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Opinion | Again and again. And yes, again.

There are issues that most of Alabama knows we need to address. I’ll write about them over and over again.

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In the more than 25 years I wrote editorials for the now-defunct Birmingham News, I often was asked why we wrote about so many of the same issues over and over and over again.

And again.

I recently wrote a column about gun violence in the United States. In the seven years I’ve written for APR, I’ve gotten the same response from readers.

I’ve written about gun regulation and gun violence throughout my career. That column I wrote about gun violence most recently was followed, within the week, with at least three mass shootings across the country.

We still don’t get it. So, I’ll write about it again. Over and over again. 

And again.

The gun problem isn’t getting better; it’s getting worse. Much worse. Now, in Alabama, anybody with a gun can carry it concealed, without a permit. Does anybody believe this makes Alabama residents safer? Of course, it doesn’t.

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Alabama’s gay and transgender population, especially teens and young adults, are a target now for the haters. That was true well before the U.S. Supreme Court forced all states to recognize marriage equality. Alabama resisted, as expected. And Alabama was slapped down, as expected. 

Now, state leaders are focused on trans teens, and are working overtime to prevent them from receiving the medical and psychological care they need and deserve. But Alabama politicians, always needing a hate issue for campaigns, this time focused on children who need physical and mental care because of who they are.

Yes. I’ll write about this. Over and over again.

And again.

I’m pretty confident that as a state, we’ll never get it, because we never do. Therefore, I’ll keep writing about this issue, too.

A few years ago, immigrants were the hate-focus of politicians. They still are, but not as much since trans teens found themselves in the bullseye. Even children suffer because of an entire set of arrogant politicians’ greed for power. Make no mistake: They do not care who they step on and crush to grasp their power.

Meanwhile, nobody in Alabama can get a marriage license. That’s Alabama’s response to having to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Now in Alabama, couples in love must file a notarized marriage certificate for their union to have legal standing. Heaven forbid an Alabama probate judge issue a marriage license to Cindy and Marsha. That would mean hellfire and damnation, I say. Hell, and damnation!

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Yeah, I’ll keep writing about these issues, over and over again.

And again.

There are any number of issues that most of Alabama know we need to address. But our voters continue to elect haters instead of problem-solvers. And until we quit rewarding haters with our votes, their hate-for-votes campaigns will be successful. Because it works.

Aren’t we a “Christian” state? Really, no. But our leaders like to say we are. Isn’t the very core of Christianity one word: Love? Well, tell that to your Christian friends. Tell it to the hate-filled pastors who speak on these issues from their pulpits. Tell that to the thousands and thousands who attend churches each Sunday – and most, only on Sunday. Checking the box for God.

And Jesus wept.

I’m culturally Christian. My problem: I kind of bought into that “love” thing. It’s why I make writing against the death penalty one of my repeat issues. Sure, there are people in prison who committed such heinous crimes, they deserve to die. 

I don’t want to have those deaths on my conscience, though. Yet, I do have them there, because the “state” is us. All of us. I do not want the state killing anybody in my name. And if not for great, committed women and men like Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, many innocent humans on Alabama’s Death Row would be dead by now. 

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Dead and forgotten. Except by their hurting, broken families.

Except for them.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “determined that at least 4 percent of people on Death Row were and are likely innocent.” That means nearly 100 people on Death Row or facing the death penalty across the nation are not guilty. And that study was nearly 10 years ago. It’s not an issue many wish to regularly study, because, well, I mean, the government sanctioning the killing of innocent persons? Better left buried. Like their innocent corpses.

Do we, as a people, really accept that nearly 100 innocent people be traded just to sustain the death penalty? I was once told, by a person at my liberal Baptist church, that it was acceptable for a “few innocent people” to die if it means killing the really bad and guilty inmates.

Really? I mean, really? I’ll write about the death penalty again. And guns. And trans kids. And immigrants. And other social justice issues.

I’ll write over and over again.

And again.

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Yes, again.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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