(TMU) — Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Monday that will require some sex offenders to undergo chemical castration one month prior to being released from custody, and will also ensure that offenders have to foot the bill for the treatment.
Under the law, offenders “convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13” will have to be chemically castrated a month ahead of release and would also be required to continue treatment “until the court determines the treatment is no longer necessary.” Offenders would also have to pay for the procedure, but a denial of their parole could not be based “solely” on an inability to pay.
Chemical castration is defined in the law as “the receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body,” according to AL.com.
If a given offender chooses to halt the treatment, the move would be treated as a violation of parole, forcing the offender to resume their incarceration.
“This bill is a step toward protecting children in Alabama,” Ivey said. The bill was passed by both houses of the Alabama Legislature last month.
The use of chemical and surgical castration in controversial across the globe and has come under fire locally from the Alabama Civil Liberties Union, who have argued that the bill raises constitutional concerns and is akin to cruel and unusual punishment—a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment—while also violating people’s right to privacy.
Randall Marshall, the executive director of ACLU of Alabama, also noted that the law misses the mark in preventing child molestation. In a statement to CNN Tuesday, Marshall said:
“It certainly presents serious issues about involuntary medical treatment, informed consent, the right to privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment. And, it is a return, if you will, to the dark age.
This kind of punishment for crimes is something that has been around throughout history, but as we’ve gotten more enlightened in criminal justice we’ve gotten away from this kind of retribution.”
Republican Rep. Steve Hurst, who put forward the bill, has emphatically defended the measure from accusations that it may be draconian or inhumane.
Last week, Hurst told local outlet WIAT:
“I had people call me in the past when I introduced it and said, ‘Don’t you think this is inhumane?’
I asked them, ‘What’s more inhumane than when you take a little infant child and you sexually molest that infant child when the child cannot defend themselves or get away, and they have to go through all the things they have to go through?’ If you want to talk about inhumane, that’s inhumane.
They have marked this child for life and the punishment should fit the crime.”
Several states have versions of chemical castration laws on the books. In 1996, California became the first state to pass a chemical castration law. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, and Washington also require certain sex offenders to be chemically castrated, while Texas permits repeat sex offenders to voluntarily undergo surgical castration if they so choose.
Caitlin Donovan, a spokesperson for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, has also criticized the law, noting that it may lead to a slippery slope, ultimately having a much farther reach than currently envisioned. In a statement to CNN, Donovan said:
“Medical decisions should remain between a patient and their provider.
I worry about any precedent that allows the state to use health care as a form of punishment.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.