The Wire

  • Mobile pastor sentenced to 50 years for child sex crimes

    Excerpt from WKRG:

    Alvin McNeil was sentenced Thursday to 30 years on Rape 1st of a child and additional 20 years for sexual abuse of another child. The sentences are set to run consecutively.

    Back in April, a jury found Pastor Alvin McNeil guilty of rape and sex abuse of a child under 12.

    Judge Lockett revoked his bond and took the defendant into custody, the District Attorney’s office said.

    56-year-old Alvin McNeil was a pastor of Open Door True Worship Apostolic Church.

  • ‘Monster’ who video-recorded his rape of 3-year-old girl gets life without parole

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    An Odenville man who video-recorded himself raping a 3-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday.

    43-year-old Robert Armbrust, Jr. pled guilty last week to rape, sodomy, sex abuse of a child younger than 12, and child porn involving a child younger than 17. St. Clair County Judge Phil Seay sentenced Armbrust to life in prison without parole for the rape charge and life in prison on the remaining charges.

    According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Lyle Harmon, Armbrust committed the horrific crimes from June through September 2016 while he and his girlfriend were babysitting a sick friend’s grandchild. Armbrust videotaped and photographed himself committing the child sex crimes.

  • Alabama Archers Win Top Honors at National Championship

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    It was a very good year for Alabama’s student archers at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Eastern National Championship. Placing in the top five of their shooting categories were two Alabama teams and four individual students. Additionally, an Alabama elementary school student was chosen as an Easton Academic Archer and five Alabama students made the NASP All-American Academic Team.

    “We are extremely proud of the performance of Alabama’s student archers,” said Marisa Futral, Hunter Education Coordinator for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “Their determination and dedication to both archery and academics is paying off and will serve them well in other aspects of life.”

    More than 14,000 archers traveled from 35 states to the competition, which was held May 10-12, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. Alabama’s top five results are listed below.

    Overall Competition

    Teams

    East Elementary, First Place, Elementary School Division
    Alma Bryant High, Fifth Place, High School Division
    Individuals

    Kayden Henderson, Vinemont Elementary, Third Place, Elementary School Male Division
    Allie Stewart, East Elementary, Fourth Place, Elementary School Female Division
    Caleb Thornton, Alma Bryant High, Third Place, in both the overall competition and the High School Male Division with a near perfect score of 297 (out of 300).
    International Bowhunters Organization 3D Tournament

    Teams

    East Elementary, First Place
    Individuals

    Ava Ray, East Elementary, Second Place, Elementary School Female Division
    Allie Stewart, East Elementary, Third Place, Elementary School Female Division
    Academic Archer

    The Easton Academic Archer program highlights students who excel in the classroom as well as on the archery range. Each of the newly chosen academic archers received a Genesis Bow and custom Easton Academic Archer arrows during the tournament.

    Pierce Gudger of East Elementary School was chosen as one of 10 academic archers for 2018.
    All-American Academic Team

    The 2018 NASP All-American Academic Team was formed based on the results of both the NASP Eastern and Western National tournaments and a roster of Academic Archers from across North America. Five students from Alabama have made this year’s team.

    Allie Stewart, East Elementary
    Jonathan Hall, Breitling Elementary
    Taylor Darby, Munford Middle
    Justin Liveoak, Chilton County High
    Caleb Thornton, Alma Bryant High

8 months ago

An Alabama Student’s Take on the Georgia Tech Riots

Violence erupted on the Georgia Tech campus this Monday. Scott “Scout” Schultz, an LGBT activist and student leader, was killed, September 17th, by a Georgia Institute of Technology campus police officer after a questionable stand-off situation. The use of deadly force by the officer will have it’s day in court, where the evidence will weigh-out in a fair and just manner. Albeit a travesty, the death is not the issue of this discussion. The actual problem is the immediate response by local individuals to take up arms against the local police. It seems that some of the left has forgotten the power of meaningful protest, instead viewing any opportunity to break another window or smash another car as being conducive to furthering their cause.

