Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at the House Bill 49 bill signing ceremony at the Alaska Department of Public Safety Hangar in Anchorage on July 8, 2019. (Courtesy photo | Governor’s office)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at the House Bill 49 bill signing ceremony at the Alaska Department of Public Safety Hangar in Anchorage on July 8, 2019. (Courtesy photo | Governor’s office)

Opinion: Thanks to the new crime bill, it’s our time

We as a society have lost true meaning of respect.

  • By Katie Botz
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 7:00am
  • Opinion

My fellow Alaskans, this is our time! Our time to be safe, our time to be able to walk around our community not worrying about a crime being committed. This is our time to make a strong united front against criminals, saying that we are fed up with their behaviors and they must leave.

I’m saying this because for 18.5 years I’ve been nothing more than a statistic to Alaska on a piece of paper to be crumbled up into a trash can. I was a victim of a crime at a young age. I know the darkest feelings of depression, feeling unloved and uncared for. I’ve wanted to end my life to stop the pain and sorrow. Now, I say no more!

If you have been a victim of a crime, my deepest heart goes out to you in ways that only another victim’s can. It’s devastating. As of July 9, I can assure you that you don’t have to be in the darkest pain anymore. No more sorrows. No more darkness. As of July 9, I can assure you, even in court if I must, that House Bill 49 — which was signed into law by Gov. Mike Dunleavy last week — has victims’ backs. HB 49 has victims of crimes in mind, especially of victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. It’s beyond time to say no more!

Criminals, murderers, child molesters, rapists, thieves: please do us all a favor and get a one-way ticket out of Alaska and don’t return. You have caused much devastation to Alaska and your time is done! If I received a Permanent Fund Dividend the past seven years of , I’d buy you a ticket out of state myself! HB 49 isn’t targeting Alaskans at large, HB 49 is targeting criminals who destroy law-abiding Alaskans. I know, because I asked Legislators to be victim-oriented during the legislation.

I was fed up. I was beyond done with crime rates in Alaska. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be so deeply involved in Alaskan politics until I saw SB 35! Finally, something at the state government level that could potentially shed some light at the end of such dark tunnel. Yes, many citizens have doubt politicians, I’ll give you that. Have you ever heard their view points?

There’s a phrase that I once heard, from a teacher in Juneau. RIENG: Respect Is Earned Not Given (Coach Richie, Juneau-Douglas High School). To gain respect from an individual, you must give respect. That’s clear. That’s simple. Unfortunately, we as a society have lost true meaning of respect.

Politicians will indeed listen if you give them respect. You may not like them, but as an elected official, all 60 legislators deserve respect for the office they are in, representing you, me and every individual in this state.

Fellow Alaskans, I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what your goals in life may be, or your past. The men and women who put on a public safety uniform deserve our upmost respect. Each time that they put their uniform on, they are on the front lines, sometimes endangering themselves just to keep you safe.

So, hear me say it’s our time, thanks to the hard work and dedication that went into the new crime bill. It’s our time to bring out true Alaska colors and pride.

• Katie Botz resides in Juneau. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.

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