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Opinion | Three things. Three ugly things

Joey Kennedy

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Three events that should worry us this week:

HOOVER SHOOTING

Transparent. That’s a pretty clear term for most of us. A dictionary definition is equally transparent: “Open, frank, candid.” But to many (most?) governments, “transparent” is just a word.

Hoover officials have been vowing transparency since they learned that 21-year-old Emantic Bradford Jr. was not the shooter who injured an 18-year-old and a 12-year-old Thanksgiving night at the Riverchase Galleria. Bradford was gunned down by a Hoover police officer at the scene. He was permitted to have a gun and was, according to witnesses, trying to help others escape the real gunman, who is still at large.

If Hoover police thought there was an active shooter situation at the mall, they should have gone in guns-blazing against white males. They overwhelmingly are the demographic that commits mass shootings in this gun-nut nation.

But Bradford, a black male, is said to have had a gun, so he was shot to death by a police officer.

While Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said the city would be transparent during the investigation and after, the city has been anything but.

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The Hoover City Council met for two minutes before going behind doors to reportedly discuss the shooting. The Police Department has turned over video evidence to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which is conducting the investigation, and we know how transparent (not) ALEA is.

So a black man who was holding a gun near a shooting, legal as legal can be in Alabama, was gunned down, and here we are, a week later, with witnesses and Bradford’s family and friends telling one story, and the Hoover city officials not telling anything.

Definitely an ugly national story today, anything but transparent.


MISSISSIPPI ELECTION

Voters in Mississippi had a chance be progressive, but instead did the expected: Elected a clearly racist Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith to the U.S. Senate.

Hyde-Smith, the politician who would like to be on the front seat of a public hanging (that’s lynching in the South), who wears Confederate hats and believes Mississippi in the Civil War must have been a great place to live, easily beat former Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman Mike Espy in a U.S. Senate runoff.

Like Alabama, Mississippi voters could have followed its better angels in this election, but preferred the same, old, white-supremacist politicians the state has been electing just about forever. Why not? Racist President Donald Trump came and campaigned for Hyde-Smith, and Trump is as popular in Mississippi as Alabama.

These, of course, are the same Republicans who are trying to cut Medicare and Social Security, no doubt benefits that many of Hyde-Smith’s voters enjoy. They are the party clearly against public education, a social safety net, immigration, the LGBTQ community, choice for women, and health insurance for those who can’t afford it.

Hell, Alabama and Mississippi should just merge. It wouldn’t be a bad deal. Mississippi gets a decent football team; Alabama gets gambling casinos. The rest will pretty much stay the same.

Bamassippi: We don’t have many modern idears, but when we do, we reject ‘em really fast! Thank God for, errr, us?


ON THE U.S. BORDER WITH MEXICO

We don’t have a wall. Fortunately, we probably never will. But there’s a well-armed human shield acting as one to turn back the immigrant “invasion” on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thousands of U.S. military troops, national guard troops, and border control agents are standing in the way of immigrants trying to escape to a better place from violence and, for some, certain death in their own countries. It’s completely within the law for any immigrant, with or without documentation, to seek asylum in the United States.

The United States has a long, proud history of helping people escape persecution in their broken countries. Not today, though.

President Trump, who hates any immigrant who’s not a family member or white, prefers to fire tear gas at women and children across the border to keep them at bay. And if they do happen to enter the country, his policies separate the parents from their kids, caging them both, perhaps never to be reunited.

Trump redirects millions of dollars from other federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has disaster after disaster to deal with, just to be cruel to people who simply want a chance at a peaceful life.

Instead, these desperate men, women, and children are brutally met with tear gas and horror before they ever set foot on U.S. soil — not unlike what they are fleeing.

This should hurt the hearts and souls of every American who cares about the grand ideals of our founding. But it doesn’t.

We are a mean place these days. And we’re getting meaner.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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