It must be acknowledged; people are likely tired of hearing about police killings. The average American would admit it’s perturbing how common it is to hear about the usage of deadly-force in questionable situations (particularly due to the excessive media coverage). Events like the one at Georgia Tech make the news on a consistent basis. It’s completely understandable that someone may take issue with this, and the corresponding vigils and peaceful protests that occur around these events draw genuine support. But, when 50 individuals marched to the Georgia Tech Police headquarters to spontaneously protest, it became a different matter. Destruction, arrests, and a campus lockdown now
mark the story.

Beyond the initial outbreak, culminating in one destroyed police car, two injured officers, and three arrests, the destruction quelled quickly. Yet, given the events in other cities around the nation, it would not be farfetched to presume that this is metaphorically a powder keg that didn’t ignite. Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta need to count their blessings that the campus and city didn’t devolve into a full-force riot. Other cities have burned for weeks for similar events, and there are certainly those who would have been ready to add Atlanta to the list.

The riots that sprung up around the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Freddie Gray in Baltimore did nothing more than destroy communities and instill further distrust of the police. In a time where the nation is more divided than ever, there is nothing to be gained by destruction. Instead, there is power in civil discussion, as we see every Sunday.

Like kneeling during the national anthem. Americans might not like it, but that’s the point. It makes people feel uncomfortable. And, until a coach fires players who protest, they will maintain that ability to take a knee. Because front offices have refused to take action, it has forced a conversation. Agree with the players or not, they have done a great job at galvanizing supporters of their cause against alleged inequalities within the nation. NFL players didn’t smash windows in an effort to speak their message, but instead found an effective tactic that got the nation talking.

The events at Georgia Tech further illustrate the destructive tendencies that have plagued America’s political dialogue. Rarely does anything occur without there being a destructive response by certain arms of the left? The University of California, Berkeley has spent $1.4 million on security measures for conservative speakers since February. Celebrities, including Madonna, have called for violence against the President. The so-called “Antifa” have executed violent protests at numerous organized right-leaning speaking events. James T. Hodgkinson, a man with a vendetta for Congressional Republicans, shot Congressman Steve Scalise this summer. Seemingly any disagreement within the past year justifies violence in the minds of some of the ‘Resistance.’

It’s time for the left to tie up the loose ends and quell the violence. Those few hellbent on destroying society while wearing black masks need to come back to the table. Effective organizing will be recognized if there is legitimacy in the concern. Protesting at the drop of a hat accomplishes little but shifting the discussion away from the initial actions or issue. When the news fills with photos of a burning police car and protester mugshots, it’s difficult to pay mind to the death at hand. A Georgia Tech student is dead, and so is any effort to have a legitimate dialogue about the issue.

Editor’s Note: The views of guests columnists who submit opinion editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellowhammer


About the Author: Gerald Fraas is a guest contributor to Yellowhammer. He’s a student at the University of Alabama, studying political science and economics. He is involved with UA Young Americans for Freedom as the External Affairs Director. He can be reached at Gcfraas@crimson.ua.edu.

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8 months ago

Football Season is for Football, not Political Statements

After a seven-month off-season, football has finally returned. For most people in the heartland, game days are a time for tailgating, spending too many hours in front of the television, and enjoying a short escape from the stresses of everyday life. Over the past decade or so, football has eclipsed all other major sports in terms of viewership, and the nation’s professional league – the NFL – has become a ratings behemoth. But last year, for the first time in a long time, NFL viewership did something it rarely does: decrease.

Thanks to player-activists such as Colin Kaepernick and left-leaning networks like ESPN, the NFL has become tainted by overt politicization that has recently come to define the conversation surrounding the professional sport. Specifically, players across the league have made waves with their refusal to stand for the National Anthem during pregame ceremonies, enraging fans and law-enforcement officials alike.

In light of this ever-growing protest movement, coaches and owners face difficult decisions that include balancing the needs of their disgruntled players and increasingly disenchanted fans. It seems like a catch-22. On one end, they could cut players for protesting and potentially lose value on the field, and on the other they can continue to drive away fans by allowing more protests.

