Funny How That Works

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

After years of zoning sex offenders out of just about every part of public life, activists are now alarmed that the offenders are “clustering” in the few areas they’re still legally permitted to exist.

“It is not where they aren’t living that is the problem, it is where they are,” says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “If you put these guys together it will lead to a higher incidence of sex abuse as they talk about this stuff. I see it as a dangerous trend.”

Maybe we should just shoot them.

Look, I have no sympathy for child rapists. Or regular rapists, for that matter. But this is insane. If you don’t want these people getting out of prison, change the sentencing laws. But don’t let them out, then zone them out of civilization to the point where they’re forced to  live under bridges, then complain that they’re congregating under bridges.

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84 Responses to “Funny How That Works”

  1. #1 |  pam | 

    I don’t know if I’m allowed 3 comments in a row, but I was thinking maybe sex offenders have a medical problem involving hormones where some sort of medication could keep the urges in check. There aren’t too many female sex offenders so maybe it’s a testosterone (sp) problem that should be classified as a medical condition. Aren’t there some tests for that? I’m just wondering.

  2. #2 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #33 | parse

    CinCA wrote: “Criminals are easier to control than free innocent people.”

    Parse replied: “What makes you say that? Criminals have already violated some attempt to control behavior, so it isn’t plain to me that they don’t represent a population that’s harder to control than “free innocent people.””

    Well, first I must give credit where it’s due, and most who have read Atlas Shrugged recognize Dr. Ferris’ soliloquy on the benefit to the State of creating so many crimes that everyone is a criminal — it is easier to control people who are guilty of a crime than those who are not.

    The confusion here results from considering only those who have been processed by the State criminal justice system as criminals. What I meant was, in the eyes of the State, we are ALL criminals.

  3. #3 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #36 | Billy Beck

    “I am really starting to resent the fact that the absurd and/or criminal actions of my government put me on the de facto side of probable murderers and child rapists.”

    “Me today, you tomorrow.”

    (The zek’s resolution — Solzhenitsyn, “Gulag”)

    Or for a quote with an American flavor, Mencken wrote, “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”

    Human weakness and mortality is the root of all evil. No one has the stomach to die for what is right.

  4. #4 |  Valigator | 

    Perhaps some of you repsonding with unintended consequenses might educate yourself that this issue is generational, many times those who were sexually abused grow up to be abusers. And yet many of you make arguments to let these guys get closer and closer to our kids?
    Go ahead and fine tune the registry if you think that will help you sleep better at night, but make no mistake, these guys did NOT SERVE THEIR SENTENCES. The Department of Corrections in any given state, are releasing these guys early (gain time) for no other reason than budget woes, so knock off the they “served their sentences bullshit”, most of these people should still be sitting in 5×7 and not protesting they cant go into a park or live closer to schools. And while I am at it, why dont some of you “social reformers” check out how many offenders committed their crimes in other states and were freely allowed to move into YOURS? Check out the number of illegal alien sex offenders that should have been deported, but are demanding to diminish residency restrictions! The department of Justice estimates that almost 200,000 of the 700,000 should have been deported..hey I can see the sex offenders and their supporters are full force on this site…doesnt matter how many times you troll on this issue, you freaks are re-offending more and more everyday and trying to convince people like me your NOT. Read the Papers, these guys arent “pissing in the woods” as you would like the majority of people reading this would have believe…

  5. #5 |  Sam | 

    Matt, I’m not directly trying to make a conclusion about the good bad and ugly parts of criminals, what I’m trying to point out is that sex offenses are not only nearly indistinguishable from “normal” offenses (you know, killing and pillaging…it’s the raping that bothers folks) but that those in the denigrated class are generally less likely to reoffend. I would hope (not being a maker of policy) that the intent of criminal laws and regulations is to reduce crime in a manner consistent with the espoused values of our society (another discussion certainly but hey). With this in mind there is startling inconsistency with regard to sex offenses. If registering and tracking of criminals reduces crimes and damage to society then I believe there are much greater threats than those on the sex offender registry even if they DID commit the crimes (god knows I’m not the only one that got bullied into eating a plea bargain). The police officers I speak to are, so far, in unanimous agreement that the registration process is a waste of resources and I do ask every one of them that I sit down with. I’m also of the belief that registries of any kind are inconsistent with the concepts of freedom and I am very much of the opinion that if someone is dangerous you keep them in prison instead of pasting their photo on some ridiculous website. The argument about how incapable our justice system is at actually getting the right man (or woman) much less the inability to rehabilitate (because it’s a power play instead of rehabilitation maybe?) is outside of the scope I intended to raise, but is also certainly of concern.

