Where’s Our Compassion for Women and Children?

We need to do a little soul searching in the good old USA. We need to come to some understanding about why we care so little about women and children.

Why do we put up with a situation where there are nearly 500,000 rape kits in this country that have never been tested, some going back to the 1980’s? This has not happened by accident. This has been purposeful. The State of Tennessee’s legislature has a reserve fund. This is money that was allocated for some purpose, but never spent. There is about $40,000,000 in that account now.

The Democrats in the Tennessee legislature introduced a budget amendment that would have made $2,000,000 of those funds available to test kits that had been around for years, some for decades. The amendment was defeated 22 to 8, with 2 Republicans joining the body’s 6 Democrats in the minority.

Why was this bill defeated? Because, says the leader of the 22 who voted it down, they first have to do an inventory of the untested kits. An inventory? Why, I ask myself, do they need an inventory? Hasn’t anybody in Tennessee paid enough attention to have a pretty good idea of how many there are? You send the kit to the test facility; it does the testing; and, the bill goes to the State. If they run out of rape kits before they use all the money, it goes back into the reserve fund. They would need someone to watch the program and see to it that fraud isn’t going on, but that should not be too hard.

I can tell you what I bet is really, really hard. That is to be a victim of rape who screws up her courage enough to report it and then watches nothing happen for years. The prosecutor cannot very well try the accused without the rape kit evidence. So there he goes, free as a bird and the victim feels like she has been violated again. Pretty shameful.

Speaking of shameful. I am amazed that our Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, even dares to show his face anywhere around here. He must have no ability to feel shame. He has no problem with voting for a Farm Bill that lines the pockets of the big corporate farmers of America (including a rather handsome amount for himself) but slashes the food stamp program. We all know who that is going to hurt. Kids. American kids.

Nearly 16,000,000 children in the United States live in places that we euphemistically call “food insecure”. Don’t you just love terms like that? This child is not malnourished. His/her stomach doesn’t hurt because of hunger. This child is not failing in school because his/her brain isn’t working properly due to lack of nutrition. He/she just comes from a home that is “food insecure”. The awful effect of this on children has been known for a long, long time.

I recently had to go without food for a day and a half due to a medical screening I was getting. Clearly, I could probably go without food for a month and a half without doing myself real harm. But I can tell you that being hungry and not being able to do anything about it is miserable; truly miserable

There are about 74,000,000 children in the U.S., and 16,000,000 of them are “food insecure”.

That is 21.6%. In excess of 1 child in 5 in this country will go hungry, at least from time to time because they do not have access to food. So I have to ask, Mr. LaMalfa, do you think that is moral? Or even smart?

You claim to be “One of Us”. You are not one of any group I can recognize as moral or humane

Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. The offices of Barr and Mudford, LLP, are at 1824 Court St. in Redding and can be reached at 243-8008.

Dugan Barr
Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967, primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. He can be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 243-8008, or dugan@ca-lawyer.com.
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8 Responses

  1. Randall R. Smith says:

    Yes, it is time for Ida Tarbell and living writers like Dugan Barr to awake the nation as was done a hundred years ago. Many of the same problems have come again including the most disproportionate income distribution since Andrew Carnegie was alive. Congress is self dealing while Rome is burning. Frankly, to repeat an old saw, people get the government they deserve. Ultimately, citizens have to vote with more intelligence to have a better outcome.

  2. LovestoEat says:

    Dugan,
    These are strong words and food for thought on 2 important issues that unfortunately our legislators will look the other way and ignore, just like they have done for years.
    My heart aches for any rape victim and then when the powers that be decide to merely stash evidence, well…there are really no words. I’m certain they will see if differently when it happens to one of their family members. Isn’t that the way it seems to work?
    And kids without enough food in today’s society is inexcusable. For Pete’s sake, we live in America, land of abundance and the world’s breadbasket, not some third world sand-dune country where fresh food is a rarity. I hope Mr. LaMalfa hangs his head in shame for his stance on food stamps and tries to turn around his mistaken vote with a new bill to rectify this cut!

  3. Ginny says:

    How about championing a change for the better in food stamp use.

    Nothing but food can be bought from the stamps! Good only in food stores. That is what food stamps are for: food, only! NO cash back. What a concept!
    I have heard someone with stamps come up to someone checking out. They will use their stamps in exchange for cash. I know they have done similar things in the past with the actual stamps. They used the money for drugs. Not for kids food.

    Unfortunately, we are no longer the food basket for the world. That was years ago. Look where our food is imported from and you would be surprised.

    • Catherine Camp says:

      Sorry being slow to read this. Food stamps cannot be legally used for non-food items (like pet food, shampoo, etc.) and no alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins, medicine, food eaten in the store or hot food. They can be used for food or plants and seeds to grow food. And selling or buying the food stamps for cash is a federal crime. The rules for food stamp use are found on the web site http://www.fns.usda.gov.

  4. `AJacoby `AJacoby says:

    HERE, HEAR!!!!

  5. Grammy says:

    The same reason that Republicans voted once again to have women have equal pay with men two weeks ago.

  6. Sad…and we (Americans) are supposed to be the “good guys”, the most caring, the most prosperous, and the most protective nation in the world…HA! We can’t even protect and care for our own kids.

  7. I don’t know how the lawmakers sleep at night. Talk about an equivocal response (where the reason given isn’t the REAL reason.) Thanks, Dugan, for highlighting this shameful situation.

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