In Michigan, a 33 year old man named Alex Lavell Rawls (our suspect) kicked down a door in search of his ex-girlfriend. Perhaps obviously, he wasn’t there to rescue her. After a series of harassment and threats of violence against her, he decided to go kick her door down. So, Rawls goes over to her place to due her harm, not knowing that - she had already moved to another state in order to get away from his lunatic ass! Cut to: Rawls gets to her apartment and pounds on the door.
Enter Ben Ball, 36. Ben is a regular kind of guy who likes regular kind of things - he goes to work, he plays video games, he watches cool things on TV and … oh yeah, he collects and practices in the use of medieval weaponry! You see, on the weekends, Ball and friends choreograph and video live re-enactments of savage Viking-esq warrior combat. Ball has a wide collection of medieval weapons in his apartment up to and including, as he puts its, “my baby,” and in this case, his baby is a replica double headed carbon steel battle axe.
By “replica” I don’t mean fake. I mean, it’s an exact recreation of a battle axe that had been specifically designed to injure an armored knight. Or cut off limbs of an unarmored person.
Keep that in mind.
Back to Rawls. He heads over to his ex-girlfriend's house for some more harassing and threatening. He pounds on her door. Ball answers and recognizes Rawls as the guy who used to date his roommate. Ball explains to Rawls that his roommate no longer lives here and tells the irate exboyfriend that she moved to Florida.
Rawls doesn’t believe Ball, but leaves; however, he returns a short time later and kicks the door open, shattering the doorframe. Then Rawls rushes into the apartment to attack Ball.
It’s now a full on home invasion.
So, Ball does what any of us would have done. He picks up a weapon and defends himself. You might use a gun. I might use a knife. But Ball uses his baby. He picks up that carbon steel axe and chops Rawls right in the chest cutting him wide open.
But Rawls was in mid charge and his momentum kept him going forward until he slams into Ball. In a chaotic melee, the two of them smash through the apartment. Ball drops the Axe, the apartment is demolished and both men go for the weapon.
Eventually, the wound on Rawls’ chest is too much and he flees in terror. Neighbors call the cops. Police and K9 units arrive, follow the trail of blood and eventually capture Rawls.
Ball is a little banged up, but he’s in good shape. Rawls, already a felon, is arrested and faces up to 20 years in jail for first degree home invasion.
As for the ex-girlfriend in question? Well, it sounds like she totally knew what she was doing when she moved to another state in order to get away from lunatic Rawls.
I’m glad she’s safe. I’m glad Ball is relatively unharmed. I’m glad Rawls is in custody.
This has been another entry in “Weird, (but awesome) news!”
Just because President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission has been disbanded doesn’t mean the state of voter suppression in America has improved. Many states fought to defend the privacy of its voters from the voter fraud commission and won, but the fight has just begun to curb voter suppression in states throughout America.
Young voters can sway elections, and the Republican-led New Hampshire Senate has passed a “poll tax” that will suppress student voting. The bill will likely pass the Republican-led House, but Republican Governor Chris Sununu doesn’t support the bill and could veto it. Regardless, the constitutionality of the bill has been called into question.
The 24th Amendment to the Constitution states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”
Now the New Hampshire law isn’t a “tax” in the exact sense of the word. Instead of forcing out-of-state students to pay a tax to access the polls, which would be unconstitutional, House Bill 372 allows the State of New Hampshire to impose fines on voters who do not have a New Hampshire driver’s license, even though it is legal to vote in the state with an out-of-state license.
The bill would impose two obligations on new voters. Within 60 days of registering to vote, a New Hampshire voter would need to register her car with the state and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license, the cost of which could amount to over $200.
Minorities have already been deciding elections in America, with black voters making the difference in Alabama. This is a major threat to Conservative incumbents, and Conservative-led, state legislatures have taken measures to suppress the minority vote in America.
Ohio’s law purging voters who have not participated in consecutive elections or failed to respond to a notice from state officials will likely be upheld by the Conservative majority of the Supreme Court.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the essence of the case is whether Ohio’s law is “disenfranchising disproportionately certain cities where large groups of minorities live, where large groups of homeless people live, and across the country they’re the group that votes the least.”
While federal law doesn’t allow states to use failure to vote as a reason for purging voters from rolls, federal law also calls on states to keep accurate voter rolls and allows for removal when a person fails to respond to a state’s request to confirm registration and then fails to vote in two federal elections. Ohio sends a notice after a voter misses a single election, and removes said voter if they don’t reply. It’s the most aggressive law of its kind in America.
With the 2020 census upcoming, the redrawing of states’ voting districts is getting a lot of attention, especially in the courts. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that its voter district map was partisan gerrymandered to benefit Republicans and must be redrawn.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed a lower-court order that would have forced North Carolina Republicans to redraw its state’s congressional district map while similar cases involving Wisconsin legislative districts and one Maryland congressional district are considered by the Supreme Court.
Bills governing redistricting were introduced in 27 states in 2017. Here’s a complete list of those bills. What’s the reason for so much redistricting legislation? Well, 37 state legislatures have primary control of their own district lines, and 42 legislatures have primary control over the congressional lines in their state (including five of the states with just one congressional district). And why wouldn’t an incumbent legislator draw district lines to his or her advantage? That’s why organizations like Common Cause are having success campaigning for independent commissions to handle district drawing. All of the 27 states with pending legislation governing redistricting have bills calling for a commission separate from the legislature to handle the map-making.
For instance, in Minnesota, there are companion bills calling for independent commissions to handle redistricting. HF 246 and SB 2052 call for a commission of former judges to draw district lines, but objectors to the bills say former judges aren’t representative of Minnesota’s minority populations. In nearby Michigan, bills have been introduced mirroring California’s citizens’ commission for redistricting -- the favorite model of organizations working toward democratic, competitive elections.
So while the state of voter suppression in America is improving and bound to continue improving for voters, there will still be states where partisan gerrymandered districts result in undemocratic, noncompetitive elections in 2018 and 2020. And until every state gets redistricting out of the hands of incumbent legislators, free elections are an impossibility.
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