    If there’s a problem, address it. The real problem, not one that’s been made up.

  6. #6 |  Valigator | 

    Pam, all the therapy in the world trying to get a guy to rethink his hard wiring isnt going to help. There are two medications which have shown real results and one is not allowed to be administered in the United States…not to mention they are expensive…but they still cost less than what these guys do to our children everyday. You want to look at the problem? Look at the problem, but do it with eyes wide open. Just quit coming back to the people who avoided making the Sex offender Registry for more compromises…Face it, these guys are where they are for no other reason than they couldnt control their desire to “get off” and now I am suppose to let bygones be bygones? Aint gonna happen..

  7. #7 |  Matt D | 

    In summary, criminals tend to commit more crimes once released. 68% of criminals re-offend, 43% of sex criminals re-offend. Of those new offenses sex offenders are more likely to have a new sex offense (5.3% vs 1.3%).

    What this says to me is that a large number of those arrested for sex offenses are not what we would usually label “criminals” and that a sex offender is damned unlikely to commit another sex crime. It’s hard not to believe that the slightly larger re-offense value for sex offenders is skewed by being watched intensely by everyone in the system.

    I don’t disagree with most of the points in this thread, but I think it’s pretty silly to say that sex offenders are “damned unlikely to commit another sex crime” when your own numbers show nearly half of them go on to do just that.

  8. #8 |  Andrew S. | 

    For proof that it can actually be done. Iowa actually reformed their sex offender laws. It’s still outrageous, but it’s at least better than before.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/sfl-miami-sex-offenders-072309,0,7378187.story

    The highlight:

    Among other things, the law created three tiers whereby those who committed very minor sex crimes would be permitted to live near a school or other places where children congregate. The very worst sex offenders still must adhere to the 2,000-foot ban and other strict rules.

  9. #9 |  Sam | 

    I probably shouldn’t have used the terms I used there as “damned unlikely” isn’t statistically useful. I look at 5% and think that there’s a very manageable recidivism problem which is what I was trying to get at…whereas in a perfect world we’d like to keep that number at 0.0% I don’t believe it’s possible any more than we could eliminate gun crime by banning firearms.

    I tend to get wound up in rhetoric, forgive me if I overstepped.

  10. #10 |  Matt D | 

    Sorry, my bad as well. 43% refers to any offense; the number for sex offenses is much lower.

  11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #51 | pam

    There aren’t too many female sex offenders…

    There sure are a hell of a lot more of them now than when I was in school. I try not to be too bitter about it, though.

  12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The problem with statistics is that as long as the number of offenders isn’t zero, then we clearly need improvement. That improvement usually comes packaged as another law which can be broken resulting in more crime which spawns even more laws, etc, etc, etc.

    I’ve always thought the most of the criminal laws could have been written in the first year after the government was established. After that, the Congress could get together for a few days each year to conduct whatever updates were required and to pass necessary spending bills. then they would go back home where they would hold down a real job. I am such a fuckin’ idiot.

  13. #13 |  JS | 

    Sam “How ridiculous is it that I get to seriously start feeling like I’m living in East Germany? I keep thinking that freedom is just over that wall and maybe I should just cut the wire at midnight and make a break for it.”

    Yea I think it is that way already. If I had a way to get out and someplace to go I’d leave today, and I’ve never been arrested for anything!

  14. #14 |  MattH | 

    Sigh, so where is our “West Berlin?”

  15. #15 |  JS | 

    MattH “Sigh, so where is our “West Berlin?”

    That is the million dollar question. Almost every nation on earth receives “foreign aid” from the government in Washington so its not like you can easily get away from them if they wanted you bad enough.

  16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #46 MattH

    …but some in this thread seem to be saying recidivism among actual rapists is statistically not a big problem…

    Not sure who “some” are, but my point was primarily to object to the claims that sex offenders are so much more inclined to repeat their crime than are other criminals. Speaking only for myself, I would vastly prefer to be raped repeatedly than murdered once, and it pisses me off to no end that sex crimes (violent or not) are almost universally considered to be more deserving of severe punishment than non-sexual violent crimes. Sure, Shelly was beaten and robbed, but at least she wasn’t victimized by someone who exposed himself to her. At least no one was sitting in a closest jerking off to a picture of her in a seductive pose.

