Good morning and Happy Friday! This is your Daily News Digest for February 16.
1. Talking about guns
- The school shooting in Florida has a lot of folks talking about guns again. These are the names and faces of those who were murdered by a psychopath Wednesday.
- “Do something” is the oft-repeated mantra to Congress and the president.
- But, do what, exactly? It’s not an easy question.
- What law can stop premeditated, carefully-planned acts of mass murder?
Loaded for bear at school and church?
- Before I go any further, know that two schools in Alabama were put on lockdown yesterday when guns were found in students’ possession – one in Talladega and one in Fairhope. Scary stuff.
- There was a lot of talk about guns in the Legislature yesterday. After hours of debate, the House passed Rep. Lynn Greer’s bill extending the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to churches.
- Remember that the last mass shooting took place in a Texas church. Since then many churches have been on high alert, some forming security teams to stand guard during worship services.
- Lawmakers are also talking about legislation to arm and train teachers and other school workers.
- I don’t disagree with teachers or preachers being armed and trained to defend themselves. But, boy, does it say a lot about where we are as a society when we need to be loaded for bear in school and at church.
No easy fixes
- Gun rights / gun control is right up there with abortion as the most divisive political issue in the country.
- Gun control advocates want new laws and regulations they claim can help prevent these acts. Gun rights advocates remind us that the 2nd Amendment is pretty darn clear.
- As David French points out in National Review, “15 of the 20 worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred since the Columbine school shooting in 1999. The five worst have all occurred since 2007, and three of those five were in 2016 and 2017. It’s horrifying, and governmental solutions are hard to find.”
- Despite Twitter’s best efforts, it is unlikely that we will see any new gun laws enacted. BUT, we could see an increased effort to enforce existing laws and regulations.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions had this to say…
- “It’s not good if we’ve got gun laws that say criminals can’t carry guns that never get enforced…
- “…an effective enforcement of our gun laws, focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people that have been, where we have legal ability to do so, can reduce violence in our communities and improve public safety.”
- Let’s hope so.
2. Hammon sentenced
- Former House Majority Leader Rep. Micky Hammon has been sentenced to three months in prison for mail fraud.
- Hammon pleaded guilty and the prosecutor had recommended no jail time. Judge Myron Thompson gave him some anyway.
- “I want to say that I’m sorry to the court and mostly to my family. I’m sorry for the embarrassment I brought to you,” Hammon said. “I apologize to my constituents and all the people of the state of Alabama. I ask for forgiveness.”
- Hammon’s plea deal would suggest he is working with federal prosecutors on other related investigations.
- As Mallory Moench of the Associated Press reports, the U.S. Attorney’s office came across Mickey’s suspect campaign finance activity while investigating other matters.
3. Business briefs
- Alabama exports are up – way up – and that’s great news for the economy. According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama exports totaled a record $21.7 billion in 2017, powered by rising overseas shipments of products such as automobiles, aircraft components, chemicals, paper, and minerals.”
- National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons was in Alabama Thursday as part of the NAM “State of Manufacturing” Tour. Timmons joined Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Business Council of Alabama CEO Billy Canary, and other employees and business and community leaders to discuss manufacturing’s optimistic future, the rewarding opportunities the industry offers and the urgent need to build a modern manufacturing workforce across the country.
- Gov. Kay Ivey declared February 15 “Creators Wanted” Day. “As our economic opportunity continues to pick up, we must ensure our workforce is strong and prepared… We are bringing our leaders in government, business and education together to make certain our students are receiving the most advanced and appropriate training for career opportunities in industries like manufacturing.”
- California should be more like Alabama. At least that’s what one Orange County businessman wrote comparing his state’s business climate to ours. AL.com’s William Thornton wrote about it here. You can also read the original opinion piece in the Orange County Register here.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributors Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton: Civil forfeiture is essential to fighting crime.
THE MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Bill would raise minimum population requirement for new school districts.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Doug Jones: Trump infrastructure plan a ‘non-starter,’ Would hurt people in north Alabama.
AL.COM – AG Jeff Sessions: ‘We’ve got to confront the problem’ of school shootings.
AL.COM – Talladega High student found with gun in backpack.
AL.COM – Fairhope Middle School student in custody after bringing a gun to school, police say.
AL.COM – Former Alabama House majority leader sentenced to 3 months in prison.
AL.COM – California businessman asks, ‘Why can’t we be more like Alabama?’
AL.COM – Drought conditions improve across Alabama.
AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers skeptical of arming teachers, but look to make schools safer.
AL.COM – Alabama exported record $21.7 billion in goods in 2017.
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: A Congress held captive by its own MAD doctrine.
BIRMINGHAM WATCH – Federal Appeals Court Denies Gardendale’s Breakaway From Jefferson County Schools; City Board Says “Fight is Not Over”
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Joey Kennedy: Shots fired. We do not care.
DECATUR DAILY – Trump proposal to privatize TVA transmission lines gets pushback.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – The Times Daily: ‘Time … for Congress to shed its cowardly cover’.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – House approves church ‘Stand your Ground’ law.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – The Tuscaloosa News: Freedom of speech is often a messy exercise.
ANNISTON STAR – Decades of mass shootings makes training for educators a necessity.
ANNISTON STAR – House candidate: background checks, waiting period for guns needed.
ANNISTON STAR – Editor Phillip Tutor: In gun-loving America, this is who we are.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Democratic gubernatorial candidates meet and greet in Dale County.
WASHINGTON POST – FBI’s near-brush with suspect in Florida school shooting draws scrutiny.
WASHINGTON POST – Obama ran out of words on mass shootings. Trump has struggled to find them.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Joe Scarborough: Republicans’ indifference to the massacres of innocents will lead to their ruin.
WASHINGTON POST – Immigration bills fail in Congress, leaving ‘dreamers’ in limbo.
NEW YORK TIMES – Frustration Grows as Congress Shows Inability to Pass Even Modest Gun Measures
NEW YORK TIMES – A Mother Weeps for Her Angel: ‘I Hope She Didn’t Die for Nothing’