“Where Did You Come From?”

The question I get most frequently in the realm of politics is ‘Where did you come from?’ or rather, why am I the way I am? Don’t worry, this isn’t the beginning of an Eminem song.

Like any person, my direct route from day 1 to present is full of twists and turns.  So many experiences mold us into who we are, but for many people, it is difficult to pin point the exact moment in time when they became who they are. I don’t have that problem.

I have always had an argumentative streak and my 11th grade history teacher at Centennial High School, Mr. Porter, did no disservice in allowing me to speak my mind early and often despite his love of Abraham Lincoln and his first edition Toyota Prius. In 2004, I was still the cookie cutter solid suburban (R) who would defend the party until I was blue in the face, and God bless him, he had to deal with me in an election year. It served us both well and prepped me for college and graduate school where I continued to evolve.

But my life changed the day I met Andrew Wordes, the Roswell Chicken man. A man of small stature and a unique voice you could pick out of any crowd, I met Andrew at a campaign event in 2009. He was kind and gracious and wanted to know what, as a young person, drove me to get involved in politics. “It was an accident,” I told him. But he shrugged it off, said that was impossible, and went on to show me pictures of his dog, pigs, and of course, his chicken. I entertained the conversation because I couldn’t believe he had chickens in the ‘burbs.

Over the next few months, I saw Andrew several times and eventually, someone filled me in on his battle against the City of Roswell. I was mortified to learn about his years-long debacle. The man withstood a retroactive vendetta ordinance, lawsuit(s) against him by the City (an unprecedented act in the State of Georgia), the grading of the land around his home by the City without permission and notice, pressure to submit to eminent domain far below FMV, multiple nights in jail due to police harassment, city employees meddling with his mortgage holder, and the poisoning of his animals which caused the death of over half of them, yet some how some way, the man managed to get up every day to see another fight and volunteer to help others.

I was enamored by his lengthy story and asked him if I could document it on my blog. Of course he said yes and we began talking almost daily so he could fill me in on updates between the lawsuits and the police casing his home.

He sometimes appeared angry, but that was mostly out of frustration of people not listening. He wanted to be heard. He was often characterized as ‘crazy’ but that was purely because he was unwavering and was doing things no one had ever done. He had compassion and showed complete devastation when his animals were poisoned and dying – he held them and nurtured them in their suffering. He was never short on emotion and I adored that about him.

He was a man of controversy because he challenged his government, bucked the system, mouthed off, often stood alone, and never gave up. He ultimately took his own life under pressures many of us will be lucky enough to never face. He made some mistakes and he wasn’t always the most eloquent man, but he was a man of conviction and principle. He loved his freedom, his country, and his God.

Tomorrow, March 26th, marks the 3 year anniversary of the death of my sweet friend Andrew Wordes. I still have a page on my blog dedicated to highlighting his stories. Three years and I can’t take it down, despite that fact that it highlights my reel of immature and unrefined elementary writing skills. I still have a voicemail on an old phone from Sunday, March 25th, 2012 from Andrew. He told me things were “good” and he was expecting things to turn around. He said we would talk tomorrow so we could plan our next course of action to keep fighting. Session was in and he wanted to go down and talk to his State Senator who wouldn’t take his calls.

He died the next day but left a fire in us all that reminds us we can’t just fight our own battles and we can’t always choose the big “flashy” battles. He left behind an inspired and an enraged league of Liberty-lovers who don’t forget to mention his story. He didn’t win his battle, but he’s winning the war because every day someone, somewhere inches closer to awakening on an issue and someone new gets involved. He taught others to further this and to do so with conviction and emotion – so as never to come across as disingenuous.

I don’t believe in coincidences. It was no accident that I met Andrew on my very first campaign at the very first event. It’s no accident that Andrew’s story was one of the first controversial blogs I ever penned – an extreme illustration of government overreach that went largely unnoticed by the media – two things I stomp and raise a ruckus about now.  It’s no coincidence that –right or wrong- even the drama surrounding the incident of Andrew taking his own life was a political statement that continues the conversation.

