The Charlotte News

Friday, December 2, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Comfort for the Nazis" offers a good explanation for why, not until 1944, did anyone dare try to assassinate Hitler or his adjutants. Das Schwarze Korps, meaning The Black Guard, would come and get the culprit and indiscriminately select another 59,999 of his compadres.

Of course, in the end, with the Allied forces pincering Berlin, Russia from the east, the United States and Great Britain from the west, it would not matter, come Walpurgis Night, 1945. Hitler would oblige the deed himself. Such idiots always wind up that way, after all.

Get Ritch Quick

Mr. Marvin Ritch has a perfectly swell idea about simplifying old age pensions. To save all this costly investigation to find out which of the old folks need the money and which don't, Mr. Ritch would pay it to everybody over 65, regardless.

Now that is a nifty! Imagine, if you can, the joy that would reign in the Charlotte National Bank once a month when John M. Scott, president, and Oscar, long-time runner, both received their 30 simoleons. You--you, there, behind that counter, with that house full of kids at home, and we here behind this typewriter--imagine our contributing $120 a month to the support of Mr. Scott, Mr. H. M. Victor, Mr. R. A. Dunn--and Oscar.

Mr. Ritch, to do him justice, has anticipated the absurdity of this. So, he has announced, bank presidents and others over 65 who didn't need the money would be expected, "for the sake of humanity," to waive their pension rights. But would they? Not on your life! They'd keep it to apply against their taxes. And by George they'd need it!

The Unlikeliest Topic

The correspondents are having a field day predicting what the President will say in his message to the 76th Congress, and the special writers are simply wallowing in their own suggestions of what he ought to say. But nobody at all, you may observe, is predicting that the President will address himself forcefully to the one most important question of the lot, nobody has the temerity to say that he should.

That question is, of course, "all that money." There is no point in blinking it. New financing announced for this month will run the Federal debt into the 39 billions, and by the end of the fiscal year it will crack 40 billions--from a post-war low of 16 billions and an inheritance of 20 billions from the Hoover Administration; with an additional billion or so in Social Security receipts not entered on the balance sheet, and with expenditures of incredible magnitude yet to be made for so-called, "defense measures," which term is merely a euphemism to obscure the switch from public works to armament.

What lies at the end of this trail of profligacy, no man can foresee. If it is not to be inflation or repudiation, then, obviously, it is high time the Administration began to practice abnegation. But nobody, you will observe, lists it among the probabilities.

Appraisal of a Crime

H. A. Goodman, of Fayetteville, and St. Paul's, is going to be under a suspended jail sentence for the next two years provided he pays a fine of $100. Goodman is the man who was running a cock-fight on the Cumberland-Bladen County line which the cops raided last week. There were all sorts of other charges against him in connection with the business, like gambling, operating illegal slot machines, and selling illegal beer, and this was the second time he had been charged with running a cock-fight. And still he got off with a fine and a promise to be good for two years.

Figure it out for yourself. It's as good evidence as you could want that down around Cumberland and Bladen at least they agree with our Mr. Pridgen (author of "Courage: the Story of Cock-fighting," Little Brown, 1938. $3.50 at all booksellers) and old George Washington and don't really think cock-fighting is a crime at all. And why should they? There are a lot of country boys down there, and they know that even the old dominecker who masters a harem in the chicken lot cannot safely be trusted in the same enclosure with another rooster, that soon or late they'll try to kill each other. And that the game chicken lives wholly on the ambition to fight--and if he can't fight anything else he'll fight a fence post or even his master.

Our own private hunch is that the notion that cock-fighting is somehow cruel to chickens (who get their heads chopped off by the hundreds of thousands every day) is a modern invention and a rationalization. What really lies behind the prohibition is what lies behind a lot of other prohibitions, including the most famous one: the objection of a lot of our people to seeing men come together for frank, unashamed male conviviality.

Still Hanging Around

Mr. Garrison, it turned out, didn't know anything. Or if he did, he can't make up his mind to say it, and give the names of his witnesses. Chief Littlejohn, Chief Pittman, and Mr. Marshall entered blanket denials. Everybody shook hands, Mr. Garrison contritely; and there was some talk about "broken confidences" and "disrupting the Police Department." And that was that.

Altogether, the investigation by the Council was exceedingly perfunctory. It is to be said, of course, that there was nothing concrete to go on save the original indirect allegations of Mr. Garrison. Nevertheless, a rumor always outruns the denials of those accused in such perfunctory hearings as this. And in this case those who believed in these rumors in the first place will probably have it that the whole hearing was a whitewash. We are not suggesting that that is the way of it. Ourselves, indeed, we do not believe that there is anything of any moment to these rumors about Mr. Marshall, Mr. Littlejohn and Mr. Pittman. All the same, the rumors received wide circulation. Really to clear up this business, a thorough-going investigation is called for--one that would not only go into the police angle of the case but also into the whole background of prostitution, the numbers racket, and the licensing of the ten-cent cabs.

The most logical body we can think of to make such an investigation is the Grand Jury. It is charged by law precisely with the responsibility of making such inquiries, and it has the legal power to summon and question witnesses. But alas for that! The Grand Jury is much too busy figuring out what it costs to raise a chicken at the County Home.

Is It Useless?

In one point, Mr. Garrison may have had something in that investigation yesterday--his complaint that the detective division has done nothing about the numbers racket for three years. The police, indeed, excuse themselves by saying that the runners for the racket operate almost entirely in the early morning, that the detective force is much too busy--in court--at those hours to allow them to do anything about it.

Well, we can see the point. And we can see also how the police may feel that it is rather useless and even unfair to harass the runners when the real culprit is the higher-up, who is exceedingly hard to lay hands on. But is it really entirely useless? These runners have to operate so openly that a detail, say, only of two detectives ought to be able to bag a half dozen of them each morning. And if that went on regularly and the courts clapped maximum fines of several hundred dollars on each one caught--well, the big shot has to pay these fines if he is to keep a supply of runners. And that, plus lawyers fees, would run into money, you know. Maybe into enough actually to make the business unprofitable.

Comfort for the Nazis

Das Schwarze Korps, official mouthpiece of Adolf Hitler's Black Shirt Guard, speaking:

"On the day a Jewish or Jewish-purchased murder weapon is lifted against one of the leading men of Germany, there will be no more Jews in Germany. We hope we have expressed ourselves clearly enough."

It is an obvious threat that, if any attempt is made of life of Hitler or any of the other chief Nazi criminals, it will be called Jewish and expiated by the murder of some 600,000 Jews. St. Bartholomew's, commonly set down as the chief crime known to European history, claimed about 50,000 victims. The French Terror claimed about 10,000.

What is particularly interesting about this threat is that it seems to be addressed to the United States. Occasion for its utterance was a letter signed by one "Max Rosenberg" and having all the earmarks of a Nazi plant, which appeared in The New York Daily News and which proposed that the United States turned loose a dozen American trigger-men, now in our prisons, with the promise of a free pardon for killing Hitler and his satellites. The Nazi journal affects to take this seriously, demands with usual Nazi insolence that we adopt the Nazi code and suppress the journal, and stands on its head with indignation, because the United States Government hasn't dignified such nonsense by formally repudiating it.

But stay! Perhaps, after all, the journal does really believe in its silly thesis. There is a well-known psychological phenomenon known as "transferral of guilt," which was the Nazi's regular exhibit. And they live, justly, in such terror of their lives that they may well believe any foolish thing. Ah, well, let Das Schwarze Korps be reassured. The United States Government has no record for practicing or condoning murder--even the murder of scoundrels who roundly deserve hanging--no more than it has for threatening the wholesale assassination of innocents.


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