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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Jul 2, 2006.
i wonder if the next step in protecting rights of the discriminated will be criminals' rights. it sounds really lefty, i know, but what politician is going to stand up and say, "sex offender rights are being trampled!"
We're undergoing a variation of that theme right now where I live, IJ. The city is trying to pass a law which says (among other things) that sex offenders may not be within 1000 feet of a school bus stop.
Well, this is a small community. On school days, the buses stop to pick up kids approximately every ten houses on virtually all residential streets. It brings up all kinds of thorny issues, such as:
what if someone lives outside the 1000-ft. radius, but has to pass through it just to leave his house?
is driving down the street (which brings you literally within inches of any number of bus stops) considered breaking the law?
is there any place in town where a sex offender can live and move freely?
There is not a person in this town that defends sexual crimes, but as your example shows, IJ, some of these offenses carry a helluva lot more weight than others.
And all of that is aside from the fact that these laws are going to end up being declared unconstitutional, because they make it virtually impossible for any SO to live, work and shop anywhere.
From what I can see, this is just more Republican politicking, albeit on the local level. The so-called "family values" people are playing a fear card, and they're willing to pass stupid, unenforceable and unconstitutional laws to do so.
Nobody's arguing that sex offenders shouldn't be kept away from kids. But you've gotta do it legally. You've gotta do it smart.
If there's any question about what I think of laws like this, then let me say in no uncertain terms that I believe that they are insane. They fail to make any useful distinctions between one type of violator and another, they are designed to punish people who have already paid a price for their actions, and most of all, they don't make anyone a bit safer. If anything, less so. This is pure "feel-good" legislation, of the sort the proponents know it is difficult to oppose.
I'd like to think that laws of this kind are clearly unconstitutional, but I'm not so sure. As the article mentions (possibly in part I edited out), the Supreme Court of Iowa upheld a similar law. To make matters worse, sex offenders in states where they have passed have either failed to register when they moved or moved into other states. As that word gets around, every legislature in the nation will feel pressured to pass a similar law.
1. Aside from my belief that Whitaker's "offence" should hardly be considered illegal, it's utterly moronic that there seems to be no distinction between her and other offenders guilty of more serious crimes, such as violent rape or child molestation.
2. Common sense tells me policies of this sort are entirely ineffective and inappropriate. Is any attention paid to the fact that these former offenders must actually live a life, and how the implications of these policies could affect their ability to do so? What's the point? If people are that concerned about it, why not simply keep them in jail? Or maybe we could just outlaw breeding altogether. That way, no child would be at risk.
one of my city's suburbs has a very similar law and situation, though there's been no resistance so far.
A while ago there was a "sex offender list" thread down here and the more I read up on those types of laws the more I learned that they were pretty much useless, "feel-good" laws.
Not to mention the unfortunate souls who undeservedly end up on such lists, who learn they are also "feel subhuman" laws.
From the con's point of view, what's the point of reform if you're only guarateeing a life of harassment and isolation?
Sounds like a good way to invite resentment and more crime. Not to mention the implications of tacking on extra punishments to already served sentences.
This sounds like a legal lynch mob idea. You ban them from living near you so they are run out of town. Therefore you push the problem to someone else.
Unfortunately if this law spreads until it blankets the country, what happens then? Does the USA give over an island for all sexual offenders to go live on? How does it cope with the difference in the definition of sexual offender from state to state?
It's a bit of a joke isn't it, albeit not a very funny one.
Once again, we have a law that doesn't actually fix the problems it's supposed to be dealing with. But no one's going to argue for "sex offenders" no matter how ineffectual this law actually is. Nor how many innocent people can be hurt by it.
I agree with IJ, but I'd add a bit of disagreement as to "insane". I often think this sort of legislation is more of a public pacifier. That is, since the legislative types either don't want to or know they can't solve real problems via laws, they put on these wondrous harumphing charades to create the illusion that they're "doing something!" Yes, it's nonsense, but it diverts the public from any realization that noting useful is being accomplished.
And to me it's horrible that there's this lumping together of trivia with real crime. People have wound up on the sex-offender lists for not only the consensual sex stuff, but even for peeing in the bushes in "public".