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#128330 - 07/29/04 09:51 PM Re: Civil Liberties Union gone insane!
theo Offline

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
i just now read this after catching word of it elsewhere. in this world we live in, too much has been comprimised in the name of frivolous litigation. there has been a dumbing down of some very basic constitutional guarentees we have as citizens of this flawed, but still great nation in the public school system. not changing the debate here, or trying to insult teachers (i am one in training btw), i am just setting up the background for my response.

several years ago, i faced this same type of question in terms of an assignment that had to be debated. the presentation was of a white supremecist who spoke out in a public place and caused a commotion, but not riot, and was promptly arrested. the question up for debate was should this moron have the right to speak in public freely of such hatreds (assume no riot or violence ensues, of course)? bottom line, as repulsive as this mentality is, the answer was unequivocally yes. violence would have changed the outcome of this, but the right of free speech is not conditioned on intelligence or maturity...just witness the latest political debates.

there have been too many instances throughout history where the emotions of a community got carried away and a greater harm was done. it sickens me that a predator can thumb his nose and still persist in the behavior by government sanction. i admit this...but what would sicken and grieve me more would be to see a precedent set that a society would condone emotional vigilante terror. the racial lynchings of the late 19th, up to mid 20th centuries were condoned and accepted as "protecting the community". the salem withc trials, spanish inquisition, gay bashing, ethnic cleansing, ...all of these were accepted in the mindset of the locals in terms of keeping them safe. that is what our civil liberties really refer to, not the absurd litigation that swamps the courts. not the hair splittiing, technicalities, bs that permeate the media coverage. none of that, it is the spectre of what had happened before that we must prevent, even when it comes to filth.

one last thing to clarify my position. history has taught us, even yesterday's headlines, that when a person is removed from their basic humanity, then it becomes acceptable to do whatever one wants to do to this "inhuman" creature. nazi propaganda made the jewish people less than human, tragedy. racial and ethnic stereotyping can easily rob a group of their humanity, open season begins. the way i look at it, the bill of rights does not guarentee absurd litigation, it guarentees the right to be perceived as a human being, and treated accordingly. remove that...

journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

#128331 - 07/29/04 10:50 PM Re: Civil Liberties Union gone insane!
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire

Here in the UK we have the same issues.
Many of our convicted sex offenders are out 'on licence' - they can be hauled back into prison for breaking the terms of the licence, which can vary case to case.

These offenders are also placed on the Sex Offenders Register, in theory they register their home address with the police and report to police / probation at set times, and recieve treatment.
How effective this is is open to debate.

Trials have also been done with electronic tagging that is linked to GPS Satelite systems that can pinpoint the person to a matter of yards.
A common feature of our 'Register' is to place restrictions on the places a known offender can go, and it's possible ( and common ) to ban offenders from any places where children gather - schools and parks for example. GPS Tagging just makes that restriction easier to police.
So here it would be possible, and likely, that this guy would be restricted from the woods by the park.

The paranoia this kind of offender generates is possibly way out of proportion to the actual amount of stranger attacks.
The school close to where I live has cut down all the trees and shrubs in the grounds so "perverts can't leap out on the children" ( the headmasters reassuring words )- even bushes a foot high right alongside footpaths have been cleared !

As for freedom of speech, and I think that it's basically the same argument, then here in the UK people have been locked up for "incitement" - notably the Muslim Cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

The French philosopher Voltaire once said "I dissaprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
But where is that line in the sand, the one that marks the difference between opinion and incitement? and who marks the line?


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#128332 - 07/29/04 11:22 PM Re: Civil Liberties Union gone insane!
BT Offline

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 388
Loc: Chicago IL
I believe the question we have to answer is what is acceptable punishment for a child abuser, and what is the difference between punishment and the protection of society?

Is it a prison term, a death sentence, life in prison, lifetime monitoring, or something else.

We have to consider that there are many types of crimes that carry varied lifetime ramifications and as a society we have decided that protecting ourselves from "potential" criminal behavior is more important than some peoples "rights"

For example while a "convicted bank robber" that has served his sentence can certainly go in a bank and conduct business, he will never be allowed to work there. He and a passell of other convicted felons, depending on both state and federal laws, will not be allowed work in countless jobs that require a license, or bonding, or financial matters, and in some states barbers and such that have access to knives, razors, etc...

The laws are varied and some sound silly, but over the decades we have as a society decided to limit the freedoms of those that have broken our laws in all kinds of ways, often for the rest of their lives.

Some violations result in the loss of voting privaleges, sometimes for life. Sometimes the right to drive is permantly revoked. Sometimes computer access is denied, sometimes for life.

Most felons will never have the right to own a gun. No matter what your personal position on guns, this is at present a constitutionally guaranteed right, yet we have decided felons will not have this right.

Is this so different from access to a park? The constitution does not guarentee access to a park. In today's world after 9/11 there are some "public" parks and areas that none of us have access to. Could we not argue that infringes on our right to be there. Could we not sue the govt for refusing our access to the Statue of Liberty? If we did, most people would consider us crazy, because we understand why we have placed such limitations on ourselves.

So in my opinion the discussion should not be so much about whether freedoms and rights should be limited for past sexual offendors, but rather what should those limitations be.

We have as a culture already made the decision to limit rights and freedoms of criminals, now we have to decide in this case which ones are relevent and how to apply them.

And while we do want to carefully protect our liberties, we also want to protect our lives and our children.

We have decided that living in a society ruled by law is preferential to all others. We freely choose to give up liberty every day in order to maintain a free and open society. And we have decided that in some cases we must use law to limit the freedoms of some because they cannot be allowed free exersize of their will, because it is harmful or could be harmful to others.

And yes there are countless examples of what can happen when government, or power runs amuck. But the opposite can be said as well. The absolute absence of law and order and such is even worse.

The answer I believe is somewhere in between. The challenge is to find the right balance, the line that protects our kids, without limiting freedom more than is required.

And as survivors, if we can put our desire to "kill" them all aside and discuss relevent solutions as seems to be the case in this thread, then by god, there is no limit to what we can do to change the world.


"Everyone is entitled to their opinions and it is not my job to change their mind." Dali Lama

#128333 - 07/30/04 02:20 PM Re: Civil Liberties Union gone insane!
Aden Offline

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 499
This is an update on the situation that we are discussing.

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has chosen to hear the case of “John Doe v. The City of Lafayette” My letter to the editor of our local news paper concerning this issue (circulation approx. 150,000} appeared on the page opposite the announcement that the higher court would hear the case.

So far the Indiana Civil Liberties Union has failed to respond to my inquiries regarding their position on this issue.

My congratulations and thanks to all here at MS for such a well thought and rational debate of such a sensitive issue. You are a fine and intelligent group of men. Yes, even the ones who don’t agree with my position. This is how things are changed and decisions made in a democratic society.

That we can express our thought openly and without rancor is proof that we are not so damaged by our pasts as to be without hope.


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