I have no doubt that I documented Andrew’s story on my own blog, not for his benefit, but for mine.  So that when I felt like giving up, I would have a written journal of what he encountered and a shiny mirror of reflection illuminating the fact that he never relented. A staunch reminder that I was taught to stand tall and loud even when I’m alone and to never withhold my emotion and passion from a cause – no matter how small.



10 Worst Bills to Pass the House by Crossover

The 2015 legislative session has been rather…interesting. Between the slow start over what would actually happen with Transportation and the Budget to the abrupt ending which halted just about every piece of pending legislation that had a ‘NO’ vote attached to the transportation tax, most of us have been spending our days that it will just hurry up and be over. Despite that, however, the House has still managed to pass some pretty awful legislation. Trending in the ‘Top 10 Worst’ are 1) expanded powers for the Governor, 2) creation of new Commissions, and 3) strengthened mandates for individuals and small businesses.

10. The AMENDMENT presented by Rep. Ed Setzler to HB 429 – (Ron Stephens)
The bill makes sure that if you’re given a diagnosis of 2 years or less to live, your insurance company cannot deny you the use of a drug if your doctor deems it necessary and appropriate. The amendment disallows people from traveling to other states for the purpose of assisted suicide and then requesting the insurance company cover such costs.
So, in the same passage, we mandate that a company cannot deny coverage while also mandating a certain type of coverage that cannot be covered. Together these two concepts do not make sense. The amendment passed 105-61. The bill passed 170-0.

9. HB 418 – (Rep. Bert Reeves)
This bill disallows anyone in alternative sentencing programs (first offender, diversion, etc.) Crying_little_girlfrom serving on a grand jury as they would had they been convicted of a felony. Arguments in favor of the bill say it is a conflict of interest as these people may (if they live in the same county as their sentencing) be reporting to the District Attorney. On the contrary, these programs are supposed to be classified as ‘not a felony,’ so what is the purpose if we are still going to rescind rights? Further, these alternative sentencing programs are similar to those that have not yet been convicted. We are setting bad precedent.
HB 418 passed the House 139-40.

8.  HB 416 – (Rep. Carl Rogers) 
The “Consumer Information and Awareness Act” demonstrates just how cumbersome the legislature can be. This mandates that all health practitioners wear name badges of ‘sufficient size’ font. With little room for enforceability or true need, ‘common sense’ was cited with regard to how to determine ‘sufficient size.’  The problem? At some point, consumers assume a risk and if they are concerned about the legitimacy of their health care provider, perhaps they should find another one. HB 416 passed the House 151-21.

7. HR 395: (Rep. Gerald Greene)
boy cry
In an effort to waste as much time and money as possible while documenting more ‘per diem’ days, a study committee was created to evaluate Georgia-Alabama relations to address regional issues. Somewhere, we must have outlawed telephones and emails if this is necessary. Passed 164-2.

6. HB 288: (Rep. Katie Dempsey)
This bill adds two members appointed by the Governor to the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council, a council on which he already has 3 appointed members. Why don’t we just repeal the Board and have it directly under his discretion?
This bill passed the House 161-7.

5. HB 3 – (Rep. Barry Fleming)
This bill, revised from it’s original form with a $25,000 fine and a felony charge, now only makes Little-Girl-Cryingit illegal to enter into a transaction with a student athlete which would damage their eligibility or revoke their scholarship eligibility. These contracts would otherwise be legal and are only prohibited under the regulation of the NCAA. The bill also tips the scales to the person on the other side of the transaction, not the student athlete – providing an unbalanced punishment. This isn’t how contractual agreements should be managed. HB 3 passed 145-27.

