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Vote for Roy Moore December 12

Tom Ford

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By Dr. Tom and Leigh Ford

We have had so many ask us about the sexual misconduct allegations from 40 years ago against Judge Roy Moore that we wanted to post our thoughts.  We are including a 1 paragraph summary first and for those who want more information, a longer version following.  Hope it will help answer any questions or concerns you might have and give you the assurance you need to confidently vote for Roy Moore on December 12.

One Paragraph Summary

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We don’t believe the accusations against Judge Moore are true and all 6 voters in the Ford household are voting unreservedly for Roy Moore on Tuesday.  Not only that, two of our daughters are working full time on his campaign.  God’s Word speaks to how to handle accusers and the accused and how to determine if one is guilty.  Scripture applies the principle of requiring multiple witnesses, produced by the accuser, across the board, searching out the matter diligently until substantiated evidence proves an accusation to be true and certain. Roy Moore is not guilty just because he has been accused.  It is always advisable to be careful about jumping to conclusions based on the evidence currently circulating in the national press.  Stand with Roy Moore or kneel to the media.  They want a liberal Democrat in DC who will join them in working for their agenda. You have seen the bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters.  The major news networks will not report the inaccuracies that have surfaced in the women’s accounts, even Beverly Nelson’s admission on Dec. 8 that she forged part of the yearbook signature.  They have been silent toward any support for Roy Moore, continue to report the fabricated allegations of the women as truth and are desperately trying to keep these unsubstantiated claims alive.  We believe the accusations are politically motivated, craftily designed to deceive Alabama voters about the character of Roy Moore in such a vile way that Doug Jones can win the election, taking his anti-God, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-sodomite marriage, pro-transgenders in our military and our daughter’s restrooms, pro-liberal Supreme Court Justice appointments, pro-Common Core, pro-Obamacare, anti-2nd amendment agenda to DC to ‘represent’ us.  Roy Moore adamantly denies the allegations and there are significant inaccuracies, lies, and/or underlying motives in each of the accuser’s testimonies, as well as character issues, casting serious doubt on the truthfulness of their accounts.  On the other hand, Roy Moore has proven himself to be one of the most principled men of our day.  If we carefully examine the evidence, consider Roy Moore’s denial of the allegations and his sincere Christian faith that has been proven by his actions over many years, remember his long, public record of standing for God’s righteous laws in Alabama and suffering for it, realize the importance of this race for our nation, and see clearly the motives of those involved in accusing and reporting, we believe Alabama will make the right choice and vote Roy Moore for Senate on December 12.

 Additional information

Roy Moore’s statement of denial

“Yesterday, I made a statement that the allegations described in a Washington Post article against me about sexual impropriety were false…  I have never provided alcohol to minors, and I have never engaged in sexual misconduct…  As a former Judge and administer of the law, I take the protection of our innocent as one of my most sacred callings. False allegations are gravely serious and will have a profound consequence on those who are truly harassed or molested…I strongly urge the Washington Post, and everyone involved, to tell the truth.

“That is all we can do, and I trust that the people of Alabama, who know my record after 40 years of public service, will vouch for my character and commitment to the rule of law.”

“I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson.”

Suspicious Timing and Motives

So many things are questionable here and we do not mean Roy Moore’s character.  The timing of the Washington Post’s article is very suspicious, and their motives are well-known.  These horrific allegations surfaced just a few weeks before the Senate election and our most solid conservative, Christian candidate, Roy Moore, was leading in the polls by double digits.  Moore has publicly and courageously stood for God, His Word, Biblical marriage, and the right to life of the unborn, no matter what the cost to him and his family and for these reasons, he is hated by the left and their mouthpiece, the media.  The DC Republican establishment also spent $30 million in Alabama trying to destroy Judge Moore’s name and reputation in the primary run-off to keep him out of DC and it did not work.  We got it!  They do not want his, nor our, conservative values up there.  It is highly likely that the Republican establishment has joined with the Democrats and the national, liberal media in this last desperate attempt to replace Moore with a RINO.  Mitch McConnell and others, within minutes of the Washington Post’s article breaking, put out statements asking Judge Moore to step down immediately and began talk of a write-in campaign, saying they believed the women. Let’s help Mitch McConnell know AGAIN that he will not be choosing our Senator on Dec. 12.

