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You can't beat your cocks, but you can sure beat your spouse!
April 20, 2005 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Cock-fighting may soon be punishable by 5 years in prison in South Carolina. The House Judiciary Committee of the SC General Assembly this week passed out a law making cock-fighting a felony. Some folks are angry, however, that the same committee killed a bill elevating domestic violence from a misdemeanor to a felony, thereby potentially granting more protection to chickens than to people with abusive spouses and partners. To complete the hat trick, a state representative on the committee recorded an interview in which he called people who thought domestic violence is a more serious problem than cockfighting "not very smart" and directly insulted the intelligence of the reporter.
posted by socratic (31 comments total)

 
Interview is in WMV format and is preceded by a brief ad. It's worth watching though. If for some reason the link to the video doesn't work, you can get to it by clicking "Kara Gormley on domestic violence bill" on the story page.
posted by socratic at 9:02 AM on April 20, 2005


Goddamnit, I just saw that this link has made Fark. I don't even go to Fark any more, so apologies if anyone thinks I'm farkfiltering.
posted by socratic at 9:09 AM on April 20, 2005


So the moral of the story is: "If you can't keep it in your pants, you go to jail."
posted by mds35 at 9:11 AM on April 20, 2005


Apples v. Oranges fallacy. How, after all, can any of these problems be more important than feeding those who are dying of starvation even as we speak?
posted by soyjoy at 9:12 AM on April 20, 2005


/intentionally obtuse*
posted by mds35 at 9:12 AM on April 20, 2005


A little background for those who "ain't from around heah": the bill is a response to this scandal, and the story is further complicated by the fact that gamecocks are revered in South Carolina. Of course, politicians can act like idiots anywhere.
posted by TedW at 9:14 AM on April 20, 2005


One of my friends comes by evey once in a while and says "Cock-fight?" and I go "Hells yeahs" and then we jump in the car and drive twenty miles and pull into this gravel parking lot next to a barn and we hop out and wander on in and then I'm all like "The fuck are all these dudes with chickens doing here?"

It's a long ride back home.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:16 AM on April 20, 2005


Aside from the obvious "Apples vs. Oranges" thing, aren't all the really serious domestic violence charges already covered under generally assault and battery laws?

While I understand why a state might want a special laws to deal with less serious offenses, shouldn't those be something like a misdemeanor?

I mean I assume the South Carolina battery laws don't say "unless it's your wife, then it's all cool"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:19 AM on April 20, 2005


Bad journalism and low brow, inarticulate politicians. I love my home state.
posted by Mister Fyodor at 9:24 AM on April 20, 2005


USC's annual homecoming event is called CockFest.

Because that's, uh, relevant....somehow.
posted by dhoyt at 9:27 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos (jesus, had to type that twice) - There are two problems with respect to domestic violence laws. The first is that matters between spouses are often seen to be beyond legal intervention (officially or not). A man's home is, after all, his castle, and it's not the place of the Law (so goes the reasoning) to interfere.

The second is lax enforcement: existing laws are simply not used, whether because the police don't want to get involved in "spats" between spouses or because the abused person does not feel safe enough to report any abuse.

Add to all this unmarried partners, misunderstandings about female abuse of men (less common, but still a problem, and perhaps more burdened by stigma for reporting it), and the race element that lurks in that video, and it's not as simple as applying existing law.
posted by socratic at 9:28 AM on April 20, 2005


socratic, I can see your points about why existing law might not be enforced, but I see no real reason why a new law would be enforced when an old one wasn't. Furthermore, it seems as if having somewhat confusing, overlapping laws would only make enforcement more difficult.

Questions of enforcement are for the executive branch of the state of South Carolina to handle, and complicating matters for them further seems counterproductive.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:33 AM on April 20, 2005


Divine_Wino: That was wicked funny.
posted by badger_flammable at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005


Bulgaroktonos, the DV bill apparently has additional provisions requiring judges to participate in educational programs about domestic violence. That sort of enhancement on the judicial side could be extremely beneficial.

But, my main beef isn't with the legislature choosing its own priorities but with the difficulty of having an open debate about the issue when John Graham Altman goes on television and calls everyone who disagrees with him an idiot. The video is almost entrancing for its ridiculousness.

(and, of course, the civility argument...)
posted by socratic at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005


So what happens if you beat your wife with a cock?
posted by dodgygeezer at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005


It is entirely possible that the legislation in question failed to pass simply because it was not a well-crafted law, and the fact that Representative John Graham Altman is a complete ass may be incidental.

There's a lot more to this bill than just elevating it from a misdemeanor to a felony, and it is often the extra baggage that keeps bills from passing.
posted by MrZero at 9:43 AM on April 20, 2005


That's the funniest interview I've ever seen - can we get this guy on the road to do a one-man show? Call it "Redneckery Review" or something.

You just can't call a reporter "not very bright" on camera and expect bad things not to happen to you - I'm surprised they didn't superimpose a dunce cap on the video or something - then again, this guy didn't need any help to look a complete ass. Maybe he's got dementia or something? I feel a "Daily Show" segment coming...
posted by BigLankyBastard at 9:44 AM on April 20, 2005


Right. So, y'see here, if'n a Yankee was to say that this sort of jimble-jamble with the priorit-ies was evidence of a general Southern culture of stupiditay, we'd be a-gettin' the traditional responses of "Tha's why you hockey-lovers lost the election," if I unnerstands y'all.
Jus' sayin', 'sall.

