Saturday, December 27, 2008

Laws Forcing Homelessness

I read an interesting article in the Washington Post today about the unintended consequence of various sex offender laws in the USA. The restrictions on where former sex offenders are allowed to live have become so restrictive that many are finding there is no area in which they can reside. Once an area that fits within the narrow range is located, so many former sex offenders are housed there that the local community launches into protests until the people are moved. Now, I'm sure the more heartless folk would say that these people brought this trouble on themselves and, of course, this is true. However, these people have done their time and deserve the opportunity to get their lives back on track and become contributing members of society again. To force these people into a situation where they can't work again or even live in a home isn't about justice... it's purely about vengence and cheap, nasty politics. 

Further, not only is this treatment inhumane, it undermines the whole alleged point of the law in the first place ie. the protection of children. Only an idiot would consider that someone who is forced into ongoing homelessness and unemployment poses less of a risk to children than someone who's done their time and is given the opportunity for redemption. Again, the more callous amongst us would probably say that this is a good reason to just put them in gaol and never let them out again. Well, I'm sure there are plenty of third world dictatorships that treat their citizens like this if you want to go there. Personally, I prefer to live in a democracy that values freedom and treats its citzens with compassion and fairness.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Well, it's been an interesting three months since I opened up this blog. I've been exposed to comments from the rational and the cretinous. Generally I've let most comments be published with only the most pathetic off-topic attacks being deleted. I've also found that it's been quieter than I'd hoped but I've come to understand that some will only post on the blogs that guarantee editorial support and no uncensored opposition. It's a shame that they're not interested in free and open discussion but ultimately it says a lot about them and exposes the flaws in their character. To those who've had the courage to enter into open discussion here I offer my thanks and respect.

So, I hope everyone reading this had a fantastic Christmas and that 2009 brings happiness and wellbeing to all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The 'Romeo & Juliet' Con

In sexual offense terms, the reference to 'Romeo & Juliet' is made when the two participants are relatively close together in age. Usually it refers to a circumstance in which one particpant is underage whilst the other is over; but it can also refer to a circumstance where both participants are underage.

This is an interesting (and controversial) subject. I personally don't agree with Romeo & Juliet laws. To me it's a cop out. It's a con. Someone is either capable of consenting to sexual activity or they're not. The age of the person to whom they're giving consent is completely irrelevant. Presently in my country the age at which people can legally give consent is 16 in most states. This means that up to, and including, the age of 15 years and 364 days they are not considered legally capable of making the decision to give consent to sexual activity... period. (I'm yet to grasp what magically happens at midnight on the night a person turns 16 but that's a topic for another day.) The age of the person they want to have sexual activity with shouldn't be taken into consideration at all. The possible consequences of sexual activity (which is what they supposedly are not intelligent enough to comprehend) are the same whether they're active with someone who is 14 or 40. I'm yet to hear anyone give a rational or convincing refutation to this fact. I appreciate there are arguments that there's a power differential when an older person is involved but, again, that's a separate issue as I'm very aware of the power peer pressure holds over people of all ages.

So why do I consider this concept to be a con and a cop out? Well, it's clear that if we need to relieve people of a certain age from the burden of choosing what to do with their bodies, this must be uniform and without exceptions. There's no grey area. They're either capable of making choices of a sexual nature or they're not. What's interesting is that there are people on both sides of the fence in favour of 'Romeo & Juliet' laws. So what's their motivation?

For those who champion age of consent laws there's a big upside to these laws. Enforcing age of consent laws when the 'sex offenders' are other young people would be a massive PR disaster. So, to avoid having such a PR problem they're willing to sell out the very people they claim need protection. This not only makes them hypocrites but completely destroys their credibility. In the vacuous language of AZU, they would be known as 'enablers'.

For those who oppose age of consent laws it introduces a grey area that can be exploited. It opens a line of logic that underage people are actually capable of choosing whether or not they want to be sexually active. It is effectively the thin end of the proverbial wedge.

As I said earlier, the concept of 'Romeo & Juliet' laws is a con and a cop out. Our law makers have decided at what age a person is capable of choosing to engage in sexual activity and everyone should be treated equally under the law... regardless of age. Anyone who tells you otherwise has an agenda.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Lunsford Hypocrisy

As strange as it may sound, I'd not heard of Mark Lunsford or his family until I read the latest post on Absolute Zero Unites and followed a link back to a comments page at Absolute Zero United and felt obliged to look it up. 

The first couple of articles I read broke my heart. They told the story of Jessica Lunsford, an innocent 9 year old girl who was brutally raped and buried alive by a mentally ill murderer. Whilst I can't possibly fully understand what her family went through, I can empathise with them and share their pain. Her father, Mark Lunsford, became something of a pinup for those who champion publically accessible sex offender registers as he fought a crusade to have far more stringent tracking of RSOs. 

Unfortunately for the Lunsford family, things haven't gone according to plan. Subsequent to Jessica's horrific death, Mark's son, Joshua, has been charged with "unlawful sexual conduct with a minor" and metaphorically pissed on Jessica's grave by wearing a t-shirt with her picture on it to his trial. He later took a plea deal and weasled his way out of being included on a sex offender register.

Whilst Joshua Lunsford's sexual activity with a minor is bad enough, the activities of his father have more significant ramifications. You see, Mark Lunsford was found by Florida police to have child pornography on his computer. What would possess a man whose beautiful daughter was raped and murdered to download kiddie porn in beyond me. 

So this brings me to the AZU post in question. Are they pouring the usual vitriol on a man found to have been in possession of child pornography? Or are they plumbing the depths of hypocrisy by making excuses for his behaviour (something I believe they refer to as 'enabling' and 'blame gaming')? Well, since he was a pinup for their cause, they're taking the latter option. He's not a paedosexual.. he's not even just a very naughty boy. No, he's one of those mythological people who unknowingly possess child porn. Of course he didn't deliberatly download it. Nor did he look at it. Or masturbate to it. Not him. Not the chosen one. 

Having been somewhat disturbed by this rather devious attitude I thought I'd turn to the fount of all knowledge when it comes to exposing those with a prediliction for underage people... Wikisposure. I did a search on Joshua Lunsford and waited to see the page on him. After all, he was sexually involved with a 14 year old girl and so is exactly the sort of person Wikisposure loves to feature. But it was in vain... there was no article on him. Hmmmm.. interesting. So I then searched on Mark Lunsford, the man who was caught by the police with kiddie porn. But alas, there was no article on him either. 

So my challenge to Wikisposure and AZU is a simple one. Treat these two as you would anyone else who is caught with child porn or who is sexually involved with a minor. If you're not willing to do so then at least have the integrity to admit you're making a special case for these people. Until you do so, your credibility is in tatters.