The Charlotte News

Monday, December 20, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Again we supplement the two originally uploaded editorials by Cash with the other four of this date, only the latter of which, we can assert with confidence, was probably by Cash.

The rest of the day's editorials are here. Let's see, could we add to the Ripley's the line: "She and her man, who called himself Dan, were in the next room at the hoe-down..."?

In Case of Doubt*

Police Chief Pittman doesn't want to arrest anybody for shooting firecrackers, and hopes he won't have to. But the law is the law, and the Chief, appeals to all law-abiding citizens, parents especially, to observe it. If they don't, the police will have to "bring in all those who are apprehended."

This sounds as though the Chief meant business; and yet, in all candor and with no privy information, we wonder. It can be put down that the police don't like the idea of arresting persons, mostly children, for doing what every one of them has done himself and would like to do over again. It can be put down that the lenience of policemen is large at Christmas time, and that whereas they would pick up without compunction a boy caught shooting firecrackers in September, say, around December 25 they would prefer to look the other way. And yet, one can't be sure, and not being sure, the best one can do is to be cautious, we hope.

To Prove Nothing*

Offhand, it might be easy to jump to the conclusion that the action of the House in sending the wage and hour bill back to committee is a straw indicating the growth of Congress in independence and horse-sense.

But the thing in fact does not follow. The bill was so bad, in fact, that it was always a mystery as to just exactly who was supposed to be in favor of it. Industry? Well, perhaps a few New England mill owners who hoped that the destruction of the Southern differential would redound to their advantage. But by and large, industry was certainly opposed to the thing. Well, and labor? The AFL was dead set against it, and the CIO liked it little if any better. So thoroughly was the bill orphaned of support from any important quarter, indeed, that there was very good ground to believe that the Administration itself was not particularly anxious to push it, was perhaps even willing to have it removed from the scene if it could be done without too much muss. In voting against it, therefore, the Southern Democrats, and the Yankee Republicans, stood to gain good favor with the industrialists without running much danger of seriously offending labor and without much risk, either, of being punished by loss of patronage at the hands of the administration.

Moreover, in estimating the bearing of the action on the independence and horse-sense of Congress, it is to be observed that at the same time the House was doing this, the Senate was passing the farm bill, a measure quite as dubious as the wage and hour bill itself.

A Magnificent Gift*

Perhaps the happiest person in North Carolina today is Dr. Carl V. Reynolds, head of the State Board of Health. Who wouldn't be, in his place? Thoroughly aware of the extent and the prevalence of syphilis in North Carolina--the estimate is 300,000 infected persons, many of them children--eager to eradicate it, as it could be eradicated, but hopelessly limited because of the paucity of funds at his disposal, Dr. Reynolds has received in the name of the State a handsome pre-Christmas gift which was, you may be sure, precisely what he wanted. The Board of Trustees of the Zachary Smith Reynolds Foundation has decided to devote the income from this $7,000,000 trust exclusively to a fight on syphilis in North Carolina. A check for $100,000 is already in Dr. Reynolds' hands.

Well, it is a glorious occasion in the Health Department, and we would find ourselves becoming lyrical in sympathy were it not for two factors that act as dashes of cold water upon our enthusiasm. One is that the several counties in North Carolina, for the fight on syphilis to amount to anything, will have to champion and put up so much of their own money; and many of the counties in North Carolina have been always notoriously laggard in this regard. The other is that the State itself, in whose behalf this gift has been made and accepted, deliberately and almost wantonly permits syphilitics in North Carolina to marry and to beget, if they can, syphilitics in their own image.

In common decency, the State ought to match this Smith Reynolds Foundation benefaction with a law prohibiting the marriage of syphilitics.

One Thing Overlooked

The only thing Sergeant S. D. Moore of the State Highway Patrol neglected was to haul out his gun and shoot. That way, his contribution to making it practically suicide for the citizens of our town to venture into the streets would have been practically perfect.

But even as it was the Sergeant did most marvelously well. An automobile is, after all, a deadly weapon, too. Handled right in crowded downtown streets on a Saturday evening, it has possibilities for killing off a dozen or more people at a single crack, whereas about the best score one can expect for a pistol in similar circumstances would probably be two or three. The Sergeant, indeed, didn't manage to get anybody killed. But that was blind chance, considering that he chased a "suspected criminal" at high speed through the heavy Saturday traffic on South Church, Third, Poplar, and Church again, that the cars ran through red lights and that the pursued car once took to the sidewalk while pedestrians flattened against walls or scrammed into doorways.

We assume that the Sergeant's purpose must have been as we say. For on no other hypothesis can it be made explicable, considering that the "suspected criminal" pursued was only a "suspected bootlegger." Or do they teach highway patrolmen that the capture of a bootlegger is worth the possible killing of a dozen citizens going innocently about their business?

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