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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

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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