The Charlotte News

Sunday, January 26, 1941



Tough Problem

But Oil Trucks Must Be Controlled for Safety

A bill to limit any truckload of gasoline hauled on the highways to 1,500 gallons has been introduced in the Legislature by Representatives Uzzell of Rowan and Poole of Moore.

That may be a step in the right direction, may not be--we aren't sure. It would certainly reduce the weight and unwieldiness of these monsters, and so cut down their projectile force as they go hurtling along the highways at practically gun-mouth speed. But 1,500 gallons can burn you the death, make a disastrous explosion or fire as effectively as, or but little less effectively than 4,000 gallons. And one probable result of such a regulation would be simply to multiply the number trucks on the road.

The problem of controlling these trucks is one of great difficulty. The vested interest in them should never have been allowed to arise, but it got established before anybody realized their potentialities for death and destruction. One thing that is certain to complicate regulation as to size, etc. is the question of interstate commerce.

Several things, however, are clear. The greatest danger from these trucks is their indiscriminate operation in towns. Remedy for that is strict routing and regulation--a matter for the municipalities.

Another thing is that their high speed explains the greatest part of their menace on the road. A limit of not more than 25 miles an hour should be applied and strictly enforced. And finally, regulation should be adopted to see that their drivers are not kept at the wheel long enough to become over-tired. Sleepy drivers figure in a large number of the accidents.

The operators will oppose such measures with all their resources. But that should not deter the lawmakers, for the thing that is at stake is the safety of human life and property in general.


--And Fish

He Seeks To Split Nation By Planting Suspicion

The charge of "gag rule" which Ham Fish raised Friday, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to hear the top-ranking officers of the Army and Navy in secrecy, is characteristic of the demagoguery which the isolationist-appeasement bloc in Congress and the nation is now deliberately resorting to.

There was no gag. The officers themselves had demanded to be heard in secrecy--for obvious reasons of military and diplomatic policy. The committee voted 13 to 10 to hear them in secrecy, along strictly party lines--which is grim evidence of the intentions of many Republicans in the House to follow Fish rather than Willkie.

Ham Fish is not even bound to secrecy except by his sense of respect to the House and to himself--something that has never restrained him. In point of fact, he is virtually certain to seize on some scrap of the testimony and blab about it, with deliberate intent to distort its meaning. But he will not blab about the whole testimony. All the evidence to date says emphatically that Admiral Stark and General Marshal agree with General Pershing and the President, not Lindbergh.

That is the last thing Fish wants to bring out. His purpose, like that of Burton Wheeler and the rest of his colleagues is deliberately to appeal to people who think with their suspicions rather than their minds, to those full of partisan spite, and the outright morons--to raise a great distrust of the President and the nation by planting the idea that he is plotting coldly and unnecessarily to take us into a "foreign war," And that the generals and admirals are really bitterly opposed to aiding Britain. And so to split the country wide open with hatred and hysteria and paralyze it for action--just as France was paralyzed upon the eve of her doom.

Ham Fish hates Britain, has expressed admiration for Hitler, the case of Lindbergh is clear enough. Some of the rest of these men are merely blinded by fierce partisanship and personal hatred of Roosevelt or their own hysterical suspicions and wish-thinking. But all of them are playing the Nazi game straight down the middle, as certainly as the French politicians played it.


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