hair-do which [so-and-so] has today?" or the functional equivalent statement, and you will see what we mean.

No one in their right mind calls the police over a pre-recorded phone greeting. The only person who ought be on lockdown is that idiot. She was playing a dark, practical joke, nothing more, nothing less, and using the police to obtain her kicks. Whether she did not like the student in question because of his speech impediment, we do not know. But the problem was not the phone message. It was the recipient and her stupid, deliberate "misinterpretation" of it and the hair-trigger reaction of police to any sort of incident involving the potentiality for school violence, known, obviously, by this idiot in the doctor's office to be the case. It seems to us that the police should spend three hours investigating the idiot, not the student who merely was exercising free speech in any event, even if this message had referred obliquely and in the abstract to shooting "people" rather than "b-ball".

If we were directing a school district, we would suggest, as an experiment in cleansing the mind, that all students, for one month, one whole month, not attend any movie, not watch any television, and only read. Parents would be asked to cooperate and monitor the student to see that they would abide the suggestion, using restraints and strait jackets if necessary. Music, of course, any sort, would be allowed, sans any visual content. At the start of the experiment, have the students write a paper in one hour, not for a grade, but as part of the test, on a subject of the teacher's choosing, made known only at the start of the hour, a subject unrelated, per se, to classroom work, such as the question: "To be or not to be?" Discuss. Then, at the end of the month, have the students write a paper in one hour on some other subject chosen by the teacher, such as "To be rather than to seem?" Discuss. Then, compare and discuss the papers.

If we were commanding a police department, we would undertake a similar experiment, only issuing orders to the officers to refrain from viewing motile visual media for that month, and address the questions in the context of hypothetical fact situations regarding the rights of suspects.

By the way, we do not know what "b-ball" is either. It must be some new game show, maybe akin to "hoops", which we take to be a sort of hula-hoop dance kind of thing.

We should also note that in our day, that latter sort of thing which went on in Charlottesville this week would never have occurred, at least at our campus, placid as it was in the face of sporting contests, considered by most of our school's matriculators to be a purely intellectual exercise in strategy and tactics, preparatory for life.

We do recall one incident, which perhaps is the exception to prove the rule, quite disparate, nevertheless, from that recounted above as happening in Charlottesville, in which a friend of ours, in our fraternal organization which acted as courtside security after games, became a bit overwrought in the heat of the moment of our school's dramatic 8-point comeback in 17 seconds, in a time without either the shot clock or the 3-point shot, in the days of real code duello, not this little pattycake, run-and-shoot substitute they play these days trying to emulate the pros. In any event, our friend, standing nearby us at courtside, overheard a certain announcer, who went on to do play-by-play color for many years for CBS, but was then consigned to coverage of A.C.C. sporting contests, stating out loud, though we did not hear it, "If Carolina wins this game, I am going to [perform an act of extreme unction in] my pants." Then, also related second-hand and confirmed by another, but not actually something we heard, our friend stated to the announcer, after our team had performed the conditional act of which he had spoken, a succinct greeting: "Eat [something other than dogfood], [Sir]."

Our friend, who was undoubtedly portrayed prominently a few years later, as an homage to his forthrightness in the face of wisterial adversity, in the four-reeler "Animal House", confirmed to us, following the sporting contest, this polite interchange of ideas.

We were standing at the time at the corner of the court nearest the visiting team's goal, opposite the perspective of the television camera, during the last minute of the regulation period of the contest, to insure tight security against visiting students, and those fortunates with a ticket who had attended not either institution participating, but who regularly attended and sometimes caused, as rowdy people will, problems, such as rushing the court and potentially doing harm to participants in the sporting contest.

As we have said previously, on Halloween, 1960, we went as a witch in the rain. We have never forgotten it.

A letter suggests that Burke Davis's article recommending A.B.C. stores to replace the bootlegger had ignored the fact that bootleggers had improved during the previous three years, one, carrying a black leather kit, often being mistaken for a surgeon. Two others made their deliveries in cowhide briefcases, making them resemble a judge or solicitor. Two had been observed at the opera recital held at the Armory.

They were fine people and, moreover, Mr. Davis's suggestion would destroy all the work done by those, as the writer, who favored prohibition.

As it was, delivery could be obtained to one's door in eight minutes, as attested by the anti-wet writer. He wants the newspaper to mind its own business. They proposed a system under which people would observe patrons of the liquor store and pass the word around.

Fine and dandy. We shall just dress up all the narcotics purveyors, prostitutes, and mobsters, send them to a night at the opera and all will be copasetic.

Another letter writer approves of Mr. Davis's work on the issue. She finds laughable the suggestion of the woman on Monday that her husband could not pass a liquor store without entering, when he would not patronize a bootlegger. The bootleg joint was full of half-naked, half-drunk men and women, with gambling and vice a constant. And it could be ordered by telephone. Being rid of these joints would do away with much of the trouble. She imparts that she was married also to a drinking man.

A third letter, also responding to Mr. Davis's article, suggests that he move to Rock Hill, S.C., if he wanted liquor. Charlotte already had some of the state's best schools, acquired through honorably obtained revenue. It suggests that 80 percent of those in jail had gotten there through alcohol.

As the letter had stressed South Carolina, the editors note that the article of Mr. Davis had dealt exclusively with the situation in North Carolina.

Finally, a letter writer, claiming to be three years old, however dubious that, states that in the February 22 edition of the paper there had been an ad which stated that a young blonde, 23, stood just slightly under five feet and weighed 10 pounds.

The three-year old proclaims that she already weighed 40 pounds.

Well aren't we special? The young lady was undernourished. You should not mock such an unfortunate soul. You ought to be ashamed. You are rude and lacking in compassion. Just pure evil through and through.

You probably knocked that little boy in the head with those shoes, didn't you?

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