The Charlotte News

Monday, March 10, 1941



Site Ed. Note: According to FBI crime statistics for 2003, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, now with 668,003 population, registered 66 murders or about 10.0 per 100,000 population, placing it at number 28 among metropolitan areas with 100,000 or more population. Obviously times have changed in Charlotte and the city's population is less violent, with only 19 more murders than in 1941 despite an additional 568,000 people.

By comparison to the numbers Cash reported in 1941 for other cities, Charleston is at 15 per 100,000, (15 out of 100,000), Columbia, 12.7, (15 out of 118,000), Greensboro-High Point, 10.5, (44 out of 421,000), Durham, 10.1, (22 out of 197,000), Atlanta metro, 8.7, Spartanburg, 8.0, Nashville, 7.5, Winston-Salem, 5.7, (11 out of 191,000), Wilmington, 5.4 (5 out of 91,500), Raleigh, 4.5, (14 out of 310,000), and Greenville, S.C., 3.5, (2 murders out of 56,000).

Shelby, in which Cash wrote a substantial portion of The Mind of the South, had in 2003 a fairly stunning murder rate for its small size, 6 out of a population of 19,000 or, if extrapolated, about 30 per 100,0000, more than half the number of murders of Winston-Salem, for instance, with 11 out of 191,000 population. Shelby was in 2003 thus the most violent community per capita in North Carolina. Lumberton was not far behind Shelby at five murders out of 21,000 population, second most violent community in North Carolina in 2003, or about 25 per 100,000. Kinston came in third, also with five, out of 23,500 population. Of course, smaller communities with small raw numbers of murders cannot be fairly compared to larger cities except across time, as one particularly bad murder spree in a small community can obviously drive up the per capita numbers rapidly.

In 2002, Shelby and Kinston each had four murders, Lumberton only one. Albemarle, (only one in 2003), with 5 out of 16,000, and Lexington, (none in 2003), with 6 out of 20,000 population, were the most violent communities in North Carolina per capita in 2002.

But in 2001, Shelby again took the crown with 7 murders. Henderson came in second with five out of 16,000 (one in 2003, not listed in 2002); Kinston again had four; New Bern (not listed in '03 or '02) had 4 out of 23,000. Albemarle to its credit had none, and Lexington only 1. Lumberton also had only one.

In 2000, Salisbury had the highest per capita rate, five out of 27,000 (one in '03, 4 in '02, 3 in '01); Lumberton was second with four; Statesville, third with 4 out of 22,000 (two in '03, one in '02, none in '01). Shelby had three, Henderson and Lexington, two each, and Albemarle had only one. (Kinston and New Bern were not listed and presumably had none).

In 1999, Burlington had the highest rate, 15 out of 41,000 (3 in '03, 4 in '02, 3 in '01, none in '00). Smithfield was second with three out of 11,000 (one in '03, two in '02, none in '01, none in '00). Salisbury had 6 and Sanford, 5 out of 22,000 (4 in '03, 5 in '02, one in '01, not listed in '00). Lumberton had three; Kinston, Lexington and Henderson had two each; Albemarle and Shelby only had one each.

Thus, though one would never guess it by visiting the small, quiet community, over the course of these five years, 1999-2003, Shelby with 21 murders out of 20,000 population was the most violent community per capita in North Carolina at an extrapolated rate of 105 per 100,000; Salisbury with 19 out of 27,000, and a rate of 70.0 per 100,000 is second; Sanford is third at 15 out of 22,000, 68.0; Lumberton ties for third at 14 out of 21,000, 68.0; Kinston is a close fifth with 15 out of 23,000, 65.0; next are Henderson, 10 out of 16,000, 62.5; Burlington, 25 out of 41,000, 62.0; Lexington 11 out of 20,000, 55.0; Albemarle, 8 out of 16,000, 50.0; and Statesville with 7 out of 22,000, a rate of 32.0.

The twenty-seven U.S. cities and metropolitan areas of more than 100,000 population with higher murder rates than Charlotte in 2003 are as follow:

1. New Orleans, 25.5; 2. Victoria, TX., 25.4; 3. Detroit 19.5; 4. Pine Bluff, AR. 16.9; 5. Charleston, 15; 6. Laredo, TX. 14.7; 7. Shreveport, La., 14.5; 8. Richmond, Va. 13.6; 9. Baltimore 13.0; 10. Columbia, S.C., 12.7; 11. Jackson, MS. 12.4; 12. Memphis, 12.3; 12. (tie) Fairbanks, AK. 12.3; 14. Savannah, Ga., 11.8; 15. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J., 11.4; 16. Sumter, S.C., 11.3; 17. Florence, S.C., 11.2; 18. Durham, 11.1; 19. Washington, D.C. metro, 11.0; 19. (tie) Las Vegas, 11.0; 19. (tie) Rocky Mount, N.C. 11.0; 22. Los Angeles County, 10.6; 22. (tie) Rome, Ga. 10.6; 24. Birmingham 10.5; 25. Fayetteville, N.C., 10.4; 26. Philadelphia, 10.1; 26. (tie) Little Rock, 10.1.

