The Charlotte News

Monday, May 23, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Just as did The News in 1938 think that it was the ladylike thing to do, so, too, does the nation, we think, at least most of the time. But then, perhaps, we weren't dealing with ladies in our most recent national analogue to that which went on in the election there for representative to the State Executive Committee in 1938.

"Come and Get It" points up an ancillary and hidden cost, not known fully for forty years after the fact, of sending men to war. The Vietnam War is starting to produce just this sort of controversy over whether veterans are receiving their just due.

The just due to society, of course, is to, wherever possible, and for as long as possible, avoid war, not lie like hell to get us into one because of a personal and family psychological problem of needing to prove who is the more manly--at the cost of blood and lives manipulated like a king's pawns, ultimately getting the old rook-job.

The Ladylike Thing*

A recount by The News and the Raleigh News & Observer shows that Mrs. C. W. Tillett of Charlotte, and not Mrs. Charles Hutchins of Yancey County, was elected by the Democratic Convention last week to the State Executive Committee. Mrs. Tillett is wholly disinclined to put in a claim for the place which seems to be hers, and we ourselves don't think it makes much difference who represents this district on the committee. There isn't very much representing to be done.

But Mrs. Hutchins--Mrs. Hutchins, surely, being a lady and a Democrat, is bound to do the ladylike, Democratic thing. She undoubtedly will call for an official recount, and if it bears out the inquiring newspaper men's recount, insist that Mrs. Tillett take the place. Not giving a durn, really, who won, we think that it is mildly important that winners, not losers, be certified as winners.

Found, One Result

All the fine words about a better working basis between business and government have finally produced one tentative concrete result. A subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week wrote into the relief bill a provision that the PWA cannot use its funds for the building of public power plants which would compete with private plants. The whole committee let it stay.

Before this principle can be codified into law, it has a long and rocky road to travel. If by remote chance it should survive, Mr. Ickes, PWA administrator, still might decide to ignore it. But in any case, a Senate committee has finally put it down in black and white that Federal tax money shall not be used to harass private power companies, large contributors of that tax money, and that unemployment relief shall not serve as a means by which bureaus of the Government may carry out their social-economic notions.

Back to First Place

Whatever fears we had that Charlotte might lose one of its greatest "firsts" are now at rest. Last year, as against all American cities, it ended up second to Atlanta for the number of murders in proportion to population. This year it is coming back strong. Last week it chalked up number 20--in 20 weeks. And in the first quarter it did even better, the count being 15 for 13 weeks. Atlanta, with a population of 275,000 had 18 in the same period. Memphis, with about the same population as Atlanta, had 12. New Orleans, with nearly 500,000 people, had 21. Jacksonville, with more people than Charlotte, had 5. Dallas and Houston, with 300,000 people apiece, had 13 each. Nashville, with 100,000 souls, had 15. Birmingham, with 300,000 population, had 28. Knoxville had 2. Norfolk had 9. Boston, with 800,000 people, had none. Baltimore, with eight times Charlotte's population, had 14. Wicked New York, with more than 70 times as many people as Charlotte, had 66, and great, bad Chicago had 54.

Ah, well, but you know the answer? All the murders were Negro affairs, and, to quote Solicitor John Carpenter, it is the slums which explain that? We ourselves have argued long and loud that the slums explain a lot of it. But if they really explain it all, how are you going to account for the showing of our town as compared with that of Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston, and New Orleans? Every one of those towns has a proportionately greater Negro population than Charlotte, and in every one of them the Negroes are housed in slums as bad as Charlotte's, and often even worse. Doesn't it look as if there must be other contributing causes to explain this city's eminence, such as inadequate policing and the uncertainty of punishment?

Candidate for Royalty

Adolf Hitler, it is being said, wants to marry the daughter of the king of Italy. And perhaps that goes to explain one mystery in the little man's character. All observers have wondered that he seemed to take no interest in women, and that marriage appeared to be the last thought in his head. But perhaps he has not been interested simply because no one available has been grand enough for him, although some of them had belonged to the old German nobility. Perhaps, that is to say, the former house-painter has been waiting all along for the time when he might openly aspire to marry into royalty.

Anyhow the little man obviously dreams of becoming king in name that he is in fact, and of establishing color of title for himself and his line after him. But he won't succeed. They never do succeed--these dictators--when they begin to dream such dreams. Not even Napoleon, a vastly greater man than Adolf, could do it. He divorced Josephine to marry into the Hapsburg house, a house far more magnificent than that of Savoy, but he could not establish his power on a permanent basis, and would not have done so had the little king of Rome lived. Subjects are funny that way. They may accept a phoney king temporarily, but when it comes to setting up one permanently, they invariably demand that he come down in the old line from other and proper kings.

Come and Get It

The average age of Spanish-American War veterans approaches 65. Remember that figure, for a bill went through Congress and to the President last week calling for the payment of $50 a month to Spanish-American War veterans 65 years old or older who had served 90 days or been discharged for disability within that time.

Most people have only a misty conception of the pension racket. They take for granted that the Government compensates its erstwhile defenders who were injured or disabled while in the service, and cares for the widows and orphans of those who died in battle. And the Government does that, to be sure, more or less generously. But that isn't by any means all it does, as the case of the Spanish-American War veterans will show.

War with Spain was declared on April 21, 1898, and hostilities were called off in August of the same year. Regulars to the number of 57,329 and 23,235 volunteers were engaged, of whom less than 10,000 were killed or wounded in any degree. Yet by June 30 last year, 175,361 ex-soldiers and nurses, and 50,292 widows of ex-soldiers, were on the pension rolls--in sum, the pensioners have become more numerous than the volunteers for this war that was so soon over.

With this new legislation, munificently stepping up the monthly amount which the ensconced pensioners receive, the cost of the Spanish-American War, 40 years afterward, will go up an estimated $5,738,000 annually to begin with. But you haven't seen anything yet! Wait until veterans of the World War, in which more than 4,000,000 American troops were engaged, come into their pension heritage.

Analyzing a Silence

The misdeeds of justices of the peace, as all readers of The News know, are grist for our editorial mill, yet for several days a Charlotte Township jaypee has been under indictment for embezzlement without drawing from us any comment at all.

We were, until this afternoon, at a loss to explain such reticence, for while it would be improper to jump to the conclusion of the man's guilt, here, surely, was a grand opportunity to indict the whole system under which the State creates hordes of these petty judges, gives them almost absolute authority, and subjects them to no regulation or supervision to amount to anything. But now we know what left us unconcerned.

The parties who claim wrong at the hands of this jaypee are his peers, one of them, a bail bondsman, being a member of that tight little crowd which operates on the periphery of legal circles. These prosecuting witnesses know what to do in case of injury, shown by the fact that they have done it. The people who grievously need protection against justices of the peace and the jaypee court system are the people who don't know what to do, who think something awful has happened when a legal paper is served upon them, and whose one clear impulse is to pay the man off and get back to work. Let the grand jury turn up a case of that kind and we'll really go to town about jaypee justice.

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