While obviously the existing laws should be enforced, domestic violence is more problematic than just regular assaults, and the damage is not purely physical. Police do prioritize their responses, and if they view domestic violence as just a misdemeanor, they're less likely to pursue it than if they view it as a felony charge. Add to that a greater weight given by federal agencies to aid requests women who have been victims of felony domestic violence, and the greater avenues of enforcement availible for the judge's discretion within a felony charge, it's blind idiocy and good ol' boy bullshit to not vote to make domestic abuse a felony.
And to imply that the reporter wasn't intelligent (wow, was there some latent sexism there) because she wanted to compare and contrast two bills that went before the commitee at the same time, and the OBVIOUS difference of the legislator's views on the subject, should be enough for a thinking electorate to remove this gibbering cracker from office.
This isn't apples and oranges. These were two bills with similar goals presented to a commitee at the same time. The one they chose to table versus the one they chose to approve shows their values and their priorities.
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 AM on April 20, 2005


Big Lanky: Her mistake was that she wasn't ready to come back at him with hammer and tongs. You can be professional while still making someone else look like an idiot for the moronic things they say. See: European reporters for an example of this (especially the Irish woman who handled Bush).
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 AM on April 20, 2005


Klanklangston: I count myself fairly quick with the comeback and able to engage in verbal sparring, but I cannot blame the reporter for being essentially struck dumb by the answers she was getting. Watching it, I myself was too shocked to do anything other than drool slackjawed.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 10:05 AM on April 20, 2005


am i the only one who wonders what good it would do to put a rooster in jail for 5 years? i mean, how long do they even live anyway?

that aside, it is nice to see legislatures finally getting tough on agri-crime.
posted by stefan at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2005


It's probably not a felony because i'd bet that the majority of that governmental body *do* abuse their spouses.

a**holes. Let's send them up to hang out with Ted Nugent. He'll teach em.
posted by eljuanbobo at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2005


Elevating domestic violence to a felony will not necessarily reduce it. That is sort of like the ever increasing penalties for drug use. It is not a rational crime, planned in advance and stiffer penalties are not necessarily more of a deterrent. Mandatory arrest and counseling offered as an alternative to jail time are more effective at addressing the root of the problem. That counseling should probably include substance abuse counseling in most instances.
posted by caddis at 11:01 AM on April 20, 2005


If she had started working him over, he might've clammed up altogether, depriving us of the wonderful cracker goodness.

I love how the veneer of politeness is maintained, "I ain't tryin' to hurt your feelings, but you're not too bright..." Classic SC.
posted by manicroom at 11:04 AM on April 20, 2005


I kept waiting for this guy to say "Now, I may be a simple country hyper-chicken, but..."

I loved how he avoided actually answering the reporter's questions by belittling her intelligence.

I'm going to show this video to the next friend of mine who insists that there's no cultural difference between Canada and the United States. Not that we don't have backwards, jack-ass politicians up here, but...let's just say that the relative rights ascribed to fighting chickens vs. abused women is generally not an issue.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2005


Rep. Altman responds to the comparison, "People who compare the two are not very smart and if you don't understand the difference, Ms. Gormley, 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."

News 10 reporter Kara Gormley asked Altman, "That's fine if you feel you will never be able to explain it to me, but my question to you is: does that show that we are valuing a gamecock's life over a woman's life?"

Altman again, "You're really not very bright and I realize you are not accustomed to this, but I'm accustomed to reporters having a better sense of depth of things and you're asking this question to me would indicate you can't understand the answer. To ask the question is to demonstrate an enormous amount of ignorance. I'm not trying to be rude or hostile, I'm telling you."

Gormley, "It's rude when you tell someone they are not very bright."

Altman, "You're not very bright and you'll just have to live with that."

posted by alumshubby at 3:50 PM on April 20, 2005


This is what makes me want to kick him in the nads:

Rep. Altman spoke about domestic violence, "There ought not to be a second offense. The woman ought to not be around the man. I mean you women want it one way and not another. Women want to punish the men, and I do not understand why women continue to go back around men who abuse them. And I've asked women that and they all tell me the same answer, John Graham you don't understand. And I say you're right, I don't understand."

Gormley, "So it's their fault for going back?"

Altman, "Now there you go, trying to twist that too. And I don't mind you trying. It's not the woman's fault, it's not blaming the victim, but tell me what self respecting person is going back around someone who beats them?"


What a fucker.
posted by Specklet at 4:10 PM on April 20, 2005


Now, y'see, you're just tryin' to twist mah words. What I said is, she walked inta muh haynd.
I still love ya, baby.
posted by klangklangston at 4:47 PM on April 20, 2005


You can't lick our cocks!
posted by shoepal at 10:40 PM on April 20, 2005


...but you can sure as hell make fun of them.

I had assumed South Carolina politicians would have grown out of this bizarre behavior by now, what with education being free these days.

But I suppose not. This episode is an interesting follow-on to last year's remarks by David L. Thomas, a state senator from Greenville, S.C., that intravenous hydrogen peroxide therapy was the way to go to treat diseases like M.S.
posted by newscouch at 2:44 AM on April 21, 2005


South Carolina: It's not the heat; it's the stupidity.
posted by alumshubby at 3:37 AM on April 21, 2005


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