    What it really comes down to is simply the fact that it’s easy (particularly in the U.S.) to vilify sex criminals far more than other violent criminals because of the absolute irrational hysteria about all things sex related. In other words, they’re fair game. What good is it to be fair game if people don’t know it? Hence, the registry was born.

    Our country, the land of the free, is run by people who believe that you should be locked up for simply being seen naked. If that’s all the “injury” it takes to remove someone from society, then there is no inherent right to freedom. There are only things that haven’t yet been banned by government (ie: your neighbors).

  17. #17 |  Matt D | 

    Dave,

    Frankly, I think you’re giving into a hysteria of your own. Yes, it’s true that we’re rather reactionary about sex. And yes, it’s true that lots of things which are considered crimes probably shouldn’t be (I’m thinking of the various examples already provided on this thread, along with prostitution/solicitation, etc–basically, victimless crimes). But it’s not as though our revulsion is based purely in our own personal sexual hangups. From Sam’s link earlier: “The median age of the victims of imprisoned sexual assaulters was less than 13 years old.” I guess if you want, you can argue that those assaults are just a matter of somebody “exposing himself” but I very much doubt that comports well w/ reality.

  18. #18 |  MDGuy | 

    I’ve always thought the most of the criminal laws could have been written in the first year after the government was established. After that, the Congress could get together for a few days each year to conduct whatever updates were required and to pass necessary spending bills. then they would go back home where they would hold down a real job.

    Dave that reminds of a quote from Gore Vidal that I like:

    “I date the end of the old republic
    and the birth of the empire to the invention, in the late Thirties, of air conditioning. Before air
    conditioning, Washington was deserted from mid-June to September. . . . But after air conditioning
    and the Second World War arrived, more or less at the same time, Congress sits and
    sits while the presidents-or at least their staffs-never stop making mischief…”

  19. #19 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #65 Matt D

    Dave,

    Frankly, I think you’re giving into a hysteria of your own.

    The only regret I have about my hysteria is that it took so long to get to that point. But, I doubt my attitude would be considered hysterical to someone living under a bridge for peeing in a doorway.

    Yes, it’s true that we’re rather reactionary about sex. And yes, it’s true that lots of things which are considered crimes probably shouldn’t be (I’m thinking of the various examples already provided on this thread, along with prostitution/solicitation, etc–basically, victimless crimes).

    That’s sufficient justification by itself.

    But it’s not as though our revulsion is based purely in our own personal sexual hangups.

    I think the revulsion if perfect grounded in total rationality. Below a particular exact age, sex is revolting. The very next day, however, sex is perfectly acceptable. And, of course, everyone agrees precisely on what that age should be.

    From Sam’s link earlier: “The median age of the victims of imprisoned sexual assaulters was less than 13 years old.” I guess if you want, you can argue that those assaults are just a matter of somebody “exposing himself” but I very much doubt that comports well w/ reality.

    At least some of those cases probably didn’t even rise to the level of someone exposing themselves. Read up on the Satanic Ritual Abuse daycare cases.

    There is no crime in the country easier to get a conviction on than a crime involving a child victim. The child can be coaxed into saying anything the prosecution wants and experts will take the stand and tell the jury that the child can’t possibly be lying. The parents, meanwhile, are blind to anything short of unmerciful vengeance. Add to that the fact that a mere accusation of child sex abuse is all that’s required to convince most people that someone is guilty and I think it’s quite possible to make a case that more people are falsely convicted of child sex abuse than most other crimes.

    But, even if everything you say is perfectly well founded, that still doesn’t justify the sex registry.

  20. #20 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Attention everyone!

    I have coined a phrase: The Krueger-rant.

    I intend to invest heavily in them.

    You may now carry on.

  21. #21 |  JS | 

    Cynical in CA “Attention everyone!

    I have coined a phrase: The Krueger-rant.

    I intend to invest heavily in them.

    You may now carry on.”

    Yea. Wow. That was amazing, even for Dave.