Applying Biblical principles to this situation  

Some Alabama Baptists put out a letter for pastors to sign shortly after the allegations against Roy Moore came out.  At first glance, the letter was a no-brainer to sign. It condemned abuse of women and children and, of course, conservatives and liberals alike are not for pedophilia nor abuse of women and everyone can unite around this.  However, at this time, in Alabama, it is just as important for Christians to be able to communicate that God also wants to protect us all from false accusers, tells us how to handle an accusation and how to determine if the accused is guilty. Here are a few verses dealing with accusers and the accused.  Numbers 35:30 and Deut. 22:25-27 require 2 or 3 witnesses to convict someone of a crime.  Moore is being accused of a crime in a 2 of the accounts, even though the statute of limitations prohibits trial. These witnesses are also required in 2 Cor 13:1 “Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”  Matthew 18:16 “Take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19 “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Also related…Deuteronomy 17:4-6  “When you hear of a matter, search it out diligently to find out if it is true and certain,” and must have the witnesses… Deuteronomy 19:15-21 A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong… both parties must appear for questioning, also addresses malicious and false witnesses and protecting the accused and punishment for a false witness… Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame,” and Proverbs 18:17 “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”  These verses show that the Scriptures apply the principle of requiring multiple witnesses, produced by the accuser, across the board for criminal charges, charges against an elder, against someone in the church and, finally, for every charge. The principle of searching out a matter diligently, including cross-examining the accusers, before making a judgement is another Scriptural point that is important for the protection of the accused.  And in cases where there are not two to three witnesses and we have a “she said – he said” situation, then we are left with the testimony of character witnesses.  Still the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt rests with the accuser, not the accused.  The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  It is important for Christians to take the lead at this time to proclaim not only in what the Bible says about defending women and children from abuse, but also speak clearly to what the Bible says about protecting one from being falsely accused.  We don’t know what happened 40 years ago, but accusers need to prove with clear and convincing evidence, and until they do, Moore is presumed innocent of these charges.

Innocent until proven guilty and wrong responses

Roy Moore is being accused of criminal activity.  Although the media’s spin from the beginning has been that he is guilty, and the women are the ‘victims’, we must not allow the tactics of the left to convince us that one is guilty just because he has been accused.  Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental right of every American, conservative and liberal. Accuse, condemn then hang with no substantiated evidence is a very dangerous pattern and we should not allow it.  If we do, we are no longer free.   Many have made this mistake too early. Some presumed guilt and demanded that Judge Moore drop out of the Senate race immediately or prove that he did not do what the accusers claim he did 40 years ago and shame on anyone who questions the motives or the character of the accusers.  I (Tom), along with anyone else who has spoken up for Judge Moore personally, have gotten phone calls, letters in our mailbox and emails saying I should be ashamed for ‘supporting a pedophile’.  Name calling is always the tactic of the left to silence the Christians, because we do not want to be called unloving, judgmental, bigots and certainly not a supporter of pedophilia.  The tactic unfortunately works and keeps many silent.   It is always advisable to be careful about jumping to conclusions based on the evidence currently circulating in the national press.  If you were accused in a similar manner, would you want others to abandon you, believe the media automatically, question your trustworthiness, pronounce judgement without going through the proper process or would you hope that others would speak up and support you when the evidence against you is fraught with lies?

Significant inaccuracies/lies in the testimonies and character issues with the accusers

There are significant inaccuracies in the testimonies of the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, calling each of their accounts into serious question, whether the liberal national media will report on them or not.  A simple look at court documents, the testimonies of others, and just simple verification of the details of the women’s testimonies have revealed the high unlikelihood of truthfulness to any of them.  We have not found Moore’s accusers to be credible and have included a few of their debunked statements below.

Leigh Corfman,  She’s the 14 year old, who supposedly talked to Moore in her room on a phone, but Corfman’s mom said her daughter did not have a phone in her room. She said she met him around the corner and gave the exact intersection but, upon investigation, the intersection she gave was a mile away and across a major thoroughfare.  She said her behavior changed drastically for the worse after the event, but court records show that custody changed from mom to dad because of disciplinary and behavioral problems that her father was better suited to handle right before the supposed event and then a year later, after the supposed event, custody records show that Corfman returned to the custody of her mom because her behavioral issues had improved significantly.  She says that she has been divorced 3 times and filed for bankruptcy 3 times.  In the initial breaking article, the WAPO included three other totally insignificant accounts in an attempt to make the misconduct with Corfman more believable.  These 3 accounts do absolutely nothing to verify the allegations of Corfman, as they were not illegal and not immoral and are not in the same category.

