The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 7, 1940


Site Ed. Note: We are saddened by the news from our old alma mater that its student body president, a young woman of apparent great promise, an aspiring medical student, has been gunned down at age 22 in the quiet early morning streets of Chapel Hill.

Anyone who has ever spent long on these streets can tell you that it is one of the safest villages in the country against this sort of thing. Such wanton and cruel violence simply does not occur there except on the rarest of occasions. It is a campus and town too enlightened, too hospitable, too peaceful, too honorable, for such malice and animosity to prevail against these virtues generally upheld. But there are tragic exceptions, albeit few and far between. Unfortunately, Ms. Carson was one.

During our seven-year tenure as a student at the campus, we recall only one murder, a stabbing of a young man at a bar. In the decade before that, there was, to our knowledge, but one murder, that of a young woman killed while walking in the arboretum, circa 1962. Prior to that, there was a rowdy beer party at a fraternity house which resulted in a shooting death, in 1954.

There was the law student, off his medication, who in 1995 started firing randomly with an M-1 rifle at people on Franklin Street, killing two, injuring two others. There was the graduate student two years ago who ran a car through the area near the library and student union, injuring several people, though no one was killed.

But these are dramatic exceptions to the general rule. Few murders, little violence, in the town of Chapel Hill are otherwise recorded at all through the last 50 years, and that despite an ordinarily transient student body with nearly as varied a background racially, ethnically, and socio-economically, as the population of the country generally, indeed, as that of the world, and that set in a small Southern town of varied socio-economic and educational background. Murder is simply not in its make-up. It is bound by a common bond of seeking to understand the world better, in the hope of making it a better place in which to live, the very purpose of the institution which became the first state-supported university in the land in 1789.

So, why?

Animals are susceptible of the same relations, with respect to each other, as the human species, and therefore would also be susceptible of the same morality, if the essence of morality consisted in these relations. Their want of a sufficient degree of reason may hinder them from perceiving the duties and obligations of morality, but can never hinder these duties from existing; since they must antecedently exist, in order to their being perceived. Reason must find them, and can never produce them. This argument deserves to be weighed, as being, in my opinion, entirely decisive.

Nor does this reasoning only prove, that morality consists not in any relations, that are the objects of science; but if examined, will prove with equal certainty, that it consists not in any matter of fact, which can be discovered by the understanding. This is the second part of our argument; and if it can be made evident, we may conclude, that morality is not an object of reason. But can there be any difficulty in proving, that vice and virtue are not matters of fact, whose existence we can infer by reason? Take any action allowed to be vicious: Wilful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. In which-ever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. Here is a matter of fact; but it is the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object. So that when you pronounce any action or character to be vicious, you mean nothing, but that from the constitution of your nature you have a feeling or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of it. Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compared to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind: And this discovery in morals, like that other in physics, is to be regarded as a considerable advancement of the speculative sciences; though, like that too, it has little or no influence on practice. Nothing can be more real, or concern us more, than our own sentiments of pleasure and uneasiness; and if these be favourable to virtue, and unfavourable to vice, no more can be requisite to the regulation of our conduct and behaviour.

--from A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III "Of Morals", Part I "Of Virtue and Vice in General", Section I "Moral Distinctions Not Derived from Reason", by David Hume, 1739

Still, we have no explanation; it is a product of the times in which we find ourselves, and, as with any, times to which no community may remain immune.

George Won't*

That Man Can't Be Trusted To Carry Out This Task

False optimism may cause the campaign for the medical center to fall short of the minimum goal yet.

The drive ends Monday. Total contributions to date come to only $120,000. Of this $100,000 was raised by the special gifts committee, $20,000 by the teams.

At this rate, the goal will not be reached. Yet no item provided for in the program can be spared if Memorial Hospital is to be what the city certainly needs.

Directors of the campaign blame a false optimism. There is some resistance on the score that this is just another Community Chest drive. But, of course, it isn't. Community Chest drives come every year. This one will settle something for good.

Still, the main trouble is false optimism. Everybody agrees that the city cannot and will not fall down on this--so enthusiastically that they assume too easily that George will do it.

Directors complain that of 8,000 cards issued to the teams only a few hundred have been returned. But of these only about half were refusals, which indicates clearly that the people are willing to contribute if approached. On the other hand, if the people actually want the center--and the town is pretty hopeless if they don't--then it is quite unnecessary for them to wait to be approached, with Monday just around the corner.

George won't do it--you can be certain of that.

Foolish Strike

Chicago Guild's Conduct Costs The Boys Some Jack

Since December, 1938, a year and three months ago, the American Newspaper Guild has been striking against Hearst's Chicago Herald American ( Examiner). Not only has the newspaper plant itself been picketed continuously in all that time, but also the premises of merchants who dared to use its advertising columns.

In April, 1939, an Illinois judge issued a temporary injunction setting forth limits of picketing to which the striking Guildsmen might go. Last week, on proof of repeated violations of his order, $9,175 was assessed against the Guild and its Chicago chapter for contempt of court.

This long-drawn-out affair had its origins in alleged violations of labor contracts between the Guild and the management of Hearst's Chicago papers. In fine, it all began over an adjudicable matter, and the strikers had their recourse to the civil courts.

They have preferred to resort to malice, bad manners, excessive foolishness and exhibitionism, and while not lacking in understanding of their grievances, we think that they have got at last just about what their conduct deserved.

