Life, Liberty and Blocks of Cheese
cc&d July 1995 editorial (v057)
I was listening to the radio the other night - talk radio (it keeps me awake when I have to drive a long distance during the night). It keeps me awake, usually because there’s enough there to get me so angry that I actually want to yell back at the radio.
Honestly, I actually once heard someone call in and say it was their constitutional right to food, that the government had to give them food if they didn’t get it themselves (tell me where in the Constitution does it say that citizens of the United States of America have the inalienable right to “life, liberty and blocks of cheese”). Last time I checked, The Pursuit of Happiness meant that you have the ability to do what you need to in order to acquire the things you need, such as food, not that the government has a responsibility to feed you.
So anyway, I was listening to the radio, and the discussion on this particular evening was about child molestors. Doctors and other experts has pretty much agreed that they are incurable, that castration doesn’t stop their urges to hurt children, because it is a power struggle more than a sexual venting. So the question arose: should people living within a community where a child molestor is going to move into be notified that this person was convicted of molesting children?
A similar story arose after a convicted rapist abducted and killed a neighborhood child after he was released from prison and “started anew.” The neighborhood was in an outrage; if they knew this man was a rapist, they said, they would have been more protective of their children.
So the question going over the air waves on this particular night was whether or not it was right to notify people of the acts you’ve been convicted of in the past.
People were talking about the heinousness of these crimes, how these child molestors should be killed, etc. - some also brought up the fact that the information about these people is already on public record - the only thing this law would be doing is informing people about the child-molesting history of such-and-such, instead of making individuals search out this information for themselves, which they would undoubtedly never get around to.
But first of all, it is not the role of our government to intervene with every aspect of our lives. The government is not supposed to protect “society.” As the closest thing to a capitalist society on this planet, “society” is made up a a group if individuals, and the government should work for the individual. Currently, any individual has the right to find out information about a person (this kind of falls into that “pursuit of happiness” thing), but we should not expect the government to hand it to us on a silver platter.
If a potential law does not apply in all situations, it is not a good law. So let’s apply this idea to other crimes: if you move into a new neighborhood, should all you new neighbors know that you shoplifted when you were nineteen? I don’t think so - all it will produce are negative effects.
People should be more responsible for themselves instead of asking the government to help them out more, then get angry when the gvernment gets out of control and continually hikes your taxes to support the massive network of laws created on whims such as this one.
Furthermore, If this law went into effect for molestors already in prison, they aould be in essence receiving two separate sentences at two separte times for a crime they were tried for once. That goes against everything this country was founded on. If they need a greater sentence, give it to them when they are sentenced.
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