4.  HB 296  – (Rep. Randy Nix – 69th)
This bill allows children classified as ‘refugees’ under federal law to qualify for ‘special needs’ scholarships if they have ‘limited proficiency’ in English. While this may not seem so bad on the surface, the precedent for classifying ‘limited proficiency in English’ as a special need is a very dangerous precedent – especially with concerns over immigration.
HB 296 passed the House 155-16.

3.  HB 310: (Rep. Alan Powell)
Another change from the Office of the Governor is the creation of  the Board of Community project-365-fall-seven-20100913Supervision and the Department of Community Supervision. In a 119-page explanation of what the bill actually does, the bill includes language to expand executive power to “be liberally construed so that its purposes may be achieved” (huh?!), expands powers formerly held by the Department of Corrections, and creates a new layer of bureaucracy overseen by the executive branch, essentially creating a new police force.
HB 310 passed 164-5.

2.  HB 315 – (Rep. Chad Nimmer)
The name change of Georgia’s Technical School System to ‘The Career College System of Georgia.’
Putting the enormous administrative costs and the burden on Technical Colleges to re-brand aside, we are still left with a lack of ‘need’ to actually do this. The technical colleges do not want it and the new name sounds like a headquarters for home economics. Students and employers alike thrive off of the name ‘technology’…an actual buzz word across industries.
This legislation, stemming from the Office of the Governor, seems to be more of a power grab to better position schools within the Board of Regents than anything that will benefit the students or the technical schools. HB 315 passed the House 122-40.

1. HB 170: (Rep. Jay Roberts) – The Transportation Tax
Each point from increasing the motor fuel tax to 29 cents per gallon and the diesel tax to 33 cents per gallon, to including the locals in the mess when they aren’t properly allocating funds to transportation, is bad news. This is one of Georgia’s largest tax increases in state history. It also raises the hotel/motel tax, which will negatively affect tourism, without substantial explanation or justification. The only positives coming from the bill are the repeal of the Delta tax credit and the electric car tax credit, both of which were addressed in standalone legislation.

A bill that divided not only the House, but also the Republican caucus has low-end estimates of $700 million in tax increases. Representatives from across the state have publicly condemned the action of ‘taxing first’ and assessing later. Supporters of the bill consistently struggle to distinguish between ‘need’ and ‘the end game,’ saying they simply couldn’t get there without taxing despite the overwhelming number of sales and income tax exemptions that could have been repealed. Their closing argument? You should have attended the meetings around the state in 2014. Unfortunately, these meetings were aimed at the ‘Why?’ not the ‘How?’
Passed 123-46.

Not much commentary is appropriate or needed. #EverythingIsAwful. We’ve been told over and over that ‘they’ll fix it in the Senate,’ but that hasn’t exactly worked out well in the past and it isn’t an example of good governing.

Is This What Freedom Feels Like?

On the calendar today for a vote is a bill to reduce the restrictions with regard to ‘consumer fireworks.’ HB 110 seeks to expand the definition of consumer fireworks, as described in the bill, include:

“any small fireworks devices containing restricted amounts of pyrotechnic composition, designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, that comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission”

Whatever that means.

Currently, Georgia is one of the few states in the Southeast to have such restrictive laws for consumer purposes which usually send Georgians across state borders for purchases. Many of our bordering states, including Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina, allow for the sale of consumer fireworks, with licensing procedures and oversight.

The bill does the following:

  • Adequately defines ‘consumer fireworks’ and what is not a firework, such as model rockets fireworks and sparklers
  • Outlines that consumer fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and in any form other than a face-to-face sale
  • 16 & 17 year-olds can possess consumer fireworks so long as they are aiding an adult to a nonprofit or licensed group
  • Sale of consumer fireworks are lawful with license from Safety Fire Commissioner and the Fire Marshal is the enforcer
  • Buildings/tents selling consumer fireworks must comply with NFPA 1124 (federal) standards
  • To obtain a license as a corporation, you must pay a $5,000 license fee PER COMPANY, PER LOCATION. Renewals are $1,000 annually.
  • Temporary licenses for nonprofit organizations are for 90 days and $200 per location
  • You cannot obtain a license and sell fireworks unless:
    • you’ve NOT been convicted of a felony (an interesting parameter, but in line with other states)
    • Have liability and product  insurance of at least $2 million
  • Subject to excise tax
  • Violations are civil penalties with $10,000 fine.

