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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sex offender branding for teenagers - utterly ridiculous

If there is one thing that always gets people clamoring for more laws, it is when children get harmed. Mass hysteria ensues, people go crazy, and insist the government must "do something". Nobody ever bothers to think about how these laws will affect people in the future. These laws end up getting applied on a massive scale in ways that were never intended. Lots of people end up getting their life royally screwed up for no good reason. Such is the case when sex offender laws are applied to teenagers who engage in behavior that is normal when they begin reaching maturity.

Apparently there is an "epidemic" in high schools across the country where kids send nude photos of themselves. At least that is what one lawyer called it. In Cuyahoga county, some kids have been caught doing this and have received this dubious label for up to 10 years. All eight of the students involved in this particular case were from 14 to 16 years old. None of these kids had previous criminal records and will now be screwed up for a long time. This could have been dealt with a simple talking to from parents. Instead the state is stepping in and handing down the gauntlet.

Please understand that I'm not saying we should encourage kids to engage in this sort of behavior. Nor am I saying that it is good or that we shouldn't try to prevent it. What I do think is that the government's solution is not making things any better. These nude pictures are illegal for kids to send by federal laws, yet punishing them in this way is doing nothing to stop it. On top of that, these kids, who are not criminals by any step of the imagination, will have a very heavy burden to carry for the rest of their life.

I've also read about other cases around the country where a girl will tell a boy she is older than what she really is. The boy has sex with her, and then finds out she is 13 instead of 16 after the fact. The law still nails the poor bastard for a long time to come. This is one of them. I doubt this situation would exist if the girl was 17 and had sex with a 13 year old boy.

As usual, the government is way overstepping the bounds that any moral society should allow. They seem to think they should be doing the parenting for you, instead of allowing you to handle the situation. I guess most parents are lazy and don't want to teach their kids good morals, so they don't mind it when the government steps in and does this nasty work. On top of that, this exposes yet more reasons not to sent my children to public schools. By all means, let's teach our kids moral standards. But, please don't allow the social prudes in our government to dictate what these standards and punishments should be.

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