A story featured at the Alabama news outlet Yellowhammer exemplifies the American ideal that government is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people, as Abraham Lincoln so famously said during his Gettysburg Address. And for the citizens of Alabama, they have reason to celebrate that foundational American truth — though slipping quickly away — for this brief moment in time.
Writer Cliff Sims penned the article “Indisputable proof Alabamians have the power to demand the government they deserve” after witnessing a relatively unknown law that made public rest areas “gun free zones” become abolished in less than a week.
In great detail, Sims gives a play-by-play of what exactly went down — and it all started with one person’s e-mail. (Redacted version below)
On Sunday, July 19, an Alabamian named Jayson wrote to Sims asking him to investigate the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) overstepping its authority in turning the state’s rest areas into “gun free zones.” By Monday, Sims’s editor and a fellow journalist began the investigation and found that signs declaring “no weapons beyond this point” were indeed present at the rest stops. Yellowhammer began reporting on the story during the week asking about the legality of the ban. ALDOT didn’t initially responded to comment requests.
On Sims’s radio program Tuesday, he urged listeners to “politely” call ALDOT and express their complaints with the department’s decision. Though ALDOT fielded many complaints, they deferred to the state attorney general’s office without much other response.
An ALDOT spokesperson finally told Sims on Wednesday that the attorney general was “reviewing the matter” and said:
“We don’t want this to be a distraction for us. You can probably imagine we have a lot of issues we deal with day in and day out.”
Thursday, Sims rallied his radio listeners to contact the attorney general’s office, again “politely,” and relay their concerns there. And this is where it gets good!
By Friday — less than a week since one person stood up against the government — Sims received an e-mail from Republican Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s administration saying that the governor himself reviewed the rule and took action. Governor Bentley later tweeted, “I have ordered the Alabama Department of Transportation to remove signs banning weapons at all Alabama rest stops to comply with state law.”