The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 30, 1940


Site Ed. Note: The following piece is included from the date's page. Jonathan Daniels was the editor of the News & Observer at the time. The piece presages what most states, including North Carolina, would institute as a mandatory penalty by the early eighties, mandatory jail time, or some form of community service in lieu thereof, even for a first offense drunk driving, plus a much stiffer fine than the paltry sums mentioned here in 1940, even after adjustment for inflation, about 300% between 1940 and 1980, 600% to the present. Compared, however, to the irreplaceable cost of life and limb potentially occasioned by the drunk driver, the penalties and fines are still cheap.

Crime of Poverty

Raleigh News & Observer

No aspect of our criminal laws more sharply points the injustice of fines as punishment for crime as in the cases of motorists convicted of drunken driving. In Raleigh City Court on Friday three men were convicted on this charge. Two white men and a Negro were all fined. One white man was permitted to pay $20 down on a $50 fine. Another appealed from a fine to the Superior Court and presumably furnished bond. The third man, a Negro, was committed to the roads for 60 days in default of a fine of $100 and costs.

The question arises inevitably in such a case: Did the Negro go to the roads for drunken driving or for poverty? Furthermore a poor man, white or black, who pays a $50 or $100 fine is sharply punished while a well-to-do individual who is just as guilty may pay such a fine without financially feeling it. It may be as some say, that the mere conviction is greater punishment for the man well in position. It is also true that the community should expect a higher standard of lawful conduct from such a person in terms of his position in society.

Fines for crimes disregard the ability of the defendant to pay and so set up absolutely unequal and unreliable standards of punishment. There is no easily available substitute for trivial law infractions which would be fair to all. But in serious crimes--such as driving while intoxicated--imprisonment for all would not only be fair but more effective in freeing the roads from the menace of such drivers.


Japanese Are Merely Using This Case As An Excuse

The Japanese uproar about the seizure of the 21 German sailors from a Japanese-owned liner is probably intended primarily to divert attention from the expiration of the trade treaty with the United States and Washington's coldness toward overtures for a new one.

But it is also perhaps intended as a test of how far it is safe to go with Britain and, secondly, how far the United States is prepared to go in defending British interests in the East, which in considerable degree are coincidental with our own.

The uproar is all out of proportion to the cause. The Japanese have been damaged in no way. And there is not much doubt that the British were within their rights under international law. The Germans seized were all men of military age, and belonged to skilled classifications. Undoubtedly, they would have been greatly useful to Germany for the manning of the new fighting ships she is building. And a number of sailors who were outside the age limit were not molested. Plainly, Britain is not here attempting to set up any new precedent.

But the Japanese have already made it an excuse to restore the food blockade on Shanghai, a blockade which applies to Americans as well as Britishers. And they probably intend to tighten the screws even further, in the hope that Britain, with her hands full in Europe, will yield wholly, and that Washington will follow suit.


But Boss Lewis Fails To Tell Us How He'd Do It

Boss John Lewis is less than explicit. That is, when he constantly infers that he knows--how to put all his United Mine Workers and all the jobless in the United States in jobs and so save the country from "isms."

Boss Lewis is very good at denouncing. The President of the United States is a "traitor to labor" and Madam Perkins is "woozy in the head" because they haven't solved the problem. But it is a good deal easier to say things like that than actually to solve it. A great many people, like Mr. Lewis, give you to understand that they know precisely how to go about ending unemployment if only they had the chance. Dr. Hoover knows how now; he didn't when he sat in the White House.

Certainly, the President and Madam Perkins haven't solved it. On the contrary, in the last seven years, this matter of unemployment seems to have turned from what was thought to be a temporary problem into what threatens to be a permanent one. The level of industrial production is now very close to that of 1929, but employment has failed to keep pace with it.

Ironically enough, Boss Lewis himself seems to have had something to do with that. However justified they may have been, his demands and policies have undoubtedly had the effect of accelerating the displacement of men by machines.

If the Boss knows how to fix all that up, the least he can do is to let the country in on the secret.


Nazi Claims Are To Be Taken With Caution

At least until the evidence of accomplishments in action proves otherwise Nazi claims of their building a submarine a day may be taken with several ounces of salt. And so may their claims with regard to new and wonderful advances in the construction of the undersea ships. Both stories were common during the last war. But the largest number of raiders the Imperial German Government seems ever to have had at one time was 146. And when the German sailors brought in their submarines to surrender them in 1918, the British navy discovered that there was nothing on the ships with which it was not familiar.

