Letters to the Editor 10-30-2003

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

Just exactly who controls the state of Alabama

Dear Editor:

As previously reported with "Letters to the Editor", I pointed out the funding of non-state agencies by Senators Sanders and Penn and Representative Knight. This time I will report about voting "rights" for convicted felons.

On June 24, 2003 Governor Riley issued the following statement: "After much thought and consideration, and after hearing many persuasive arguments both for and against this legislation, I have decided not to sign the bill that would change the current process available for ex-felons to regain their voting rights." Governor Riley added many other statements but significantly: it didn't make any sense to restore voting rights to those convicted of voter and election laws fraud! And this bill passed by both houses of the Legislature failed to mention this minor detail.

Governor Riley "thought" he had gained support from the State Legislature with his Amendment One Package from the sho' nuff' political powers in Alabama. He put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak. All the politicians praised this Excellence in Education Package and urged everybody to vote for more taxes. But, the Legislature had another package just in case this tax increase failed. I am confident the Governor was naive about this "other plan."

Governor Riley was faced with a Federal Court order that required the State to enlarge its penal system OR parole them. Simply put: One or the other. Governor Riley did come up with a plan to parole these convicted felons; however it was not the "right plan."

Thanks to Representative's Kennedy, Dunn, Moore, Jackson, Holmes, Bandy, Knight, McClammy and Perdue, they devised a Bill to release prisoners while ALSO restoring voting rights to convicted felons.

Not only can we release prisoners simply because we can't afford to keep them incarcerated but, we can fully endow convicted felons with their voting rights!

There are some well thought out safe guards though with this new law; we do have ways of protecting our law abiding citizens. Not ALL convicted felons can get their voting "rights," this new law plainly states: A convicted felon cannot get your voting rights if you have been convicted of impeachment (very common), murder, rape in any degree, sodomy in any degree, sexual abuse in any degree, incest, sexual torture, enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes, soliciting a child by computer, production of obscene matter, parents or guardians permitting children to engage in obscene matter, possession with intent to distribute child pornography, or treason (also pretty common).

Governor Riley signed this bill into the LAW of Alabama. This is almost the same bill he rejected way back in June!

Why, you might ask, is restoring voting rights of such importance in Alabama? Well, according to a worldwide organization called: Human Rights Watch (click on internet website hrw.org/) they report the following:

Alabama has disenfranchised 241,000 people, more than 40 percent of whom (105,000) are black men. Nearly one out of three black men in the state has lost the right to vote (31.5 percent). The right to vote can only be restored by a pardon from the governor. In 1996 and 1997, only 359 people were able to regain the ability to vote.

How did all this happen, you might inquire? According to the Alabama Department of Corrections website September 2003 Monthly Report, there were 27,727 prisoners in Alabama. 17,223 of who are listed as black, male and female combined. Or 62.1 percent of all prisoners are black.

I know statistics can be easily misconstrued, but I will report only facts available on the internet. According to the Census Bureau website, Alabama has a population reported as 4,464,356 in 2001.

26 percent are listed as black. Or 1,290,199 persons are listed as black. So, 1.3 percet of blacks are presently in prison. 70.3 percent are listed as white, not hispanic. Or 3,138,442 white people. The September 2003 report from the Department of Corrections lists 10,440 prisoners as white, both male and female. Or, whites contribute 0.3 percent of the prison population.

I have traveled this State extensively. The urban areas of Montgomery, Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville notably have certain areas that you actually risk your life to enter, especially during darkness. These areas are especially dangerous to police and firemen, mainly because they are easily identified with their uniforms. These areas are predominately populated by black people. They provide a safe haven to law-breakers simply because the few law-abiding citizens in these areas are afraid to speak out.

Completely out of fear for their lives. If these outlaws would stay in these crime-infested areas, the rest of us would be safe and secure; however these criminals travel throughout the state freely because that is their "right." They assault, steal, kill, rape, etc., anybody anywhere they desire.

We live in a State that has a sub-culture completely different than the Christian, law-abiding culture. A growing number of this sub-culture (like Cancer) will be the moral and financial ruin of this State.

These people "qualify" for all types of taxpayer's money, such as: food stamps, welfare checks, SSI checks, etc. How, you might ask, is this possible? They don't have reportable income! How do you report proceeds from stealing or selling drugs or prostitution?

Absolutely NOBODY wants to address this overwhelming problem.

What future are we granting our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so forth? How can you deal with people who have no regard for law and order or human life? Especially when all citizens have "rights," both them and US.

And now, "they" will be able to vote? And "they" will be paroled to wreak havoc on Christian, law-abiding citizens? At least there is a Federal law, which prohibits convicted felons from possessing (legally) a firearm. If this was only a State law, I can imagine our State Legislature would change that one also.

I honestly feel nothing but sympathy for Governor Riley. He was misguided by the State's REAL powers. He fell right into their trap simply because of passing a budget before October 1, 2003. Had he properly presented a budget way back earlier this year, we would possibly not be in the mess we are in now.

Our only source of strength will come from God and His only Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Pray to HIM for HIS help and strength to help us devise a plan to get us out of the mess we have created. Let us not leave this mess for our future generations to contend with!

Let's start here and now! God has given us the way. Please read HIS words from HIS Holy Bible..

And while praying, please remember that Freedom is not free. Visit our numerous cemeteries with the graves of our finest soldiers who fought and died for our freedom, which we have in turn, gave away.

There is an undeclared War on Christians and OUR values. And WE are LOOSING! This War is nothing new.

It is TIME for YOU to speak OUT! To demand changes and to use your God-given abilities. Don't run and hide in your safe Churches surrounded by similar moral, law-abiding Christian friends and then go back to your safe home and watch some propaganda on the Boob Tube, TV some call it.

It is TIME for ALL Christians to present a united front. We MUST realize that Christianity is losing ground on many fronts from many, many organizations.

Thad Straughn