In the NFL, the physical abilities of the players drive the successes – both financially and athletically – of the teams. It is a genuine meritocracy. With that in mind, the often-troublesome actions of a high-value players must often be overlooked in the pursuit of maintaining the on-field success of the team. There’s a careful balance that must be struck between keeping core players happy and pleasing the fans. Think of it this way: if Tom Brady takes a knee during the national anthem, would the New England Patriots refuse to resign him? Of course not, because his athletic value greatly outweighs any potential issues his protest might cause.

But fans play an important role in this equation, too. The consumer is far more powerful than he or she realizes. Consumers can influence the league’s behavior by tuning out broadcasts (like many have), refusing to buy tickets, or driving down apparel sales. So, when it comes to the NFL protest issue, it is ultimately the fans who will have the largest voice.

Angry fans must channel their outrage in the proper direction. Unfortunately, many get baited into the debate the left wants to have: the race and tolerance argument. What the NFL protests really boils down to is an issue of professionalism and the role of the employee in a workplace. On Sunday afternoons, professional players are paid top dollar to play football, not to make a political statement. If the players wish to make a statement, they should attempt to do it in a way that respects the interests of the team, and not their own personal self-interests. Football is a team sport, and the protestors actions take away the focus from the overall group effort and places it on individuals.

Strong leadership from coaches and owners can eliminate this overblown story once and for all. This does not mean that the front office should come down and immediately begin firing any player that dares to even gesture out of line. Instead, they should work to foster unity within the locker room and within their larger communities. A little compromise will keep all sides content.

The Cleveland Browns accomplished just this with their creation of a team video calling for unity and respect. The video played before they stood hand-in-hand alongside law enforcement officers on the field.

Football is about eleven men facing off in a competition of strength and speed, not about who can make the greatest social statement on the sideline. Most fans want to be able to lean their chair back, watch the game, and not worry about anything beyond the score or the temperature of their beer. The average fan has enough to worry about on Monday through Friday. They don’t need the stress of the “real world” to pervade into the one thing many people use as their weekly escape.


About the Author: Gerald Fraas is a student at the University of Alabama, studying political science and economics. He is involved with UA Young Americans for Freedom as the External Affairs Director. He can be reached at Gcfraas@crimson.ua.edu.

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1 year ago

In Praise of the Youth Activist

The 1960s and 70s stand out as the turning point in cultural activism. The Sexual Revolution, combined with a nationwide anti-war effort, took on a form that threatened the stability of the United States. Campuses, including some in Alabama, were impacted by this protesting.

Buildings burned, classes were cancelled, and it seemed like nothing could stop the destruction. Picket lines, obtrusive chanting, and sit-ins became the norm for the expression of liberal dissent. All of this was a trademark of the Left, until a bright bunch of young conservatives, largely organized by William F. Buckley, Jr., came together to push back against the liberal establishment by giving them a taste of their own medicine.

The legacy of Buckley can’t be overstated. The man near-singlehandedly set the modern Conservative Movement in motion. His debut work, “God and Man at Yale,” drew the national light to the liberal dominance of higher education.

His youth organization, Young Americans for Freedom, has carried forth that torch in the battle for college campuses and American society. They adopted the liberal tactics of protesting, pushing an agenda that was pro-Vietnam War, anti-Communist, and pro-American. YAF was essential* to the successful nomination of 1964 Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the first truly public figurehead of the conservative movement.

Additionally, they are responsible for successfully convincing Ronald Reagan to enter politics, pursuing both the California governorship and then the Presidency. The American Conservative Union and CPAC were started as a direct result of Buckley and YAF’s efforts. Youth activism set the movement in motion and still remains critical to providing a stark defense against the insanity of the American Left. The actions of a few, who were and are willing to stand up and say ‘Enough is enough,’ set forth a charge that still holds true today.