What is also to be borne in mind is that, even if the Nazis do succeed in building a submarine a day, the ships will of necessity be very small and of an exceedingly narrow cruising range. They may be useful in the attempt to cut off Britain from the North Sea countries and their supplies, and to drive the British navy out of the North Sea, but they will not be capable of starving England by a [indiscernible words]. Moreover, it is also to be presumed that the British are carrying forward the building of craft to destroy them at the same accelerated rate.

As for Germany's new large battleships, they promise to be even more useless to her than were those of the Kaiser's Germany in the last war. Britain has at least nine on the ways, several of which are approaching completion, and at least two of which are 14,000-tone ships. In any attempt at attacking the British fleet, the Nazis would be so far outweighed that, even if it were not pretty clear from the Graf Spee case that superior skill is on the British side, they would have no chance. These ships would be useful if Britain attempted to force her way into the Baltic, but that does not seem likely. Otherwise, they are a product of Nazi vanity rather than sober calculation.


Germany's Demands On Carol Open Way For The Allies

Rumania is rapidly approaching the time when she will have to make her decision. Germany plainly means business with her demand for more oil--is undoubtedly looking for an excuse to invade King Carol's country, probably in collaboration with her Russian ally. And England just as plainly means business on her own account. Her threat to cut off all commercial relations with Bucharest if British and French oil wells in the country are forced to supply the Reich, is probably only a prelude to military operations. And when the latter begin Rumania will have to choose her side.

It is bad news for the little country itself, for it has tried desperately to maintain its neutrality. But for the Allies the German demand is a godsend. For it opens up the opportunity which they have yearned for all along--the striking of Germany from the back door. It has been generally forgotten that the first break through in the last war occurred on the Serbian front and not in France, that the war began to end when Austria and Bulgaria retired from the struggle and left Germany beset on both sides.

And this time a break through in the west is all but impossible. Moreover, an attack in the east is likely to make Russia reconsider its position and perhaps abandon Hitler, and to make it certain that if Mussolini comes into the war at all, he will come in on the Allied side.

Site Ed. Note: Ah, but did he know that the Spartans would be hotting battle with the Spartans in Chesterfield-King-Upon-Yad on St. Patty's Day, 2007?

And that, should the Spartans win, they would next be troiling with either the Langhorns or les Troyennes, after which the opponent be any jack-dog's guess?

Mr. Kieran, a popular New York sportswriter of the first half of the century, and radio panelist between 1938 and 1948 on "Information, Please!" is remembered for his quote, "I am a part of all I have read."

We make bold to alter it a bit by suggesting, more to the point, that you are what you read, and that probably whether you realize it or no. So, be careful of that which you say and write in reliance upon it.

By the way, our math afore was twenty years off; so we atone by throwing pepper over our shoulder.

Besides, so, likewise, was the printing in the reprint, at least apparently, in order to make good sense of it, that is.

So 'tis all in the grand-slam plan, we make assumption enow to believe.

Meanwhile, think of this, this day, as you wear your green and quaff your ale: Greenland's meltin' right away, going down by the bow, no matter how your eyne full of bale may quail, so they say. Best fit a few more deckchairs on your doon for the party, then--at least as long as we have these jackals runnin' things their way.

Answer Box

This One Knows More Than Even Mr. Kieran

An old friend comes around to pay us his annual visit.

He is a fat, red-faced fellow, full of the most astounding information.

Do you, for instance, want to know precisely what day it was that the German submarine sneaked into Scapa Flow and sank the Royal Oak? He'll tell you almost instanter that it was Oct. 14 1939.

Or does it suddenly occur to you to wonder just how big the British Empire is? Pronto he'll give you the answer: the empire is about one-fourth of the land surface of the earth on which dwells a little more than one-fourth of the living human race.

Again, have you recently encountered a reference to the Springarn Medal, only to wonder what the devil it may be? Our friend knows the answer speedily. It's a gold medal instituted in 1914 by the late J. E. Springarn, then Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and presented annually to the American Negro who is adjudged to have made the highest or noblest achievement.

Do you want to know how much income tax North Carolina pays into the Federal Treasury, as against the other states? There again the figures are waiting hot off the griddle.

Things like that. A learned fellow.

No, it isn't Mr. John Kieran, who is neither fat nor red-faced. But simply the old World Almanac in the 1940 edition. And we cheerfully give it this little free plug because it is genuinely one of the most useful books ever got between two covers. Without it most editors would lead a hard life.

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