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Opinion | Another Alabama cop is dead. Do we care enough to make the necessary changes?

Josh Moon

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There was a police officer shot and killed in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night. 

Tuesday morning, two girls woke up with a nice, happy family, a dad who took care of them and served his community. They went to bed heartbroken and forever changed. 

Dornell Cousette was just 40 years old. He was the fourth law enforcement officer shot dead in Alabama this year. 

Cousette chased 20-year-old Luther Bernard Watkins Jr., who had multiple felony warrants, into a home. Watkins allegedly opened fire, killing Cousette. 

Cousette’s death was not unlike those of the other three officers who have been murdered this year. All senseless. All tragic. All allegedly killed by relatively young men. 

We have a problem. 

A problem that is only going to get worse unless we take some serious steps to solve it. 

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Because we have created within this state a dangerous combination of angry and hopeless young people and a readily available supply of cheap, easy-to-get firearms. 

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And we have to do something about those problems. 

Both of them. 

The biggest problem we have in this state is our depressing public education system. It’s not good. We know it’s not good. 

But instead of addressing the very obvious reasons why it’s not good, we instead get sucked into idiotic conversations about school choice and giving (good) parents an option, because it’s apparently OK to punish children for life for being born to crappy parents. 

In reality, we know that the best way to ensure the future success of any child is to provide that child with a proper education and/or a serviceable skill. And we know that the best ways to do that is to provide quality instruction in a classroom with a low student-to-teacher ratio and proper educational tools and evaluations. 

For example, look at every single successful school system in this state. 

And whenever we speak of options and choice, we should know that we are leaving behind the kids who can’t make that choice. We are leaving behind thousands of innocent children who cannot decide to drive to the charter school every morning, who can’t choose to make more money to pay for the private school, who can’t choose to have parents who are involved, who can’t choose this better option. 

Those kids who are left behind — the ones who have always been left behind — they’re the ones with the guns, the ones shooting at everyone, the ones who are angry and mad at the world. 

And why wouldn’t they be? When they were just babies, the world stepped on their heads when they were drowning. 

Instead of making sure they were provided a quality education, we instead have made sure that they have access to semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines. 

Because when the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd amendment, they had in mind a 19-year-old three-time felon who’s been on the street since he was 12, because the funds that would have paid for a public school counselor or after-school program to save him were instead spent on a new charter school choice for the kids with parents who weren’t hooked on painkillers. 

We all know that our gun laws are insane. Privately, even the biggest 2nd amendment people will admit this. Because every single one of them know that our lax gun laws have allowed some legitimate crazy people to purchase and carry firearms. 

But instead of admitting that our gun laws could use some tweaking, we get caught up in yet another idiotic conversation about “gun control.” 

Are you for gun control? Are you against gun control? Ohhh, Candidate Bill is for gun control. 

It’s such overly-simplistic BS designed to take our focus off of one very real fact: We all pretty much agree on this issue. 

The overwhelming majority of Americans want better background checks, universal checks — including at gun shows and in private sales — and they want assault weapons and high-capacity magazines banned. 

Those are reasonable things. 

And when you do those things, people are safer. People in states where such measures have been enacted are safer, statistics show, than those in gun-friendly states, where the guns are supposed to make us all safer. Cops in the more regulated states are 50 percent less likely to be shot. 

But maybe we don’t love police that much. Enough to change the gun laws. 

Maybe we don’t love anyone enough to make the necessary changes to stop this absolute madness.

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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