That’s a lot of government, and much is federal guidelines, but $5,000 is very steep for a corporation to pay a licensing fee. Alabama requires $2,000, while South Carolina permit permanent stands for just $200. Tennessee can require up to 4 different permits, but none exceed $350 so you’re still not looking at more than $1,400. The fee is paid to the Safety Fire Commissioner, but the bill as written doesn’t indicate where the money goes. (Perhaps transportation?!)

Does this expand the size and scope of government with a new agency or commission? No. But there isn’t much wiggle room to say it feels free.

Does it still largely prohibit certain groups and organizations from selling consumer fireworks in Georgia? Yes.

Will people still travel to other states for purchase? Probably not.

This firework legislation is indicative of everything we are facing under the Gold Dome: overreaching federal guidelines, special interest groups watering down bill language, restrictions on what should be the free market.
Here, we are starting with a ban, and this bill seeks to remove the band and impose strict oversight with several things Liberty-minded people oppose. But on the flip-side, the revenue will stay here. So what do you do? Do you take the inch even though you asked for a mile? Is some better than none? I guess it depends on how much you love the sound of freedom.


So far in Georgia, not a single bill has failed in the Republican-led House or Senate in 23 legislative days. And it’s not because we have chambers just oozing with Liberty-minded reform or ideas full of resounding restoration of state sovereignty that will loosen the grip of the federal chokehold. For the last two months, I’ve watched the legislative session and each day, I wonder if our elected officials are even aware that there are two buttons on their desk: the one that is for ‘YES’ and seems to be worn down, and one fairly shiny one which is used for ‘NO.’

Contrarily, as a whole, Republicans are often characterized as ‘The Party of No.’ Whether it’s nocoming from our party meetings or from under the Gold Dome’s around the country, we seem to back ourselves into a corner as being anti-this and old-timer-that.

“No, you can’t be a Republican if you’re gay or have had sex before marriage,” says a GOP in South Carolina. “No, you’re not the right type of Republican,” say our GOP leaders.

“No, you won’t be guaranteed due process and equal protection under the law,” say many of our legislators who want to expand practices like civil forfeiture and no-knock warrants.
“No, you can’t dissent in a public forum because I have an (R) next to my name, so take a hike.”
“No, we won’t protect your privacy because public safety.”
Also in that category, include property rights and the Second Amendment. Don’t get greedy.
“Just move the ball down the field.”
“Come back next year.”


We are embracing the wrong kind of ‘No.’ Some of us kind of like the word ‘No.’
Now, I know I’m muddying the waters between political gain and party principles here, but daily I deliberate where we draw the line. The two do intertwine.


We are the party of individualism – at our monthly meetings and in our legislatures. As an individual, I no longer care what a study says or what other states are doing. I am not interested in federal guidelines or ‘how it’s always been done.’ I am unimpressed by your vote which enables you to come back and ‘ask for something’ later. Un-im-pressed. I’m interested in someone who understands the use of discretion and the power of the word No. The command of the word, the negated color red, whether you’re standing alone or with a group of 50.

No, you will not advocate to expand the size and scope of government. Not for economic development and not for raccoons.
No, you will not vote to usurp local control.
No, you will not pander to the children. Or vote to tell someone how to parent.
No, you will not press YES for your own personal advancement.
No, you will not silence the individual.

