Archive for Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bigotry shouldn’t be political ally

December 5, 2007

There are citizens of the U.S. who do not have a driver's license and who have been convicted of failure to yield at a stop sign and speeding. Some of those drivers were at fault for causing a traffic accident where they walked away, and the innocent party died. The death of Amanda Bixby was caused by a person convicted of failure to yield at a stop sign, speeding and driving without a valid license. Amanda's death happened because a person drove irresponsibly.

There is nothing about an individual's citizenship status that would be a direct cause for a traffic accident. Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl did not pursue vehicular homicide charges against Flores, based upon the fact that a 2002 Kansas Supreme Court ruling in State of Kansas v. Bala Krovvidi held that the mere fact a driver ran a red light or a stop sign did not satisfy the legal elements required for a vehicular homicide conviction. The Mirror had been reported that under current law, vehicular homicide is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Why does the press then place blame on Kohl for "refusing" to pursue vehicular homicide charges, when the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that Kansas law does not stand? He saved taxpayers money by not bringing charges forward that would not stand up in court; he did his job.

Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., came to Tonganoxie last month and met privately with the Bixbys, who live in Boyda's 2nd Congressional District.

The Mirror quotes, "'The concept of losing a child is so devastating,' Boyda said in a telephone interview Thursday. 'And this was their only child, yet this was considered a misdemeanor.

"'How do you explain that to the parents? How do you begin to explain that?' she said.

"At the Nov. 6 news conference to tout proposed legislation aimed at ending illegal immigration, Boyda talked about the effect of Amanda's death in a car wreck on her parents, Dennis and Denise Bixby. The SAVE Act, Boyda says, is a start. The Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act is a bipartisan effort introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, with eighty-four co-sponsors signed onto the legislation."

Not having a license and citizenship status don't cause wrecks, people's actions can and do. For those who are disturbed that Ricardo Flores' actions caused the death of Amanda Bixby and that he was only charged with a misdemeanor, it shows Kansans need to look at our statutes related to driving, period. That is a state's responsibility. Residency and citizenship are separate issues, and largely a federal issue. Buck up and place blame where it belongs. We need to toughen Kansas statues related to operating a motor vehicle. Bigotry should never be used as a political ally, and Boyda needs to stop using the death of Amanda Bixby as an example of why we need to end illegal immigration. They have nothing to do with each other. I repeat, Amanda's death was caused by a person who drove irresponsibly. That driver's punishment was the same as what any legal resident of the U.S., and living in Kansas, could have received.

-- Sharon Cunningham is a Leavenworth resident.

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