Later, Beverly Nelson

She is the woman from behind the Olde Hickory House restaurant with the forged yearbook signature, that cried while she lied.  Her lawyer is Gloria Allred, the attorney who claims credit for giving us Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the murder of tens of millions of unborn babies.  According to a former waitress, Olde Hickory House required employees to be 16 years old. Nelson claims she was 15 when she started.  According to two former employees, the dumpsters were on the side of the building. Nelson claimed that they were in the back.  Olde Hickory House sat right off the four-lane highway and had a wrap-around porch with lights all around it. Nelson claimed that the surroundings were “dark and isolated.”  Rhonda Ledbetter, who worked at Olde Hickory House for almost 3 years, states that the earliest it closed was at 11 p.m. but she believes it was open until midnight. She is certain it did not close at 10:00 because Goodyear was next door, and employees came to eat when their shift ended at 10 p.m. Nelson claims her story occurred after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m.  It is unlikely that there was an entrance from the back of the parking lot, which Nelson claimed existed. Multiple sources have claimed that everyone parked on the sides of the building because there wasn’t much room behind the restaurant, according to Rhonda, not enough room to turn around. Renee Schivera stated that a neighborhood backed up to the parking lot and it was adjacent to the backyards of people’s houses, so she did not see how there would have been a back entrance as it would have gone through someone’s yard.  Nelson claimed that Judge Roy Moore came in almost every night and sat at the counter, but former employees state that customers at the counter were served by the bartender or short order cook – not served by the waitresses and had no reason to interact with the wait staff. Additionally, two former waitresses and two former patrons state they never saw Judge Moore come into the restaurant.  These witnesses have shared their testimony with multiple news outlets. The outlets have failed to report any of this.  Nelson was also a party in a divorce action before Moore in Etowah County Circuit Court in 1999. No motion was made for him to recuse. In her accusations, Nelson did not mention that he was the judge assigned to her divorce case in 1999, a matter that apparently caused her no distress at a time that was 18 years closer to the alleged assault. Yet 18 years later, while talking before the cameras about the supposed assault, she seemingly could not contain her emotions.  And on the forged yearbook signature that Allred and Nelson will not turn over to be reviewed by an outside party… Roy Moore’s signature on the order of dismissal in the divorce case was annotated with the letters “D.A.,” representing the initials of his court assistant, Delbra Adams. Curiously the supposed yearbook inscription is also followed by the same initials—”D.A.”  But at that time, Moore was Deputy District Attorney, not district attorney.  Did she copy the signature from the divorce papers, thinking DA stood for District Attorney?  It appears so and yesterday, Dec 8, Nelson finally admitted what we already knew in a press conference.  After three weeks of claiming it was Moore’s writing, she finally admitted that she forged part of the yearbook signature, but wants us to believe the rest of her story.   So, Nelson’s boyfriend at the time says she lied…Employees of the restaurant say she lied…Customers of the restaurant say she lied…Her step-son says she lied…And now she herself admits to lying.  But the major news networks refuse to report that Nelson forged the document and lied.

The last and third account of Tina Johnson’s backside allegation.   

Court documents show that Roy Moore represented Mary Cofield, who is Tina Johnson’s mother, in the custody dispute over her son in 1991. This brought them to Moore’s law office.  Johnson’s mother stated that her daughter (Johnson) was an “unfit, absent and unstable mother” and had a “violent nature”.  Tina Johnson has also pled guilty to writing bad checks and for third-degree theft of property.  Delbra Adams, Moore’s then-secretary and later judicial assistant, said that in her 13 years of working for Moore, she never saw any inappropriate conduct toward womenThe information found in these court documents raise questions about Johnson’s motives in making this accusation.

If these allegations were true, why would these women risk the potential danger Moore would be to other girls for all these years until 4 weeks before the senate election, when the WaPo arrived in Alabama to help us choose our next senator?

Was Roy Moore banned from malls?

This is rather stupid, but continues to be included in the list of offenses against Roy Moore.  There is no evidence that Roy Moore was banned from the Gadsden Mall 40 years ago and you can read the testimony of three people who would have personal knowledge of the mall’s security protocol that completely counters everything alleged by the liberal media and the Moore campaign’s political enemies.

What about all the rest of the accusers?

