The Charlotte News

Monday, January 15, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Crime Wave" tells us some more of the never-ending saga of Jim Massey, "King of Charlotte's Harlem", the "Black Daniel" in the lion's den of the criminal justice system who always managed somehow "to bid au revoir" and walk away scot-free. Here, we understand how it was that it took place: the age old practice of cooperation with the boys downtown, the prosecutors and police.

Of course, while we may despise the practice as that of providing at public expense the law's quislings refuge, and especially in the case of one of apparent high rank in the bootlegging organizational ring, such as Jim, it is a way nevertheless, in theory at least, to deter the underlings from cooperation in the nefarious scheme by nabbing them via the snitching bigshot--with the unstated corollary hope that eventually one of the more homicidal littleshots might save the state some dough and put a plug in the bigshot, ending the crime wave thereby. That's the theory.

In practice, as we have seen it occur, the ring simply continues with other littleshots assuming the big mantle, or the whole organization transferring its enterprise to other pursuits, junk bonds for instance.

Well, there may be no end to it, the notion of some half-baked idiot lacking in industry and education, wanting to be a bigshot, discontented enough with life as it is to wait for satisfaction by progress through a second or third generation's advancement, to try to stutter-step the rungs by one sort of miscreant practice or another, whether it is the latter day equivalent to bootlegging or something on the surface more benign, while actually equally as lethal in result, late night seminars on how to steal other people's real property for a song, "legally" (by the criminal enterprise of fraud through artificially destroying the property's value so it may be had on the cheap by "investors"), or other such machinations of idiots of that ilk seeking to get rich quick by something less than the sweat of the brow, the ingenuity of the scholarly mind or a combination thereof.

There is a solution: be content with less materially, and educate one's self so that one might better educate one's children, spend more time at home, and less trying to earn to buy more product of planned obsolescence.

Then, first thing you know, there will be fewer and fewer Niyonians, such as this long gone Black Daniel who bid au revoir and walked away with virtual impunity--except of course with respect to the verdict of history.

Crime Wave

Black Daniel All By Himself Has Kept The Courts Busy

"If you're going to print Jim Massey's court record," said a detective of the City Police Department to a News reporter, "you ought to put in the story that Jim has been a big help to the Police Department in catching a lot of lawbreakers."

According to that record, which took up two-thirds of a column in 61/2 pt. type, Jim has been a lot of lawbreakers all by himself. City Court has had him up 27 times in the last fifteen years, County Court seventeen times in the last twelve years. Superior Court and Federal District Court both have seen him often enough to get acquainted.

And not only on repeated charges of violating the liquor laws, which is a more or less polite offense, but for rough stuff, such as assault, assaults on females, assaults with a deadly weapon (eleven times). And once in 1928 for murder, although the Grand Jury refused to return a true bill. There must have been, nevertheless, a corpus delecti, for otherwise the charge of murder never would have been filed.

And what it all comes down to, on the face of it, is that this Black Daniel has obtained, in return for serving as an informer, virtually a license to commit a whole catalog of crimes with near immunity for his own person. That may be a desirable exchange from the standpoint of police work, but it is hardly calculated to enhance the prestige of the Law.

New Threats

Developments In Europe Are Hard On Our Will To Peace

When the war began in Europe last September, predictions were common that we would be in it within three months. Then the temperature dropped, and for a while it looked as though we would not go to war under any circumstances. But that was before the case of Finland arose. And now--

Nazi Germany apparently does not share the confidence of the Washington Merry-Go-Round that she has broken the British blockade. Her launching of air warfare in mid-Winter, when the set of the winds is all against her, indicates that she is desperately alarmed about the case.

And the fact that Belgium is clearing her border areas of civilians suggests very clearly that she expects the Nazis to attack at any moment, to the end of securing an air and naval base which will put them miles closer to England.

Of a piece with this also is the fact that Soviet Russia is rattling the sword as against Sweden.

And all this again raises the war specter for ourselves.

Belgium and Sweden, like Finland, are countries which are minding their own business. And like Finland, they are countries which command our respect for their advanced social legislation and their spirit in general.

If they are raped by the pirate nations, then the anger of this country, already rising over the case in Finland, will mount rapidly.

Perhaps we shall succeed in staying out of war. But to do it, we shall have to make up our minds to accept calmly things which we despise.

'Ray, Books!

Hutchins' Idea Is To Demote Football, Promote Education

There's nothing University of Chicago's Robert Maynard Hutchins likes better than to come out with the most startling and iconoclastic pronouncements. He heartily dislikes the accepted. Streamlining and classicism in education both leave him cold in that both are systems. What he insists upon, apparently, is a system or lack of system that nobody has ever thought of before.

