SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WDHN) — A candidate in Sylacauga’s mayor race is facing social media criticism after making public hangings for drug dealers a part of his platform.
Candidate Michael James, a special education teacher for the Coosa County School system, says he wants drug dealers to be hanged publicly after their third arrest.
“Please consider that Drug Dealers have murdered, for profit, approximately 1,000,000 teenagers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles in a short 20 year period,” James wrote online. “Yes, I’m very aware public hanging is extreme and totally not possible without Federal Approvals and not from city or state officials. Extreme yes, but definitely brings attention to this scourge on Sylacauga, Alabama and the United States of America.”
Initially, the candidate faced criticism from Facebook users for numerous points, some based on the contradiction of being “Right to Life” and others on putting such a severe punishment for drug sellers instead of more serious criminals.
For some, using drugs is a personal choice, so it did not make sense to punish drug dealers so severely. To most of his critics, James had the same copy-and-pasted message:
“Why are you protecting murderous drug dealers who have been convicted of selling drugs 3 times, while killing children and destroying thousands of families, all for profit. Hmmm?
As for the Right to Life contradiction, James said that part of his position was to protest abortions, not the death penalty.
Other critics pointed out the racial undertones of hanging in Alabama with the state’s previous lynching history. They also pointed out a long-standing trend of black citizens getting convicted at a rate five times more than their site counterparts, as reported by the NAACP.
However, James’ Thursday post denying any racial bias only served to fuel the fire afterward due to his word choice.
“I feel like I need to bring this to those Blacks, not all, but enough for me to explain this: My position on taking the lives of murderous drug dealers, after three convictions, has not a single thread or motivation of my being racist,” he wrote.
“‘Those blacks?'”, one commentator wrote. “That’s really how you choose to approach people? Why not say ‘To those concerned’ if you want to claim you’re not being racist? Stop dividing PEOPLE by skin color. I can assure you it’s not a specific race that’s against what you’re preaching.”
That latest post had more than 250 shares, the highest so far from his hanging posts.