The topic is sex offenders (and, more broadly, crime in general). Today I received a Facebook request to join a group called "Keep Registered Sex Offenders from Joining Facebook".
I ignored the group. Why? Because I'm very big on justice and the very premise of this group is unjust.
Let's start with some facts.
- I'm not condoning, supporting, or defending sex offenses in any way whatsoever. If you respond with such an accusation, then I will not even give your argument a cursory hearing, because you're not listening, and I won't bother to listen to you if you can't be bothered to listen to me.
- Registered sex offenders are "registered" because they have been convicted. They have been told to do so by a judge, and that's part of their punishment. In every case they have served whatever portion of their sentence they were directed to before being released back into society and having their name placed on such a list.
- Punishments for crimes are determined by law. Such punishments are imposed to exact justice. That's justice, not revenge, not everlasting punishment.
Nevertheless, you will never, ever, ever find a shortage of civic-minded individuals who do not trust in the rule of law and who do not agree with the sentencing imposed by judges under legislated guidelines.
People, the way the law should work is this... if you commit a crime, and you are convicted, you pay a debt to society. This may be a fine, it may be restitution, or incarceration; but in every case, when the debt is paid IT IS PAID. Now, if you don't agree with that statement, read it again very carefully. And if you still don't agree with it, it's because your brain isn't working properly and you are very, very wrong.
There are certain long-lasting or permanent repercussions to committing some crimes. Felons may not be allowed to own a gun, or vote, or run for public office. Sex offenders are registered and typically aren't allowed to work in jobs that require them to come in significant contact with children, and may not be allowed to live within a certain distance of schools. In every case, with every crime, these persistent restrictions are for the protection of the public. They are never there to satisfy your outrage.
There are misguided individuals who insist on piling punishment upon punishment, ad infinitum, until prison looks pretty good by comparison. These individuals apparently believe that they are "doing something" to make their world a little safer, and don't seem to realize that they are very often working at cross-purposes to that goal. Do you want to know how to turn an offender into a repeat offender? It's really easy: you simply take away all hope, all friendships, all socializing, all chance of a normal life, all chance of being able to move on. You establish gulags and ghettos for these sex offenders because nobody anywhere wants them to live in their neighborhoods. You establish petitions to keep them off the Internet because God forbid they might actually type into the same forum you do. If you detect that they might actually have a friend or two that they would like to keep in touch with... well, you nip that in the bud and keep them isolated and friendless and dissatisfied and yearning for anybody's company... anybody's at all.
In other words, you do exactly what the misguided individuals I mentioned advocate.
The usual reasons given for the neverending cycle of punishment are the severity of the crime and that sex offenses are an addiction that cannot be overcome. For the first, I call B.S.... for example, in the U.S. we do not have a "registered murderers" database. We're clearly not talking about the severity of the crime; rather it's the emotional baggage attached to it. I also call B.S. on the second reason. There are many addictions, and we do not hang a permanent stigma over any other type of addiction. Even heroin use can be overcome. There are former substance abusers all over the globe who want their recreational drug, yet choose not to have them. Beyond the matter of denying an individual's constitutional rights, we're faced with the rather dangerous situation where people desire to treat the addiction itself as a crime rather than acting on the addiction. By comparison, being addicted to heroin is not a criminal offense in any jurisdiction; using heroin is. Certainly it's possible that some sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated, but it has never been shown that this applies to all, and to paint all people with the same brush is simply unjust, illogical, and even unconstitutional.
Now, there ARE incorrigible criminals, and the law recognizes and allows for that with life imprisonment and even the death penalty. If you really and truly believe that these sex offenders are completely incorrigible, and that they cannot under any circumstances be rehabilitated or control their urges, then stop being a wimp. Hypocrites piss me off. Stand up and advocate that they be locked away for life. But don't add to the problem by showering them with pissy little micro-annoyances that in the long run do nothing but add to society's problems.