First, thank you all for the comments. I realized yesterday, after blithely writing this, just how much shame I've been carrying around about all of this. I, obviously, need to work through a lot of stuff about it.
But the blog moves on, and I feel the need to talk about something that's completely unrelated. So here it goes...
There were many measures on the ballot for CA on Tuesday. Our voter's guide was the size of a small town phone book. I had thought about voting then found myself overwhelmingly compelled to by the measure which would have required a waiting period and parental notification for minors seeking abortions.
But that's not the measure that's got me hot under the collar. The measure that disturbed me the most was #83. It was targeted toward changing laws regarding sex offenders in CA. The measure called for stronger sentencing, disallowing registered sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school, park or playground, and requiring all registered sex offenders to be fitted with GPS tracking devices.
I was a bit shocked and horrified to find that this actually passed by a wide margin. I can only imagine that people saw the words stronger sentencing and sex offenders and voted yes without thinking about the implications of what this law meant.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of sex offenders. But here's the thing, we make little or no attempt to rehabilitate them. We stick them in prisons, often for a distressingly short time, then release them to the world. We already put their names, photos and addresses on a website so their neighbors can be "safer" (I'm still not sure how that works, but okay.).
But here's where this law is f-ed up. First, it addresses all sex offenders. However, the crafters of the law were clearly most concerned about pedophiles (hence the distance limits from schools, etc.) which is only a subset of all sex offenders out there. Second, there seems to be little recognition by this law that most sex offenders are not strangers preying on unknown others...these are most often people that the victim knows as close friends or family.
But what for me was the most ludicrous part of this law was the GPS tracking devices that all sex offenders would be required to wear. This feels like a slippery slope that I don't want to see our society go down, even to protect our children. This part of the law would mean that someone who had done their time, and completed their probation, would still need to be under some kind of observation by the state. It seems like a completely useless violation of the civil rights of this person...and, yes, in this instance I care about the civil rights of sex offenders because once a law is in place it provides an opportunity to expand to other offenders and possibly, eventually to the general public. Like I said, a slippery slope.
I felt more than a bit vindicated yesterday when I read that a federal court judge agreed with me, although the basis of the judgement was on where the offender lived not on the GPS issue.
Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox, now.