So that, hostile to systems, it was only natural that several years ago he should have begun to discourage the highly systematized exploitation of strong and active young men for the glory of old Siwash and the enrichment of its spendable funds. Intercollegiate football, that would be; and he once punctured with a single prick the pretense that it was all for sport's sake when he proposed, to the horror of fellow administrators to the Big Ten league, that admissions be brought down to 10 cents.

It is characteristic to find him now taking the drastic step of doing away entirely with intercollegiate football at Chicago, and more characteristic still, to hear him saying that by this action Chicago may be performing a single service to higher education throughout the land. Always the innovator, you see; and yet it is not unlikely that he is right.

For more and more students and parents are content to leave the scientific, bruising game to the mercenaries, and for Jack to go to college principally to get an education. And for that purpose, Chicago ought to do about as well as Notre Dame.

Site Ed. Note: For the series presented in The News three years earlier on Charlotte's slums, primarily the reporting of Cam Shipp, leading in spring, 1939 to the mixed blessing of the first Federal housing project grant for Charlotte, go here.

Nothing A Year

That's What 634 Charlotte Families Have To Live On

Half the world may not know or much care how the other half lives, but all the world must be interested, at least academically, in how anybody lives without anything to live on.

And that there are hundreds of thousands of persons in that part of the world called the United States who have no means of livelihood is indicated by the WPA Real Property Survey of the city, which contains only a fraction of the nation's population. Some 850 families have less than $200 a year on which to exist, and that is pretty close to the starvation line.

But 634 families had no income at all.

They were living on one or another kind of relief? The report doesn't say so. It says, tersely and without explanation, that they were living on nothing.

It's hard to believe, and yet, this depression we have gone through has turned up one first class mystery already. That is, how did all the people on relief manage to live before there was any relief? And now this enigma arises: how do people live on nothing?

Perhaps the answer to the second question would also dispose of the first. But not so fast. The second question hasn't been answered. Will one of our enterprising reporters accept the assignment? How do people get by on nothing a year?

Site Ed. Note: The Admiral Nomura mentioned is Kichisaburo, who became Ambassador to the United States in 1940 and, in that position, with special envoy Saburo Kurusu, was actively engaged in seeking to negotiate rapprochement over the trade embargoes in place against Japan and its extension of its vaunted Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, (or, depending on historical perspective, consciously running interference in a matter which had already become a fait accompli), with Secretary of State Cordell Hull through the hours immediately preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On June 28, 1941, Nomura had advised Tokyo not to force severance of economic relations with the U.S. by continuing its move into Indochina, extending its plans to the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies, moves favored by the militarists. The timing was especially crucial as Japan was in a dilemma whether to honor its commitment to Germany to attack Russia from the west, in light of the June 22 Nazi invasion, or whether to honor a neutrality pact with Stalin. Although the Emperor favored the plan endorsed by Nomura, the tin hats won out, and on July 1, 1941, a plan was placed in motion to proceed south and expand the Co-Prosperity Sphere, including a contingency plan to attack Russia if Hitler appeared to be winning in the east. This plan was the last fateful step which would start Japan's military implacably toward invasion of Pearl Harbor.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, W. J. Cash was found hanging by his own necktie that night of July 1, at the Reforma Hotel.

Less Than Tough

Reports Indicate That Japs Are Worried Over China

Washington seems to have been entirely unimpressed by the shush-shush to the effect that it must tread softly lest it upset the "liberal" Abe Government in Tokyo and bring the Japanese fee-faw-fum men of the military Right into power.

The Abe Government has fallen as result of the cold shoulder which the Roosevelt Administration turned to its efforts to buy peace by opening the lower Yangtze to the foreign devils, including the Yankees. But there is little evidence that the tough boys are coming into power. On the contrary, Admiral Nomura, who knows his United States, is probably to be continued in his Foreign Minister's post, with a view to even more extended efforts to appease Washington.

Fact may well be that there aren't many tough boys left among the Japanese. It must be plain to every man among them with an ounce of naval and military sense that, barring a miracle, a clash with the United States now would spell the doom of their Chinese adventure. Indeed, all the correspondents are saying that the Japanese leaders are roundly terrified by the whole business in China and its repercussions at home and have only one objective: to bring the Chinese war to an end as quickly as possible, with at least some shadow of victory. And that, with this in view, they are casting about wildly in every direction for an agreement with the nations which, like Russia, Britain, and the United States, make China's continued resistance possible.

One correspondent has even gone so far as to predict that Japan will before long suddenly emerge as England's ally against Germany, with Britain agreeing to bring Chiang Kai-Shek to terms and retire.

It is a possibility which, in view of what happened to Mr. Simpson in the case of Manchuria, Washington might well keep in mind.

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