The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 22, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Cure for Peeping Toms", we would be forced to say, is probably apt for all of society today, since 1998 certainly, at least, and the Tripp through all that blue stuff with Ringo, you see--or saw, as a feast.

And so are we all enjoying the asylum now?

Does the same suggested panacean balm apply to the government as peeper also? If so, we have a suggestion for the late domestic surveyors...

The piece harkens back to "One-Man Appellate Court", March 3, wherein a local judge was quoted as saying if he caught a peeper, he'd blow his brains out.

For a time, some few years ago, a raccoon used to visit us at night, come spring. It would scamper up a nearby tree, over our roof, to a dead standstill outside our undraped bedroom window, then stand straight up on its hind legs, and peep and peep to its little heart's content. We don't know what it saw which was so interesting to it. But, after awhile, we named it J. Edgar.

We include the below letter to the editor on the page this date as an example of that about which the editorials were criticizing within the justices of the peace system. Fortunately this system of non-lawyer political appointees without legal expertise, with power over the lives of individuals, no longer exists in North Carolina. The inherent dangers of this anachronistic system, from a time when there were perhaps two lawyers per small town, if that, became ever more manifest--corruption, bribes, outrageous conduct of proceedings--until the legislature finally did away with it in the 1980's when some of these individuals were caught in the act of fixing cases for money.

We hope that deputies who challenge witnesses in open court to fisticuffs, and who do so with impunity, no longer exist also. Perhaps in this case, it was that the sheriff and deputy just didn't like The News.

Tar Heel Justice By A Jaypee And Two Stanly Cops

Dear Sir:

I would like to commend your editorial of March 20 on the justice of the peace courts. There is no greater service that a newspaper can render to the people of North Carolina at this time than to bring to the light of day the proceedings of this branch of the judiciary.

My one and only experience with the justice of the peace courts took place in Albemarle. On the same day your editorial appeared, I was returning to Albemarle after delivering The Charlotte News to Badin when I passed the end car in a long string of vehicles. This end car later turned out to be Sheriff Furr of Stanly County and one of his deputies. After passing the sheriff I fell into line behind the other cars until the city limits of Albemarle were reached, whereupon the sheriff and deputy forced my car off the road and arrested me for passing a car at the intersection of the Badin and Raleigh highways. The only car I had passed was the sheriff and this was a half mile from the intersection, but I was arrested for passing another--a non-existent automobile. I was accompanied on the trip by C. R. Taylor of the circulation department of The News. When brought before the J. P. the sheriff and his deputy testified that I had passed this non-existent car at the intersection. After being duly sworn on the Bible to tell the truth, Mr. Taylor and myself both testified that we passed no car at the intersection. The deputy, at this point, which was in the middle of the court proceedings, shouted that we were calling him a liar. He took off his pistol and badge and cursed me and dared me to strike him. Realizing that this was merely a bluff to get me to fight and thus add to the amount of the subsequent fine and place another charge against those already trumped up against me, I declined the offer to take the deputy's measure. The deputy, in his cursing and ranting made an unintentional remark that he and the sheriff had been trying to get something on me for the past several months and this was their first opportunity.

The magistrate then ended the proceedings by rendering a verdict of guilty and assessing a fine of $10.50.

If this type of case, where the sheriff and deputies ride herd over the countryside and bring in peaceful, law-abiding citizens, merely for the sake of grabbing off fees, forms the bulk of cases before J. P.'s, then it is time for the State of North Carolina to throw the system into the ash can.



[Note: Mr. Spencer, who has been carrying a News motor route into this territory for several years, assures us that the facts in this case are exactly as he has represented them.--Editors, The News]

Fur'r Nt.: And this little filler, to give a taste of Clarabelle, Mehitabel's contradistinctive counterpart at The Advertiser in Montgomery, where Grover Hall gave her life on his ding-ding apparatus. For more on the saga, see "Obituary", October 2, 1940.

Clarabelle Falls

Montgomery Advertiser

Clarabelle, The Advertiser's calico office cat, has been looking down her nose at other girl cats lately, presumably upon the absurd theory that she may establish a connection with public service on Goat Hill, but The Advertiser is informed that the first offical action of the Civil Service Board was to declare that Clarabelle was to enjoy no special advantages, but must start strictly from scratch, like other cats.

This Reluctant Spring

Well, here it is. While you slept last night, the sun, swinging northward in relation to ourselves, passed the equinoctial halfway mark and, no longer holding off coyly and kidding us, began to get down to the business of warming up our section of this, his favorite offspring. In theory, that is.

In practice, it is still a sad little Spring in these parts. The foolish little cherry and apple and peach trees are putting out their white and pink finery. The daffodils are growing seedy. The birds in the morning whistle and chant their amorous songs bravely quite as though they thought this was as good a time for love-making as any. And though we haven't seen it, no doubt in the country woods the dogwood is budding out in preparation for the coming glory. But the cagey old trees are more cautious. The sunshine falls pale and unconvincing. And the air is a good deal less than balmy.

Still, have patience, mates. It will come. The leaves will flair. The sky will go blue, the clouds will turn fat and floating, thunderstacks will tower on the horizon. The land will stir from its long waiting, and sigh, and awaken. And so will we all. One morning the everlasting cycle of pensive reverie, of remembering and of sharp, lovely expectancy of what foolish, fair thing you are quite unable to say--all will be there again. We tell you confidently: you may lay to it. Spring is on the way.