Site Ed. Note: For a couple of texts by Galen, see On Hippocrates' "On the Nature of Man" and On the Natural Faculties.

To read the text of Vesalius's work on anatomy, go to the link below. To see and hear a multimedia presentation of the work in its original page format, showing the original anatomical illustrations, with section by section audio commentary, though without English text, go here. (Click the bottom margin of each page to advance through the abstract of the book.)

Safe Enough

But This Admission Would Have Meant Trouble Once

In Sutton, W. Va., there was a great commotion about a murder mystery when some human bones were found on top of a hill near the place. But it subsided when Dr. G. C. Lovett, of Bulltown, explained that two medical profs. from the University of West Virginia had brought them to his office eight years before and that one of them had taken them to the hill top and buried them three years before, after he (Lovett) had gone blind.

But once upon a time it would not have been healthy for the doctor to make a statement like that. Indeed, it probably would have been healthier just to come out and claim that he had done a murder. All during the Middle Ages, the doctrine that ignorance was a religious merit made it a capital offense, to be expiated by the most horrible forms of death, for anybody to investigate the structure of the human body.

Galen, the great Greek physician of the second century, depended entirely on the observation of the lower animals for his knowledge of man's frame. And in the sixteenth century Andrea Vesallus [sic, Andreas Vesalius], the first man to write a fairly accurate anatomy, in his De Corporis Humani Fabrica, had to collect the skeletons at night from the gibbet at Montfaucon, just outside Paris, at the imminent risk of the rack and the stake.

As late as the first half of the nineteenth century, dissection was frowned on by law in many parts of the United States. And right on down until after 1900 prejudice against it was so great, in even the medical centers like Baltimore, that the only way medical schools could get bodies was to steal them from Negro graveyards at the risk of having everybody who was a party to the theft salted away in jail for years.


Line-Up And Argument In Hatch Fight Are Diverting

The battle over amending the Hatch Law so as to make it apply to state jobholders who get part of their pay from the Federal Government, is turning into comedy.

The President is out in favor of the amendment, though he hawed a good deal about the original law. But then, you see, a lot of the state political machines are openly or secretly anti-Roosevelt. And nearly all these machines are mainly built on the highway and welfare departments in their states--on highway and welfare employees who all draw a part of their pay from the Federal Government. The Hatch Law will effectively hamstring a lot of these anti-Roosevelt machines.

On the other hand, the fight against the amendment is being carried on mainly by ardent New Dealers, with that great champion of Clean Government, Senator Sherman Minton of Indiana, leading the charge. Reason is that, while the amendment will hamstring the anti-New Deal machines, it will also hamstring some New Dealish ones, like the one to which Senator Minton belongs in Indiana, and play havoc with such clever little ideas as the Indiana machine's Two Per Cent Clubs.

Funniest thing yet developed, though, is Senator Minton's argument that the amendment will interfere in purely state matters, on the ground that it will be possible for the Federal Government to withhold Federal funds from a state in which a civil service commission has refused to fire a state employee convicted of political activity. That is, it is an invasion of states' rights for the Federal Government to refuse to hand over funds for the payment of a man convicted of violating Federal law!

Site Ed. Note: To read more on the voyage of the German ship Bremen, deliberately detained in New York for search at the outbreak of the war, apparently with the primary goal of enabling the British Navy time to lay a trap for the ship as it crossed into the North Sea bound for home port, see "In Slow Motion", August 31, 1939, "A Stretcher", October 6, 1939, "They Got Her", October 13, 1939, "Odyssey", December 13, 1939, and "A Precedent", October 17, 1940, (in which "would" should be "wouldn't" in the line referring to the Greek ships being prevented by Jacksonville authorities from loading scrap iron bound for Japan, against Sunday blue laws).

As to more on the deliberate scuttling of the Graf Spee in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the suicide of its captain, after the ship had received heavy shelling by an outsized British squadron headed by the Ajax, (one of the recalled ships in Cash's poetic "Sea Fight", November 14, 1940), see "Vindicated", December 14, 1939, "Close Shave", December 15, 1939, "Puzzler", December 18, 1939, "Probability", December 19, 1939, "Road's End", December 21, 1939, "Strange Cries", February 19, 1940, and "Note on Birds", October 16, 1940.

Sea Feat

This Voyage Equals Even That Of Bremen

The run of the Queen Elizabeth from Clydesdale, where she was constantly exposed to the threat of bombing, to the safety of New York Harbor, is the single most amazing feat of seamanship produced by the war with the possible exception of the escape of the Bremen.

The people of Clydesdale seem to have kept the secret of the departure of the great 85,000-ton liner nine days ago with Scotch closeness. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to believe that the Nazis, with their elaborate spy system, did not know of it almost immediately--perhaps before she lifted anchor. And it is a safe bet that they moved heaven and earth to get her, concentrated every available submarine upon the job. For to have destroyed her, the greatest liner ever built, on her maiden voyage would have effectively balanced out the Graf Spee, cast dismay into the heart of all Englishmen and raised doubts as to whether Britania was still really mistress of the seas.

It was undoubtedly mainly a feat of seamanship. The very length of the voyage testifies as much. For, traveling under forced draft, as she probably was much of the way, she should normally have passed Ambrose Light in a little more than four days. The breed of men who made England great upon the seas in the days of that other Elizabeth whose name she recalls--the Drakes and the Hawkinses--is plainly not extinct as yet.

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here.

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