A mayoral candidate in Sylacauga, Alabama believes that public lynchings can serve as a deterrent against drug crimes. Michael Ray James, 59, wants to take a hard approach to fight the sale of illegal narcotics.
In a Facebook post, James called for drug dealers who are convicted multiple times to face a public hanging, according to Advance Local.
James, who is republican and serves as a special education teacher, believes that parents who face drug addiction, often neglect their kids and put an added burden of trauma and stress on their offspring.
But calling for public lynchings to return can be viewed by many as an extreme reaction to crime.
“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 on a Facebook post on May 13. “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.”
James’ never shared where he received his data on drug dealers as it relates to murder.
Sylacauga is about 34 percent Black and home to roughly 12,000 residents.
However, the state of Alabama has a horrific history when it comes to lynching. From 1877-1943, over 340 Black people were reportedly lynched in the state, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.
In 2018, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama to shed light on the history of lynchings in the United States.
Capital punishment remains legal in Alabama, but hanging is not an option for execution. New Hampshire currently stands as the only state in America that offers hanging as a second option for execution.