  22. #22 |  Matt D | 

    Yes, I’m aware of those cases. And I’m aware that the system doesn’t always work perfectly. But I’m also aware that these crimes actually do happen, and cannot be categorically dismissed as just the product of our irrational fears of sex. I tend to think age of consent laws are often silly and harmful, but one should not extrapolate from that, as you seem to be doing, that sexual contact between adults and preteens is arbitrarily criminalized.

  23. #23 |  parse | 

    Well, first I must give credit where it’s due, and most who have read Atlas Shrugged recognize Dr. Ferris’ soliloquy on the benefit to the State of creating so many crimes that everyone is a criminal — it is easier to control people who are guilty of a crime than those who are not.

    So your proof for the assertion that it’s easier to control people who are guilty of a crime than those who are not is that somebody in a novel said so?

  24. #24 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Friggin’ blockquote thingies. I’m having a crisis at work, so my logic (and my typing which sucks on the best of days) may not be as coherent as normal. haha!

    Dave will be at Disney World starting tomorrow and ending next Saturday, so you will all get a reprieve. Use it well. :)

  25. #25 |  Billy Beck | 

    Parse: believe me, you’re a fucking idiot.

  26. #26 |  supercat | 

    //So your proof for the assertion that it’s easier to control people who are guilty of a crime than those who are not is that somebody in a novel said so?//

    The state certainly has more control over people whom it has decided are guilty of a crime (i.e. prisoners, probationers, and parolees) than those whom it has not. That should be pretty much obvious. The only aspect of the quote whose truth would be debatable is whether the state criminalizes more and more things //for the purpose// of gaining such control.

  27. #27 |  supercat | 

    //Not sure who “some” are, but my point was primarily to object to the claims that sex offenders are so much more inclined to repeat their crime than are other criminals.//

    The fact that recidivism among so-called “sex criminals” is lower than for the general criminal populace suggests that many people are so branded who should not be. It in no way disproves the notion that there is a certain IDENTIFIABLE subset of the prison population whose recidivism rate will be extremely high after release (obviously, the subset of the prison population that will in fact get caught for crimes after release will have a 100% recidivism rate, hence the ‘identifiable’ qualifier).

  28. #28 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Supercat, the distinction I make is between completely innocent people and people who have committed crimes, whether prosecuted or not.

    Criminalizing normal behavior subjects everyone to prosecution at the whim of the State. Therein lies the ease with which the State controls everyone, whether one has passed through the criminal justice system or not.

    The threat of death is just as effective as death itself, and just as violent.

    Beyond all of that, it should be clear to any reader of this blog that the difference between someone who has been through the ordeal of the criminal justice system and someone who has not is a matter of luck and/or time.

    Shit, I’m a rational and sometimes I catch myself muttering, “But for the grace of God.” Doesn’t everyone here?

  29. #29 |  Cynical In CA | 

    On second thought, the difference between someone who has been through the ordeal of the criminal justice system and someone who has not is a matter of luck and/or time and/or political favoritism.

  30. #30 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Corrected and edited version of my unreadable rant post (#69)

    #65 Matt D

    Dave,

    Frankly, I think you’re giving into a hysteria of your own.

    The only regret I have about my hysteria is that it took me so long to get to that point. But, I doubt my attitude would be considered hysterical to someone who, upon being let out of prison for having consensual sex with a girl who, only a few decades ago, wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if she had already been married is now living under a bridge knowing that this is probably the best his life is ever going to be.

    Yes, it’s true that we’re rather reactionary about sex. And yes, it’s true that lots of things which are considered crimes probably shouldn’t be (I’m thinking of the various examples already provided on this thread, along with prostitution/solicitation, etc–basically, victimless crimes).

    That people are necessarily being victimized by the law is reason by itself for abolishing the registry. The registry is a life sentence. I choose not to disregard, with a wave of the hand, the injustice of condemning people to a living hell for the rest of their lives who don’t even deserved to be charged with a crime to begin with. If that makes me hysterical, I wear the badge with honor.

    But it’s not as though our revulsion is based purely in our own personal sexual hangups.

    America’s hypocrisy and obsession with sex is, by definition, a hangup. Americans can, with a straight face, declare someone a felon for committing a mutually consensual act with a girl that, the very next day, would be perfectly legal if she just happens to be at the age of consent. And, to top it off they would argue vehemently that such a person deserves to have his remaining life completely destroyed by being branded a perverted monster and alienated from everyone on the entire planet.

