OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, July 10, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-07-10/ed-1/seq-5/

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ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
BY N. D. COCHRAN
Business and Crime. That head
ing might indicate that business and
crime are two different things, but
that's because YOU are not thinking
about the kind of crime I am think
ing about that is, not all kinds of
crime.
My notion is that there is more
criminality than morality in business,
and that much of what we call busi
ness is crime. Certainly it isn't
Christianity.
I had a long talk a few days ago
with two of the best detectives in the
country known in every big city. In
the party was a Tammany man who
not many years ago was a fixer for
New York gamblers a go-between
in their relations with the police.
We were talking about gamblers,
thieves, yeggs and business men.
I asked the detective, who knows
every big crook in the country and
many big business men for he has
protected banks this question:
Whose word is most to be depend
ed upon the crook's, the gambler's
or the business man's?
He replied: "The gambler's or the
crook's."
The other detective, who is a fa
mous Bertillon expert, and the Tam
many fixer both agreed with him.
I then Wanted to know why, and
between the four of us "we reasoned it
out in this manner:
Gambling is a lawless profession;
so is that of the thief. Neither can
rely upon the law to protect him as
against another professional gam
bler or thief. Their only protection,
then, is. their honor something the
average man thinks they haven't got
There is real meaning to the old
saying about there being honor
among thieves. It is commonly
known that a gambler or thief will
keep his word. He can borrow
money without giving a note he
borrows on honor. If he doesn't pay
he is an outlaw among outlaws and
has protection from neither the law
or the lawless.
Business, however, is legalized and
lawful. The statute books are full
of laws protecting one business man
from the crookedness of the other.
And when business men deal with
one another the rule is for each to
be represented by a lawyer. The
rights of each is supposed to be care
fully guarded in contracts and agree
ments drawn up by lawyers.
It often happens that if there is a
flaw in the agreement, or a chance
to knock it out in the courts on a
technicality, one party will rush into
the courts to get the better of the
other. If he wins out in the court it
is considered all right, even if it's all
wrong.
A bank won't lend money unless
the borrower has something to put
up as collateral, or has other endors
ers who are known to be good for
much more than the amount of the
loan. That means that banks do busi
ness with people who have some
property of some kind. Most of their
business is done with business men.
Yet every bank has at least one
lawyer, and the! banks have had many
laws passed' to protect them from
business men who will be dishonest if
they can get away with it.
This leads to a strange conclu
sion those who are lawless, or out
side the protection of the law, are
safer from dishonesty on the part of
their fellows than those who are with
in the law and entitled to all the pro
tection it affords.
That kind of turns your world up
side down, doesn't it?
The point is, however, that the so
called underworld that is thought to
be lawless has laws of its own; and
its laws are more effective than the'
book laws of the overworld. They are
unwritten laws; they are not found
in any of the law books; they were
not passed by legislatures or con
gresses. They merely developed
through the relation of men who are

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