I still consider myself a Republican. Some days begrudgingly, but I do. And as Republicans, we should pressure our fellow conservatives to say ‘yes’ to the word ‘no.’
If something provides a legitimate business model which in turn provides for personal accountability and responsibility, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If a solution, medical or non-medical, approved or not approved, mainstream or not, works for just one person, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If something satisfies someone else and largely doesn’t affect me or my everyday life, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’

But maybe the problem is me. Maybe I have the wrong understanding of what our principles mean and what our Party stands for…at the local meetings and under the Dome. Someone is wrong, though, because No. We can’t all be right.

I’m Tired.

This article is for all my Republican and Democrat party member friends who complain that government is broken, but believe the folks they elect somehow *already* know what the ‘right thing to do’ is. It’s for my Libertarian and Anarchist friends who spout off on social media and leave it at that. A brief reminder, if you will, that none of you are doing enough. 

It’s hard not to be negative. When you’re an idealist like me, it’s even harder. A couple of people have texted me since session started and asked, “Seriously – how hard is it for you to work at the Capitol?” It’s really freaking hard because I’m not just advocating for or against one bill, but a general reform of government and the process. Daily. So, generally, I opt for being snarky to mask the complete loathing for the process and the system. And most of you all.

To be perfectly blunt, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of the laziness. I’ve noticed, especially advocating for the opposition of HB 244/SB 8 table flipthat I’m not alone in my opinions, but that means so very little. People make up every excuse as to why they don’t have time or why they can’t do something. I can lay out the email addresses with what to say so all you have to do is copy-paste. We see this with petitions for FreedomWorks and grassroots organizations trying to mobilize people to lobby their elected officials. Uber. Craft Beer. Transportation. Everything you need within 3 clicks. And people won’t do it.

I’m tired of people thinking a once-a-month dinner social or happy hour is sufficient for activism. Or the people who think the political parties are the end-all, be-all. If that is your mindset, I can’t even begin to tell you everything you’re missing. How did you affect change this month? What do you have to show for progress?

I’m tired of the lack of prioritization. We all need an outlet, but obsessing over the The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, House of Cards, The Bachelor, fighting over whether or not ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is the demise of our society, and losing friends over football games? None of these things change our lives. They don’t. Yet they consume us.

I’m tired of people not recognizing that we have it easy. We live in an information age that allows us to instantly share information with the click of a mouse. We should be the most educated generation, we should know all the ways we’re failing our brand and The People…and yet, we fall short because we are sharing videos of Bostonians running around in the snow with only swim trunks and the latest BuzzFeed article that tells us “Which Disney Duo You and Your BFF Would Be”

I’m tired of pet issues and people not recognizing that every bill that passes through actually does affect them. If it’s not you this time, that only means it’ll be you next time. What reason have you given the state for it not to be?

I’m tired of people not understanding perpetuity. Every time we pass something, it is precedent. It is permanent. It might, maybe, if-we-try-really-hard one day be repealed but that’s just a strike through. It stays on the books. Nothing is erasable. Everything will be referenced at a later date.

I’m tired of being disappointed by the people I’m surrounded by because they don’t realize that by not paying attention to why we are afforded such a lovely life, it won’t be long before we no longer have such a life. Actually do something – today. Oh, and the stones you occasionally throw when something blatantly affects you…you’re throwing them from the cheap seats.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Google Search Confirms HB 244/SB 8 Falsities?

I wrote extensively last week about the Georgia Republicans waging a war on adult entertainment establishments and expanding civil forfeiture practices in our state with no data to back up their legislative premises.  I have a hard time understanding why a $5,000 OR 1% gross revenue annual fine is necessary for these establishments without cause. And why only the adult entertainment industry?

So, I did a little Google search last night. I spent a significant amount of time sifting through sex trafficking articles. Below is a list of industry-related examples and sources:

You’ll note that none of the above are industries included in the legislation. House Bill 244 and Senate Bill 8 both exclusively call for adult entertainment establishments. Wrongfully and dishonestly. There’s no doubt it sometimes happens in these establishments. But what about every other industry?