Cure For Peeping Toms

Apparently it is a very good thing that Lady Godiva went a-riding in Coventry and not in Charlotte, else our blind population would have assumed appalling proportions. Down in Superior Court they're scheduled to try another man charged with playing Peeping Tom. That makes two in a row, for the chief case in the last session of the court was also a Peeping Tom, who had been the target for a great deal of indignant denunciation by the lower court. And like the other fellow, this one has been accused of the same offense before.

However, that last suggests that it is highly dubious that the courts have any business sending these men to prison. What ails most Peeping Toms is an unfortunate obsession, which has compulsive force and which they are unable to resist. Somehow, they have never quite grown up, and have retained, in exaggerated form, the visual curiosity natural to "nasty" little boys--which is to say practically all normal little boys. That, or they have somehow got themselves obsessed with sex in general and have lapsed back into this small-boy mental attitude as a part of their general neuropathic or psychopathic condition.

Women are certainly entitled to protection from their activities, which often become very bold. But sending them to prison does not cure them. What they need is the attention of a psychiatrist and confinement in an asylum until they can be cured--and it appears that most of them can be cured. Maybe the law won't allow that. But if so, it is only another proof in support of the celebrated dictum of Mr. Bumble (Oliver Twist, not Downing Street) concerning the nature of the law.

The Happy And Unhappy

There is at least one group of Americans who, presumably, will be more pleased than not that Czechoslovakia has been extinguished. We mean shoe manufacturers. For ever since Secretary Hull made his trade agreement with the little country, they have been grousing that competition from the Czech exports to us, particularly in the field of cheap shoes was ruining them. But now, of course, the whole of Czechoslovakia will come off the most favored nation list and go on the black list to which Germany already belongs, with the result that the export of shoes and everything else to us will virtually cease.

Thus, to turn from our own shoe makers to the lands of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia themselves, one of the first "blessings" which, along with concentration camps, the murder of innocent citizens, the robbing of Jews, the suspension of a free press, etc., the great man has conferred on his new subjects in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia, is this: that their factories will be deprived of trade, and may have to close down.

Another "benefit" should not be overlooked, either. The United States Treasury admits that it is contemplating the impounding of all Czech credits in this country and applying them on debts owed our Government and our citizens--$165,000,000 of war debts and $22,000,000 of Czech bonds. It would plainly be quite justified in doing that, since otherwise our Government and our citizens will never get a cent, as they have never got a cent of the Austrian debt. But it will be hard on the Czechs who own the credits, for there is no likelihood that Adolf will ever compensate them for any part of the loss. But on second thought, maybe it is just as well for them, anyhow, seeing that if our Government doesn't seize these credits Adolf probably will--to the end of buying more war materials here.

Man On A Spot

The man who sits on the hottest spot in Europe today is probably Signor Mussolini. The evidence gathers that what Lord Hitler is now up to is the seizing of arms and the elimination of resistance in his rear to the purpose of turning back west and hi-jacking France and England in another and greater Munich--for the aggrandizement of himself and Mussolini alike. What he really took in Czechoslovakia was the Skoda arms works (which last year furnished China some 200,000 machine guns); the equipment of 35 divisions; food supplies; and labor battalions to be made up of the helpless Czechs. What he plans to take in Rumania is more of the same thing, plus oil, plus wheat.

But it begins to appear that the Western powers may choose to fight. And if war comes--well, Lord Hitler may hold out a long time, might even win. But Lord Musso promises to get smacked straight down. Pretty soon, his little navy is going to have to steam out to try to break the starvation blockade which will be promptly clapped upon him. And when it does, the odds are a thousand to one that it is going to cease abruptly to exist, leaving his cities, most of them strung along the long and vulnerable Italian coast, almost wide open to the naval guns of his foes. Ah, but he has his planes? He will bomb London and Paris, both a long way from his nearest bases? No doubt. But just 300 miles south of Rome is British Malta, too heavily fortified and too strongly defended for him to take it, and furnished with first-class underground airdromes. The price of his bombing will probably be the immediate destruction of Rome, Naples and Brindisi.

Probably not a happy man, Signor Musso. He had counted on doing it, not with war but with the threat of war. And Adolf is leading him on to destruction.

All For Three Weeks of Government

That's As Long As First-Quarter Income Taxes Will Keep The New Deal In Spending Money

All the little people in all the land who sweated and strained (blessing their exemptions) over their income taxes, finally seeing that there was no help for it in sending off a check for $26.35 (which they couldn't spare) to Mr. Morgenthau--

All the middle-sized people who used Form 1040 and who got a taste of surtaxes and who, at the last, had to write Mr. Morgenthau a check for $112.84, representing the first quarterly installment, with the fifteenths of June, September and December still to come--

All the big shots who hired CPAs to make out their complex returns and to take advantage of everything the law allowed but who, in the end, found their net incomes taxable at rates running up to 79%--

All the corporations who pay 121/2% on the first $5,000 of income and 16% on income in excess of $20,000, from which taxpayers the majority of revenue is received--

All these, messires, with all their tedious paperwork, their cursing, their unwilling sacrifice, their payments large and small, produced a total of Federal income taxes in the first twenty days of March of only $473,122,052. And only is right, for hark ye:

This $473,122,052 which came out of the pockets of the resentful taxpayers will run the Federal Government, on the scale which the New Deal has established, for less than three weeks!

Yup. It's a fact. All this anguish and all this hard-wrung money will keep the boys in Washington in cash a shorter period than Elinor Glynn wrote about.


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