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Quite likely the most disgusting news you'll read this week

October 12, 2011 - Mike Maneval
Due to budget constraints, Shawnee County, Kansas, and its largest community, Topeka, are refusing to file charges against suspects in domestic violence cases. No matter how strong the evidence or the potential threat violent criminals may pose to the public, prosecuting attorneys now are - as a matter of policy - derelict in performing the responsibilities for which they are paid. In the course of a month, 18 suspects have been freed, the New York Times reports. Topeka's city council on Tuesday, in an effort to duck any expectation they may attempt to verify accusations and hold the violent accountable, repealed a city ordinance against domestic violence - in effect, legalizing domestic violence.

One may ask how Shawnee County and the state of Kansas found themselves incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities regarding public safety. Thomas Frank, in his book "What's the Matter with Kansas" - a title that seems more appropriate today than ever before - detailed Kansas' commitment to corporate welfare during the past 20 years. About a month to six weeks before beating your spouse or child became legal in Topeka because enforcing laws against it were "too costly," Kansas spent about $47 million in incentives to attract the headquarters of a movie-theatre chain from nearby Kansas City, Missouri.

How does Kansas Governor Sam Brownback explain prioritizing corporate welfare above the safety of families in the very capital city where he works? He doesn't. His official website as governor hasn't been updated since an Oct. 6 item about drought conditions. But the New York Times notes Brownback continues to draft legislation to further cut state taxes, but had no response from his office to this travesty, and neither did Associated Press reports.

While Brownback's silence on the matter and the failure of the state to intervene with funding is reprehensible, it is not as reprehensible as Topeka and Shawnee County freeing 18 suspects and decriminalizing interfamily violence. Few things could be.


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