70% of child victims are sold over the internet.  Every day. Read that again. 70%. An exceeding majority of sex trafficking is known to originate over the interwebs (and the private sector is already targeting this issue) but we are going after one teeny, tiny industry. That is despicable.

The bill also calls for what some might consider a “government-organized charity.” So I wanted to see what types of 501(c)3 non-profits were already out there operating:

  1. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center
  2. The Polaris Project
  3. A21.org
  4. The Not-For-Sale Campaign
  5. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
  6. Out of Darkness
  7. Coalition Against Traffic in Women
  8. Daughters Rising
  9. Slavery No More
  10. Love146

And considering Google returned 1,450,000 results, I can say with certainly that there are plenty more. The industry to help and counsel these women and children is alive and thriving. We don’t need our state government to set up another fund and commission to do so.

Utah seems to be taking a much more reasonable approach, where they are removing a current requirement for prosecutors to prove fraud or coercion for a conviction. North Dakota is increasing penalties for convictions and statute of limitations for victims. Same with Texas. These other states aren’t waging a war on businesses.

A judge in India, where human trafficking is painfully prevalent, said this is a social issue, not a legal one…one that the courts cannot solve. “Implementation of guidelines is in the hands of enforcement agencies.” I could not agree more.

Click here for background and resources to contact House committee members about this legislation.

Maybe the Problem is We Overvalue Education

The recent media frenzy over Scott Walker’s lacking college diploma has had me pondering a wide variety of failures in regard to our educational stigmas. While the attacks on Walker have largely been from the media, there is no doubt that the issue will again rise to the surface on the 2016 stage. The notion that he left to work in a small business will, sadly, go undiscussed.

It’s not an uncommon ‘issue’, either. We all watched the cringe-worthy statements by now-Senator David Perdue over fellow candidate Karen Handel’s lack of college education unfold while questioning the necessity and relevancy. Especially considering that both come from a college-degrees-graduategeneration of folks that focused on entrepreneurial roots and touted self-sufficiency. Scott Walker is not far behind. In fact, there probably aren’t many of us who don’t know a boot-strap entrepreneur without a diploma that we respect and seek to emulate.

College diplomas are necessary because we have made them to be. We have demanded that they be: Democrats because of “access” and “equality; Republicans because “The Jones’” and “top-tier excellence.” As Republicans, we complain about Democrats wanting to have all the degrees..and for free. That’s wrong. But perhaps the degrees would be less appealing if we didn’t make the case that you are worthless in society without one.

The result: Our society is no longer unique.

While some sort of high school diploma is valuable, we do so many students a disservice by not offering them technical diplomas and trade diplomas. We are lacking when it comes to specialties and trades. We look down on our technical colleges and community colleges. Suburban metro Atlanta is especially guilty of this. But worse, a college diploma is often a certificate of complete for the soccer moms. The ‘I got my child through!’ stamp of approval. The apple-to-apple comparison for dinner parties.

They say you don’t add value unless you mine it, manufacture it, or grow it. When was the last time you heard encouragement for either of those 3 things? We struggle to find the air conditioning men and the plumbers and the welders because we, as a society, teach that that isn’t sufficient. Heck, even our agriculture relies on big-time, big-ag multi-millionaire businessmen…not the small town farmer.

I know my peers from both my undergrad and graduate programs. I know what they think of their education. I know their goals and I can say with confidence that I trust someone of blue-collar or entrepreneurial caliber above the guy with 3 MBA’s, a double major from undergrad, and a colorful robe on graduation day.

It’s time that both sides start looking at education past the goal line. It’s important but it should never cancel out the people who have persevered despite the educational system. It’s time we acknowledge that it is difficult to be a businessperson in America and the real-life experience should never be second fiddle to the traditional education.

