Among the many provocative, informative and heart-breaking comments to the Ethics Alarms post about the continued persecution of convicted sex offenders after they have completed their sentences is the following Comment of the Day by Peekachu (not to be confused with the Pokemon of the same name—different spelling). This is obviously an emotional topic for many, and I am somewhat surprised that there have not been any comments in defense of the increasingly restrictive limits placed on the Constitutional rights of sex offenders to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….perhaps because there is no defense. I hope to explore this issue more thoroughly in the future, but in the meantime, I urge readers to visit the other comments to the original post, and also to read Ethics Bob Stone’s take on the topic.
Here is the Comment of the Day, by Peekachu, on “America’s Untouchables”:
“There is a saying that is frequently used to legitimize demonizing and marginalizing sex offenders–”for the children”. On even cursory examination, it is clear that the sex offender laws have nothing to do with protecting children. They are about revenge and guilt. Children are hurt by sex offenders. The “wronged” want revenge. Others in society feel guilty because those children could not be protected. The guilt is so strong that it is projected back onto the person who committed the crime who then becomes a “monster”. Its “OK” to create this untouchable class because then we don’t have to feel guilty. The monsters been thrown out of town, the children are safe and we have saved the day.
“The problem with this story is that it is not true. Sex offenders are people, not monsters. The children are not safe because we have ignored the causes of sex crimes and have done nothing to prevent them. In fact, we have left the initial conditions completely intact for others who may be getting ready to offend as well as creating conditions that are ripe for reoffends by putting people who have already served their debt to society in situations where their very instability repeats the internal conditions that led to offense. So we create an untouchable class that puts undamaged children in more danger so we don’t have to feel guilty about the ones who have already been hurt.
“Does anyone else think this is crazy?”