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Amarillo Globe

Chickening out
9/16/02

4:14 a.m. CT

Cockfighting supporters in Oklahoma are taking any steps necessary to prevent voters from having their say on the so-called sport.

They filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to keep State Question 687 off the ballot. If the measure is approved, which seems certain considering voter polls, cockfighting would be banned in the state, leaving only New Mexico and Louisiana as legal havens for an activity based on gambling.

Cockfighting proponents contend a ban is unconstitutional because they would be deprived of their property without compensation. This argument seems a bit illogical, since many of the combatants in a cockfight, the birds referred to as property, die while "competing."

What is really behind the federal lawsuit is an attempt to keep voters from determining for themselves whether cockfighting should remain a legal activity. More than likely, cockfighting supporters know what would happen.

An alert decision

The U.S. House of Representatives should follow the quick and decisive vote in the Senate on Tuesday and provide funding for a national Amber Alert System.

Legislation sponsored by U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., breezed through the Senate without dissent. The bill allocates $25 million for creation of a national Amber Alert System similar to systems used in various states, including Texas and Oklahoma, that have met with great success in locating abducted children.

The system combines the efforts of local law enforcement with local media in providing valuable information to the public swiftly.

We urge the House to follow the Senate's lead and send the president legislation that will enact an effective and invaluable tool for the entire nation.