Hidden Problems with the “Hidden Predator Act”

House Bill 17, also known as the “Hidden Predator Act” has really got my buttons all kinds of pushed. The bill, pre-filed back in December and now making its way to the Judiciary committee, seeks to extend the statute of limitations on sexual assaults, battery, child molestation and things of the like from 5 years to 35 years…from the day victims reach adulthood. It would also allow for a blanket grace period of two years for anyone who previously missed out filing for a civil case under current law giving them from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2017 to take legal action. (Smells like ‘not due process’).

We should note that these atrocities do happen to children and many times, nothing is filed until adulthood whether it be because they cannot tell a parent, they don’t want to tell a parent or they simply don’t understand that what happened to them is wrong. The reason doesn’t matter. Current law allows for victims to come forward for up to 5 years following their 18th birthday.

So, the question becomes: how many years after a sexual assault should someone be allowed by law to file for civil recourse?

To put it plainly, there are a couple of reasons I don’t believe the current law should be changed:

  • Victims of assault are either going to come forward or they aren’t. This is something we know. Many people spend years coping with these things silently and privately and it usually has nothing to do with a statute of limitations for civil recourse.
  • 35 years from the age of 18 is a long time. That’s age 53. And that’s assuming that the assault happened during the late teen years. For those who became victims at an even younger age, memories could be dating back 50 years. No offense to my older friends but depending on whether or not a criminal case produced a conviction, I have a hard time believing the case could be adequately assessed with little to no evidence other than “he said, she said.”
  • Civil damages don’t fix anything. Placing a dollar amount on a life-changing events cheapens what happens to many people. While at age 18 you may have no idea how a victim will manifest the pain and suffering, age 53 gives them far too much leeway of life mistakes and glitches which may or may not be associated with an assault. We would basically open the door for extortion.
  • Allowing victims who were previously not able to come forward because of a statute of limitations to retroactively file a suit during a two-year grace period is not how our justice system is supposed to work.

I ranted about this issue on Facebook and the public responses were interesting, but the private responses were more compelling. I heard from lawyers, who aren’t usually my go-to on these types of things, who urged that this was not a good idea and not good law. I also heard from a few victims. Some who were victimized as children and some as adults. Not one of them was in favor of the legislation.

Altering the statute of limitations in cases like this will not increase the amount of justice served.  Our legal system doesn’t serve as a “catch all” for justice and we shouldn’t expect for legislation to enable to do so.

It’s a sensitive subject and my heart aches for every victim, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out about consequences of legislation. I think the intent is good and pure, but I don’t believe it will accomplish its intentions. 35 years for a statute of limitations is simply too long, and a backdated chance at civil justice isn’t in the best interest of our state. Please oppose, and ask your representatives to oppose, House Bill 17.

I Flip-Flopped on the Death Penalty

I used to be a zealous advocate for the death penalty. An eye for an eye! Justice must be served! But in recent years I’ve teetered on the fence of unsurity. After covering some death penalty cases for various news sources, I hereby rescind my advocacy for said punishment.

My opposition doesn’t come from the idea that you can’t be ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-death penalty.’ (You can do whatever you want and a lot of people are both.) Nor is it about the ‘humanity’ of it. And I certainly don’t care what ‘other countries’ or the UN have to say about it. It really isn’t even about the mental health component, because, while I find the idea of the State determining what mental capacity is acceptable for various punishments, fixing that wouldn’t really fix the overarching problem:cHOP

The fact that we cannot serve justice in a broken legal system and that the lies they tell you about saving money when someone is put to death are false.

