Monday, October 20, 2008

Struggling with this one?

One of my husband's college roommates sent out an e-mail the other day ... and it had an attachment to an article that at first...I thought was a great idea. First, here's the link to the article. Go ahead and read it really quick. I'll wait.

{Elevator music playing},2933,438725,00.html

I'm still here...don't worry, take your time....I'm not gonna go anywhere.

Done yet?

Ok, well just in case you *didn't* click on the link, have pop-ups blocked or whatever... the "gist" of the article is that sex offenders in Maryland are being sent a "pumpkin" that states "NO CANDY AT THIS RESIDENCE" which they have to tape on their door. They are also requiring that the sex offender keep their outside lights turned off and not answer the door. The article goes on to say that the ACLU is challenging the law in Missouri where a similar law exists (apparently the law there also forces the sex offender to stay inside their home - not to come out unless there is a valid reason such as medical or work, and that they could be fined otherwise.)

At first the "mom" in me thought GREAT IDEA! I have US Family Watchdog e-mail me when a sex offender moves in within a certain mile radius - and even though I live in a great area that many people desire to live, there are still 388 Registered Sex Offenders WITHIN A SEVEN MILE RADIUS of the neighborhood where I live. 388 RSO within SEVEN MILES. HOLY CRAP!!! I am thinking to myself that these sickos really have no "rights"and that they DESERVE a "scarlet letter".....right? This is the closest RSO for Offenses Against Children (Pedophile). She lives .64 miles from me, her name is Brooke Howell. Umm, not what you expect, right??

So the guy who forwarded the article to me made a comment along the lines of "of course the "ACLU" would have a problem with this." I think it was that which caused the "democrat" in me to rethink my position on this - because if you really think about it........if you start putting pumpkins on sex offenders doors (who already can't live close to schools, etc.), will you keep them from going outside on other holidays? Eggs on their doors when kids are outside hunting for eggs on Easter? And who monitors this, and pays for the tab for the additional monitoring/collection of fines? Taxpayers? Besides - the biggest factor to point out is that not ever Registered Sex Offender is a what good is keeping kids away from them going to do??

I found a couple comments on the subject on various blogs/newspapers:

Only one who is inherently interested in fear mongering would use Halloween to petrify the public into thinking that Halloween is unsafe because of the presence of RSO’s. To calculate risk in epidemiology, you divide the number of cases divided by the population of interest. In this case it would be 1/650,000. The risk is so incredibly low that my calculator gives the division an error!!!!!! ” That is only for 1 year, now times that by say, 50 years. OH MY! Fear mongering is what the entertainment news media and politicians are MORE concerned about than protecting children.

95% of sexual offenders for any given year are not on the registry because 95% of the sexual offenses committed are first-time offenses. Sexual crimes can range the whole gamut from violent rape and murder (this person will probably be put away permanently on the first offense) to -literally!- sending or receiving on your cell phone, even at the age of 13, a "racy" picture.
Many on the list are there for consensual teenage sex. Some are even married to the person they had that sex with and have children by that marriage. Some states have children as young as 8! on their registries. Not all sex offenses are violent or involve children. And it's nearly impossible to tell by the statute name what the original offense was! You might have been skinny-dipping in your own pool in your own backyard in the middle of the night, but been seen by a child who was up in the middle of the night. It does not matter any more what the intent was; the mere fact of having done a prohibited action, such as mentioned above makes it a sexual offense. So should all these varied people be treated the same way as the violent rapist/murderer? I think not!

Sadly, politicos offer up this same faulty logic. The number of sex crimes committed by registered sex offenders during trick-or-treating is ZERO. That means 0.00000000000%, 0/2, 0/100, however you want to put it, there has been no documented case of a CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER molesting a kid on Halloween. Yet, when that number remains a zero THIS year, the politicos will swear it was because of those laws, and of course, convince the non-thinking public they have solved a non-existent problem.

So......I'm torn. On my "mommy hand" I think it's a smart idea - can't hurt anyway, right?. I'm all about keeping kids safe. But on my "democratic hand" I think that parents with kids who are of trick-or-treating age should BE WITH THEIR KIDS, BE INVOLVED!! These people should be let to live their lives if they've served their sentence through the court system and are following the monthly/yearly registration/parole requirements. We as the parents should know where the sex offenders live (I do!!) and don't take them trick-or-treating down those streets (I wouldn't!!) Personally, I'd love to see more stringent penalties and therapies for sex offenders from the beginning, and particularly keep "violent" or "child" predators behind bars so that they aren't allowed to make the same mistake again. I think it has to be an illness - especially pedophilia - I can't even begin to fathom what would turn a 40 year old guy on about a 3 year old little girl. That person just has to be not right, right? God, what I wouldn't give for a third hand!

Anyway, just thought I'd share.... what are your thoughts?



PS: If you haven't already, you should sign up for the Family Watchdog site. Here's the link:

The basic service is free, and you can enter your address at any time. If you have never seen this before, I will *bet* you are going to be shocked when you enter your address for the first time, especially if you live in a bigger city. I know I sure was!!!!!!
(BTW: in case you're wondering there are NO RSO in my subdivision!)

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