NYTimes this morning has yet another sterling example of what a nation of irresponsible, hovering cowards we are becoming.
In its story about crackdowns on sex offenders across the nation, we are told that localities are passing "feel good" ordinances that remove citizenship rights from people convicted of crimes as serious as peeing in a park 25 years ago. That is a sex crime by definition ("public exposure"), it never goes away, and our citizens want to throw these pervs in the clank and toss away the key. Since the Constitution won't allow that, we simply forbid them to drop off their kids at school or take them to Little League games, fish from the local pier, go to the library or even work in some communities.
"Sex crime" is a broad term, so broad in fact that it is often misleading and sometimes a bald-assed lie. Localities have acted with a little more sense in stripping the rights from people who have already paid society for their crimes, but others haven't. Those localities equate a love affair between a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old that includes sex (and my guess is a hell of a lot of them do) with raping a three-year-old. "Sex crime." It's not pretty, even when it is.
Love between consenting teenagers is often a highlight of sweet emotion for many of us. But these paranoid parents who want the government to watch their kids, taking the potential blame burden from them, make me ill. If you take your kids to the park or the pool and don't watch them, whose fault is it if something bad happens?
According to investigative reporter Diane Diamond, "The sexual abuse of kids doesn’t usually come from outside their circle and murder is extremely rare ... Most often the perpetrator is a relative, a family friend or a trusted authority figure," and not likely a guy relieving himself on an oak tree in the park after his second beer at a company picnic or a woman who is sunbathing nude in her backyard.
So much of what is provocative and even "porn" is a matter of personal belief. I once had a woman give me a wonderful painting (on an animal skin) of a native Colombian, smoking a pipe and posing bare-breasted--which is how she lived her life--because it was "pornography." The only pornographic element was the attitude of the woman who gave me the painting. She'd love these new sex crime laws.
Overzealous state legislators introduced more than 1,500 bills dealing with sex offenses during a recent year and 275 were passed. We're not even going into local ordinances here because the numbers aren't available. But they must be huge.
No wonder al-Qaeda laughs at us when all it has to do is threaten in order to send us into a blind, irrational panic and change a nation of eagles into one of chickens.