George overturned a very popular law this week, one that’s one the books in just about every state. The law “banned registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches and other areas where children congregate”.
For those paying attention, that’s just about everywhere. In George, sex offenders had nowhere to go. The same is true in every other state where this law is on the books. The Georgia court recognized that if you’re going to tell people “you can’t be here”, you need to give them an option.
Now, I know, I can hear you already – especially Vicky – chanting that familiar mantra “We have to protect the children”. Yes. I know. And I agree with you. But let me finish before you damn me, which I’m sure you will.
The most fascinating thing about this case is that is shines a very harsh light on human nature. Yes, we need to protect our children, but we’re not going to do it by telling every bad influence – from sex offenders to drug dealers to Republicans – “You can’t be here.” This isn’t because we want sex offenders, televangelists, and lawyers near our kids but because it’s only a short-term fix.
Face it, people. We need to look down the road at something long-term.
Hiding sex offenders away isn’t making fewer of them. In fact, they have this show on NBC where they entrap them and interview them – it’s apparently been on for a while but I just saw it for the first time the other night and it creeped me the fuck out. Putting people away, in prisons or slums or gulags, isn’t a long-term plan. It just doesn’t work. We only have so much room on this planet and, after you’ve locked everyone up, you end up being the one who’s trapped.
Eventually, we need to change the system so people don’t want to abuse children, sell drugs, or vote Republican. I don’t know how that will be done but I think recognizing that we can’t just hide them away is a good first step.
… one more thing. This quote caught my eye: "In the meantime, convicted felony sex offenders will be allowed to live next door to day care centers, school bus stops, or anywhere else they choose," the Republican lawmaker said.
Leave it to a Republican to paint the nightmare scenario.
What do we do with these people if we don’t marginalize them? How about this: how about we start working together as communities again? What would the world be like if we took care of our neighborhoods and were informed and maybe – just maybe – reached out to those dirty, nasty, disgusting felons in that spirit of Christian love and brotherhood that the Republican assholes so often taint (a word chosen just so I could use asshole and taint in the same sentence) and let them know that we know and that there are rules and membership in the community is provisional. (That’s why we have laws, after all.)
It’s generally agreed that the acts of sex offenders are inhuman. Perhaps we can make ours human, for a change.