It's downright embarrassing listening to state officials as they dream up excuses for ignoring South Carolina's domestic violence epidemic.
In fact, it sounds like we desperately need to admit a few more women to that good ol' boys club in Columbia.
Last week's "Till death do us part" series ended with a number of suggestions for curbing domestic violence in this state - which is another list that South Carolina regularly, and shamefully, tops.
The only problem with those solutions is that most require legislative fixes. But the state Legislature has shown next to no interest in doing anything to combat the violence.
And, as usual, it's all about politics.
Now, there is blame to go around, but the biggest problem is backward thinking by many - but not all - of the conservatives who hold the majority in the Statehouse.
They claim there is a war on people's rights and - shamefully pandering to low-information voters - wrap themselves in the flag, the Constitution and freedom.
And battered women wind up as casualties in their trumped-up war.
Ignoring the real issue
Some of the failed proposals to make women safer included provisions to restrict access to guns by convicted domestic abusers.
Well, some lawmakers say, that's no good. It's an attack on the Second Amendment, and guys could just use knives, or rocks to kill their women.
Yes, stoning. That's where South Carolina's prevailing mentality lies.
Of the 303 women killed through domestic violence in the past decade, one actually was killed with a rock. And 196 of them were killed with guns. That's about two-thirds.
But facts don't matter to some people. Sen. Lee Bright of the Upstate said the people who claim they are trying to curb domestic violence are just after our AR-15s. "There's a segment of our population that wants to take our gun rights," not-so Bright said.
When you say "our," senator, did you mean to lump yourself in with wife beaters? No one said anything about penalizing law-abiding citizens.
Of course, these knuckleheads would probably defend the rights of convicted armed robbers to keep guns.
The one line in the entire Post and Courier series that grabbed perhaps the most attention was from Sen. Tom Corbin, also from - you guessed it - the Upstate. He thinks religion will solve everything.
"There needs to be a lot more love for Jesus in the world," Corbin said, "and I think that would curb a lot of violence."
Yes, and if we could all click our heels together three times to get home, the state wouldn't be $30 billion behind on road projects.
If Jesus is the answer to everything, then perhaps we should just disband the Legislature and send 'em home. And if you're poor, homeless and don't have enough to eat, just pray (of course, that is already state policy).
People of faith would probably say that the Lord created the Legislature to fix these problems.
So here's a better idea, Sen. Corbin: How about instead of pandering to superstitious right-wingers, try to do your job.
Wasted days ...
For years, South Carolina has been one of the most dangerous states in the country for women, and lawmakers have done little to change that.
Some people blame it on the lawyers in the General Assembly, who are loath to increase criminal penalties. Makes it harder to do their jobs.
There's some truth to that.
And then there is the problem with funding - many solutions require money, and we have to save all that to give to Wal-Mart so they'll open another Super Center somewhere. Someday.
But the real problem is that most of the people who propose these laws are Democrats, and they don't have the power to get anything passed in the Legislature.
So it's up to reasonable Republicans to get this moving, and they know there's plenty of time.
Here's the way the Legislature works: they go into session in January and, for two months, the House Ways and Means Committee works on the state budget. The rest of the Legislature has plenty of time to do other things.
Mostly, they pass that time coming up with new specialty license plates, honoring sports teams and getting schmoozed by deep-pocketed lobbyists.
Apparently "those people" - as one lawmaker actually called victims of domestic violence - don't contribute money to political campaigns, so there is little incentive to make South Carolina safer for women.
That's the real sin here.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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