More recently, Colin Kapernick’s pitiful attempt at protesting by sitting during the National Anthem spread across the nation. When it took hold at the University of Alabama, in the form of #BamaSits,the student community watched in abhorrence that such an offensive method of protest could take hold in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

But members of the UA College Republicans stepped up and took the lead with a counter-protest, Bama Stands. At the following game, Alabama v. Texas A&M played at Bryant-Denny Stadium, dozens of large American flags were held up around the sitting protestors, hundreds of mini-flags were in the hands of students, and a chant of “U-S-A” broke out in the student section directly following the National Anthem.

The protest of 30 students had garnered a vocal response by thousands, and it was all because of the actions of a few. Young conservative activists are often subject to scrutiny, but if they hadn’t chosen to respond to the protests, who would have?

The accusation most often lobbed at young conservative activists is founded in stereotypes: preppy boys wearing bowties in suits their parents paid for, glorifying days in which they didn’t live, and kissing up to party officials in the hopes of a future job. This stereotype is far from the truth. The diversity found within young conservative clubs is noteworthy, largely because the membership doesn’t view it as noteworthy: no matter your gender or race, you have a place at the table of conservative values.

Their college lives haven’t been sheltered – instead, liberalized education hardens their arguments and strengthens their resolve. Young conservatives built this movement, and will sustain it. All we can ask is that you that you support your local College Republicans/Young Americans for Freedom/Young Conservatives of America, be it with praise, time, or finances. Support their cause now, and you’ll strengthen the movement of the future.

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1 year ago

Millennials don’t buy-in to mainstream media

When you have your face buried deeply in your phone at nearly all hours of the day, it’s hard to not stay connected. But the millennial generation is often cited as being one of the most uninformed generations to have ever graced this Earth. If more and more people are being exposed to mass media, why is it that a whole generation remains so naïve?

This issue largely lies in a reduced attention span, the direct result of a society that prides itself on instant gratification. As the technology of our world has evolved, information is perpetually available, forcing news agencies to find every story they possibly can, overwhelming and disengaging the general public in the process. The millennial generation has been born into this world of information overload, and has responded in the most human way possible to said overstimulation: blocking it out.


A constant news cycle leaves new agencies scrambling to fill the airtime. Thus the airways and internet are filled with stories that strive for mass appeal, often at the cost of trading investigative journalism performed with integrity for lackluster opinion pieces posing as news stories. The assertion of “fake news” made by President Trump in reference to CNN isn’t far-fetched when you consider CNN is so focused on the “social justice cause of the week” that it ran an article entitled “Is Racism Why Adele Beat Beyonce At The Grammys?”.

The perpetual need to find the next story, and to report on anything and everything possible, has, in effect, forced news agencies to create their own news. The stories, if not entirely false or speculative, are disingenuous: they can’t be trusted. Millennials have witnessed first-hand the power of the media and its failure to take hold. They’ve lost faith in the very thing meant to assure us protection from näivety. Even then, that faith is held true only if we can manage to keep our focus on the screen long enough to understand a developing story.

Mixed amongst substandard stories covering the lives of overpraised celebrities and inconsequential events, real, hard-hitting news is hard to find, follow and fully understand. Staying up-to-date with the news becomes an arduous task of constantly checking websites or television channels. A person spends their time hoping that in the ten minutes they’ve looked away, Kim Kardashian hasn’t gotten another divorce, Beyoncé isn’t having another baby, and Kim Jung Un hasn’t finally launched his missile(s). In a world of instantaneous gratification, if millennials cannot track or understand a story fully within a few minutes of reading the article, they stop caring. The world is a big, scary place, full of detail that takes time to understand. Why should I, as a millennial, care about what’s happening in Syria when I can look at pictures of dogs on my phone right now? The gap between the uninformed and the informed grows bigger as technology grows faster (be scared, these people vote).

The media available directly to college students doesn’t do anything to fix this gap. At the University of Alabama, the school paper is a conglomerate of naïve opinions and unneeded commentary, mixed amongst advertisements for sexual health services, public intoxication lawyers, and less-than-acceptable rental properties. The political commentary of overtly liberal students (who’ll go on to pose as ‘journalists’ in their future) hurts any mass appeal the paper might gain and begs the question as to why the school is using student funding to perpetuate nothing more than a bi-weekly stack of crosswords and sudoku puzzles. The sports column might be the only thing worth reading, and that’s only if the team’s winning.

