No Refuge For Domestic Violence Perpetrators
[California] Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a San Francisco Democrat, has pushed for an online registry of men and women convicted of domestic violence. But her effort has gone nowhere because of concerns it would lead to reprisals or could mistakenly put innocent people on the danger list...Ma says she'll try again but will need support from her critics.
No Halloween for Sex Offenders
...the Tulare County (of course) Board of Supervisors has passed a new measure banning sex offenders from decorating for Halloween or answering the door for trick-or-treaters...Public Defender Michael Sheltzer has raised concerns about the legality of the bill under state law and the First Amendment. After all, these people have served their time...
"After all, these people have served their time." Are we to believe that your civil rights are different after you have done your time? This is a slippery slope we are treading.
Now, before everyone gets their panties in a knot thinking that I have sympathy for sex offenders and wife-beaters, this is actually what I think: 1) some humans are vile, ignorant creatures who jump to wild conclusions about everything, want to blame everyone but themselves for their predicaments, and live in fear-filled boxes, all the while refusing to parent their own children lest they be blamed for screwing them up, and 2) civil rights are civil rights.
Besides the fact that I had an 18 year old friend in high school who had to ridiculously register as a child predator for having sex with his 16 year old girlfriend because her parents needed someone to suffer for the shame they felt, I also recognize that when we start chipping away at the civil rights of true undesirables (read: real child rapists, men who beat women, the Westboro Baptist Church, etc.), it is just a small skip-jump to trampling on someone's rights because oh, say, a community doesn't like child-free couples, or single moms, or people who aren't white or heterosexual. Or people who are JUST LIKE YOU.
My friend Brian just posted this on Facebook; we'd be wise to remember it.
The privacy and dignity of our citizens are being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen -- a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a person's life.
William O. Douglas