National liberal media continues to show a photograph with numerous photographs of supposed accusers from 40 years ago in their youth.  This is highly exaggerated and deceptive.  Hope this photo alone causes question and doubt of the legitimacy and accuracy of the reporting.  If the allegations were true, Corfman and Nelson are the only illegal, immoral and serious ones and the Johnson allegation would be considered sexual harassment.  The rest of the women pictured are the ones who gave trivial allegations that range from he asked me out, to he said I was pretty, to he creeped me out at the mall, to kissing and several testified that the mothers of the girls were involved, vouching for the character of Moore.  It is deceitful and a lie to throw these dating claims in with the 2 molestation claims so they can keep up the fake news “multiple accusers” story. The Washington Post and other liberal reporters continue to use these other irrelevant accounts to make the misconduct allegations seem more believable.

The Media

Stand with Roy Moore or kneel to the media.  The liberal media is obviously one-sided in reporting the supposed accusations against Roy Moore and is dodging any source and refusing to air any interview that doesn’t square with their effort to land a liberal Democrat in the senate seat.  They have made no effort to fact check the allegations of the women and will not report the inaccuracies that have surfaced in their accounts and will certainly not cross examine them on air.  For over 5 weeks now, the liberal media has combed Gallant, Alabama, the Moore’s hometown, attempting to locate anyone willing to condemn or accuse the Judge.  You have seen the bias.  The liberal media is practically silent when it comes to reporting that Moore even has any supporters, or staff or volunteers.  This reveals an unconscionable bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters who will certainly see through the “fake news” and elect Judge Moore for the man that we have always known him to be.  In this critical election, may the great state of Alabama look beyond the sources of information that hate truth, that hate God (and those of us who belong to Him) and that continue to report false accusations as truth, while ignoring all evidence that might point to Moore’s innocence and cast their vote on Dec. 12 for Roy Moore for Senate without reserve!  Please make yourself into a grassroots activist and spread the side of the story that the mainstream media will not cover and feel free to use any or all of the information in this letter if desired.  Encourage your friends not to let the media vilification of Moore affect their vote.

A few words about the Roy Moore’s Democratic Opponent

We are not voting for the “lesser of two evils” in this election.  Our primary reason for voting for Roy Moore is not that we don’t want a liberal Democrat to win, but we believe Moore has been falsely accused and he has proven during his 40 years of public service to the people of Alabama that he meets the Biblical qualifications for being a public official- “look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people.”  Exodus 18:21

In 2012, the Democratic Party removed God from their platformDoug Jones, who has been endorsed by the Washington Post, adheres to the platform of his party, the party of murdering children through abortion, the party of homosexuality and sodomite marriage, the party of transgenders in our military and our daughter’s restrooms, the party of Common Core, the party of Obamacare, the party of gun control, and on and on.  Voting for him is not an option for a Christian because his stances on these issues do not line up with God and His Word.

Closing

Five state campaigns. Forty years of honorable service. Roy Moore has been intensely scrutinized and not a hint of scandal.  But four weeks before the election, false allegations. Yet another scheme by liberal Democrats, the Republican establishment and the mainstream, left-wing, socialist news media trying to control our election by controlling our news.  If we carefully examine the evidence, consider Roy Moore’s denial of the allegations and his sincere Christian faith that has been proven by his actions over many years, remember his long, public record of standing for God’s righteous laws in Alabama to his own loss when others would not stand, realize the importance of this race for our nation, and see clearly the motives of those involved in accusing and reporting, we believe Alabama will make the right choice and vote Roy Moore for Senate on December 12.

Judge Roy Moore is also our friend and we trust him.  It is our purpose to support and defend him until we are given sufficient cause to do otherwise.

May God bless our state and nation as we consider this very important election.

Dr. and Mrs. Tom Ford

Montgomery, Alabama

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Opinion | The push for a balanced budget

Bradley Byrne

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When the 115th Congress kicked off last January, I immediately introduced a bill that I believe is fundamental to the future of our country: a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The premise of a Balanced Budget Amendment is pretty straightforward. The federal government should not be allowed to spend more than we take in, except in extraordinary circumstances like a time of war.

This isn’t some sort of far flung idea. When I served in the Alabama State Legislature, we were required to pass a balanced budget each year. It was not always easy, but it was the law. The vast majority of states have the same requirement.

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Balancing a budget is also a common occurrence for families in Alabama and across the United States. Every month, people sit around their kitchen table to figure out how to make ends meet and live within their means. Small businesses must do the same.

The federal government should have to play by the same rules.

To truly enact a Balanced Budget Amendment, we would need to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As a reminder, in order to amend the Constitution, the Balanced Budget Amendment must pass both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states, which is 38 out of the 50 states. The only other way to amend the Constitution would be through a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the states.