What is most remarkable about these statistics is that fully twenty of these 28 cities and metro areas, including Charlotte, are located in the South, carrying even into the present the confirmation of Cash's statement to the graduates of the University of Texas in June, 1941 that the South was peculiarly the most violent region of the United States and always had been, even before the Civil War. One can readily understand a high murder rate in Los Angeles, Washington, Baltimore, and Las Vegas, but why, pray tell, should there be nearly the same rate of murders as these crowded urban areas within the burgs of Rocky Mount, N.C. and Rome, Ga., of Florence and Sumter, S.C.? Such small towns and villes in the South need to study hard the lasting burden of shame in this regard and come to the realization that for all its religiosity, good as some of it is, there must be more to conquer these grim statistics staring it in the face for decades. No longer can the simple answer to the problem be eradication of ignorance in an age of multi-generational universal public education.

So, why?

Answer in Jean Baptiste Lamarck, Darwin, Genesis, Isaiah, Jonah? All of the above?

For more on Cash's jaundiced view on jazz and swing, as contained in "Jazz and Bach", see "From Zola to--Swing!", October 31, 1937, and "College-Bred Balloons", December 6, 1936. But then see "A Definition of Art" from December 13, 1936. Ah well, Cash never got to hear the sounds from a young fellow named Coltrane living in 1941 up the dusty old road a piece in High Point, triangulated with Charlotte from his native Hamlet. Just as the proliferation of air conditioners ameliorated the hot nights to allow proliferation of daylight savings time (and later night sessions in jazz clubs) by 1968, so too the times with the ever celerious jitterbug--as the engines revved outside the crib, faster and faster and faster, louder and louder and louder, to the beat of the drum and the thump of the bass, the steel rhythms all apace, and we saw the world with our ears, perhaps, impelled then to shoulder its atlas-tired weight.

Mozart to Bozart, banana, fana, Fozart, me, my...Bach.

Roll over Beethoven.

...sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

Jazz and Bach. MJQ?

It's Official

FBI Confirms Charlotte's Claim to Murder Crown

As we had confidently expected and assumed, Charlotte led all towns of the United States with 25,000 or more people in its murder rate for 1940. So much appears from the fourth quarterly report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which has just been released.

Charlotte had 47 murders, for a little more than 100,000 people. Atlanta, as usual, was the contender to place, with 111 murders--approximately 37 per hundred-thousand.

Durham, with somewhat more than half Charlotte's population, had only seven murders, a rate of approximately 13 per hundred-thousand, or about 27 per cent that of Charlotte.

Winston-Salem, with a population nearly as great Charlotte, had ten murders, or just a little more than a fifth as many as the Friendly City. Asheville had 9. And Raleigh had 15--which may indicate that Raleigh has remote designs on Charlotte's title. Greensboro had 13.

Columbia, S. C. had 12, Charleston seven, Greenville 14.

Memphis, which used to take the title regularly, had 72, or about 24 per hundred-thousand. Nashville came under the wire with 40.

One of the most remarkable things about all this is the wide variations without apparent regard to population, and above all without apparent regard to the Negro population. Winston-Salem, for example, has a much larger percentage of Negroes than Charlotte. So does Columbia, S. C. But far fewer killings for what reason we just don't know.


Jazz And Bach

They Ought Not To Be Set on the Same Plane

Some of the musical school ma'ams in attendance at the Southern Conference for Music Education here last week, are reported as maintaining that "hot" jitterbug music is just as much a part of real music as Beethoven or Bach or Handel. George Gershwin or Irving Berlin, we are told, are quite as good for the students as Bach or Mozart.

Maybe they didn't actually mean what they have been made to say, but if they did we shall have to disagree with them.

There is nothing wrong with dance music, per se, surely, though there is obviously something wrong with the kind of stuff which translates itself into hysterical writhing. Irving Berlin or George Gershwin are all right in their places, and a liking for them in their places is nothing to be ashamed of.

