Originally created 02/18/03

Stop exercising political favors

As disturbing as it was to read that Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, would use his position of influence to have a convicted sex offender not register with the state's sex offenders' registry, it is not surprising. We all know that those in positions of power and authority manipulate laws.

According to the Oct. 6, 2002, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, since 1998, legislators have made at least 5,500 contacts on behalf of prisoners and parolees. The article goes on to say the custom benefits whites primarily, although Georgia's inmate population is two-thirds black.

For those of us who fight crime and advocate for victims, this is harmful to our cause, but the real tragedy in all of this is that, at a time when children need help most, lawmakers are headed in the wrong direction. If we are to reduce crime, our lawmakers must help our fight by holding offenders responsible for their actions.

We must not return to the days when political favors were the norm and killers were often returned to the black community. For instance, when the white boss would go to the prosecutor and judge on Monday, following the weekend killing of a black by another black, and he would tell them not to prosecute the killer, because he needed the able body back at work to toil in the fields. This practice had a lasting effect on black people and to this day, we continue to feel the effect of political favors.

We would hate to have children be the next group of people to suffer as the result of political favors.

Barbara Thurmond, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the president of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc.)


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