Archive for May 28, 2009

Re-Living the Scare Films of the 60’s

May 28, 2009 Comments off

Some of our readers may be old enough to remember the “scare” documentary movies from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Black and white short films about drug use or sexually-transmitted disease, such as “Reefer Madness” and “SexMadness” were the archetypal exploitation films of the era, which were intended to scare the public (in particular, children, as they were shown in school classrooms).

This generation has our own exploitation “scare” tactics in the name of online sex offender registries and the apparent threats parents are made to believe that on every street there is a “predator” who wants to have sex with their child.

But perhaps it is useful for us to learn from our history. As such, we can understand that the social pendulum swings back-and-forth on social panic topics. In the 1990’s it was drunk driving. Today it is sex offenders. But back in the 1950’s and 60’s they had their own social panic about sex offenders and child molesting. We strongly urge you to watch the two films below “Boys Beware (1961)” and “The Child Molester (1964)”. There is much to learn from watching them.


Florida’s Sex Offender Mess

May 28, 2009 Comments off : State needs to fix the sex offender mess.

The task force charged by the Broward County Commission with finding a way out of the conundrum created by sex offender residency restrictions has listened to experts, crunched numbers and discussed a dismaying array of unintended consequences.

By its second meeting on Tuesday, none of the task force members were defending the notion that draconian restrictions actually protected children from sex offenders.

They discussed better solutions than laws that forced registered sex offenders into homelessness; that left parole officers with no alternative but to send them to live under a highway bridge; that encouraged sex offenders to cluster in neighborhoods with less restrictive ordinances.

They talked about the documented failure of these laws in other states. They talked about laws, instead, that would keep sex offenders from loitering around places where children congregate. They talked about re-zoning industrial areas to allow sex offender housing.

They talked about restrictions that fail to distinguish between less dangerous offenders and sexual predators.
They pushed beyond the emotional stuff and dug for what made sense.
It was the kind of thoughtful examination needed to sort out a complicated and volatile problem.

Except, it comes too late. Most of South Florida’s cities (and Miami-Dade County) have already passed 2,500-foot restrictions around schools, parks, day care centers, even school bus stops. The County Commission holds sway over less than three square miles of unincorporated Broward.

Broadening Sex Offender Labels

May 28, 2009 Comments off : Neb. lawmakers approve new rules for sex offenders.

Lincoln, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska lawmakers have approved a number of changes that are designed to make it easier for the public to track sex offenders.

Under the measure (LB285) lawmakers passed on Thursday, crimes including incest, sexually assaulting an inmate and sexual enticement using computers would land offenders on the state’s sex-offender registry.

The law would be retroactive for people convicted of those offenses since 1997.

The proposal follows the 2006 passage of a federal law meant to create a national system for registering sex offenders.

“Under LB 285, the list of registry offenses would be expanded to include: incest, unlawful intrusion, sexually related child abuse offenses, sexual assault of an inmate or protected adult and sexually motivated offenses. The new registry and notification requirements would apply retroactively to all sex offense convictions entered on or after January 1, 1997″

Final Reading Copy of Bill

Constitutionalfights has been warning of this. Once one group of citizens is permitted to be publicly shamed and persecuted (even retro-actively) in the way that these online registries do, it will soon be extended to other groups of citizens. Already there are bills in some states to add drug, animal cruelty and drunk driving offenses to online registries.