But to say that the mind which likes them exclusively is equal to the mind that likes Bach or Beethoven or Brahms or Wagner or Richard Strauss or Chopin or Tschaikowsky or Stravinsky--to say that they are to be dealt with as of equal importance--is as invalid as to say that the mind which finds its highest enjoyment in a good detective story or a blood-and-thunder thriller is the equal of the mind that revels in "War and Peace" or "Lord Jim"--as exaggerated as to say that a good newspaper cartoon is the equal of "The Last Judgment" or even "The Night Cafe."

Musical poseurs and snobs are the most contemptible of all arty poseurs and snobs. But the mind which genuinely enjoys Bach must be an infinitely more highly developed and sensitive mind than the mind which stops with Berlin or Gershwin. And to confuse that fact is to do youth no service.


Hot Nights

Daylight Savings Unsuited To This Southern Climate

There are, we suppose, a good many things in favor of daylight saving time: longer afternoons for sport, principally, and conformity with New York and Washington hours for a minor benefit. But there are about as many objections, and the odds are that the Legislature has not thought of them.

It's all very well in this sort of weather to talk about setting the clock back an hour. But yet a little while and the Summer's heat will be upon us, and the addition of an hour of daylight for sport means the subtraction of an hour of refreshing darkness for rest.

As Summer schedules go on normal time, most households--especially those with small children--find it uncomfortable to retire before the bedrooms have cooled off.

And so if 9 o'clock came and it was still light and still hot and still still, and really only 8 o'clock, it would be mighty hard on the children. And when 11 o'clock came and it was really only 10, there would be little rest for the weary.

The Legislature, being composed mostly of settled men, probably has not thought of this side of it, has only seen itself out playing golf later on Summer afternoons. But there is this side to it, and it is the hot side.


Direct Aid

Delaying Tactics Set Stage For Hitler's Warfare

That Burton Wheeler, Robert Rice Reynolds & Co.--one of the strangest assortments of birds ever got together on the planet, by the way--have been aiding Hitler in confusing the country and moving it toward the total paralysis which destroyed France, is clear enough. And clear too is the general proposition that they have been aiding him by deliberately delaying the throwing of the industrial machine into high gear for Federal aid to Britain.

But they have helped him even more concretely than that.

Goebbels' claim that 740,000 tons of British shipping were destroyed in February is undoubtedly a gross exaggeration. Nevertheless, mutual observers are agreed that the loss was staggering. And the Foreign Policy Association estimates that about 5,000,000 tons of British and Allied shipping has been sunk since the beginning of the war. That is not enough to cripple Britain yet, but it probably represents from 20 to 25 per cent out of the total ocean-going tonnage at her disposal (the figures ordinarily given are misleading since they include very small coasting craft, etc.) Authorities are agreed that a loss of 35 per cent will probably be fatal to Britain.

And if Adolf Hitler is telling the truth, he is about ready to launch such a concentrated submarine attack as the world has never seen before. If so, and if his subs perform anything like so effectively as in the Spring of 1917, he may have England to her knees by June.

The months in which he has rounded out this scheme to prepare his crews are precisely the months in which Burton Wheeler, Reynolds & Co. have carried on their interminable delaying tactics.


Still More

Wheeler Now Refuses To Abide Nation's Decision

But what Wheeler and his friends have already done (see above) is as nothing with what they are now preparing--a barnstorming tour of the nation to whip up "peace at any price" hysteria.

It is a move designed to paralyze the nation at the most dangerous point in its history.

The nation has been committed to a definite foreign policy ever since last Summer. That policy is based on the conviction that it is necessary to save England if we are to keep war away from these shores and have any chance to continue our democratic system. It is a conviction which has clearly been demonstrated to be that of the vast majority of the American people, and it is one which has behind it the vast weight of fact and logic.

Since last Summer we have in effect been the non-belligerent ally of Britain. Adolf Hitler does not yet choose to deal with us as an active enemy, but only because it suits his purpose best. Nobody in his senses can say that he will not choose to do so any day. And every whit of the evidence furnished by Hitler's known character and past, by his own utterances, by his acknowledged ambitions, say that he will not forgive or forget--that the moment he feels in position to treat us as an open enemy he will do so.

The one hope to escape all-out war is to stop him before he can get into that position. And, in any case, our best hope for safety lies in blocking him--now.

Wheeler is an honest and fanatical pacifist. Most of his fellows in Congress are bitter-end partisans or exhibitionists with Fascist sympathies. But whatever their motives, what these men now propose to do is the same sort of thing Pierre Laval and his sort did to France. When unity is needed, they propose to breed disunity. When the nation has again clearly and decisively indicated its adherence to the foreign policy of stopping Hitler now, they calmly set out to whip up a terror that will tie the President's hands under that policy--to block and vitiate that policy and render it null and void.


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