Sex Offenders: a touchy subject
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I’m in a real ethical dillemma about how our laws should treat sex offenders who have served their time and are out in the real world. Right now they’re restricting where they can live. Forcing them to inform their neighbors of their past crimes. Listing them in directories. Permanently and publicly branding each one a Menace to Society.On one hand, people want a safe neighborhood for their children to grow up in. The thought of having your young child sexually molested is a horrible concept, and an event that would permanently scar both the child and your entire family. If someone did it once, he may do it again. Let’s keep him as far away from our families as possible. But on the other hand, not all sex offenders are pedophiles. Not all sex offenders are repeat offenders. And if we need to force these people into a life of severe restriction and public humiliation, why let them out of jail at all? What kind of a life is that? Why is a second chance at a respectable life totally out of the question? Curt Woodward of the AP described a good chunk of the debate in his article, “Sex offender ban debated by task force” (which addressed the bill in a WA county to keep sex offenders from living near schools or daycares):

“Restricting where sex offenders can live may not stop a lot of crime, but the practice is still valuable because it makes Washingtonians feel safer, some members of a state task force believe.”

Everything is about feeling safe these days. Do you really think you can stop a determined psycho by telling him not to buy a house near a school? Likewise, do you think you can really stop a determined terrorist from attacking by scanning us all at the airport? We kick the people we’re afraid of in hopes they’ll back down. But what if we’re really just pissing them off? Forcing people into a corner only enrages them. On a close-to-home note, there are 597 known sex offenders in the city of San Francisco. How do I know? is a new website seeking to list and map all sex offenders in every state (so far they have California, New York, Texas and Florida up). They told me.And when I click the names of these offenders to view their mugshots and crimes, it sends chills down my spine. Makes me want to look over my shoulder at night. Makes me afraid. Makes me want to lock them back up. God, if I had a daughter, I’d tell her to stay away from these men. I wouldn’t let her out alone. Let’s just stay inside all the time and not meet anyone new ever. Come to think of it, the people we already know can’t be trusted either. It’s just too damned dangerous out there. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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3 Responses to “Sex Offenders: a touchy subject”

  1. Rachel Su Maung Says:

    This is indeed a touchy subject and probably one there will never be a common agreement on. Personally, I’m also divided. But I believe in rehabilitation rather than labelling and stigmatization of any kind of offenders, sex offenders included, that eventually benefit not just them but the greater society in general. Restricting where they can live can only push them to live in areas that are not healthy for their rehabilitation and thus perpetuate the cycle. But yet, are we also willing to take that chance or risk with our little daughters or our own safety?

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