WHO CARES ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS?
Suppose you knew that MOST on this very public registry of shame were NOT dangerous, and especially not to small children? Would YOU care about that? Suppose you knew that many of these not-a-danger-to-small-children offenders lose their jobs, their homes, their families because of being on the now life-time "list"? Would YOU care? If everyone who ever made a mistake about sex that didn't harm another person and especially didn't harm a young child were on the register with all the harm that comes with that, would you care? In some states, registrants aren't allowed to live in many places, are publicly exposed and endangered, but do you care?
NOW, if only the laws worked ! There is no evidence that the present U.S. sex offender laws do. There is nothing that shows they protect children any better at all. Ninety-five per-cent of child sex offenses are committed by someone the child knows, not a stranger. The Dept. of Justice did a study demonstrating that the level 3's are no more dangerous than the level ones. So, then, what do these levels even mean ?
Distinctions don't seem to matter when it comes to sex offenses. Why are so many people on there who pose no danger to young children mixed in with a small minority who are? No wonder the infamous Phillip Garrido was able to evade the police for eighteen years ! If ever there was proof that the laws in their present state are ineffective, this has to be it . Garrido was right under the nose of the police and in compliance . The bloated registry should get some credit for aiding and abetting him with cover. Children themselves are on the registry (www.ethicaltreatment.org). Downloading “child porn” sounds awful, doesn’t it? However, most of what is called "child-porn" is victimless. Although there's an ocean of porn available, downloading porn (that often comes bundled) with an underage teen who looks older is very risky today. Parents, watch out for your teen-age sons. Wives, warn your curious husbands. Police have sting operations on the net that have entrapped many men who are caught checking out Tracey Lorde-like pictures of a willing teen being sexy...Do you think these men really belong on the sex offender registry? Well, many are.
Even the man who helped start it all has seen the light: "The system is broken. It’s overwhelmed and I think the public is starting to realize that.You can’t paint sex offenders with a broad brush.'(John Walsh, father of Adam Walsh)
The cruelest sub-group who have suffered from the mass hysteria that gave birth to these laws are the falsely accused. They are either imprisoned (some with longer sentences than murderers) or they may be out but far from free. There are prosecutors who've called these kind of cases "easy wins" . Some may even know that people are ending up with ruined lives, along with their families . But, they don't care. Another notch in their legal gun belt was worth it, might even put them on the fast track up their political job ladder. This kind of mentality in America's "justice system" has become rampant since the laws began in the Bush era. Today, in spite of a few good books exposing how bad the laws are and a miniscule of more honest media attention, they continue to be a "back-burner" item. Too few know. Too few care.
One group in particular that mightily desires the laws continue and grow are the profiteers. They include the for-profit prisons, the fear-for-sale surveillance industry. These big money guys are joined by the drama-driven corporate media, most especially Fox. I won't say these media moguls want harm done to children but their profits must have soared with the rabid, overkill coverage they got out of each high- profile but atypical child abduction-by-stranger case. The levels of fear and fascination aroused by the combination of children, kidnapping and sexual abuse is something as close to a Salem witchhunt frenzy as anything could be. When advertising firms are desperate to come up with a magic bullet, it's hard to imagine anything that works so well.
Why are we Americans so vulnerable to being taken in this way? What is it that causes so many of us to buy into such flagrant and terrible huckstering using some poor families' nightmares to increase their ratings and profits? Doesn't it say something about our character that we can be so easily manipulated into action with more emotion than thought? But, that is exactly what happened in our country with the sex offender laws and registry. And this is no good guys/bad guys story either. Very few in either political party questioned or challenged the furious rush to take care of the problem, never mind how many lives got trampled in the criminal justice system and political sunami that followed. There undoubtedly were many good intentions when this highly political and questionably legal firestorm began. But, in the hair-trigger attempt to do something, what was done may have been worse than nothing.
Two questions I feel compelled to ask. After all that's happened with these laws, are our children any safer? And, has the suffering brought down upon so many people, who didn't deserve it, helped make it so?
If you are someone who does care about justice and want to learn more,go to:
http://ilvoices.com/medi /23945d47d1a0fd37ffff810bffffe415.pdf & http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/ & http://www.usafair.org/
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