Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The List

After I finished my last post I read the below from the Washington Post and this is surreal the level of obsession we have with the concept of sex in this country. I am adamantly against sex registries, they serve no purpose.

 If an individual is found guilty of a sex crime they are in turn sentenced to whatever terms or time that is required or mandated by Law. The end of that time marks the notion that they are done with the retribution and now should get on with the rehabilitation of their lives so they will never feel compelled to do this again. Well we know that prison is not about rehabilitation or restitution to a community but about revenge.

 And we have the idea that sex offenders are perhaps the most odious of society and are punished with a life sentence that exists long after they have left jail. We have many long term punishments that go beyond the sentence and it is to our detriment. We are sure that these registries are preventing crime and they have good intent but they don't in the same way we believe that locking people up for years is saving/protecting society.  

The analogy the writer uses is the mark of the yellow star of David used in Nazi Germany but I still think it is more akin to the Scarlet Letter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, as that was a religious note and that is what most of our laws are about - religion.

And our laws are all religious in nature despite the proclamation of being not. And until the recent nonsense spouted by Presidential Candidate(s) we have never been one to segregate with regards to faith.  The law in this case is not even close to that analogy, it is not to denigrate or delineate one religion over another but it is to mark one with a brand, a scar with the idea that having that scarlet letter,  that the one carrying the mark is soulless, without redemption  and a person of risk, is much more based in our social mores. As much as I find men disturbing and tragic figures the idea of using this  is absurd. As I said, we have a problem with sex in this country and many on said registries are not sex offenders in that traditional sense of the word. 

 We need to actually give a damn about sex crimes to care about this being nothing more than a toss to a bread crumb to the many idiotic victim rights groups headed by angry parents who have never recovered from their own shame when it comes to having a family member victimized.  To be considered a sex offender one only needs to  by getting drunk and urinating in public, by having consensual sex with a 17 year old when you yourself are 18, by engaging in teenage sexting. or by having sex in a place that turned out to not be as private as you thought.  Many are not violent or dangerous and many have no victims. 

 And let us not forget while raging on that many rape allegations are false (the Duke one again not about the girl who did lie but that was about a zealous Prosecutor who went too far so is this about the woman or the man in that case) the same has gone on with regards to child assaults, such as McMartin yet in the case of the Catholic Church utterly ignored.  Is Cardinal Law on the registry or the Pope, should their travel documents be duly marked.  Really what is this about?

 And once someone is on the registry, it's damn near impossible to get off the registry. at is really what this is about - bullshit that makes people feel better about nothing.

 The yellow star, the scarlet letter and ‘International Megan’s Law’

The Washington Post
 By David Post
 January 6 2016

 When I was growing up, in a Jewish family in Brooklyn in the 1950s, Hitler and the Holocaust were common subjects of conversation in my household. Though at the time it all seemed like ancient history — along with the Civil War, the Black Death, the fall of Rome, and everything else that had ever happened before I was born — I realized, when I became an adult, that to my parents and their generation it must have seemed as though it had happened the day before yesterday.

 I remember asking my dad, when he had been talking about the roundup of the Jews and the infamous “yellow star,” a simple question that deeply puzzled my 7-year-old brain: How did the Germans know who to round up? How did they know who was, and who wasn’t, Jewish? My own family wasn’t observant in the least — we didn’t go to synagogue, or celebrate the Jewish holidays, I didn’t go to Hebrew School, etc.; so if they were rounding up all the Jews in Brooklyn, how would they know about us?

And I vividly remember his reply: They knew it because in Germany, they recorded your religion on your birth certificate, and on all your other important government documents (ID card, passport, etc.). [I’m not sure that that was entirely accurate — but it does capture the substance of the matter].

And, he reassured me, we — here in the United States — don’t allow that sort of thing. I was reminded of all that by a provision in a statute that recently sailed through the House and Senate: “International Megan’s Law” (IML for short), ostensibly designed to “prevent child exploitation and other sexual crimes through advanced notification of traveling sex offenders.”

 The statute (full text here) requires the secretary of state to affix a “unique identifier” on all passports issued to “covered sex offenders” — a “visual designation affixed to a conspicuous location on the passport indicating that the individual is a covered sex offender.”

A “covered sex offender” is anyone previously convicted, at any point in his/her life, for a sex offense involving a minor. It is, as far as I can determine, the first time in U.S. history that any such special designation will appear on the passports of any U.S. citizens, and I think it should send at least a small chill down all of our spines. Not to overdo the analogy, but it does call to mind Martin Niemoller’s famous dictum (“First they came for the communists . . .”).

 It is part and parcel of a dispiriting and disheartening campaign (on which I have commented a number of times in the past — see e.g. here, here and here) piling punitive disability upon punitive disability — not just public shaming, but also restrictions on residency locations, employment, Internet use, etc. — on this particularly despised class. Passports are not merely the necessary implements for international travel — they are a basic badge of citizenship, and they are used for all sorts of identification purposes (opening a bank account, getting a job, getting a driver’s license) having nothing to do with international travel.

There is something truly odious — “Scarlet Letter”-esque, one might say — about requiring people to bear, for their entire lives, this conspicuous badge of dishonor, whatever their prior crime (for which they have already been duly punished) may have been. And the fact that the category of “covered sex offenders” includes many thousands of people whose crime involved consensual sexual relations with an underage partner, in many cases when they themselves were teenagers, just serves to make it seem even more wildly disproportionate; the notion that this entire class is somehow predisposed to engage in child sex trafficking is nonsensical, and squarely at odds with the actual recidivism data.

 It is fundamental to our notions of a free society that we do not punish people because we fear that they might commit a crime in the future, even if we would be safer if the government locked up all potential murderers, rapists, robbers and sex offenders. Disrupting the horrific international sex-trafficking industry is a laudable and important goal — but surely there is some line beyond which the government may not go in ostensible pursuit of that goal, and in my eyes this statute crosses it.

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