The average millennial has either become near brain-dead, blindly absorbing whatever ‘news’ crosses their social media stream, or simply opts to be out of the loop (A few of us opt to consume media from Right-leaning sources – I for one enjoy the “My Pillow” and AARP advertisements played on Fox News).

There is hope though, a hope found in the recent collapse of the tunnel vision brought on by sensationalized, falsified, and politicized news. The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union is happening; the Republicans strengthened their hold on Congress; and Donald Trump is President. If you’d have believed the media, you’d have thought none of those things would happen. Millennials have been raised to prioritize how they allocate their resources. We’ll only give you our time if we can trust you, and it’s up to the news media to rebuild that trust.



Gerald Fraas is a Political Science/Economics student at the University of Alabama. He presently serves as the UA College Republicans Chairman and as the Executive Director of the College Republican Federation of Alabama. His column runs time on issues pertaining to millennial Alabamians and Americans.

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1 year ago

Trump’s America Lets the Left Show

Photo courtesy of James Allsup
Photo courtesy of James Allsup

The events of this past weekend have shown the triumphant return of Republican reign over the nation, and the rise of a venomous form of liberalism composed of incessant petty protest and violence. Throughout the inaugural events, protesters took to the streets. The violent aspects of the protest reared their heads in small waves. Violent protests took place outside of the DeploraBall on Thursday, Jan. 19, with several attendees attacked.

On the day of inauguration, ‘antifascist’ children dressed in all-black ran around DC, smashing out the windows of businesses and bus stops. Additionally, they smashed and set fire to Larry King’s limo, disrupting the Inaugural Parade.

For a day to mark a peaceful transition of power, the self-proclaimed ‘tolerant’ of society brought about chaos. There is bountiful irony in that those who are protesting ‘fascism’ are taking up the methods and tactics of actual fascists to accomplish their goal of silencing the opposition. It’s one thing to hold signs and yell at those whom you disagree with– and another to hit a person over the head with a flag pole. That’s not free speech, that’s assault.

But that’s how modern liberalism will exist, in the most visible and impactful form possible: large-scale protests and violence. They have no other option, as they’ve lost their hold on power. It’s highly unlikely that this protesting will subside, especially with President Trump taking near-immediate action to fulfill some of his campaign promises. They’ll cling to whatever they can to attempt to hold the President and Congress back from accomplishing their goals.

Photo courtesy of James Niiler

They’ll scramble for anything to invalidate the mandate of President Trump. Even a basic social media post will serve to challenge the efforts of our new government. The most often example of this is the ridicule of the turnout for the Inauguration compared to the Women’s March held the next day.

The graphics have made their way around the internet, and the press have hounded upon the issue as though it was a matter of absolute national importance (it’s not, and it’d be in the presses best interest to recognize what is before everyone realizes why President Trump openly calls them “fake news”).“President Trump’s Inauguration had a lower turnout than the Women’s March!”

Is it a surprise to anybody that a Republican President being sworn in on a Friday in a liberal city, drew less people than a liberal march held on a Saturday in that same liberal city? Anyone who doubts Trump’s popularity should remind themselves who won the election (in the way that matters). This won’t be the last attempt to sensationalize petty issues as an attempt to derail the efforts of our elected officials.

Smashing windows and burning vehicles should not be viewed as anything more than the death rattle of progressive liberalism within the United States. They’ve had eight years to imposed their will upon the nation, and in one swift election have had their movement nearly completely destroyed.

It’s now up to the Republicans in Congress and President Trump to act swiftly and with purpose, mending the damages of the eight years of Obama’s Presidency. Let the children stomp their feet, the adults are in charge and it’s time to Make America Great Again.



Gerald Fraas is a Political Science/Economics student at the University of Alabama. He presently serves as the UA College Republicans Chairman and as the Executive Director of the College Republican Federation of Alabama. His column runs time on issues pertaining to millennial Alabamians and Americans.

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