(Editorial note: as Anonymous commented below, my emotions overrode my good typing skills and this post was originally entitled “Todd the Sodomizer Should Resign.” Apologies to Representative Todd Rutherford, who defended this sicko. I’m grateful that in America, even sickos are entitled to a competent defense. )
Wednesday, the tragic denouement of a love gone wrong ended in a pool of blood outside the Columbiana Centre, when Michael James Young Jr., murdered the father of his estraged wife and shot her as well. Young had repeatedly threatened Shaunna Bell in a long-standing pattern of abusing his former lovers. He’d been arrested for sending threatening e-mails to one and shooting up the car of another. He was out on bail for stalking Shaunna when he opened fire, killing Robert Bell and wounding Shaunna. There was a police investigator racing to get a warrant for his arrest. But he was too late.
In an ironic parallel case, State Rep. Thad Viers (R-Horry County) got a $500 slap on the wrist after leaving a series of similarly threatening messages on the answering machine of Jon Ziegler who has been dating Viers’ estranged wife. Viers warned Ziegler that he would perform several rather uncharitable sexual acts on him and his mother and other members of his family. Then he called him a slang term for a homosexual, which is really strange, given the nature of the dispute. And, just to be sure that Ziegler knew what a madman he was dealing with, Viers employed racial epithets as well. (The guy is not just sexually, but racially, confused: Ziegler is white.)
Dismissing any House action to punish Thad the Sodomizer, Speaker Bobby Harrell said: “The court’s decision stands as punishment for his actions.”
Saith the Sodomizer, “In most of our lives, we can point to a time where as it relates to matters of the heart our emotions override our good sense. These events represent that for me, and I look forward to moving on with my life.” Somehow that doesn’t quite satisfy me.
In South Carolina, which ranks 6th in the nation for criminal domestic violence, having a lawmaker like the Sodomizer ensures that we will continue to outrank 44 other states. Now, you might say that personal character has no bearing on a public official’s ability to do his or her job. Maybe. But when you are making threats against someone, whether or not your emotions are overriding your good sense, you’ve proven yourself unfit for the job.
Thad Viers should resign.