Recently, the House voted on House Joint Resolution 2, proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Despite receiving the support of a majority of us in the House, the bill did not receive the two-thirds majority necessary under the Constitution.

I was deeply disappointed that most Democrats in the House opposed the Balanced Budget Amendment. Despite talking a lot about our debt, they rejected one of the best opportunities to actually restore fiscal sanity in Washington.

Throughout the course of the debate, two important topics were raised, and I wanted to briefly address each of them.

First, despite what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe, the answer to our debt issues is not to tax the American people more. We do not have a tax problem; we have a spending problem.

To be clear, the recently passed tax cuts are not to blame for our nation’s debt issues. As the Heritage Foundation recently pointed out, “tax revenue is expected to fall by only 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year and spending is expected to climb by 3 percent of GDP.” Again, we have a spending problem, not a taxing problem.

Second, the most serious drivers of the national debt are on autopilot. For example, if you eliminated every penny Congress appropriated for defense spending next year, the federal government would still be projected to operate in a deficit.   So-called mandatory spending programs must be reined in, and a balanced budget amendment would finally require Congress to tackle those programs head on.

Now, I know passing a balanced budget would be hard, but I did not run for Congress because I thought the job would be easy. We were elected by our neighbors to make difficult choices and decisions.

So, while our recent effort to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment came up short, I will not let it stop me from continuing to push for a balanced budget that requires the federal government to live within our means, just like the American people.

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Opinion | Vengeful Alabama to kill 83-year-old man

Stephen Cooper

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Barring intervention by courts or its governor, Alabama will kill an 83-year-old man on April 19; long-incarcerated for the 1989 mail-bomb killings of United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance and civil rights attorney Robert E. Robinson, Walter Moody, Jr.’s wizened, withered body, will, three decades after his crimes, be strapped to a gurney, pricked with a sharp needle (possibly many, many times), and pumped full of chemicals until he is dead.

Why? Other than the reactionary, regressive idea of “retribution” – whose flawed moral underpinning is interchangeable with bloodthirsty, wild, wild West revenge – how will justice be served? And, for whom?

The premeditated, state-sponsored senicide of the most senior of senior citizens on Alabama’s death row won’t make anyone – not anyone in Alabama, and not anyone anywhere in the United States or the world – safer. As I have written elsewhere, the myth that capital punishment – in this instance for an old man at the tail-end of a tortured existence in “hell-on-earth” Holman prison – provides deterrence, is an outmoded shibboleth. No mentally disturbed person intent on a bombing rampage will be dissuaded by Alabama prosecutors’ tri-decade pursuit of Moody’s execution. (As the Tuscaloosa News editorialized in a piece titled “Attempts to carry out the death penalty have gone from bad to worse”: “Thirty years is a long time to wait to die, but the State is persistent. Alabama has spent a lot of money and a lot of energy to usher out these old and infirm inmates before nature takes its course.”)

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Additionally, and arguably most important, Alabama’s unrelenting desire to exact violent vengeance for the deaths of Judge Vance and Attorney Robinson is improper because of: (1) who these champions of justice were, their respective legacies of honor, and the principles of equality their lifework embodied; and (2), because it is undesired by the people whose opinion should matter the most – the family members of the victims – who have spoken publicly about this.

A crusader for civil rights in the segregated South, Robert Robinson served on the executive board and as general counsel of the NAACP, and so it seems certain he would not favor the death penalty – for Moody, or for anybody – the practice having been hewn from the hell of slavery, subjugation and the suffering of black people. Interviewed for a 2016 essay called “Celebrating Black History: Remembering Robbie Robinson,” Robinson’s widow, Ann, “says she may never know the reason why her husband lost his life to such a heinous crime but she harbors no ill feelings towards Moody. Instead, she’s focused on keeping [her husband’s] memory alive.”

By the same token, Judge Vance’s wife Helen, who was seriously injured as a result of the bombing that killed her husband, told reporters after Moody’s 1991 conviction in federal court that, “she wouldn’t press for a state death-penalty case” (Helen Vance died in 2010). And recently, in March, Robert Vance, Jr., Judge Vance’s son and a circuit judge in Alabama, told a news reporter: “We achieved peace when [Moody] was convicted,” later saying “he’s not sure what can be gained from the execution of his father’s killer.” This ambivalence and distaste for executing an impotent, likely soon-to-die-anyway old man, would undoubtedly have been shared by his father. For as now-deceased former acclaimed death penalty attorney and law professor Michael Mello wrote about Judge Vance, for whom he clerked, in his book “Dead Wrong: A Death Row Lawyer Speaks Out Against Capital Punishment”: “Judge Vance personally did not believe in capital punishment; if he were a legislator he would vote against it; if he were an executive he would commute death sentences; and if he were a Supreme Court Justice, he might well hold it unconstitutional. Robert Vance’s personal opposition to capital punishment was genuine and heartfelt . . . . He did not believe that the death penalty was a proper form of punishment[.]”

