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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This is the second time this picture has crossed my electronic path. I don't know if it's because my friends are freaks or if it's just because we all live in Ohio.

BE WARNED BEFORE YOU CLICK - This is a picture of a registered sex offender in the state of Ohio. It is a simple fact that he is physically deformed and that, coupled with his status, can make this very, very difficult for some people to look at.

I'm aware people type stuff like this with the intention of titillating people into looking, but that's not the case this time. Now, if you've digested all of that, you can decide whether or not to view.

The latest person to email this to me and I had some thoughts about the issue of publically releasing profiles of sexual offenders. It's not a complete discussion - just some food for thought.

He wrote:
Damn, that's twisted that you've already seen that! This guy must be an underground celebrity. [I sincerely doubt that.] Seriously though, that picture is very unsettling. I have mixed feelings about the idea of publicly documenting sex offenders, simply because it margainalizes them and makes it more difficult for them to get back into the real world, but pictures like that take away some argument :)
Basically, my response had to do with the idea that inevitably gets voiced (and knowing human nature, at least one person will make this comment in the comments section): "Well, who wants them out in the real world?"

My response:
Exactly. I used to feel the same way, but I oddly find my views changing the closer I get to the possibility of having children of my own. It's easy to scoff at the whole NIMBY thing (not in my back yard) when you only have yourself to worry about. But, that doesn't excuse the fact that with the whole
"sexual assault prevention and treatment" scenario, you just can't ignore the needs of the predators. You can do all the victim work in the world, but if you're
not properly addressing the other half of that equation, you're not really solving the problem.

No one can argue with the need to have websites like this. It's when people print out the webpage and pepper their neighborhoods with them, causing people to harass and threaten people who have (in theory) done their time. Go to that extent, and chances are you're undermining their treatment. Ok, enough rant ;).
Again, I present these merely as food for thought. I know everyone's instinct, including mine, is to simply slaughter them all en masse or at least impose some sort of funamentalist, fanatical Islamic solution. But setting aside the karmic implications and accepting the fact that the system we have is all we have to work with right now, putting a former offender whose offense is basically related to power, in a pressure cooker of not mere neighborhood scrutiny, but outright harassment in some cases, and all you're doing is contributing to any possible (and if you believe some stats, a high possibility) of recidivism. Just my opinion - I could be wrong.
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E said...

I actually tried to see the picture - I figured by deformed you meant arms and legs and maybe torso deformity. I barely saw the top half of the face and couldn't even scroll down - had to click the BACK button immediately. Too horrible - too much like Sadako EYE at first glance. om mani padme hum.