“Tragedy is a test of courage. If you can meet it bravely, it will leave you bigger than it found you. If not, you will have to live all your life as a coward, because no matter where you may run you can never run away from yourself.”

-A Star is Born, 1937

It’s tragic, isn’t it, that gambling is back? It's tragic because people who should know and do better won’t.

Last week, two bills flew like the SR-71 Blackbird - the fastest jet on earth - from the Alabama House to the Senate. The two bills include the enabling legislation, House Bill 152, and the constitutional amendment, House Bill 151, allowing people to vote on gaming in Alabama, including casinos, a lottery, and sports betting.

I have questions.

Isn’t this the same House that won’t crush Common Core – or even admit we have it in our state? Isn’t this the same House that made parents wait for school choice? And isn’t this the same house that kept power in the hands of the State Health Officer and the ADPH?

So, how did these gambling bills pass at lightning speed?

Perhaps it is because raging Democrats are running the House in recent years, namely Mac McCutcheon and Nathaniel Ledbetter. Oh, wait. Did I say the quiet part out loud?

Still. Is that why House members ignored crushing evidence against gambling?

I understand that gambling has a long way to go before it gets on the ballot. But that’s not the point.

The point is that none of this should’ve been introduced in the first place because we know that gambling is like the North Korean Potemkin Village. Except for street cleaners, it’s empty.

So what gives?

Did House members ignore evidence because stuffed pockets and the promise of future power iron out pesky wrinkles like courage and honor? Asking for a friend….

“HB 151 and 152 will open the door to on-line gambling which can be played at home or on the go,” Eagle Forum of Alabama explains. “Not only does this put children at risk but, ‘The medical and psychological communities have determined that electronic gaming – particularly gaming on smartphones, tablets or internet connected video games – is the ‘gateway drug’ for creating new gambling addicts.” 

Eagle Forum goes on to list the following statistics: 

  • 60% of those addicted to gambling will commit crimes.

  • 20% of gambling addicts commit or attempt suicide

  • 63% of gambling addicts are alcoholics

  • 20% of addicted gamblers have filed for bankruptcy           

  • 50% will abuse spouses and children           

  • 20% of the homeless are gambling addicts           

  • 50% of gambling addicts will divorce           

  • The average (gambling) debt is between $63,000 and $110,000.           

And, in case you need another reason to be against gambling, consider these words from Addictions.com:

As addictions, in general, alter brain chemical functions in destructive ways, people struggling with gambling addiction have a higher likelihood of developing mental disorders. Gambling addiction statistics show a high incidence of certain types of mental illness, some of which include: 

●     Depression disorders
●     Anxiety disorders
●     Substance abuse disorders
●     Anti-social personality disorder

Just so we’re clear, House members are ok with all that. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have passed these recent bills. 

Senators, what about you? 

Are you FOR the fallout that will come alongside Big Gambling? 

And will you gaslight your constituents when questioned, such as these Alabama leaders did? 

  • If they don’t like it, “they don’t have to gamble,” our governor, who was against gambling before she was for it, said recently.

  • I have a number of items I'd like to see addressed in the bill before it can earn my vote,” State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre) told 1819 News last Tuesday.

  • “I think it would be very embarrassing for the Senate to fail on this one,” State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said last week.

Senators, in case you needed this reminder, we, the people, still don’t want gambling. We didn’t want it to pass the House. And we don’t want it to pass the Senate. 

Senators, your yes vote will cripple our state. And I think you know that.

Your yes means blessing the abuse of women and children. It means sanctifying the sex trafficking that follows when casinos open. It means fueling addiction rather than quelling it. And your yes means emasculating men by encouraging them to exchange the dignity of hard work for the bread of idleness – a chasing after the wind.

Is that good and right and true? Because those things are what you should pursue.

So, will you find the courage to pull the plug on this atrocious idea? Or will you be counted among the cowards because you’re for the mayhem and tragedy that gambling brings?

It’s your call.

Amie Beth Shaver co-hosts Alabama Unfiltered Radio show daily from 9-12 a.m. on News Talk 93.1 fm WAVC, and 92.5, WXJC. Her column appears every other Saturday at 1819 News. To book Amie Beth for media or speaking engagement's, email amiebeth.shaver@1819News.com.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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