06.21.12

New LA law makes sex offenders wear scarlet letter

Posted in at 9:55 by RjZ

Louisiana law requires sex offenders to wear t-shirts with a scarlet letter . That could be the headline anyway. Doesn’t it strike you as a bit extreme that in addition to knocking on your neighbor’s doors to let them know you are a convicted sex offender, now, Louisiana wants to make sure you put that in your Facebook status? If, for example, a gentlemen was caught urinating in public–this is a sex offense in many states, he’d be on the list, have to let everyone in his neighborhood know, and now, everyone in his social network, too. Don’t worry: Facebook has no problem with this. They say they don’t allow sex offenders to have profiles in the first place.

I get the comparison, and even the motivation, but this step may actually show just why this law goes to far in the first place.

2 Comments »

  1. LauraLA said,

    July 3, 2012 at 13:07

    I believe the intent of this law, like many laws, is primarily to protect children. These days parents are often too busy working or otherwise occupied to take care of their offspring and want the government to insure the well being of their progeny. Their motivation is understandable but have they thought the “knocking on the door” thing through? Thier children are often home alone. Do they really want a sex offender walking through the neighborhood knocking on doors noting which child readily opens the door to a stranger?

    For certain types of offenders the Facebook law isn’t inappropriate if the intent of the law is to protect children. For one thing, no one has to have a Facebook page and apparently that is often a gateway to contact for sexual predators. While on the topic it would be convenient if all a person’s anti social tendencies were listed on their Facebook profile: crack addict, arsonist, shop lifter, etc. but even if such “Big Brother” type legislation were passed it would essentially be a waste of ink as it is probably very easy to open a Facebook account under a fake name. In addition who would monitor all those pages?

    Before going forward with laws/bills/taxes etc. the people responsible for proposing them should ask themselves “Does this address a real need? Is it enforceable? Can this state/county/country afford to enact this?” If the proposal does not meet these 3 simple critera then they should go back to the drawing board and start again.

  2. RjZ said,

    July 3, 2012 at 13:50

    Welcome new reader LauraLA! You can stay! There’s much to like here in your comment. Just to sum up: sure it sounds like a good idea, but have you really thought about what you’re asking for? read on in my blog and you’ll see (and perhaps sometimes disagree with) my libertarian streak. Here’s one popular tenet: few laws; vigorously enforced. That speaks to your last paragraph. If you can’t even enforce the law, because it’s expensive, impracticable, or unenforceable, then passing the law reduces the credibility of the institution that wrote it. When we citizens regularly flout laws of the land, it is difficult to remember that there are others we should obey (for our own good as well as society’s, say).

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