The American Family Association shows what happens when you only focus on the most obvious (and dubious) possible solutions to a problem:
The Silver Sage Girl Scouts in Twin Falls, Idaho, are moving their headquarters because they discovered that 50 sex offenders live within one mile of their current location.
The problem is, there’s no place for them to move. Their new location, it turns out, is smack dab in the middle of 23 registered sex offenders. We clearly must do something more permanent with sex offenders – either lock them up for life or put them to death if they are guilty of the rape of a child. If either sex offenders or the Girl Scouts have to be inconvenienced, I vote for sex offenders.
Or: Stop grouping together predators and non-predators together under the heading of “sex offender” to dramatically increase the number of perceived threats. For crying out loud, sex crimes of all types have been going down for the better part of two decades, yet these numbers clearly suggest that “sex offenders” are everywhere, virtually ubiquitous and unavoidable.
There are about 700,000 people on state sex offender lists at the moment. But in five states, that includes someone who is arrested soliciting a prostitute. In 13 states, that includes someone arrested for urinating in public. In 29 states, it includes teenagers who had sex with other teenagers. In 32 states, it includes someone arrested for streaking or flashing, something every frat boy has done from time to time during rush week.
In one study of the Georgia sex offender list, the review board that oversees that list determined that 65% of the more than 17,000 people on the list were not a threat to anyone at all. Only about 100 of them were actually classified as predators. That’s just over one half of one percent of the people on the list.
We are manufacturing sex offenders by including people who are no threat to anyone and who have harmed no one. We’ve sparked undue paranoia and made it more difficult to identify the real sex offenders, the ones people should actually be concerned with.