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Newspaper Page Text
T' h 1 r ' V " """"''
ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
The Pardoning Governor. I have
a notion, without knowing the man,
that Gov. Blease of South Carolina
isn't as crazy as some of the editors
who are roasting him and holding
him up to ridicule for his wholesale
pardoning of inmates of South Caro
lina convicts meaning inmates of
A story was printed in The Day
Book in which Gov. Blease is quoted
as saying: "I am determined to clean
out the penitentiary by August 1 and
turn it into a hospital."
If Blease is crazy for feeling that
way about convicts then I am just as
crazy as he is, for I have thought for
years that if I were governor of a
state long enough I would try to
clean out the penitentiaries in that
state; although I hadn't gone as far
as to think I would be justified in
freeing all of the inmates.
Gov. Blease may be farther advanc
ed than I am, and I haven't the cour
age to say he isn't right.
He says: "I know of no better way
of applying the golden rule than by
showing mercy wherever I can."
YOU know and I know that no
matter what crime a man has com
mitted he has some friends who will
do whatever they can to get him out
of the pen. A banker may commit a
dozen crimes and rob men and wo
men and children; and-still influen
tial, leading and prominent citizens
will try to get him out.
There are convicts, however, who
have been railroaded to the pen be
cause they had no friends to protect
them or, as Clarence Darrow has well
said, "because they hadn't the money
to hire a" good lawyer."
I have talked with Darrow about
crime and criminals, and I have read
what he has said and what he has
written. I think he has a better in
sight into that subject than any other
man I know, or any man whose opin
ions I have read. Gov. Blease says:
"If all of the men who were guilty of
crime were tried men in "high places
might be removed to prison cells. In
my opinion there will be more souls
in hell for hypocrisy than all the other
crimes in tie decalogue, and I firmly
believe there are men in prison cells
today who will enjoy the highest
blessings of heaven."
I don't believe there is a grown
man living who has not violated some
law, or who has not been at some
stage of his career what the law
would call a criminal. If any rich
man who reads this questions the
statement I will ask him if he has
always honestly listed his property
for taxation according to law. He
can answer to himself.
Time changes our notions of crime
as well as of other things. Men were
legally murdered only a few years
ago for what were then capital of
fenses, but which today would not
be considered criminal at all.
Many successful business men of
today at one time, or another com
mitted a crime that would have made
jail-birds of them if they had been
caught. But they were saved by es
caping the penalty of the law. They
send boys to jail and to reform pris
on nowadays for things all of us boys
did when I was a lad.
Anyhow, I would like to see Gov.
Blease try the experiment of turn
ing the South Carolina convicts loose
and then watch what becomes of
them in after years although I
would wish that they could get away
and take a good part in society with
out it becoming known that they had
It would have been better, of
course, to have given most of them a
chance before they were convicted'
and branded; but the next best thing
is to set them free and give them
another chance. It will work out all
right on the average, if the rest of
society enters into the spirit of the
thing and doesn't insist on keeping up
the punishment forever once the men