By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Few crimes excite the mind for blood revenge like the rape of an innocent.
Representative Steve Hurst (R-Mumford) wants surgical castration to be the punishment for some who commit such heinous crimes. Hurst has offered HB14 which would allow for surgical castration of an individual who perpetrates sex offenses against a child 12 years of age or younger.
According to studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, “1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of sexual abuse; self-report studies show that 20 percent of adult females and 5-10 percent of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.”
Currently, at least nine States allow for chemical castration, they are California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.
Hurst’s plan is to up-the-ante calling for surgical castration for some sexual predators in Alabama.
“Castration in males is a procedure by which the person loses the function of his testes, thereby resulting in loss of libido and infertility,” according to the website:
Surgical castration is a procedure where the testes are removed. It renders the male infertile and according to studies reduces sexual urges.
Chemical castration is the most widely used procedure in which drugs are administered to the offender at regular intervals to reduce testosterone in the body, which results in a reduced sex drive.
Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins Hospital, is consider one of the foremost authorities specializing in sex offenses. In 1997, he wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Some persons with pedophilia may be helped if medroxyprogesterone acetate [which is used in chemical castration] is prescribed…Currently, there are no medications that can change sexual orientation; pharmacologic treatments can only lower the intensity of unacceptable sexual urges.”
Berlin goes on to say that, “Pedophilia cannot be punished or legislated away. It is as much a public health problem as it is a matter of criminal justice.”
California was the first state to pass a law prescribing chemical castration for inmates convicted of certain sexual crimes against children.
In July 2011, Korea introduced the use of chemical castration on sexual offenders. A study in the Journal of Korean Medical Science stated that, “Testosterone is the major hormone associated with libido and sexual function, and several studies have reported that violent sexual offenders have higher levels of androgens than do nonviolent comparison groups and androgen levels correlate positively with both prior violence and the severity of sexual aggression.”
However, the report did admit that, “a clear cause-and-effect relationship between testosterone levels and sexual offending remains uncertain.”
Yet, this and other studies cite that a low recidivism rate of “2 percent to 5 percent are reported in repeat offenders,” who receive surgical castration and a lower than expected recidivism rate in those who receive chemical castration, according to The World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry.
While sex offenders are not a group who garner much sympathy, critics of the procedure say that it violates sex offenders’ Constitutional rights, as regards to the Eighth Amendment’s ban of cruel and unusual punishment.
Dr. Berlin has written that, “The treatment [chemical castration] is believed to be most effective on sex offenders who possess uncontrollable biological urges that take the form of sexual fantasies that are usually only satisfied by acting on the fantasy.”
In his 2005 book entitled “Preventing Sexual Violence: How Society Should Cope,” John Q. La Fond, says, “This is a crucial question in formulating a realistic strategy for protecting society from repeat sex offenders. Sex offenders pose a special challenge for treatment. Knowing the cause of deviant behavior provides a sound starting point for developing effective approaches for changing that behavior. Unfortunately…, there is currently no definitive knowledge on exactly why sex offenders commit sex crimes. In all probability, there are many different causal explanations for sexual offending. This ignorance has made the task of developing effective treatment for sex offenders more difficult.”
Hurst, has offered the bill in the past with little success. The idea of castration is one that is often heard when such crimes are committed and there is some evidence that supports its effectiveness. The debate between the pros and cons will continue, however, “a Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows 1.6 percent (sixteen out of one thousand) of children between the ages of 12-17 were victims of rape/sexual assault.”
This leaves little doubt as to the seriousness of the problem facing society.
Governor meets with VIP
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey invited a special guest to meet with her in the Governor’s office on Friday.
Fourth grade student Cate McGriff met with Governor Ivey Friday afternoon. The discussion was described as wide-ranging and productive. The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.
Gov. Ivey asked Miss. McGriff what her favorite subject in school is.
McGriff replied that it was math. She also told the governor that she wanted to attend Auburn University just like Gov. Ivey did.
Ivey asked Cate what she wanted to be when she grows up, after she attends Auburn.
McGriff said that she wanted to be an engineer.
Ivey advised her to keep working hard on her math.
Ivey shared that when she was a young intern for Governor Lurleen Wallace, the only other woman to serve as Governor in Alabama history, she had the opportunity to sit behind the governor’s desk. Ivey then asked Cate if she wanted to sit behind the desk, and they recreated the governor’s own photo behind Governor Wallace’s desk.
Cate and Governor Ivey both were wearing their red power suits and Auburn masks.
McGriff was joined by her parents and two siblings, Claire and Sam.
The McGriff family frequently tune in to the governor’s regular COVID press conferences. Cate also was given the chance to stand behind the lectern in the Old House Chamber.
Governors frequently meet with very important people including: Presidents, CEOs, congressmen, Senators, scientists, University presidents, state legislators, county commissioners, economic developers, and fourth graders.
CDC issues Halloween guidance
Today is Halloween. Many people are celebrating this year’s holiday at home as a nuclear family due to the coronavirus global pandemic. If you are going to still trick or treat this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance on trick or treating.
“Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza,” the CDC warned. “Plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween.”
To make trick-or-treating safer: avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters, give out treats outdoors, if possible, set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take, wash your hands before handling treats, wear a mask or cloth face covering.
The CDC has also issued guidance on proper mask wearing. Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult. Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing.
Remember to always stay at least six feet away from others who do not live with you. Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time.
Don’t let excitement about the holiday distract you from proper COVID-19 procedures. Wash your hands. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Parents should supervise young children using hand sanitizer. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats.