    To me, that’s just fucking sick.

    From Sam’s link earlier: “The median age of the victims of imprisoned sexual assaulters was less than 13 years old.” I guess if you want, you can argue that those assaults are just a matter of somebody “exposing himself” but I very much doubt that comports well w/ reality.

    At least some of those cases probably didn’t even rise to the level of someone exposing themselves. Read up on the Satanic Ritual Abuse daycare cases. There are a lot of them. It wasn’t a slight anomaly n an otherwise flawless justice system.

    There is no crime in the country easier to get a conviction on than a crime involving a child victim. The child can be coaxed into saying anything the prosecution wants and experts will take the stand and tell the jury that the child can’t possibly be lying. The parents, meanwhile, are blind to anything short of unmerciful vengeance. Add to that the fact that a mere accusation of child sex abuse is all that’s required to convince most people that someone is guilty and I think it’s quite possible to make a case that more people are falsely convicted of child sex abuse than most other crimes. And that’s if the case even makes it to trial which is highly unlikely.

    But, even if everything you say is perfectly well founded, that still doesn’t justify the sex registry. The sex registry is worse than prison because it takes away the hope for a better future. It alienates a person from everyone around him who might have a positive influence on him. It embitters him and forces him into a camaraderie with others who are likewise condemned to a joyless existence. There is no benefit to be derived from the registry that can possibly offset the destruction it brings to people who, having served their time, have now been brutally deprived of all hope of attaining some semblance of normalcy by people who can forgive any crime except one that involves sex.

    Hopefully, I didn’t fuck up the blockquotes. Time to go throw some brats on the grill and pack for the trip.

  31. #31 |  Stephen | 

    “Time to go throw some brats on the grill”

    I know what you mean but…

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brat

    was the definition that came to mind. :)

    Throwing some “ill-mannered annoying children” on the grill sounds good to me but it might be illegal where you live.

  32. #32 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    There are so many straw men being built around here, there ought to be “No Smoking” signs.

    I don’t see anyone here defending overly broad sex offender registries, or zoning laws which make it impossible for people on such lists to find anywhere to live. As I pointed out, above, I don’t even see Ernie Allen, head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – and one of the preeminent voices for child victims of sexual exploitation – defending these situations.

    But I see a lot of folks here merrily leaping from legitimate criticism of overreaching state registry and zoning laws (as well as indisputably idiotic anecdotal examples), to basically claiming that all child sex crimes represent an attempt by The Man to turn us all into criminals.

    As perhaps the only person on this board who has some experience investigating and prosecuting child sexual exploitation, let me tell you that it’s not “easy” to get a conviction in such cases. Although juries are typically sympathetic to child victims (sometimes overly so), that comment ignores the incredibly real stress and hardship experienced by law enforcement and prosecutors getting cases to the point where a jury hears a child speak.

    Some of you talk like there’s no real crime here. Let me tell you a couple of real examples. The first one involved a guy who was identified by an Internet Service Provider as transmitting child pornography. I took on the case, along with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents. The guy was posting video virtually nightly on a foreign-based website, showing him raping his four-year-old daughter. There was no doubt this was really happening, virtually in real time. Then he would brag about what he was going to do the next night. We never could locate him. As far as I know, he’s still raping his daughter, who would be nine or ten by now.

    A friend of mine handled a case out of Miami. The defendant was HIV-positive, and ran a lucrative business selling videos of himself raping children all over the Caribbean and Latin America. He took order from pedophiles who would ask that he film this or that sex act, performed on a child of a type they would specify. Many of his victims, when identified, tested positive for HIV.

    I don’t know anyone in law enforcement who enjoys this work, although obviously it is rewarding when a case was able to end terrible abuse.

    Anyway, you can complain all you want about guys on the list because, as 16-year olds, they were caught having sex with their girlfriend. You and I would easily agree – along with 99% of law enforcement – that such as person shouldn’t be stigmatized. But give me a break about how child sex abuse isn’t a real crime, how it’s all made up and exaggerated, because, frankly, you’re full of crap.

  33. #33 |  Sam | 

    Speaking of straw men…

  34. #34 |  Setting ourselves up for tragedy « Travels with Shiloh | 

    […] school, bus stop, play ground, etc. you’re going to end up with a whole bunch of ex-convicts congregating together and interacting with no one else.  Take away every option from people other than […]