Last night I caught part of the CBS Evening News. (Yes, I know was one of the ten or so that actually watch but bear with me. ) Katie Couric had a story about sex offenders and MySpace. It seems MySpace is trying to remove sex offenders from their web site. In addition, a number of states have sued to force MySpace to turn over their list of sex offenders who have registered. Texas was one of those states and their Attorney General used that information to pick up sex offenders whose probation rules prevented them from using the internet. So far, so good I guess. I think it's a silly regulation but hey its the rules. I feel better to know that children are safer though. *sigh of relief* Unfortunately Texas AG Greg Abbott had more to say:
Parents need to understand there are predators on the Internet who are more vicious than those who used to lurk in parks or playgrounds.
What? Huh? I don't feel as safe anymore.
These predators are incorrigible; they will stop at nothing in order to try and find their next victim.
Oh my God! That's scary!! Unfortunately, its also not true. A few things to consider:
- "Predators" don't lurk in parks or playgrounds. 95% of the cases of child sexual abuse involve someone the child knows, not a stranger.
- More vicious? Do you have any evidence that they're more vicious? Or does it make you look tougher on crime?
- "Predators" aren't incorrigible. At least according to the state of Wisconsin Department of Corrections (15% re-offend in 10 years), the state of Arizona (5.5% over a 14 year period), North Carolina Sex Offender registry (only 71 recidivist sex offenders in the entire state, including prisons), National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (13.7% re-offend) and the Canadian government (13.4%). There is no way that you can consider someone who has a 15% rate of re-offending "incorrigible." In fact sex offenders have a lower rate of being re-arrested for any offense after release than non-sex offenders (43% vs. 68%).
- Stop at nothing? If they will stop at nothing, they must be pretty incompetent if they only re-offend at most 15%.
Our country has a hang-up on sex. It's why we treat sex offenders much worse than drug dealers or armed robbers. Parents are scared by the thought of their babies being violated (not that it's remotely likely but they don't know that) so they elect leaders that say they'll be tough on crime. The elected leaders talk about how sex offenders are monsters which makes the officials look like saviors when the tough on sex offender laws pass but also scares parents even more who demand more be done which makes officials get tougher and enact stricter laws and around and around we go...
In the end, we have people who are treated like a Jew in Nazi Germany when these people are less likely to commit a crime than other felons. We have parents incredibly scared, children aren't that much safer than they were before and our Government is spending our money with little to no benefit.
Galatians 5:1: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."