Commit felony, give up rights

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Gov. Bob Riley made a stand last month by refusing to sign a bill that would restore voting rights to convicted felons.

Jesse Jackson has protested the governor’s action, claiming the issue creates a violation of civil rights.

Jackson carefully picked this incident to protest &045; like he has so many others &045; while more legitimate causes of those he claims to represent go unchampioned.

The protest of Riley’s refusal to sign the bill based on civil rights has no merit.

Anyone who commits a felony has wronged society in such a manner that they must give up certain rights. It is how our system works.

For example, murderers are stripped of their right to freedom when they are sent to prison. That right was lost when they violated the rights of another, in this case ending a life.

While some reports have indicated that violent criminals would not be included in the bill, that is not actually the case.

As a letter to the editor in this week’s Reporter pointed out, those convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder would have their voting rights restored if the bill had passed.

Any assumption that opposition of the bill is racially discriminatory is also unfounded.

Statistics may show that certain races are more heavily impacted than others, but the fact is the only discrimination is against felons, regardless of their color.

Those felons must live with the consequences of their actions