Other suggestions for enjoying Halloween activities during the global COVID-19 pandemic include: decorating and carving pumpkins, decorate your home for Halloween, and you can walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance. You could also visit an orchard, forest, or corn maze. You can also go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Whatever you do or wherever you go be sure to remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.
The CDC also suggested that you can hide Halloween treats in and around your house and hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members. The CDC suggested that you can hold an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes. Another suggestion is that you host an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with just your household members.
Etowah County Republicans rally for Trump
The Etowah County Republican Party and the Trump campaign will be holding a Celebrate America rally and prayer meeting on Sunday in anticipation of Tuesday’s general election.
“We the People plan to peacefully assemble at our town square Tomorrow, November 1st at 2:00 PM to rally around President Trump and pray for our nation, our first responders, and for our President,” organizers said.
Remarks will be made by special guest Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.
Singer songwriters Camille and Haley will perform.
Pastors Mark Gidley, Joey Jones and Bruce Word will be speaking.
“Bring your friends and family as we pray, celebrate and rally for America!” organizers said. “Our outdoor program and rally will be an amazing hour that you will not want to miss! Please mark your calendars and please share.”
Patriotic attire, American flags, and Trump flags are welcome. The event will be in the Rainbow City Town hall parking lot.
Robert Aderholt is in his twelfth term representing Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District. Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District is where Trump had his greatest margin of victory in the entire country in 2016.
President Trump and Congressman Aderholt both face Democratic challengers in Tuesday’s general election.
Jones says Senate race a choice between “substance and leadership, and nothing”
“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said.
Speaking outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters in Anniston on Friday, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, told a group of supporters that Alabamians haven’t gotten a look at what his Republican opponent might do if he wins the Nov. 3 election.
“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said. “They’re getting a choice between substance and leadership, and nothing — nothing. We have not heard anything from Tommy Tuberville about what he really wants to do.”
While Jones has held numerous interviews with the media, and regular web briefings over the summer and in recent weeks, Tuberville’s campaign seems to prefer the safety of keeping Tuberville from making possible gaffs or damaging statements in interviews.
Tuberville hasn’t agreed to interviews with traditional media outlets, or to debate Jones, and instead has focused on conservative talk radio spots, speaking to smaller Republican groups and at private parties.
Tuberville’s campaign has ignored or denied our numerous attempts to interview Tuberville, including another request on Friday. He also declined to attend a student forum held at Auburn University on Wednesday, which Jones attended. The forum was sponsored by the Auburn College Republicans and College Democrats.
“If you ever hear something Tommy Tuberville says, it is just simply this: ‘Build a wall. No amnesty. Drain the swamp.’ That ain’t him. That’s Donald Trump,” Jones said. “He cannot think for himself. He doesn’t think for himself.”
Jones spoke of his record of working to help veterans through legislation. And he referred to Tuberville’s nonprofit for veterans and reporting that indicates, through tax records, that less than a third of the money raised for Tuberville’s charity went to help veterans.
“I don’t just create charities and send only pennies on the dollar. I do things for the veterans of this state and this country,” Jones said.
Jones also made a case for Alabamians to remember the contributions past Democrats made in the state. Jones said it was Democratic Sen. John Sparkman who helped build Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal.
“It was a Democrat, Lester Hill, who built the rural hospitals around here that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and Tommy Tuberville are trying to destroy,” Jones said. “It was Howell Heflin who built up agriculture in this state. Those are the Democrats. It was Franklin Rosevelt that put electricity in this state. We’re going to do the same thing for broadband. People forget those things. They forget those things because we’ve let other people define us with lies.”
Jones plans to visit Jefferson County on Saturday, then on to the Black Belt and Mobile on Sunday with another stop in Birmingham on Monday afternoon.
“The goal is to get everybody out. That’s the thing if we want to continue to ensure Alabama moves forward — moves forward and not backwards, to continue to have somebody, if I do say so myself, somebody that’s just not going to damn embarrass us,” Jones said.
“We’ve had too much of that in Alabama,” Jones said, “and I bet you it won’t be a year that Tommy Tuberville would be an embarrassment to this state because he doesn’t know the issues. He doesn’t know what to do, and he’s dang sure not going to know what to do when Donald Trump is not president of the United States.”
Jones encouraged supporters to be skeptical of recent polling. One such recent poll, by Auburn University at Montgomery, puts Tuberville ahead of Jones by 12 percentage points, 54 to 42.1. An internal poll by Tuberville’s campaign puts Tuberville ahead by 15 percentage points, while an internal poll from the Jones camp put Jones ahead by one percentage point.
“Don’t listen to these polling folks that come in, and they don’t know Alabama, and they don’t know what they’re doing. We’re tracking this race, and I can tell you, everything has been moving in our direction the last two months,” Jones said.
People standing along roadsides holding his signs and showing support, Jones said, is “the energy we’ve got out there. That’s what you can’t poll.”
Ellen Bass of Anniston, standing outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters just after Jones spoke, told APR that she has numerous Republican friends who are voting for Jones.
“My hat’s off to them because they’re coming out,” Bass said. “They recognize that he is a better candidate.”
Ciara Smith, 21, newly elected to the Anniston City Council, told APR outside the headquarters building that Jones is the better candidate.
“I think that he’s educated. I think that he speaks with passion and heart,” Smith said. “And he knows what he’s talking about, which is important, and which is more than we can say about the other candidate.”
Speaking to APR after his speech to supporters, Jones said that he feels very good about the state of his campaign.
“Everything we’re seeing is moving in our direction,” Jones said. “And the more he stays hidden, the better it is for us.”