Which brings us full-circle to the questions I posed earlier: Why is Alabama intent on killing an octogenarian who can no longer hurt anyone? And, who on God’s good earth will benefit from such ghastliness?

For as renowned Christian author, ethicist, and theologian Lewis Smedes once powerfully observed: “The problem with revenge is that it never evens the score. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops.” This is why Sir Francis Bacon once counseled that “[i]n taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.”

If Alabama does not spare Mr. Moody, this time-tested wisdom, together with whatever honor and capacity for human dignity that exists within the office of Alabama’s governor, its Department of Corrections, and its Office of the Attorney General, will be lost.                  

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. Follow him on Twitter @SteveCooperEsq

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Opinion | How we can make our schools safer

Craig Ford

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Education is the most important service our government provides, and one of the top issues impacting education is school safety.

Unfortunately, it seems like every conversation about school safety always turns into a debate about guns, and nothing ever gets done.

But there are a lot of things we can – and should – be doing to make our schools safer without even getting into the gun issue. In fact, mass shootings are only one threat to our schools. Kidnappings, sexual assaults, fights and bomb threats are also concerns, and none of those have anything to do with guns.

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First, there should be a trained resource officer or law enforcement officer in every school.

Yes, this would cost money that some school systems might not have, which means the state would have to help pay the bill.

Plus, resource officers can’t be everywhere at once. And as we saw with the school shooting in Florida, just because a resource officer is there doesn’t always mean that officer will do what they are supposed to do.

But having a resource officer in a school could make the difference in a mass-shooting situation. And having an officer on each campus could be a deterrent to potential kidnappers, sexual predators and students who might get into a fight.

Aside from resource officers, there are other common sense measures we can take to keep our schools safe. And we can start by applying the lessons we learned from the shooting that took place at Huffman High School in Birmingham last month.

In that case, according to Superintendent Lisa Herring, the school had 43 entry points, and those entry points were not appropriately monitored. Also, their metal detectors were not working.

First, there should only be one or two places where someone can enter a school. There can be multiple exists for emergencies, but those exits need to be one-way doors so that people can go out but not come in.

Second, no person who isn’t a faculty member should ever be able to walk into a school without having to check-in at the main office. And I would consider supporting legislation that would make it a crime to enter a school without registering with the main office except in emergency situations.

Third, every school entrance and exit point ought to be monitored with video surveillance cameras, and all entrance points ought to have functioning metal detectors. At the very least, our state government needs to look into funding a grant program that would help local schools be able to afford these kinds of metal detectors and surveillance systems.

Along these lines, the state should consider using technology funds to help put computerized visitor management systems in our schools. Front office staff can use these systems to check visitors against a national sex offender database by scanning their driver’s license or other government issued identification. These systems also allow staff to flag visitors and cross check their system with larger databases at the state and federal levels.

Schools should also have perimeter fences to deter trespassers and limit an intruder’s access to school grounds.

Fourth, all school entrance points should have a double entry door system where the second door is locked and can only be unlocked from within the main office. This way, even if a person comes in with a gun they cannot get passed the second door unless the front office staff lets them in. And there should be at least one panic button in the front office.

Because of the cost of some of these security measures, I wouldn’t want to make them a mandate on existing schools. But I do believe we need legislation mandating that all future school construction take these guidelines into consideration when designing the layout of a new school. And we need to look at using state funding to match local investments in these kinds of security measures for existing schools.

Other things we can be doing to help school safety and public safety would be to better fund mental health care and do a better job of enforcing the gun laws we already have (too many shooters, including the shooter in Florida, were known to be threats but the system failed to stop them).

There are a lot of things we can be doing to make our schools safer, and doing these things can not only help stop a potential shooter but also prevent other threats such as kidnappings and sexual assaults. School safety is not just a gun issue, and continuing to do nothing is not an acceptable option.

Craig Ford represents Gadsden and Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives. He is currently running for the State Senate in District 10 as an Independent.

 

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Vote for Roy Moore December 12

by Tom Ford Read Time: 19 min
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