A roundup of Sunday editorials from Alabama’s leading newspapers:
Anniston Star – The human toll of guns in children’s hands
The ideological gap between gun-safety advocates and gun-rights groups isn’t measured in inches. It’s measured in blood.
In gun-speak, that’s a harsh word — blood — but in this case, it’s accurate. This illustration will prove why.
In 2015, 278 unintentional shootings were committed by teenagers and young children, according to The New York Times. At least 30 people died in accidental shootings in which the shooter was 5 or younger, The Times reported. A majority of those were by children who gained access to a family member or friend’s handgun that wasn’t properly stored. And in one particularly tragic week last month, four toddlers shot and killed themselves in just that manner. Children, guns, accidents, deaths.
In Kansas City, a 2-year-old found a 9-millimeter handgun under her father’s pillow. She accidentally shot herself in the head.
In Dallas, Ga., a 3-year-old found a .380-caliber pistol in his father’s backpack. It went off.
In Indianapolis, a 2-year-old playing with his mother’s purse found a .380-caliber pistol. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
And in Natchitoches, La., a 3-year-old found a gun owned by his mother’s boyfriend. The boy accidentally shot himself in the head.
Here’s where Alabama currently stands: Our governor is under investigation. Our House speaker is under indictment. Our chief justice is suspended from duty and awaiting trial, again. We’re one of the poorest states in the country, living off the federal dole, and we sit at or near the bottom of most empirical rankings of quality of life. Our leadership is non-existent and our government is on the brink of collapse.
But don’t think for a minute that you’re better than us. Donald Trump is the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, and you put him there. You’re closer to Alabama than you care to think.
Maybe you still think this Trump thing is a joke. I am here to assure you it is not.
Decatur Daily – Fund drug agencies so interdiction efforts can continue
It was bound to happen, and it has been happening more than law enforcement officers know, but marijuana grown in Colorado and other states where it is legal is making its way to the Southeast, into Alabama and into our region.
Since 2012 when recreational manufacturing and selling of marijuana became legal in Colorado, authorities there have been seeing an increase in “drug tourism.”
It’s not the tourism they wanted to see.
Dothan Eagle – It’s time for a new tradition in the state house
Alabama lawmakers have a number of traditions employed with every legislative session.
They traditionally override a resolution meant to ensure that budget legislation takes priority over other measures.
They’ll employ an unrecorded verbal vote to afford plausible deniability on controversial measures.
And when all is said and done, they choose one failed measure to receive the Shroud Award for the session’s “deadest” bill.
That’s been tough in recent years, as so many bills that would have had a positive effect on issues in our state never made headway in legislative sessions that have been overshadowed by distracting matters such as the effort to impeach the governor, the impending trial of the House Speaker on corruption charges, and, of course, the evergreen gambling arguments.
Enterprise Ledger – When a community becomes just another town
I made my twice-a-year visit to my sad home town of Marion in even more sad Perry County last weekend for the annual Perry County High School Reunion and Fish Fry. The 2×4 business appears to be the only thing booming by the looks of the store fronts.
By the time I came along PCHS had turned into Francis Marion High. I attend the reunion in honor of my father, who ventured into Marion from the even more rural community of Heiberger. And only recently did my brother discover that our father was technically from the Heiberger suburb of Jericho, which we believe is a small area right about where he’s buried today after passing away on Christmas Eve in 1987.
I make it mandatory to drive around the town and the countryside in which I roamed freely in the 60’s and 70’s. Marion Institute still stands proud with its remarkable heritage. For such a tiny town, there’s also another college, the all-women Judson College.
Mayor Mickey Haddock was disturbed enough about a weekend child abuse arrest to initiate a call for city officials to review the current requirements to obtain a business license in Florence.
Police Chief Ron Tyler’s department arrested Daryl V. Raymond, 48, of Stockholm, Maine, after several parents came forth to report alleged incidences of inappropriate touching of their children. The incidences reportedly occurred Thursday and Friday at a shopping center parking lot where a traveling petting zoo had set up.