It doesn’t take much more than a traffic ticket to reveal the real flaws of our legal system. Even for those crimes not on the list of ‘punishable by death’ show us often a sentence that has been overturned, or a case thrown out because of ‘new evidence,’ or an oversight during an investigation. Sure, it’s the big cases that hit the news circuits where a man is freed from prison after serving some 36 years…wrongfully. Is 29 years “better” than 36? We know it happens more than we would like to admit. We feel bad for the victim of a wrongful conviction but then carry on and go back to soccer practice and Facebook. It’s almost as if society is afraid to acknowledge its flaws. ::gasp::

Statistics show the following:

  • 144 people on death row have been exonerated since 1973 when the death penalty was reinstated. (Here is the list)
  • We know of at least 10 cases where someone was wrongfully executed.
  • It costs $90,000 more PER YEAR to house a death row prisoner, compared to ‘general confinement.’
  • Forbes points out that it can be 10x more expensive to kill an inmate than to keep them alive and attorneys on both sides spend roughly 44x more time on death penalty appeal cases than life sentence appeal cases.
  • Because of the lengthy appeals process that can take decades to settle, states can spend upward of $184 million PER YEAR in death penalty appeals cases.
  • The Idaho legislative Capital Punishment study committee put together a lovely report on the actual costs.

A Georgia man was recently executed because he shot a Laurens County Sheriff’s deputy 9 times and it was recorded on a dash cam. The defendant didn’t deny doing so either. This is certainly a ‘slam dunk,’ if you will, but at what cost? At the cost of potentially taking the life of a man or woman who was not guilty.  And a VERY high cost when we aren’t always ‘sure.’ 144 people on death row wrongfully in 42 years doesn’t seem like that high of a number. Unfortunately 1 is far too many.

So I suppose I am unsure if I am actually against the death penalty, but under our flawed legal system, I simply cannot support it.

An Open Letter to the GA GOP & “the Liberty People”

The convention cycle is upon us and the shenanigans are already brewing. It’s prompted me to reevaluate our relationship and figure out who I want to take to the prom.

And I’ve decided neither. You’re both awful and we need a little time apart.

Not because I’m not conservative enough, though you both certainly like to paint that image. It’s mostly because you should treat others how you would like to be treated, and I don’t care to reciprocate how I, like many others, have been treated.

To you, down in front, the GA GOP. Perhaps it was the constant shaming for opinions from your HQ office during the 2014 midterm elections or the requests by party officers to “not say something like that” on social media. Or perhaps it was an open allegiance to a particular infightingcandidate during the primary season that affected an entire race. Or maybe the issue that a paid contractor for the party leaked information to the press to tarnish a Republican primary candidate…and still managed to stay on payroll with the GOP. Or maybe the post-election “pat on the back” email circulated essentially trashing our Lieutenant Governor, who is by no means perfect, but undeserving of a public attack because of a personal vendetta. All without any recourse or even concern.

Perhaps it’s the convenient oversight of your Chairman at every event over the last year and a half. Though it’s probably more about your lack of tolerance and the harsh reality that no one in your camp looks like me – or people who behave like me. But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the people.

And you. You Liberty People. Why are you SO angry?! Why are you slamming the door in the faces of people who believe in you? Elected officials who want to champion your causes but aren’t the same kind of purists? Why are you angry about GOP interest groups when here in Georgia, some of the aggressiveness of Liberty groups like Campaign for Liberty, Georgia Taxpayers United and Georgia Gun Owners has yanked away any opportunity for us to sit at the table? No one even listens because our messengers are equally as awful as Romney or Jeb or anything else you hate in the ‘establishment’ GOP. Why haven’t you learned from your mistakes? Why have you not tweaked a plan that appears to not be working? Also could you start showing up at things other than the convention. Perpetuating your own stereotype is only hurting the cause.
And if one more of you tells me I’m not confrontational enough…
But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the process.

It’s amazing that y’all don’t get along because you’re just alike. So for now, I’ll take my shovel and bucket and dig my own holes with a few that feel the same way. We’re just not that into you anymore. I know plenty of people who are looking for a real movement. Something that is not only effective but also solution-based. Not hateful. Inclusive. Something that is sustainable. Something that will win in the next election cycle.

Sell out and merge together or never surrender and split apart, but stay well. 2015 and 2016 are sure to be a bumpy ride.