MERIDIAN — Let us prey.

No, not “pray,” but “prey,” like in prey upon the poor, elderly, ignorant, and ordinary citizens.

More preying of this sort seems to be an in thing in Washington these days.

So, it’s OK for human traffickers to get away with forcing children into prostitution? “Several federal efforts to combat human trafficking in the U.S. have slowed under the Trump administration, according to government data and human trafficking advocates,” reported Axios.com, adding that the Trump administration has cut back on prosecutions of these crimes.

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous offshore drillers to put coastal residents at risk by skipping tests designed to prevent disasters such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill? Time.com reported the Trump administration has announced plans to “loosen offshore drilling regulations” and remove “the requirement for the Interior Department to externally verify safety operations and equipment used by offshore drillers.”

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous medical groups to prey on the sick? “The bipartisan desire to protect insured consumers from unexpected bills is now facing fierce headwinds after persistent attacks from well-funded providers and dark money groups over August recess,” reported Politico.com.

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous private colleges to prey on students? InsideHigherEd.com reported the Trump administration’s final borrower-defense regulations, promulgated by Education Secretary Betsy Devos, add a new three-year time limit on claims that borrowers were defrauded, with each case to be considered individually “even if there is evidence of widespread misconduct at an institution.”

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous loan companies to prey on the poor? “Payday lenders have a predatory business model where they profit while families are plunged into an unaffordable debt trap of loans at rates that reach 400 percent APR or higher,” CNBC quoted a consumer advocate after the Trump administration rolled back protections set to make payday loans less risky.

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous debt collectors to prey on borrowers? The Trump administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reported The Washington Post, has proposed rules that would give the debt collectors permission to send borrowers unlimited amounts of texts and emails.

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous businesses to put the public at risk by emitting hazardous air toxins such as benzene, dioxin and lead that cause health problems, such as cancer and birth defects? The New York Times cited a report saying the Environmental Protection Agency “took a dramatic step toward deregulating some major sources of toxic air pollution, which could have huge implications for public health.” (Permitting pollution near streams and wetlands is next up.)

So, it’s OK for unscrupulous plant operators to stonewall local responders when chemical spills put communities at risk? Reuters reported the Trump administration suspended regulations requiring companies to coordinate with local emergency responders.

And don’t forget the general inaction from Washington that enables the unscrupulous to prey on children, the elderly and the ignorant via Internet, email, social media and telephone scams and pornographic solicitations.

Hmmm, scary stuff.

Then there’s Ezekiel 34:29, where the Lord God pledges to free His people from those who prey on them. "They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid.”

Bill Crawford is a Republican former state lawmaker from Meridian.

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