Raymond was an employee of Jungle Safari of Chiefland, Florida, which operated the petting zoo. Investigators said Raymond was working the pony ride at the time of the reported incidences.
Fortunately, the police department acted quickly on Saturday to arrest Raymond before the petting zoo could pull up stakes and get out of town. Equally important was a conversation that same day between Tyler and Haddock. Tyler made a courtesy call to the mayor to inform him of the arrest.
Gadsden Times – At 10, Gadsden City High School has to be considered a success
Not everyone was cheering on Aug. 5, 2003, when the Gadsden City Board of Education voted unanimously to consolidate the system’s three existing high schools into one.
There were plenty of consolidation supporters, but opponents feared the prospect, physically and demographically, of a school with a four-figure enrollment.
People who had pride in Gadsden, Emma Sansom and Litchfield high schools instilled in them literally from toddler days were afraid of losing that distinctive heritage and spirit (and the bitter athletic rivalries).
Those who lived in the South Gadsden area later chosen for the new school naturally were angry about being displaced from their homes in the name of progress.
Huntsville Times – Alabama news quiz: What’s the largest church in the state?
The legislative session is over. The Republican presidential nominee is set.
It’s been a busy week. Take today’s news quiz to see what you learned — and what you missed.
Can you score higher than John Archibald? He only missed one. Post your score in the comments below.
Press-Register – Politicians attempt to eliminate abortion access in Alabama, again
Alabama politicians are at it again in their relentless attack on women’s access to abortion. Over the years we in Alabama have seen a multitude of laws restricting abortion, and they are nothing but different roads to the same destination: to close clinics and make a women’s right to abortion so inaccessible that it is nonexistent.
With only hours left in the legislative session, they once again were determined to accomplish that goal with two new abortion restrictions: SB 205, which would force clinics within 2,000 of a school to close and SB 363, which would outright ban a medically proven method of abortion.
Among the clinics that SB 205 would shut down is my own. I have operated Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, the only abortion clinic in Huntsville, since 2001. We are one of just five abortion clinics left in the entire state. If SB 205 were allowed to go into effect, that number would drop to three. Think about that for a second—just three clinics to care for 2.5 million women in Alabama.
Montgomery Advertiser – Zika: Don’t panic, but be prepared
The heat is on in Alabama and with it comes mosquito season. In an ordinary year, that’s irritating enough but this is no ordinary year.
As USA Today’s Liz Szabo recently reported, the Gulf Coast, including Alabama, is on the front line of the fight against Zika, the virus the Aedes aegypti mosquito species can transmit.
Zika, already prevalent in some Latin American countries, can cause severe birth defects in children born to infected mothers, including microcephaly, and poses other grim health risks.
Opelika-Auburn News – Our view: Day of Prayer reminds us of a blessed America
Noon Thursday, Christians and perhaps other types of believers throughout the United States will gather for a day of prayer.
This year will mark the 65th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer, and locally the Lee County event will be hosted on the Courthouse Square in Opelika.
Various local officials and church leaders will attend, speak a few words, and lead the gathering in prayer.
This is what America is about:
Tuscaloosa News – Staff departures raise questions in Northport
The Northport City Council and the city’s attorney have gone to great lengths, it seems, to keep a lid on the circumstances surrounding the recent departures of city administrator Scott Collins and city finance director Kenneth McKeown.
Collins resigned suddenly on April 15, and received a lucrative payout on his way out the door. Then, on Monday, the council, without explanation, fired McKeown, who became finance director on Feb. 1 but had been on paid leave since April 8.
On the day Collins resigned, City Attorney Ron Davis sent an email to the city’s benefits administrator, directing her to cut three checks totaling $131,241 to Collins, including one for one year’s salary “to be paid in one lump sum today.” He also sent the email to council members Bart Harper, Jay Logan and Rodney Sullivan. Left off the recipient list were council members Judy Hayes and Bert Sims and Mayor Bobby Herndon.