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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Idiots
Gamecocks v. Domestic Violence Flap in South Carolina.

by Richard 'Mr. Moo' Moore
April 24, 2005

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Idiots_Richard "Mr. Moo" Moore-Gamecocks v. Domestic Violence Flap in South Carolina “People who compare the two are not very smart and if you don't understand the difference, Ms. Gormley (the television reporter interviewing him), between trying to ban the savage practice of watching chickens trying to kill each other and protecting people rights in CDV statutes, I'll never be able to explain it to you in a 100 years ma'am." With that quote State Representative John Graham Altman continued his career of consistency in public service. I will give it to him; he is consistent in his statement and beliefs. The problem, he is consistently wrong. Before, I get to into this weeks’ story, allow me to give you a little background on Representative (and I use that term loosely) Altman.

Altman was elected from the 119th district, located in Charleston County, in 1996 after serving 20 years on the county school board. He has always been one to comment on everything with a stand fast opinion. The quote “I may be wrong, but I am never in doubt” fits this guy, except he would say he’s never wrong. But I should let the Charleston attorney speak for himself: “I never know what I am going to say until I say it, so I am kind of interested in hearing what I think.”

During debate on the House floor on making Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday he commented that King was a womanizer and cheated his way through college. In 2003, he almost got into a fist fight on the House floor over a bill banning restaurants from serving unwrapped straws. He called for the firing of the board of educational television in South Carolina because they ran “Corridor of Shame”, a documentary on run-down school. He has also said that hate crime legislation would make “white heterosexuals second class citizens”.

I think you get the picture.

Two of the pieces of legislation that came before the South Carolina House Judicial committee this week for a vote were dealing with abuse. One bill was a domestic violence bill that would raise crime of beating your spouse to the level of a felony. Currently, the first, second and third offenses are misdemeanors, requiring as little as 30 days in jail. The second bill was to raise the level of crime on participating in cockfighting to a felony, punishable by 5 years in jail. Currently, cockfighting is also a misdemeanor.

Guess which one Mr. Altman supported and which one he voted against?

“Cockfighting reminds me of the Roman circus, coliseum.” (We should) “ban the savage practice of watching chickens trying to kill each other.”

“There should be no second offense. The woman ought not be around the man … what self respecting person is going back around someone who beats them?”

How does this guy get re-elected?

One of Altman’s other objections to the domestic violence bill was offering training to judges about domestic violence. Even though there is little mandatory training for judges or magistrates currently, Altman says, “What are you going to tell a family court judge that a family court judge doesn’t already know about domestic violence?” Forget the concept of a life-long learning with this guy.

Neither of these bills has been debated on the floor of the House but the cockfighting bill will be the only one voted on this session. The domestic violence bill is dead for this year.

Now it is true that you can’t compare one bill with another when they deal with different issues. However, there must be an outcry when the punishment is greater for a conviction of cockfighting than a conviction of domestic violence. I have to believe that South Carolinians are appalled by this action and they will call their representatives and voice their concerns.

Altman says he has represented women who have filed domestic violence charges and told them they should leave the abuser. He doesn’t get it. But he probably voted the way he did in committee because he has never represented a gamecock. Counselor, tell me why doesn’t the chicken just fly away and not go back to its’ abusive owner?

About the Author:
Mr. Moo thinks the saddest thing about writing this column is that the bizarre and foolish actions of people, especially in government will be in plenty forever.

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