Saturday, December 21, 2013

When sex offenders are the topic, we need some honesty in journalism and in legislation

Florida, which already has the reputation for its harshness and apparent lack of concern for measures promoting rehabilitation when dealing with sex offender legislation, has churned out four new bills, as detailed here.

The political posturing is seen from the first sentence but is no where more colorful than in the quote by Florida Senator Gaetz promising to "make Florida scorched earth for those who seek to harm our children."

I have two problems with the presentation of information in this article.

First, the standard for "sexually violent predator," if one actually reads the criminal code, is extremely vague and structured so that it could be, and undoubtedly is, applied to many who should not be in that category. The article, to be fair and balanced, has a responsibility to point that out.    

Secondly, using Mr. Harrel, who was not on the registry and therefore not a known repeat offender, as an example equal with Mr. Smith as "cases involving repeat sexually violent predators" is misleading, even unethical, journalism. Is Harrel the second-best example? Then the entire premise is a lie. Removing Mr. Harrel leaves only Mr. Smith, and the justification of "repeat sexually violent predators" coupled with the "last three years" is gone.

Both of these men were murderers. Both committed heinous crimes against their victims before they murdered them. Both deserve(d) appropriate punishment through the justice system. However, those designated as sexually violent predators in Florida who have murdered no one and fall far short of committing such heinous acts do not deserve punishment thinly disguised as "public safety measures" based on what those two men did.

If another has brutally raped a child, if another has murdered a child, then apply the stricter guidelines to him, not to the 99.9% who have done neither.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I invite you to listen to CSH News live Thursdays at 9:30pm PST or listen to our 26 archived shows. Tho we're not 'mainstream' journalists, like you, we're committed to sharing the unbiased truth. You/I and many others are making a difference, changing people's minds by educating them one at a time.


No personal attacks, profanity, or obscenities.
Thank you.