The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sure... that's what they want us to think

So, I'm scrolling through the news today and I start reading some halfwitted commentary on CNN about sex offenders, and the guy who had to put up signs all around his yard to help point out to his neighbors that he's one of 'those' people who can't keep their hands to themselves. It started out decent, but went on a downhill slop about the time that the writer decided to mention a conversation with a friend of his on the case.

But child molesters get me riled up. I get angry, sad, hot whenever I hear a story about a child being hurt. Even other criminals get hot under the collar about child molesters. Child molesters in prison often have to be segregated from the general population lest they be beaten, raped or killed by other inmates.

But other than locking them up for life in some prison, what do you do with a child molester? I have often wondered what we can do to keep these creeps away from our children.

See, that is the logic part... the wondering what we can actually do to stop this, the concern that at some point these predators will reoffend- because we all know that they will at some point. Now for the less logical part:

"That's exactly what he deserves, isn't it?" I asked my friend Rich, another former sex crimes prosecutor.

I generally agree with Rich. He is smart (Harvard Law) and was a hard-as-nails prosecutor. But he surprised me when he said, "Actually, Sunny, I'm not so sure about that. Statistically, offenders that have a place to work and live and are reintegrated into society typically don't reoffend. It's when they are unmoored from society that they are at a higher risk of hurting a child again."

Then, he went on to say: "This scarlet letter thing encourages people to engage in vigilante-style justice and would make it impossible for offenders to live in our society. So you have to balance warning the public so they can take precautions to protect themselves and the possibility of vigilante justice and allowing offenders to integrate into society."

Hum. Okay- on the surface that sounds good. But, sounding good and actually being good is two very different things.

You see, everyone on this sex offenders are treated unfair trip likes to toss out the fact that they believe (and questionable studies seem to support, but we'll get into that at another time) that sex offenders living a normal life, blending in well with society, and having the same freedoms and life choices that the rest of us have prevents them from offending. They say that the less connected to society that an offender is- the more likely they will offend again.

I beg to differ. It might sound good, and it might even sound logical- but let's actually take into account what we know.

Most unconvicted, never been caught before child molesters appear to be normal everyday people. They blend in with society, they have family and friends and a 'normal' network of people around them. They are accepted into family environment, maintain jobs, homes and often even families. They are- sex offenders without the scarlet letter so to speak. Sex offenders who although they are committing crimes, haven't gotten on that registry yet because they haven't gotten caught. In fact- they have everything that these 'poor sex offender' supports believe that convicted sex offenders deserve... and yet they are out there offending. Blending into society, being accepted by others isn't deterring them from acting out and molesting children- it's ENABLING them to do it. No one knows what they are, so they can easily slide into a situation where they more inapt to commit a crime against a child. They have EVERYTHING that the convicted sex offender on the registry is begging for- and yet they are out there molesting kids!!! So... if being in society, being accepted by their peers, having jobs, families, friends blah blah.. isn't deterring them from committing these crimes- why would it deter a convicted sex offender from committing them again?

It's insane logic these people are using. Trust me- take two convicted offenders, mark one with a scarlet letter and pretend the other one is just an average Joe- and that Joe is far more likely to be accepted into a situation where he can find another victim. The only problem is that since no one knows what he really is- he has a greater chance of getting away with it. Remember, the average offend has dozen and dozens of victims prior to getting caught the first time around... the only thing they learn from being arrested is how to avoid getting caught the next time around. That's why we have the sex offender registrations- because so many unknown yet convicted perverts where out there reoffending again and again and again.

Back to the commentary, at the end the writer almost gets it correct:
But then he said, "Bottom line is, these guys that hurt children; the serial offenders -- I think they are just wired wrong. And nothing can fix that. They should just spend the rest of their lives in prison."

Now that's the Rich I know. We argued the issue up one side and down the other with no real resolution, because that's how lawyers talk to each other

Of course, by the time I got to that part, I was so annoyed with the 'scarlet letter is mean and wrong' theory being tossed in there that I didn't care much that the idiot attempted to slide back on the fence post and play the part of someone who actually knows that as long as these deviants are running free, we're running a risk of having our children victimized.