It’s no secret that I’m against sex offender registries. In fact, it’s one of the more controversial stands I’ve taken.
As a libertarian, I oppose sex offender registries because they intrinsically restrict freedom while not actually doing anything to protect anyone.
As a Christian, I oppose sex offender registries because they intrinsically assume nobody can change. I obviously believe that people can change through the power of Jesus Christ.
As a regular person with common sense, I already know that most sex crimes occur by someone who knows the victim. I also realize, using my brain, that these registries serve to increase paranoia. Additionally, the crimes listed on the registry may not correspond to what we think they do. We hear legal terms like “criminal sexual conduct” and we have no idea about the corresponding offense. I also know that people have no tolerance for anyone suspected of a sexual crime. They presume guilt because they don’t want to upset the person who is alleging the crime (see Duke lacrosse scandal). I’m not saying that all people on the sex offender registry are innocent. But, I at least reserve the option that some of them are due to our societal perception of sex crimes. And, that’s not all. There are people on the registry who have committed a “crime,” but the definition of crime is too strict (as I often point out). Here’s Lenore Skenazy’s take on the issue:
There are now commercially available mobile phone apps that map out their addresses. Looking at a map with lots of red dots makes people terrified of their neighbourhoods. It also ruins the lives of many of the ‘red dots’ – a lot of whom are no threat to children at all. They may be a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend (that’s considered statutory rape), or a guy who was convicted for peeing in public. So what we need is a law that identifies where DANGEROUS people are living, not just anyone who ran afoul of our increasingly draconian — and sometimes ridiculous — sex offender laws. Policy must change, and that begins (once again) with a reality check! (Source)
Instead of our society implying the common sense reasoning that I have detailed above, we continue to get more and more totalitarian about sex offender registries. Today, I found out that Louisiana passed a law mandating that all registered sex offenders have to list their status on social networking websites! Nevermind the fact that the Louisiana sex offender registry is already online. That’s not good enough for us anymore! We need to see these people hanged.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the vast amassing of government for which it stands, one nation, under siege, with indignity and paranoia for all.