It should be clear that we shouldn't have a trooper patrolling our highways who is so incapable of controlling his emotions that he launches into a screaming tirade, complete with death treats and a racial slur, even when he and a fellow officer have already searched the suspects and have them in plain sight.
It should be clear that we shouldn't have a trooper on our highways who has such callous disregard for our citizens as to have a woman's car towed, leaving her stranded on a rural highway, even though it is clear she had committed no crime.
Yet, despite Gov. Mark Sanford's decision to force out Highway Patrol Commander Russell Roark and Public Safety Director Jim Schweitzer for failing to adequately punish them, both troopers still are on the job, more than three years after the first, more serious, breach of professionalism.
And there's nothing Mr. Sanford or any other elected official can do about it.
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That's because lawmakers deliberately put the Highway Patrol and its parent agency off-limits. ...
Perhaps both the colonel and the director would still have their jobs today if our system were different.
Unfortunately, we'll never know, because the system that lawmakers put in place to protect the Highway Patrol from political interference (a worthy goal) also protects it from political accountability. The latest turn of events offers yet more evidence of why that should change.
New ID cards
The REAL ID Act is an unfunded mandate. State leaders in Columbia are correct about that. But that doesn't justify their continued opposition to the program, which will cause South Carolinians real problems.
Residents of the Palmetto State won't be able to use their driver's licenses as federally recognized identification after May 10 if state leaders don't change their course. ...
Leaders in Columbia should back away from their opposition to REAL ID, repeal a law they passed declaring the state's intention not to participate in the program and ask for an extension to join it. ...
Lawmakers should recognize this is a battle they cannot win. ...
The (Rock Hill) Herald on cockfighting bill, March 3:
If South Carolina lawmakers want to stamp out cockfighting, they need to make it a felony. Thankfully, state senators recently took the first steps toward doing just that. In 2006, the Legislature made both dogfighting and hog-dogging felony offenses. While some lawmakers had sought to add cockfighting to the list of felonious activities, it was excluded. ...
Critics of this legislation, including several who testified before the Senate panel, argue that cockfighting is a centuries-old sport practiced by their ancestors. This is much the same argument proponents made in favor of hog-dogging and dogfighting, both of which have been practiced for centuries.
But society's attitudes evolve, and that includes concerns for the humane treatment of animals. Most no longer view blood sports involving animals as acceptable in civilized society. Tradition alone is no justification for forcing animals to fight to the death.
Law enforcement agents also view cockfights as fertile ground for gambling and drug use. Betting almost always is a component of cockfighting.
Finally, though, concerns about drugs, betting or even the welfare of animals is of less concern than the fact that permitting the cruel exploitation of animals for entertainment degrades us all. South Carolina needs to join 35 other states in making this crime a felony.
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